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DraftNerds – 2024 Buffalo Bills Mock Draft

Get ready, #BillsMafia! Dive into my Buffalo Bills mock draft breakdown on @TheSmingDynasty. #DraftNerds 🏈
Buffalo Bills
(Photo Courtesy of Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

Dynasty fantasy football is a year-round affair. A sharp manager will think about all aspects of the dynasty season. Those managers keen enough to look ahead will be the ones who can gain an edge over the competition. Most of the dynasty off-season will be spent discussing incoming rookies and the related topic, the NFL draft.

It is easy for us to fall in love with the next workhorse running back or prototypical alpha wide receiver, but a manager in tune with the entire draft class will find themselves ahead of the game. Whether it is the next road-paving interior offensive lineman or genetic freak edge rusher, we can find ourselves at quite the advantage come April by building an entire picture of how the 2024 class will play out. Those who prepare ahead will not be often surprised at the outcomes.

Credit for the mock draft simulation goes to ProFootballFocus. Team needs are also generated from this site.

2023 Season Recap

In hindsight, the week one loss to the New York Jets set the stage for the Buffalo Bills’ 2023 season. While they ultimately won the AFC East for the fourth straight season, the Bills never seemed to find their footing. Their season was marked with ups and downs, including the mid-season firing of offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey. They stood at just 6-6 going into their bye week.

After a late-season surge, winning their final five games, the Bills defeated the Steelers in the Wild Card round. The following week, they met their recent playoff archrivals, the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bills lost 27-24 when kicker Tyler Bass missed a late field goal to tie the game.

Can Josh Allen and the Bills ever get over the hump? The Bills have gone to the playoffs in six of the past seven seasons but have zero Super Bowl appearances to show for it. Will Wide Right II be the straw that broke this iteration of the Bills’ back?

2024 Free Agent Arrivals and Departures – Offense

The Bills lost wide receiver Gabe Davis to the Jaguars in free agency. Joke, if you will, but the loss of Davis leaves the team with a hole at wide receiver. They brought in Curtis Samuel, but he profiles as doing many of the same things that Khalil Shakir does. They need a big-play, big-body receiver across from the aging Stefon Diggs. Fortunately, I’ll give them just what they need in the mock below.

Buffalo also brought back running back Ty Johnson on a one-year deal. However, I doubt that is the end of the moves the Bills will make at running back. James Cook needs some backfield help if he is to hold up over a 17-game season.

The offensive line continues to be a strong suit for the team. Dion Dawkins and David Edwards were brought back, and the Bills signed Will Clapp to a one-year deal. Finally, Mitch Trubisky re-unites with the team, signing a two-year contract earlier this month.

Outside of Davis, the Bills kept much of their offensive core intact. They did cut receiver/returner Deonte Harty. Veteran lineman Mitch Morse followed Davis to Jacksonville, and Trent Sherfield signed with the Vikings.

2024 Free Agent Arrivals and Departures – Defense

While the Bills’ offense remains unchanged primarily, their defense may look very different in 2024. The Bills cut Tre’Davious White in a surprising move. They lost Siran Neal and Jordan Poyer to their divisional rival, the Miami Dolphins. Leonard Floyd is now with San Francisco. Dane Jackson signed a two-year deal with the Panthers. Defensive tackle Tim Settle took his 6’3″ frame to Texas to play for Houston. Defensive tackle Poona Ford? Los Angeles with the Chargers.

(I’m starting to wonder if everyone on the Bills had had enough of playing in Buffalo, Miami, San Francisco, Charlotte, Los Angeles…)

A few brave football-playing souls decided the Buffalo winters weren’t all that bad. The Bills re-signed All-Pro Taron Johnson to a three-year extension. Defensive end A.J. Espenesa was also brought back on a two-year deal. Additionally, Cam Lewis also re-signed on a two-year deal. Finally, former Rams’ second-round pick Taylor Rapp re-signed with the team for a three-year deal.

The only outside additions to the defense are former Titan DaQuan Jones, who was brought in to shore up the defensive line, and former Eagle Nicholas Morrow, who should provide some depth at linebacker. Look for the Bills to replenish their defense with several draft picks this April.

2024 Mock Draft

1.28 Brian Thomas, Jr., WR LSU

Thomas was the fourth wide receiver taken in our DraftNerds staff mock, but don’t let that fool you. First, he is absolutely an NFL wide receiver. A former basketball star, Thomas checks every athletic box. He has great long speed and would pair perfectly with Josh Allen as his new vertical threat. Thomas was 68-1,177-17 with Jayden Daniels last season at LSU. Head coach Sean McDermott has to be salivating looking at that tape, knowing Thomas can produce with the Bills’ scrambling, strong-armed signal caller.

Thomas also excels at run blocking, something the Bills covet in their receivers. Davis earned a game ball last season for his run blocking. Notably, it was a game where he did not catch a single pass. Hopefully, for our purposes, Thomas can run block and score fantasy points!

There is a reason this is a common pick amongst many NFL mock drafts. In short, Thomas to the Bills makes sense. Lock it in at 1.28 in this mock draft.

2.60 – Kiran Amegadjie,T Yale

Amegadjie is one of my favorite players in this draft. Yale! In the second round of the NFL Draft! What a story. Imagine going from playing against Harvard and Sacred Heart to lining up against players like Matthew Judon twice a season.

Amegadjie was a man among boys playing against FCS teams. At 6’5″, 325 lbs., he looks the part and is built for the NFL. Although he missed much of this season due to a partially torn left quad, Amegadjie is a locked-in top-fifty pick in this year’s draft. Still a developing prospect, Kiran Amegadjie is an ideal pick for the Bills here. They can afford to bide their time with him and slowly mold him into a future Pro Bowl tackle or guard. He has that kind of versatility and potential. I’m rooting for this young man to succeed in the NFL.

4.128 – Caelen Carson, CB Wake Forest

Without a third-round pick, the Bills will start to replenish their defense early on day three. A physical corner, Carson has plenty of college experience, playing in 36 games for the Demon Deacons. He is the type of player who could contribute early on special teams. However, by mid-to-late season, he could earn playing time on the Bills’ defense. The Bills use zone coverage often, and Carson is best suited in that scheme. Additionally, he is a solid tackler and plays well against the run. He would be a good value here in the fourth round.

4.133 – Josh Newton, CB TCU

Next up in the fourth round, let’s go back-to-back cornerbacks. As with the aforementioned Carson, Newton brings experience to the table. The Bills are a team with championship aspirations, and with 58 collegiate games under his belt, Newton would fit right in. Newton was named TCU’s team captain in 2023.

His 2022 season was better than 2023, so it remains to be seen if Newton can regain the form that took him from Louisiana-Monroe to TCU. TCU, as a whole, took a hit last season. Was his performance a by-product of that slump? He does not possess a great top gear, but he is a highly competitive defender. Regardless, Newton has enough potential for NFL GMs to look his way on day three of the NFL Draft.

5.144 – Michael Barrett, LB Michigan

Firstly, Barrett was PFF’s highest-graded linebacker in the Big Ten this past season. That statement alone should have you sitting up and paying attention. His grade puts him in the top ten among Power Five linebackers. Also, his 92.3 pass-rushing grade ranked second among all linebackers.

Another experienced player, Barrett, played in a record 64 games for Michigan during this career. This past season, he started all 15 games at linebacker and special teams. He finished second on the team with 65 tackles. Barrett added three sacks and three forced fumbles. Barrett is the type of player championship teams target in the later rounds to build up their roster and locker room. Some draftniks project him to go undrafted, but others (including myself) believe he will be taken in this range.

5.160 – JD Bertrand, LB Notre Dame

Another tough, competitive defender, Bertrand, is just a high-motor football player. Will he ever be an NFL difference-maker? Probably not, but it’s the fifth round. Bertrand most likely projects as a special teamer or rotational inside linebacker. After all, that’s okay!

Still, Bertrand played well for the Fighting Irish last season. He was Notre Dame’s captain and was a three-year starter in South Bend. Above all, Bertrand is a dependable player, always in a position to make a play. The fifth round may be a bit lofty for his draft projection, but Bertrand seems like the rugged, hard-nosed linebacker the Bills have always rostered.

5.163 – Walter Rouse, T Oklahoma

Another player with a lot of experience? I’m sensing a (totally inadvertent) theme here for this mock. Rouse is a big dude. Standing 6’6″ and weighing 322 pounds, Rouse would be a quality depth piece for the Bills’ offensive line. He is better in pass protection than he is against the run. In 2023, he did not allow a single sack and only allowed two quarterback hits.

Rouse has extensive experience playing left tackle, but can he switch to the right side if needed? Can he be an NFL swing tackle? If Rouse can continue to improve, the Bills could potentially find a future starter on day three.

6.188 – Justin Rogers, DI Auburn

The curious case of Rogers. Once a five-star prospect, he now finds himself waiting for his name to be called until day three of the NFL Draft. Despite declaring early, Rogers simply never put it altogether in the collegiate ranks.

Rogers is what he appears to be—a big, nasty run-stuffer. His 346-pound frame gives him a ton of upper-body strength. Perhaps the Bills’ coaching staff can bring some of that five-star magic back to life. Even if they can’t, they’ll still gain a good depth piece along the defensive line.

6.200 – Jase McClellan, RB Alabama

Another curious case, we arrive now at McClellan. He was Alabama’s leading rusher in 2023, which would generally push a player’s name into Day 2 territory. Unfortunately, that will not be the case with McClellan.

If Rogers (above) was a “what you see is what you get” player, that moniker fits McClellan as well. He will likely be, if nothing else, an excellent NFL backup running back. Everything he does is solid but not exceptional or even great. His athleticism? Again, just fine. McClellan is this draft’s boring, granny panty running back. He epitomizes someone who will be okay for his NFL team but has nothing to write home about for your dynasty rookie drafts.

6.204 – Johnny Dixon, CB Penn State

As a Penn State fan myself, I’m a big fan of Dixon. The tweet above summarizes my thoughts on him as a player. Dixon is a ballplayer. He profiles as a slot corner at his size, matching up against smaller wide receivers.

Dixon does have weaknesses, of course. He’s being drafted here in the sixth round, after all. He misses tackles like I miss being healthy with two kids in daycare. Dixon’s tackling and strengths are knocks that present a conundrum. He may not be a great special teamer, and if that’s the case, he may not make a roster right away. Dixon has some tools, so hopefully, maturing and spending long hours in an NFL weight room will make a difference.

7.248 – Jaden Crumedy, DI Miss St

Another four-year starter, Crumedy has the potential to be a rotational player along the defensive line. Better against the run than the pass, he could find his way onto the Bills practice squad until he develops more skills to stay on the field during passing downs.

2024 Fantasy Impact

In a draft laden with playmakers, the Bills land a great one here with Thomas. Should he be drafted onto the Bills, as many mocks reflect, I think he is the rock-solid fourth wide receiver in your rookie drafts. It, of course, remains to be seen how the rest of the draft shakes out, but Thomas projects as a late first-round pick in this year’s dynasty rookie drafts. He would immediately step into Gabe Davis’s role with room to become much more once Stefon Diggs moves on.

The future of the Bills’ offense lies with Josh Allen leading the way for James Cook, Dalton Kincaid, and Brian Thomas, Jr. Doesn’t that sound like an offense you want a piece of? We’ll see what direction the Bills take in April. Thanks for reading!

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