With 23 pre-draft visits, the Buffalo Bills have been pretty busy setting up their draft board. History tells us that in the first round of the NFL draft it is highly likely the Bills will select one of these visitors.
As part of the Bills pre-draft evaluation process 23 prospects have come in to Ralph Wilson Stadium just 3 weeks shy of the NFL Draft. As per the official pre-draft visit rules, the Buffalo Bills have seven more opportunities to bring in prospects up until April 27th, and as we all see who comes in the fans can begin to zero in on who the Bills will most likely select with their first round pick.
In the last four seasons, the Buffalo Bills have used their 1st round selection on a player that came in for a visit. CJ Spiller was the first to start this trend followed by Marcel Dareus, Stephen Gilmore, and last years pick of EJ Manuel. Each team has up to 30 players they can bring in before the draft and you can view the rule here.
One thing to mention however is that GM Buddy Nix was in charge of the previous draft where the selection correlated with the visits. Now new GM Doug Whaley is in charge, but was also Assistant GM to Nix the past two seasons where he most likely played a big hand in the last two selections.
With that out of the way, it is highly likely that Whaley will continue the pre-draft trend set by Nix by selecting players whom he knows best and the Bills have brought in for evaluations.
Here is the up-to date list the Bills have brought in with the current first round graded players asterisked.
Terrance Cobb, RB Cumberlands
*Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
*Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
*Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern
*Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
*Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
*Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
*Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
*Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
*Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE*, Washington
*Jake Mathews, OT, Texas A&M
Charles Siddoway, OT, Mississippi State
*Marcus Martin, OT, USC
*Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
*Preston Brown, LB, Louisville
*Ryan Schazier, LB, Ohio State
*Walt Aikens, CB, Liberty
*Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson
*Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke
Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice
*Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
What is obviously clear from the list above is the Bills seem to like more offensive players as opposed to defensive ones, namely the ball handlers. Out of the 23 listed 6 are wide receivers and 5 are running backs.
Most mock drafts have the Buffalo Bills opting for an offensive tackle with their first selection at number 9, but so far the Bills have only seen fit to bring in three for evaluation and the only tackle with a first round grade (Jake Mathews) will most likely not be around by the time the Bills are not he clock.
Looking at this road map it seems to be that the most likely scenario is that the Bills will be looking for a trade back in the draft. If for some strange reason Mathews ends up lasting to the 9th, the Bills will most likely sit, but otherwise the prudent move will be to fall back in an effort to garner more picks and then go after either one of the two TE’s or a defensive player like Roby or Shazier.
There are still seven more players and five more days of pre-draft, but if you are a fan and are looking for a glimpse of what the Bills will do come draft day, this list is a good way to sneak a peek.