Bills Players Who Will Be Most Impacted by 2021 NFL Draft Picks

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 21, 2021

Bills Players Who Will Be Most Impacted by 2021 NFL Draft Picks

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    The Buffalo Bills come into the 2021 NFL draft with one of the most complete rosters in the NFL. 

    The Bills added Emmanuel Sanders to their wide receiver corps in free agency and held on to linebacker Matt Milano and offensive linemen Daryl Williams and Jon Feliciano.

    Those moves handed the Bills more flexibility heading into the draft. They can draft to fill needs in the first few rounds and then add depth across the board on Day 3. 

    Buffalo will likely target the pass-rush in the opening two rounds. It has plenty of depth there, but it needs to have more production from that spot on the field. 

    Sean McDermott's side could also use some depth in the defensive backfield and at tight end, which may be the lone weak spot on the offensive side of the ball after the Sanders signing. 

Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison

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    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    If there is a weak spot on the Buffalo roster it is defensive end. 

    The Bills did not have a player go over five sacks in 2020. Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes combined for nine takedowns off the edge.

    Buffalo selected A.J. Epenesa in the 2020 second round, and he could receive more opportunities to start if Addison and Hughes are ineffective at getting to opposing passers again. 

    McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane could opt to go young in the pass-rush by adding a first-round pick to pair with Epenesa. 

    Bleacher Report's NFL draft experts have one edge-rusher listed in the top 25 on their latest big board. Miami's Jaelen Phillips is the second-highest edge at No. 27. Buffalo selects at No. 29. 

    Pittsburgh's Rashad Weaver is the third-best edge on that list, and he is listed as the most versatile prospect at the position by B/R's Justis Mosqueda. Weaver had 7.5 sacks in his final college season. He also chipped in 6.5 sacks in 2018.

    If the Bills go after Weaver at No. 29, they could solve their sack problem and set themselves up with two young pass-rushers for the future. 

Levi Wallace

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    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

    You can never have too many defensive backs in today's pass-heavy NFL. 

    If the Bills want to contain the offenses of any other Super Bowl contender in the AFC, they need to be three deep on the outside. 

    Tre'Davious White has one side of the field locked down, but Levi Wallace may receive some competition in the form of an early draft pick. Wallace has four interceptions in three seasons and played a full 16-game slate once. 

    Unless the Bills trade up, they should be out of the conversation for Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn, but they could find some quality in the second round. 

    Twelve cornerbacks in the draft class received a 7.5 grade or higher from B/R's experts, which means we could see plenty of starters develop out of the group.

    Georgia's Tyson Campbell, Washington's Elijah Molden and LSU's Kary Vincent Jr. are among the many defensive backs who could be available in the second round. Only the top four corners are ranked in the top 25 overall prospects. 

    Buffalo could look to Campbell or Vincent because they come from winning programs, but Molden might be the most intriguing fit as a potential slot corner alongside White and Wallace to start.

    B/R's Cory Giddings listed Molden as the best slot corner in the class. In his junior season, Molden made 79 tackles and had four interceptions. He produced 26 tackles and one pick in the shortened 2020 campaign. 

    If a potential draft pick shines in camp, he could compete with Wallace for the No. 2 spot opposite White, which makes him more vulnerable than others to losing their starting spots in 2021. 

Dawson Knox

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Dawson Knox showed up in some red-zone moments in 2020, but he did not have the overall production to lock in a starting position heading into 2021. 

    Knox had 24 receptions and 288 yards, which were both drop-offs from his rookie season. The decrease in production was partly affected by 166 targets thrown at Stefon Diggs. 

    Knox failed to establish himself as a go-to red-zone threat over 16 games. He finished with three regular-season scores and two postseason touchdowns. 

    If the Bills want to compete with Travis Kelce and Kansas City, or any other threat that emerges out of the AFC, they need a complete lineup surrounding Josh Allen. 

    Buffalo should fill its defensive needs first, but it may consider selecting a tight end on Day 3. If that is the case, keep an eye on Kenny Yeboah out of Ole Miss or Virginia's Tony Poljan.

    Yeboah took advantage of his transfer from Temple to Ole Miss and recorded career bests in every major stat category, including six touchdowns. 

    Poljan had over 30 receptions in each of his final two seasons and increased his scoring production in each season at Virginia. 

    If the Bills can land a second tight end to challenge, or at minimum complement, Knox, they should feel more comfortable about their status atop the AFC. 


    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

    Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference and