The Bills are in a unique position in their life cycle.
After a 17-year playoff drought that ended in 2017, Buffalo made the playoffs in two of the last three seasons and is coming off its first 10-win season since 1999.
With a young franchise quarterback in Josh Allen, who is entering his third season; a dominant defense; talented offensive playmakers and rare continuity throughout the organization, the Bills are well-positioned to make a run in 2020.
Buffalo's 2020 draft picks:
- No. 54: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
- No. 86: Zack Moss, RB, Utah
- No. 128: Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF
- No. 167: Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
- No. 188: Tyler Bass, K, Georgia Southern
- No. 207: Isaiah Hodgins, WR, Oregon State
- No. 239: Dane Jackson, CB, Pittsburgh
Best Pick: Zack Moss
While Buffalo had no significant holes on the roster to fill, the backup running back position was concerning. Entering the draft, T.J. Yeldon was scheduled to be the complement to Devin Singletary — a role that will account for at least 150 touches per season given Buffalo’s desire to have two backs with prominent roles in the offense. Those touches were low-hanging fruit when it comes to examining areas the Bills could upgrade.
Moss is a downhill runner with terrific vision, contact balance, power, ability to win in pass protection and hands that make him a perfect No. 2 running back. Buffalo now has its RB tandem set with two economical rushers that are playing on rookie deals. Given the big contract extensions that loom, avoiding big-dollar deals at running back is the icing on the cake with the Moss selection.
Biggest Surprise: No Trades
In Brandon Beane’s first two drafts as general manager, he traded up four different times in addition to all of the player trades he has conducted. Despite Beane’s aggressive tendencies in the past, the Bills made selections in the exact slots they were scheduled to entering the draft. Nobody expected that.
Day 3 Sleeper: Gabriel Davis
For all the progress Allen has made since coming into the league an extremely raw quarterback from Wyoming, his deep ball has yet to come together. Despite arguably the most powerful arm in football, Allen hasn’t been able to make it count because his vertical accuracy has been extremely erratic. Davis can help.
Davis did his best work when targeted 20 yards or more down the field; he averaged 17.2 yards per reception in 2019. While he isn’t a burner, Davis does well to sell his vertical routes and create separation. From there, his ball skills, hands, body control, size and length enable him to find consistency when given opportunities to make a play on the football.
Davis is a candidate for the WR4 role, and his ability to improve the Bills’ vertical passing game is valuable.
X-Factor: Tyler Bass
The Bills have veteran Stephen Hauschka in the mix, but he hasn’t performed well in recent years with a 78.6 field-goal percentage in each of the last two seasons. While the consistency hasn’t been there for Hauschka, neither has his leg strength. After being one of the top kickers from beyond 50 yards earlier in his career, Hauschka was 1-for-5 from that range last season; he doesn’t have the leg power to drill them like he used to.
Unfortunately, that makes it even more difficult for Buffalo to score points, which was the major reason why it didn’t advance in the playoffs and had some disappointing losses against top AFC teams last season.
Bass is known for his big leg. He’s consistent achieving touchbacks on kickoffs and can hit kicks from distance. He didn’t get many chances to kick from beyond 50 yards in college but he showcased his power at the Senior Bowl. Bass does angle the ball high in the air, which could be problematic for the elements he will inevitably face kicking in Buffalo, but he gives the Bills a chance to find a new direction at kicker that has superior leg strength over what is currently on the roster.
After parting with its first-round selection to land wide receiver Stefon Diggs, Buffalo waited until Day 2 to pick for the first time. Beane was fairly aggressive in free agency and built a roster without any pressing needs, reducing the urgency to make a major splash via this year’s draft. Beane did well to find players that had a realistic course to earning a roster spot and did so without reaching for any prospects. At the same time, it’s unlikely Buffalo came away with any true steals in the draft.