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Pollock: A look at what Buffalo Bills’ general manager Brandon Beane assessed of the draft

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By CHUCK POLLOCK, Sun Senior Sports Columnist

So what do we make of the Bills draft?

Over three days they made 10 picks at nine different positions and three trades, two of them taking Buffalo out of the opening round. The first, with Kansas City, gave up  the Bills’ pick at 28 for KC’s final selection of the round, No. 32, and a third rounder. Then, Buffalo traded that 32nd selection to Carolina and a sixth rounder for the opening choice of Round 2, No. 33,  and a fifth rounder.

When it was over, the Bills used the initial pick of Round 2 to take their much-needed wide receiver, Florida State’s Keon Coleman. Later that round, it was Utah safety Cole Bishop. Buffalo capped its Day 2 selections with defensive tackle DeWayne Carter from Duke.

The Bills’ seven selections on Day 3 are listed below. In all, Buffalo tabbed two offensive tackles (the second one, Travis Clayton, a project from NFL International Pathways who has never played football), plus one each wide receiver, safety, defensive tackle, center, inside linebacker, running back, edge rusher and cornerback.

IN ASSESSING Buffalo’s draft, general manager Brandon Beane noted of the urgency of getting a wide receiver,  We were hoping out of the first two rounds we’d get (one) especially because we didn’t have a three and we did get that accomplished. Other than that we feel we have some guys, (Tyrell) Shavers and (Justin) Shorter that will be back this year and we worked out a guy today that we’re going to end up signing … just to add bodies.

“There were some ones (No. 1 wide receivers) that we talked about coming to our pick but we felt there was a bigger need when looking across our board.”

And, indeed, because of salary cap issues, Beane admitted, “We’re not going to get to (a 90 player roster). Our cap is our cap. I you’re expecting something big or anything like that, there’s no trade coming,  We’re in pretty good shape, but if there’s an opportunity to add someone that makes sense, yes, we’d do that.

“But we’re really excited about the guys we got … hit some different positions. We feel we’ve really added some depth and competition.”

BEANE pointed out, “This team is in transition. We want to have edge (toughness) in as many areas as we can. We want leaders … smart, tough, dependable guys that are pros and I think we’ve had a good blend of that in this draft at the various positions. We don’t want all choir boys but you’ve kind of got to make sure you’ve got a good blend and that’s how we looked at it as we added pieces the last couple of days.

“With the transition of the team (it was our job) to find some young leaders. We’ve got some young leaders that are already on the roster that will have their opportunity to step up, but beyond that we added some guys with edge to blend with these future leaders of the team.”

Beane continued, “Change is always hard and it can be bad when we’ve had the stability we’ve had at some of the positions. A lot of those guys (Buffalo lost) were captains (Six of eight: Mitch Morse, Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer and Tyler Matakavich). But sometimes your team has to evolve and we do feel there are some guys on the roster who can ascend into leadership roles. Is it going to be where the guys that left, left off? No, but hopefully we can grow them and that’s part of the development of our organization.” 

He added, “We needed to get younger. We did it last year adding some picks that gave us things this year And we’ll see if there are a few pieces  we can add between now and camp … over the next couple of weeks where maybe some vets get released because they were drafted over.

“You’re never happy or content like you’ve got it figured out. I’m excited about the way the board fell, I wasn’t sure we’d be fired up for all the (Round) fives and sixes but they were all still on our board and in a good position to take.”

Buffalo’s Day 3 draft selections:

FOURTH ROUND

128: Ray Davis, running back, 5-9, 216, Kentucky

Strengths: May not have the high-end traits to merit early-round pick, but figures to be one of the easiest backs to translate to an NFL offense. One of the most natural between-the-tackles runners in the class. Unnaturally quick stop/start ability at full speed.

Weaknesses: Long speed adequate but ont ideal for pulling away in

Space. Physical traits are average across the board by league standards. Slow corner-turner with limited acceleration to beat linebackers around the edge.

FIFTH ROUND

141: Sedrick Van Pran, center, 6-4, 315, Georgia

Strengths: Elite intangibles. Likely only a center prospect for most teams but he’d have no problem starting in that role as a rookie. Gorilla glue-grip strength leads to easily restraining weak defenders. Balance top of the line for a center.

Weaknesses: Near 31-inch arms are a red flag for scouts and coaches who covet length. Unable to win and eat up space as a mauler. Sometimes gets too loose with defenders allowing them to slide away from him.

160: Edefuan Ulofoshio, inside linebacker, 6-1, 236, Washington

Strengths: Those who prioritize instincts, toughness and physicality will view him as a Day-3 gem. Instinctive run defender. Tracks the ball well through the muck. Throwback toughness and physicality ands a welcome addition to special teams.

Weaknesses: Lacks ideal speed to run down plays outside. Likely a two-down defender until he can learn to provide pass-rushing value. Low-ceiling player who doesn’t have much room to improve. Limited recovery speed will doom him.

168: Jalon Solomon, edge, 6-2, 249, Troy

Strengths: Maybe the most effort on every rep of anyone in this class. Recovery speed to get back into a play is premium. Great instincts during a play and is always in the right place. Shoots off  like a rocket at the snap. Incredibly promising speed rusher.

Weaknesses: Small and stubby, doesn’t have ideal body type or arm length for an NFL edge rusher. Rarely faced high-level competition. More frenzied than focused on using his speed. Power profile is middling.

SIXTH ROUND

204: Tylan Grable, offensive tackle, 6-5, 309, Central Florida

Assessment: Ended season at 309 after playing in the 290s. Improved weight will make a projection as a guard or tackle in the pros easier.

219: Daequan Hardy, cornerback, 5-9, 178, Penn State

Assessment: Had two punt-return touchdowns as a senior, five career interceptions including a “pick six,” 7½ tackles for loss and 3½ sacks. 

SEVENTH ROUND

221: Travis Clayton, offensive tackle, 6-7, 300, NFL Pathways

Assessment: A product of the NFL’s International Player Pathways he has never played football. Best known as a rugby player in England, though he’s also been a boxer and played soccer and tennis.

(Chuck Pollock, a Wellsville Sun senior sports columnist, can be reached at cpollock@wnynet.net.)

More from Chuck:

A look at the first three picks by the Bills

• Will the Bills regret trading out of the first round?

• A look at the Buffalo Bills going into the NFL draft

• Pollock on the Bonnies and the need for a defensive lineman in the NFL draft for the Bills

• O.J. Simpson left a mixed legacy … in the wrong order

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