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NFL – Bills’ 2021 Mock Draft Predictions

20 Apr

The long wait is over! The seven round mock drafts for the Buffalo Bills for 2021, compiled by the expert staff at Rayonsports.com, are ready to be revealed. Here are the predicted choices for Buffalo made by Connor Pohlman, Josh Pohlman, Scott Prelewicz and Ray Prelewicz. I’ve added some comments to show why the picks would be justified:

 

Round 1, Pick #30

Connor Pohlman – Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech) – a young corner to man the spot opposite Tre White is a popular pick among draft experts. Farley would be a top 10 prospect without injury concerns and there’s a chance he falls to this pick.

 

Josh Pohlman –  Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech) – see above.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Joe Tryon (Edge, Washington) – scouting reports list his best position as an outside 3-4 linebacker but he has the versatility to play in any system. He opted out of the 2020 season so there’s hesitation to pick him by some clubs high in the first round.

 

Ray Prelewicz – Landon Dickerson (OL, Alabama) – a surprise pick with a long term goal of Dickerson eventually replacing Mitch Morse at center. He has played all 5 positions on the offensive line and the Bills value versatility highly.

 

Round 2, Pick #61

Connor Pohlman – Quinn Meinerz (G, Wisconsin-Whitewater) – a small college diamond in the rough, he opened eyes at the Senior Bowl and catapulted up draft boards. Not very athletic but makes up for it with exceptional strength and good technique.

 

Josh Pohlman – Pat Freiermuth (TE, Penn State) – the Bills are a little light at the tight end position on the current roster so a good prospect like Freiermuth makes sense here. He’s an excellent receiver with good hands and an adequate blocker in the run game.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Pat Freiermuth (TE, Penn State) – see above.

 

Ray Prelewicz – Asante Samuel Jr. (CB, Florida State) – there will be a number of good CB prospects available at this pick, but most are slot corners. Samuel has the ability to play on the boundary and with good NFL bloodlines, should be able to handle starting on day one.

 

Round 3, Pick #93

Connor Pohlman – Hamsah Nasirildeen (S, Florida State) – the Bills have a pair of solid starting safeties, but with both over 30 they need to plan for the future. One description of Nasirildeen has to appeal to the Bills considering the teams they face in the AFC – “tight end neutralizer”.

 

Josh Pohlman – Deonte Brown (G, Alabama) – at 6’3 and 364 lbs. he is an imposing road grader who could help the Bills improve their run game. Brown is a good pass protector and excels at neutralizing inside pressure.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Trey Smith (G, Tennessee) – very high character player who has encountered some medical issues with blood clots that may drop him down some teams’ draft boards. His best asset is power run blocking, which the Bills could use an infusion of.

 

Ray Prelewicz – Alim McNeil (DT, North Carolina State) – the Bills need to toughen up the inside of their defensive line, with the uncertainty of Star Lotulelei returning in shape from opting out in 2020. McNeil is an excellent DT1 prospect. He’s a top notch run stuffer with potential to develop as an inside pass rusher.

 

Round 5A, Pick #161

Connor Pohlman – Demetric Felton (WR, UCLA) – small, quick slot receiver who also lined up as a running back for the Bruins. His best NFL fit is as a gadget player in an offense that uses multiple receiver sets, which makes him ideal for Brian Daboll’s offense.

 

Josh Pohlman – Jonathon Cooper (Edge, Ohio State) – he mostly projects as a designated passing down edge rusher, but the Bills rotate their defensive linemen a lot so he could be a fit. He’s not the prospect that other Buckeye players like Chase Young or the Bosa brothers were, but he’s good enough to play in the NFL.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Anthony Schwartz (WR, Auburn) – a small but fast deep threat, he is a track guy but also a real football player. The loss of John Brown to the Bills could open up a spot for a home run hitter like Schwartz.

 

Ray Prelewicz – Elerson Smith (Edge, Northern Iowa) – definitely a developmental project who would need to get stronger to survive in the NFL but has very high potential. He is similar to Darryl Johnson, another later round gem uncovered by the Bills’ scouts.

 

Round 5B, Pick #174

Connor Pohlman – Tommy Kraemer (G, Notre Dame) – he’s a four-year starter for a major college program so his experience alone will help him in his quest to play in the NFL. He could be valuable O-line depth for the Bills but doesn’t project to being a starter.

 

Josh Pohlman – Josh Imatorbhebhe (WR, Illinois) – a big, athletic wide receiver whose lack of real production will drop him into the later rounds of the draft. He has enormous potential, however, and the Bills could afford to develop him on the practice squad as a future contributor.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Malcolm Koonce (Edge, Buffalo) – a local prospect that the Bills should have a good scouting report on. He’s a long, rangy pass rusher whose weakness is getting overpowered against the run. He’ll need development time but could become a solid pro.

 

Ray Prelewicz –  Malcolm Koonce (Edge, Buffalo) – see above.

 

Round 6, Pick #213

Connor Pohlman – Chris Rumph II (Edge, Duke) – he’s small but as a coach’s son understands the game well and plays with good technique. He may have to carve out a role as a versatile specialty defensive player with a role on special teams.

 

Josh Pohlman –  Malcolm Koonce (Edge, Buffalo) – see round 5B picks above.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Rachad Wildgoose Jr. (CB, Wisconsin) – here’s a guy who you hope makes it in the NFL for his name alone. A shoulder injury left him without much game tape for scouts to analyze but he can play either on the boundary or the slot.

 

Ray Prelewicz – Drake Jackson (C-G, Kentucky) – at only 290 lbs. his only spot in the NFL may be at center, unless he adds weight and strength. His best trait is experience, as he was a four-year starter in college.

 

Round 7, Pick #236

Connor Pohlman –  Rachad Wildgoose Jr. (CB, Wisconsin) – see round 6 pick above.

 

Josh Pohlman – Jaret Patterson (RB, Buffalo) – after the stellar season he had for the Bulls, including an eight touchdown performance, this would be an excellent final round pick for Brandon Beane. There is way too much high-end potential to pass up.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Damar Hamlin (S, Pitt) – he is a willing tackler and has adequate ball skills but can be susceptible to double moves in the pass game. A long shot prospect, as most seventh rounders are, who would have to make an impact on special teams.

 

Ray Prelewicz –  Jaelon Darden (WR, North Texas) – wide receiver is a very deep position group again this year, and some good prospects will fall into the late rounds. Darden is a small but fast option who would be good as a gadget player for Brian Daboll and also a possibility to boost the kick return production.

 
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Classic Team Logo of The Day

20 Apr

Logo of a rabid fan base that lives and dies by its’ local NFL team’s fortunes, the Bills’ Mafia. The term is so widely known, used and loved by the Buffalo Bills’ fan base that the team actually trademarked the name. Members of the group have been involved in donating to charities over the years, including donations to Bengal QB Andy Dalton’s charity after he engineered an upset over Baltimore that sent the Bills to the playoffs in 2017, and to Oshei Children’s Hospital, Josh Allen’s favored charity, after the young quarterback’s grandmother passed away.

 
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Classic Sports Card of The Day

20 Apr

1963 Fleer football card of former pro football cornerback Booker Edgerson, who played 9 seasons in the AFL, mostly for the Buffalo Bills. A key member of the Bills’ back-to-back AFL titles in the mid-1960s, he was the embodiment of a “lockdown corner” before that term was popular. Edgerson was a track star as a sprinter and long jumper in college. He was a two-time AFL All Star, is a member of the Bills’ Wall of Fame, and has been active in charitable endeavors through the Bills’ Alumni group.

 
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2021 NFL First Round Mock Draft

19 Apr

The team of expert analysts at Rayonsports.com has once again put their collective heads together to produce a first round mock draft for the NFL’s upcoming selection meeting of college prospects. Connor Pohlman, Josh Pohlman, Scott Prelewicz  and Ray Prelewicz took turns making the clubs’ choices for the 32 picks. Here are the final results:

 

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (Connor Pohlman) – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
  2. New York Jets (Josh Pohlman) – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
  3. San Francisco 49ers (Scott Prelewicz) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
  4. Atlanta Falcons (Ray Prelewicz) – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
  5. Cincinnati Bengals (CP) – Penei Sewell, T, Oregon
  6. Miami Dolphins (JP) – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
  7. Detroit Lions (SP) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
  8. Carolina Panthers (RP) – Rashawn Slater, T, Northwestern
  9. Denver Broncos (CP) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
  10. Dallas Cowboys (JP) – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
  11. New York Giants (SP) – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
  12. Philadelphia Eagles (RP) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
  13. Los Angeles Chargers (CP) – Christian Darrisaw, T, Virginia Tech
  14. Minnesota Vikings (JP) – Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
  15. New England Patriots (SP) – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
  16. Arizona Cardinals (RP) – Teven Jenkins, T, Oklahoma State
  17. Las Vegas Raiders (CP) – Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
  18. Miami Dolphins (JP) – Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Florida
  19. Washington Football Team (SP) – Alex Leatherwood, T, Alabama
  20. Chicago Bears (RP) – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
  21. Indianapolis Colts (CP) – Sam Cosmi, T, Texas
  22. Tennessee Titans (JP) – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
  23. New York Jets (SP) – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
  24. Pittsburgh Steelers (RP) – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
  25. Jacksonville Jaguars (CP) – Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC
  26. Cleveland Browns (JP) – Elijah Moore, WR, Mississippi
  27. Baltimore Ravens (SP) – Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
  28. New Orleans Saints (RP) – Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan
  29. Green Bay Packers (CP) – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
  30. Buffalo Bills (JP) – Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State
  31. Kansas City Chiefs (SP) – Zach Collins, LB, Tulsa
  32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (RP) – Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

 

Alabama coach Nick Saban, once again, produced a high number of NFL-ready players this season. Our mock draft totaled 7 first rounders altogether. Three clubs who need to improve have multiple first round choices to try to accomplish that – Miami, Jacksonville and the New York Jets. At the other end of the spectrum are the Los Angeles Rams, Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks, all of whom have no opening round picks. The Seahawks, in fact, have only 3 picks in the entire draft.

COMING SOON: Our draft experts submit their seven round mock drafts for the local club, the reigning AFC East champion Buffalo Bills.

 
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Classic Team Logo of The Day

19 Apr

Not a team logo, but the logo used for the 1990 NFL draft. The first pick of the draft was quarterback Jeff George, secured by the Indianapolis Colts via a trade with Atlanta. That year’s class produced 5 future Hall of Famers in Emmitt Smith, Shannon Sharpe, Cortez Kennedy, Junior Seau and John Randle, who was undrafted.

 
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Classic Sports Card of The Day

19 Apr

2010 Score football card of NFL placekicker Ryan Succop, who has enjoyed a  12 year career in the league with 3 different teams. He is perhaps the most successful of the NFL Draft’s “Mister Irrelevant” class, a name given to the last player chosen on the draft’s final day. Succop holds 2 NFL placekicking records – highest single season field goal percentage by a rookie (86%) and most consecutive field goals made inside 50 yards (56). He earned a Super Bowl ring kicking for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020.

 
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NFL – Buffalo Bills’ Season Review – Part 4

28 Jan

The final entry of our four part Bills’ season review delves into what the team needs to accomplish in the off-season as far as adding talent to improve their standing. Having made it to the AFC Championship game in 2020, the challenges GM Brandon Beane faces are much different than in previous off-seasons. Nonetheless, there are still areas where the Bills need to get better next season. Here are our projections on the positions Beane has to address:

 

Running Back

 

As prolific as Buffalo’s passing attack was in 2020 behind the arm of Josh Allen, the run game was very much abysmal. Allen, on scrambles and designed runs, was the best run game option. There is some debate as to whether the team needs a more dynamic running back to improve the rushing attack, or a stronger offensive line. Free agency is not a good option if Beane decides on adding a playmaking back. Most of the options are either too overpriced, plodding runners or are aging. Some draft experts see the Bills possibly taking a back with pick # 30 in the first round, and if players like Clemson’s Travis Etienne or Najee Harris of Alabama are still on the board, Beane might be tempted to go that route. Both are versatile and explosive.

 

Defensive Tackle

 

Star Lotulelei’s decision to opt out of the season left a hole in the Bills’ defensive rotation that hurt their ability to contain the run. Buffalo might not want to wait to see what kind of condition Star, a big man, is in after not playing all year, and one name on the free agent market that stands out as a perfect fit for his spot is Dalvin Tomlinson of the Giants. He is a solid space-eater type of lineman with a high motor who would make the players around him, including Ed Oliver and the linebackers, so much more effective. It will take some salary cap finagling to be able to sign him, but I would like to see him be a top priority. In the draft, a couple of those space eating type tackles could potentially fall to the second round. They are Alabama’s Christian Barmore and Marvin Wilson of Florida State. In the middle rounds, an intriguing name is Tedarell Slaton from Florida, who is a mountain at 6’5 and 358 pounds.

 

Edge Rusher

 

Premier edge rushers in free agency are rare and usually expensive, and require an investment the Bills can’t afford at this point. There are some names on the list that stand out, but they are either 30+ years in age or will command dollars Buffalo doesn’t have, even if they cut ties with Trent Murphy and save some cap cash. That leaves the draft again. Edge rushers who project to be available when the Bills pick are Patrick Jones II of Pitt and Carlos Basham out of Wake Forest. Mid-round possibilities include Tulsa’s Zaven Collins and Shaka Toney from Penn State. Buffalo might also consider a late round flyer on a local product, University of Buffalo’s Malcolm Koonce.

 

Cornerback

 

In today’s NFL you can never have enough cover corners, and although late round 2020 pick Dane Jackson could be a candidate for a breakout season, Buffalo could go CB as high as their first round pick if he’s the best player available. Aaron Robinson of UCF has been projected to the Bills at that pick by Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network. Asante Samuel Jr. could fall to them at pick 30 also. He has NFL bloodlines as his father played in the league. If the Bills are looking for length at the corner, a later round gem might be found in Washington’s Keith Taylor or Robert Rochell from Central Arkansas. The free agent CB list is mostly older players over 30 or Buffalo retreads like Ronald Darby and Nickell Robey-Coleman.

 

Offensive Line

 

Among free agent tackles on the market, the Bills’ best option looks like re-signing Darryl Williams to man the right tackle spot for another year. Also, their best and least expensive FA choice at guard appears to be their own Jon Feliciano. That leaves the college ranks again. Using the best player available formula, if Alabama tackle Alex Leatherwood or Tennessee guard Trey Smith fall to 30, either could be picked. There are plentiful choices from rounds 2-6 available among O-line prospects. The team would do well to look at players like Ben Cleveland from Georgia, Notre Dame’s Aaron Banks, Walker Little from Stanford, Dillon Radunz, a North Dakota State stud, and Spencer Brown of Northern Iowa.

 

Wide Receiver

 

This is definitely not a position of need for the Bills. However, should the team look to save cap space and add speed by not bringing back return specialist Andre Roberts, they might look for a cheaper and faster option like D’Wayne Eskridge of Western Michigan, who comes highly recommended by Rayonsports contributor and draft guru Josh Pohlman. Shi Smith from South Carolina and Dazz Newsome out of North Carolina are other later round possibilities.

 
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Classic Team Logo of The Day

28 Jan

Used from 1996 until 2000, this is the logo of a college football team that plays in the Mountain West Conference, the Utah State Aggies. The school played it’s first gridiron season in 1892 and has won 12 conference titles over the years. The list of former Aggies who have enjoyed pro football careers is long, and includes Bob Gagliano, Lionel Aldridge, Jim Turner, Bobby Wagner, Al Smith, Barry Sims, Altie Taylor, Len Rohde, Donald Penn, Bill Munson, MacArthur Lane, Rulon Jones, Cornell Green and Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen.

 
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Classic Sports Card of The Day

28 Jan

1977 Topps football card of former NFL defensive tackle Mike Kadish, who spent 10 years in the league, mostly with the Buffalo Bills. He was a first round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins in 1972 and spent that year on the team’s taxi squad as they completed their undefeated season. He was traded to the Bills and was a main fixture on their defense until his final season in 1981.

 
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NFL – Buffalo Bills’ Season Review – Part 3

27 Jan

Part 3 of our annual Buffalo Bills’ season review deals with the defense and special teams. It was a tale of 2 seasons for the defense. They struggled to find their footing early in the year as they worked in some new players on the front line, then became a unit that forced turnovers in a late season run in which they wrapped up the team’s first AFC East title in 25 years. They then reverted to that early season form in a brutal championship game loss to the Chiefs. Here’s a position-by-position assessment of the defense and special teams for 2020:

 

Defensive Line

 

The Bills walked away from 2 of their mainstays of the 2019 D-line when they lost Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips to free agency. In their places, they brought in Vernon Butler, Mario Addison and Quinton Jefferson, and got mixed results. Addison was a force in the pass rush while Butler and Jefferson were adequate at times and invisible other times. Ed Oliver’s play seemed to regress some from the previous year. He was beginning to emerge as a force late in the 2019 season but never showed the ability to be a consistent disruptive player this past season. The loss of Star Lotulelei, who played next to him but opted out of the season, probably was a factor. Justin Zimmer, a street free agent who fought his way into the D-line rotation, made more impact plays throughout the year than Oliver. Harrison Phillips came back from a serious injury and slowly worked his way back as the season progressed, and should improve even more next year with a full year of healing behind him. Besides Addison, the defensive end spots were manned by old reliable Jerry Hughes, veteran Trent Murphy and youngsters Darryl Johnson and A.J. Epenesa. Hughes was the team’s best pass rusher even if his sack numbers don’t show it. Murphy spent a lot of 2020 as a healthy inactive on game day and the likelihood of him returning next season is slim to none. Johnson is still an interesting prospect. He is a key contributor on special teams and a regular in the D-line rotation, and should only get better with experience. The same can be said for Epenesa. He looked like a green rookie early in the year but worked his way into regular duty also with solid if not spectacular play. The practice squad has 3 players who all were recalled for games during the season and will be back competing for jobs again in 2021 – Mike Love, Brandin Bryant and Bryan Cox Jr.

 

Linebackers

 

The amount of time NFL teams play standard 4-3 defenses that keep all 3 LBs on the field is almost as extinct as the fullback position is. In today’s pass-happy game even the linebackers who play regularly have to have special skills. The days of snarling physical monsters like Dick Butkus and Ray Nitschke have long passed into history. Buffalo’s main pair of linebackers possess those necessary modern day skills. Tremaine Edmunds is an interesting case. He is still very young and has been a twice-named Pro Bowler, yet his game still has a ways to go to reach elite status. He has great physical tools – tall, rangy, quick and intelligent. Yet his playmaking ability still needs improvement. The other backer, Matt Milano, is similar. He can tackle with the best of them and is great in coverage, and until the title game fiasco the team was unbeaten in 2020 in games he played in. He’s also due to be a free agent and hopefully his skill set and still untapped potential make him a top priority to get re-signed. A.J. Klein was an enigma in 2020. He had a target on his back from fans early in the year as a reason the defense was struggling, then shined when Milano was hurt and he replaced him, almost playing at a Pro Bowl level himself. When Milano returned, Klein pretty much went back into obscurity. The rest of the linebacking corps consists of mainly special teams players – Tyler Matakevich, Andre Smith and Tyrel Dodson. Lurking on the practice squad is an interesting name to watch for next season – Darron Lee. He is a former high draft pick with the speed and skills that translate to the modern game if the Bills’ coaches can harness them.

 

Defensive Backs

 

Overall in 2020 the Bills’ pass defense was a strength, but appeared lost and completely overmatched against the Chiefs in the title game. It’s uncertain if that poor showing was due to a lack of speed and ability from the players, or a massive failure of the scheme used that day. (Who leaves the best tight end in the NFL, Travis Kelce, virtually uncovered the entire game?) In any case, Buffalo has a good mix of youth and experience in their secondary. Starting safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer are one of the top duos in the league, and have a capable mix of youth and experience behind them in Dean Marlowe, Siran Neal and Jaquon Johnson. Neal especially is a valuable, versatile piece of the roster as he can play corner or safety and is a top gunner on coverage teams. Josh Thomas is on the practice squad and has been signed to a futures contract for 2021, so the team sees some value in him also. At cornerback, the Bills have an All Pro in Tre’Davious White, and have him locked up contractually going forward. The annual attempt to unseat Levi Wallace at the other CB spot failed again in 2020, and at this point it’s time to admit that he has been an overall good player for the club. That doesn’t mean the Bills won’t welcome a better option again next season, and one player who will get the opportunity to take that job is 2020 seventh round draft pick Dane Jackson. He was a PS fixture this season but made some impact plays when his chance came as a recall on game days a couple of times this season. Slot cornerback has evolved into a starting position nowadays in the NFL, and the Bills’ player at that spot, Taron Johnson, cemented himself as a prime time star in 2020 with a pair of pick-six touchdowns. The Bills got mixed results from the free agent signing of veteran Josh Norman. He was hampered by injuries and was never completely able to take over Wallace’s job. He would appear to be an unlikely candidate to return next season, especially with Buffalo looking to add speed to the secondary to compete with Kansas City’s track star receivers. Two other players to consider for competition next year – Cam Lewis, a University of Buffalo product who spent the season on injured reserve, and practice squad member Duke Thomas.

 

Special Teams

 

The “bomb squads” made some improvements in 2020. There weren’t many game-changing plays but the units went from hurting to helping the Bills’ effort to win games. The team’s decision to jettison Stephen “Hausch Money” Hauschka in favor of rookie Tyler Bass as their placekicker was surprising, but turned out to be exactly right. Bass set a club record for points and is set as a mainstay for the future. He provided 2 of the few bright spots in the team’s loss in Kansas City with a pair of 50+ yard field goals. Punter Corey Bojorquez joined in the mediocrity of the team’s title game effort, but had a solid season overall. He also teamed with Bass and long snapper Reid Ferguson to form a nearly flawless extra point and field goal tandem. Andre Roberts, who is a free agent, delivered a Pro Bowl effort as the team’s kick returner, regularly providing the offense with good field position to start drives. His backup, Isiah McKenzie, returned a punt for a touchdown in the regular season finale rout of Miami. The coverage teams were pretty solid also all season. Undrafted free agent Reggie Gilliam was a part of those teams. He blocked 6 kicks in college at Toledo, including 4 in one season alone. If the Bills want to follow coach Sean McDermott’s edict to “improve in all areas in 2021”, then special teams coordinator Heath Farwell would be wise to try to take advantage of Gilliam’s unique skill.

 
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