Bills’ GM feels ‘evil eyes’ of critics after draft, but trusts run game, cornerbacks

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Within the wake of the 2021 NFL draft comes a brand new inflow of hypothesis relating to roster plans, and the Buffalo Payments are not any exception.

Common supervisor Brandon Beane spent the weeks previous to the draft answering questions on his technique as truthfully as he may — and backed up his statements with the gamers he chosen.

Earlier than anybody will get too far forward of themselves as rookie minicamp opens Friday, here is what Buffalo’s draft means for just a few place teams:

Operating backs

The concept of the Payments drafting a working again was a preferred matter (cue the, “we’re all looking for the man who did this” meme), and Beane did little to extinguish that flame throughout his pre-draft information convention, saying that if a working again added a component the Payments did not have already got, he would think about that participant with the group’s No. 30 total choose.

However Beane mentioned after the draft the group was by no means focusing on a working again, regardless of rumors the Payments had been trying to commerce up for Clemson’s Travis Etienne.

Buffalo signed Matt Breida this offseason and appears content material to maneuver ahead with the tandem of Zack Moss and Devin Singletary. Because it seems, his feedback about needing to enhance the group’s Twenty sixth-ranked dashing offense with out essentially making a change at working again had been true.

“It is so unfair to have a look at the working backs to level blame on the working recreation,” Beane mentioned in January. “Operating the soccer may be very advanced, and it is clearly the O-line, it is the tight ends, it is the receivers and if one man would not make his block the play’s most likely useless. And so, there have been instances this yr the place we’re one [block] away.

“I am not saying there isn’t any blame [on the backs], typically the working again missed the opening, however … I am not taking a look at Devin Singletary and Zack Moss and considering these guys got here up quick for us.”

Offensive line

Based mostly on Beane’s actions with this group, it is clear he believes accidents had been behind the Payments’ dashing woes.

Buffalo used three draft picks on offensive linemen after re-signing starters Jon Feliciano and Daryl Williams in March. Coupled with the return of left guard Cody Ford from a torn meniscus, the Payments are poised to return their high 5 offensive linemen from a 2020 season wherein these 5 by no means performed a snap as a unit.

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Take a look at the perfect highlights from Northern Iowa OT Spencer Brown’s school profession.

Meaning third-round choose Spencer Brown and fifth-round choose Tommy Doyle, particularly, and seventh-round choose Jack Anderson to an extent, probably symbolize an funding sooner or later moderately than gamers anticipated to contribute instantly.

“We really feel like [Brown and Doyle] have the flexibility to be each left and proper tackles,” Beane mentioned. “We needed to ensure, ought to one thing occur to Dion [Dawkins] or Daryl, that we’ve a man to step in and defend No. 17 [QB Josh Allen] and block for these working backs.”

Do not count on both rookie to begin, barring damage. Dawkins is arguably probably the most locked-in Payments starter not named Josh Allen or Tre’Davious White, and Williams simply signed a three-year, $24 million deal. Nonetheless, the group now has cheap choices ought to it want to maneuver on from the contracts of Williams, Felicano and middle Mitch Morse subsequent offseason, if for instance, the league’s wage cap fails to rise sufficient to maintain the entire veterans.

Cornerbacks

Beane advised native radio station WGR 550 he felt the “evil eyes” throughout his post-draft information conferences when reporters requested why the group hadn’t drafted a cornerback through the first three rounds. However he beforehand mentioned he was content material with incumbent starter Levi Wallace and 2020 seventh-round choose Dane Jackson, and primarily based on his actions, the Payments’ scenario at cornerback wasn’t dire sufficient for him to achieve for one.

Buffalo drafted Wisconsin’s Rachad Wildgoose within the sixth spherical, including him to the combination with White, Wallace, Jackson, Cam Lewis and Taron Johnson. Though the Payments have ample religion within the gamers beforehand on their roster, Wildgoose’s potential to play outdoors nook and nickel made him an interesting worth with the No. 213 total choose.

“Levi’s proven it since he acquired right here as an undrafted free agent, after which clearly we took Dane final yr and each probability Dane acquired within the recreation, it wasn’t too huge for him,” Beane mentioned. “He made performs and he is reliable. … So, we’re very assured in these two guys and a few of the different guys on the again finish. Cam Lewis is a younger man who acquired damage. I feel he began a recreation. However we nonetheless imagine in Cam within the combine, and we acquired a man late in Wildgoose that, he is versatile.

“We love versatility as a lot as we will get it. So … simply because we did not get a nook excessive doesn’t suggest there’s not different choices later, too.”

With White established as a perennial Professional Bowler and locked right into a five-year extension he signed final summer time, Buffalo nonetheless wants a long-term starter reverse him. It additionally wants one at nickel nook, as Johnson’s contract is up after the 2021 season and the Payments may not have the salary-cap house to signal him to something long-term. Though he’ll at all times be remembered in Western New York for his 101-yard interception return in opposition to the Baltimore Ravens in final season’s playoff win, Johnson had an up-and-down season and was changed at one level by Lewis within the beginning lineup, solely to regain his spot when Lewis was injured.

If Wildgoose can develop because the Payments’ reply at both place, Beane will look good for ready till Day 3 of the draft to take a cornerback.

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