Buffalo Bills draft 2022: What do you give the team that seemingly has everything?

2022 NFL Draft Buffalo Bills

As the NFL.com’s Dan Parr and Chase Goodbread wrote, identifying the Buffalo Bills’ draft needs is challenging.

What do you give the team that seemingly has everything?

Franchise quarterback? Check. Star wide receiver? Check. Pro Bowl cornerback? Check. Young building blocks along both sides of the line? Check.

When it comes to the 2022 NFL draft, Buffalo is one of the few teams that can truly take the “best player available” approach.

If it was only that simple.

When Buffalo is on the clock in the first round, it’s very possible that players like Texas A&M defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal and Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum will still be available – two highly ranked players. But with Mitch Morse having a solid season at center and with two former first-round picks at defensive tackle – including Ed Oliver, the No. 9 pick in 2019 – those players would be considered a luxury in the first round. Plus, they offer little positional flexibility – Leal is best suited at Oliver’s 3-tech position, while Linderbaum is likely a center-only.

Instead, Buffalo has to be mindful of its current roster construction, including who will be a free agent at the end of this season and next.

That’s why these five players might be considered a bit of a reach for the round they’re drafted in, but their value would be high in Buffalo because of the team-specific roles they’d fill.

Round 1

CB Roger McCreary, Auburn

The question Pro Football Focus asked back in February about Buffalo’s secondary was this: Is Levi Wallace good enough to be the team’s No. 2 CB next to Tre’Davious White? From PFF’s Ben Linsey: “There is a decent argument to be made that the answer to this question is yes. Even if you remove a rookie 2018 season where Wallace picked up an 85.3 coverage grade, his 68.5 coverage grade over the past two years ranks among the top 50% of qualifying cornerbacks across the league.”

Apparently, Buffalo agreed and signed Wallace to a one-year contract. That means the 2018 undrafted free agent out of Alabama could sign elsewhere in the offseason

In this scenario, McCreary is one of the best players available, and he would fill a potential need.

In one of his biggest tests of the season, McCreary held his own against Arkansas’ Treylon Burks (also a consideration with Buffalo’s first pick). The 6-foot, 190-pound senior had 5 tackles and 3 PBUs in Auburn’s win. From Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network: “McCreary deflected a pass away from receiver Treylon Burks in the end zone as Arkansas was driving for the tying score late in the game. Best facing the action, McCreary is a physical corner with a great feel for coverage.”

Pauline, though, sees McCreary as a Day 2 selection. Either way, he likely wouldn’t be available late in the second round, where Buffalo would presumably pick.

Round 2

OT Myron Cunningham, Arkansas

This pick comes down to supply and demand and the need to keep quarterback Josh Allen healthy.

Left tackle is likely set for the foreseeable future after Dion Dawkins signed a four-year, $60 million deal last year. But right tackle is more of a question mark, with third-round rookie Spencer Brown of Northern Iowa currently starting and playing relatively well.

So what happens if either Dawkins or Brown go down for any length of time with an injury?

That’s why Buffalo may look to add another tackle in the upcoming draft.

But, if Buffalo wants an OT who could potentially start as a rookie, then it needs to do draft one in the first or second round. Currently, there are five OTs in the top 50 of the Fanspeak-Jake Rigdon big board (full disclosure: that’s my big board) and 10 in the top 100. This includes Kentucky’s Darrian Kinnard (51), Washington’s Jaxson Kirkland (52), Miami’s Zion Nelson (54), Penn State’s Rasheed Walker (57) and Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann (59).

That means you can expect a run on OTs, starting late in the first round and carrying through to the middle of the second. Therefore, it’s possible that none of those players are still available when Buffalo is on the clock in the second round. After Raimann, Cunningham (No. 103) and Arizona State’s Kellen Dietsch (114) are the next-highest ranked OTs, a sizeable gap.

However, the gap is even greater after those two. North Dakota’s Matt Waletzko, a 6-foot-7, 305-pound senior, is the next-highest rated OT at No. 177 overall, a 63-pick gap.

But it’s not like Cunningham would be a terrible consolation prize. The 6-foot-6, 325-pound senior has steadily improved over the years and has plenty of experience against top competition. (It should be noted, though, that the strip-sack he allowed in the Arkansas endzone against Auburn proved to be a pivotal play in the team’s loss.)

Related Articles

No offense: The Buffalo Bills could focus on defense with its first two picks

What do you give the team that finished with the No. 1-ranked defense last season? More defensive players,…

Read More about No offense: The Buffalo Bills could focus on defense with its first two picks

When it comes to drafting a QB, the Pittsburgh Steelers might just have to rely on luck

It’s a weird year to need a quarterback. There are teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers that desperately need…

Read More about When it comes to drafting a QB, the Pittsburgh Steelers might just have to rely on luck