by Bob Gaughan, Buffalo Sports Page
One of the strengths of the 2019 Draft is all of the quality prospects along the defensive line. If you look at all of the signings the Buffalo Bills had in free agency you will notice that defensive line is the one area that hasn’t seen new faces come in.
The Bills could be playing to the strength of the draft. One couldn’t argue if the plan was to draft an edge and defensive tackle prospect with the first two picks the Bills have in the 2019 draft. If that is the case then here’s a look at the top prospects at both positions.
Nick Bosa Ohio State– injured all of last year. He has been pegged as the second pick off the board to San Francisco for a while now. Will he be as good as his brother? Teams may have some durability concerns as well. He could drop a little.
Josh Allen Kentucky-wouldn’t it be great if the Bills had both Josh Allen’s are their team. Unfortunately it appears they would need to trade up to top five to get him. He can do it all, rush, stop the run and cover. Perfect for today’s NFL.
Montez Sweat Mississippi State-here’s a guy that I feel the Bills will be interested in. He’s expected to go right around when the Bills pick. He could go a pick or two before Buffalo selects. He had a strong season and followed it up with an impressive week at the Senior Bowl. Very tall and athletic and can cover TE’s if you want.
Brian Burns Florida State– grades on Burns maybe all of the board. I like him. Concerns are that he weighed only 235 last year. He did weigh in at 249 at the combine. I love the way he can bend around the edge. His ability to do that is elite. He maybe not a fit for all teams. When he wins he wins early right from the start.
Clelin Ferrell Clemson– Ferrell had a great career in helping the Tigers win the National title last year. He is more of the prototypical 4-3 defensive end. This makes him someone the Bills will be interested in. Do the Bills let Shaq Lawson walk after this year and replace one Clemson player with another? To me he’s a lot like Lawson in terms good player but lacks ideal get off speed.
Chase Winovich Michigan-because of his long blond hair you expect him to be compared to Clay Matthews. To me that’s not a bad comparison. Winovich has enough pass rush ability to be a contributor in his rookie season.
Jaylon Ferguson La Tech-his stock has fallen since the start of the year. Digging deeper into his tape scouts have found that a number of his sacks have come from great effort or against inferior opponents. Questions about his bend around the edge. He did produce 45 sacks at La. Tech.
Quinnen Williams-Alabama– a stud in the middle of the line. Analytics love this guy as not only the best interior lineman vs the run but the best vs the pass as well. Will be gone long before the Bills draft at nine.
Ed Oliver Houston-many mock drafts have the Bills taking Oliver. His greatest strength is his ability to rush the passer. He goes high because teams want that guy that can rush from the inside. He’s not Aaron Donald because he’s smaller and not as good against the run right now.
Rashan Gary- Michigan-Bills don’t usually draft guys like Gary. He has all of the physical tools you want but why only 10.5 sacks over his career. He was not nearly as productive as he should be. Teams will like his versatility, he can play all over the line.
Jeffrey Simmons- Mississippi State– how far will he fall because of his ACL injury and 2016 arrest? He could be the next Fletcher Cox. Before the injury he was top 10 talent. Some teams maybe scared away with the physical altercation with a woman. Based on the field tape he would be second in the class. Injury and red flag move him down a little.
Christian Wilkens Clemson-Wilkens is great at stopping the run and defending the pass. In a normal draft he would go higher. This shows the depth of this class, he could go in the middle of the first round. Why? Relies too much on quickness at times. Gets too high. Will need to work on his technique with team that drafts him.
Dexter Lawrence Clemson– Lawrence is dominate against the run. He’s 342 lbs. The reason he is lower on this list for me is his pass rush ability. Others above are better. But a team that wants the best run stuffer could draft him higher.
Jerry Tillery Notre Dame– tough prospect to rate. Some games he dominates. Against Stanford he had four sacks. Other games he disappears. I think he slips to early in the second round as a result. He might be there when the Bills pick in round 2. I see great potential.
Dre’Mont Jones- Ohio State– the team that draft Jones better ask him just to penetrate. At this point I don’t like him as a guy that can hold his position, but if you ask him on every play whether run or pass to penetrate the line then he’s your guy. Again not a fit for every teams scheme. At this point better vs the pass than the run as a result.