Bill’s draft class graded heavy with guns, protection for Josh Allen

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ORCHARD PARK, NY — Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane laughed as he walked into his press conference following the first round of the NFL Draft. He knew what everyone was thinking after predicting last week that he would trade back in the first round if he were a bettor.

Instead, he traded up – again.

Beane has made four separate trades in the first round of the draft in the six drafts he has overseen since becoming Bill’s GM in 2018. The first two times were in his first draft, picking up for Josh Allen and Tremaine Edmunds. Beane stayed where he was, picking No. 9 for Ed Oliver in 2019, trading his first in 2020 for Stefon Diggs and picking Greg Rousseau at No. 9. 30 in 2021. Last season, he traded two places for Kaiir Elam and then again for New Bills tight end Dalton Kincaid on Thursday night.

Beane was beaming again on Saturday night as he walked into the press conference room after a furious day of three tradebacks to accumulate draft capital for 2024. He was twice eliminated from the sixth round in exchange for two sixth-round picks in 2024. Now Beane has 10 picks for next year, including a compensatory pick the Bills expect after free agency.

These additional tips will come in handy next year if Beane is looking to level up again.

“That’s exciting. I love the picks,” he said. “And it’s going to buffer if I do things like if I trade for next year, so (laughs) maybe that helps.”

The Bills had a strong tendency to build up their line and add weapons for quarterback Josh Allen in this year’s draft. Beane had hoped to add a gun or piece to the offensive line, but he wouldn’t reach for a player. He followed his board and landed multiple guns and blockers.

The best part of the draft is going through the haul after it’s over to evaluate the new additions and how it helps strengthen a team’s roster. Here we go through each selection, give some thoughts, evaluate the selection and then give a final grade and some end marks.

Round 1 (#25 pick): Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah


The addition of Kincaid to the Bills offense is intriguing. There’s a long history of first-round bottlenecks that weren’t worth teams’ investments, but it’s important to consider the situation the rookie is entering in Buffalo. He will be the third or fourth option in a passing game that finished 7th in the NFL last season.

The Bills were averaging 28.4 points per game (2nd only behind the Chiefs), but something was missing. Beane thinks Kincaid is the missing piece. He will mainly work out of the slot and his high-level route, running after the Catch ability. The only reason this pick doesn’t get an A is because Beane had to drop a fourth-rounder. The Bills needed another weapon in the passing game and they got arguably the best in the draft – receiver included.

Round 2 (#59 pick): O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Fla


That pick would have been in the A range if it happened in the first round, so Beane, who landed arguably the second-best inside offense lineman of the draft with the fifth-last pick of the second round, was a home run. Torrence is a powerful Mauler type who can handle some of the most impressive defensive tackles in the league. The Bills have tried to prioritize athletics with offensive linemen in recent seasons, but Torrence is kind of a throwback. He has to earn the job, but I think he’ll end up starting at one of the guard posts next to Morse.

Round 3 (#91 pick): Dorian Williams, LB, Tulane


I hate typing that grade because Williams put in an impressive performance in his final collegiate season and obviously has charisma, and he brought it all to his Saturday press conference. He’s confident and has the versatility to perhaps later land in one of the Bills’ linebacker roles. But that’s the hiccup of this step. Williams will likely struggle to catch up with Terrel Bernard, who was drafted in the third round last year and looked lost in his one NFL start.

Beane said Williams played the simpler defensive scheme at Tulane and now has to download a more complicated system at the pros. He can fly and wants to play sideline-to-sideline in the NFL. Beane believes his fit is on the outside (behind Matt Milano) but could play a role at middle linebacker. The player has a good chance of developing into a great play, but it’s hard to imagine him playing a significant role in 2023.

Round 5 (#150 pick): Justin Shorter, WR, Florida


Shorter has some Gabe Davis vibes without the high level of college production. The Gators pass catcher struggled with injuries while playing in Penn State and Florida. He’s a former 5 star recruit who just didn’t reach the level expected. But that could be to the Bills’ advantage.

Shorter is a top athlete who can win the field. He has a chip on his shoulder and said he plans to “rip this league apart” if he gets a chance to play. The Bills plan to use Shorter as a four-phase special team player and develop him as a pass catcher.

Round 7 (#230 pick): Nick Broeker, OL, Ole Miss


Broeker is a veteran lineman who has played both tackle and guard. He said the Bills are excited about the potential he has in five different positions. Beane said he doesn’t plan on taking a second offensive lineman, especially an inside lineman — Broeker played mostly at guard — but he’s the best player on the board at this point. The Bills needed to find another wave of competition on their line, and they got those two folds inside with Torrence and Broeker.

Round 7 (#252 pick): Alex Austin, CB, Oregon State


I’m not sure the Bills needed another cornerback, but Austin is a schema-fit schema. He played zone in college and Buffalo has a history of finding talented defenders on the third day of the draft. Beane said the decision to pick Austin came down to at least two players, and the deciding factor was who had a better way to influence the team. Austin is probably a priority development piece for the practice team.


The Bills accomplished what they needed to do by identifying Allen as a potentially crucial player in the ability position and a massive blocker. The rest depends on how you view the squad and what it takes to win in 2023. I think Buffalo’s priority had to be improving his offense.

After finding two new receivers and getting rid of Isaiah McKenzie and Jake Kumerow, who just haven’t done enough this past season, the Bills seem poised to bring more production to their passing game, with Kincaid now in the mix as well . Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey has a ton of options – especially in the running game with the complementary skills of Damien Harris, James Cook and Nyheim Hines.

Beane hit defensive tackle in the draft, although he went in with intentions of landing one. He said he didn’t want to reach for a player and instead chose to follow his board. Now he will look at the free agent pool and try to add there.

“Maybe we’ll see if there’s a veteran out there,” he said. “We spoke to a few people ahead of the draft and we just had to wait and see, but you know, we’ll see about that next week. I think we’ll have a chance to add at least one veteran.”

Beane set up the linebacker room in his press conference, saying that Tyrel Dodson, Terrel Bernard and Baylon Spector will fight for Bill’s new linebacker Mike. Williams could get into the mix, but he still needs work to understand the team’s defense. Beane dubbed Dodson “the leader in the clubhouse” to win the job.

The Bills got better in this year’s draft, but these players need to reward Beane by finding a path to the field and production in their rookie seasons.


Bills trade back twice at #6, acquiring a pair of sixths from 2024 and picking OL Nick Broeker at #7

Who is Justin Shorter? Buffalo Bills Add Former No. 1 WR in 2018 Recruiting Class (4 Fun Facts)

Inside the Bills’ rigorous scouting work that led them to new offensive guard O’Cyrus Torrence

Bills gets solid marks for adding “run-and-chase” LB Dorian Williams (Media grades)

Buffalo Bills are getting straight A’s for adding O’Cyrus Torrence, best in class pure guard

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