NFL Draft Insiders
The 2017 NFL draft is over, and it's time to review how your favorite team fared. Where did it reach? Did it get a potential steal in Round 5? Is there a bust waiting to happen?
ESPN Insider's draft experts break down each draft class, starting with Mel Kiper Jr.'s grade, Todd McShay's favorite pick, and Scouts Inc.'s analysis on how each player fits into his new team.
Mel Kiper's Draft Grade: A-
Kiper: The Bills had the fewest picks headed into the draft (six, tied with Atlanta), but they were able to move down, and I like both the move and the talent added. They got a huge haul from Kansas City for dropping 17 spots in the first round, adding a third-round pick and first-round pick in 2018. The early run on quarterbacks should make Buffalo feel better about having Tyrod Taylor around for another season (at least). The Kansas City pick turned into Patrick Mahomes, a player I had rated lower than the guy the Bills got at No. 27 overall. I think the Bills got three players who could start this season. Tre'Davious White, a four-year starting cornerback at LSU, could replace Stephon Gilmore. Zay Jones, who had 158 catches last season, can step in for Robert Woods -- they're both willing blockers -- and probably outproduce him. (Are Bills fans that upset about the Woods departure?) I thought Jones was a first-round talent. In Dion Dawkins, Buffalo got my No. 2 guard, a dominant run blocker who will make the move from left tackle. He gets to the second level with ease, and it could be a great help to Taylor if the run-blocking improves. Dawkins could help the cause.
Nathan Peterman could be the pick of the draft in a few years, and that's another reason why this class is rated so high. I know there are questions about a guy with average arm strength going to a spot like Buffalo, where cold and wind comes into play. But arm strength can improve in the NFL. Just look at Tom Brady and Drew Brees. With Taylor taking a pay cut to stay, I wouldn't be surprised if Peterman is the starter in a year or two.
Buffalo did well with what it had. That's four potential starters if we're including next year's No. 1. It's refreshing to see Buffalo move back and add some capital, even in the midst of a potential change in the front office.
|2/37||Zay Jones||WR||EAST CAROLINA|
|5/163||Matt Milano||OLB||BOSTON COLLEGE|
|6/195||Tanner Vallejo||OLB||BOISE STATE|
Todd McShay's favorite pick
Nathan Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh (pick No. 171)
What a steal for the Bills: I had Peterman ranked as my No. 4 QB and 69th overall prospect, and Buffalo got him in the fifth round. He's the most pro-ready of all the quarterbacks in this class. Peterman throws with great anticipation and showed the ability to handle a lot of pre-snap responsibilities in Pitt's scheme. I was on the sideline when Peterman went into Death Valley and threw 5 TDs, handing eventual national-champion Clemson its only loss of the season. He played with great poise in that hostile atmosphere. The one negative with this fit is Peterman's lack of arm strength in the windy AFC East. But he gives the Bills a reliable backup in the short term and a potential starting option in the long term if they want to move on from Tyrod Taylor in the coming seasons.
Scouts Inc. on 2017 class
1 (27) Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU | Highlights
What he brings: A team captain with excellent intangibles and work ethic, White is an instinctive cover corner with average size, good speed and quick feet. He's got some tightness in his hips and he has average overall ball skills. -- Steve Muench
How he fits: The Bills help fill the void left by Stephon Gilmore and Nickell Robey-Coleman, who lined up at the nickelback spot. This is a good fit for Buffalo, as White is an instinctive player who has the versatility to play inside or outside and gives them added value as a potential returner on special teams. -- Kevin Weidl
2 (5) Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina | Highlights
What he brings: An ultra-productive and sure-handed college receiver, Jones needed to ease concerns about the competition he faced inflating his production and the scheme he played in. He did that by shining at the Senior Bowl and working out well at the combine. -- Steve Muench
How he fits: Buffalo fills its most pressing need and gets an excellent value here with Jones. He projects as the starter opposite Sammy Watkins and will help improve a passing attack that finished 30th in the league in 2016. -- Steve Muench
2 (31) Dion Dawkins, OG, Temple | Highlights
What he brings: Dawkins is expected to move inside to guard where he lined up at the Senior Bowl and he has the tools to quickly develop into a starter. He also has the long arms and enough athletic ability to provide some depth at right tackle. -- Steve Muench
How he fits: Dawkins is versatile player with the ability to line up at both guard and tackle, which helps shore up the Bills along the offensive line. He should eventually be groomed as Jordan Mills' replacement at right tackle. -- Kevin Weidl
5 (19) Matt Milano, OLB, Boston College
What he brings: Milano leaves it all on the field and has the perfect temperament to contribute on special teams while he fights for a backup role on defense. He's undersized, but he's more powerful than his frame would suggest, and he has good quickness/speed. -- Steve Muench
5 (28) Nathan Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh | Highlights
What he brings: Peterman is a cerebral quarterback who has two years of starting experience within a multiple pro-style system at Pitt. He is a quick decision-maker who lacks elite arm strength but makes up for it with above-average timing and anticipation as a starter. Peterman's overall mobility is underrated. -- Kevin Weidl
How he fits: Tyrod Taylor took a pay cut and restructured his contract, plus he's coming off offseason groin surgery. Peterman has the tools and intangibles to compete for the backup job and potentially become the Bills' starter later in his career. -- Steve Muench
6 (11) Tanner Vallejo, OLB, Boise State
What he brings: Vallejo is an undersized tweener who isn't quite athletic or fast enough to make the move to safety. He projects best as a nickel linebacker who makes his biggest contribution on special teams. -- Kevin Weidl
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