The 2020 Bills season only just ended and now we’re awaiting the pain that watching Super Bowl LV will bring on Sunday between the Chiefs and Bucs.
However, once we forget about the Bills missing out on the big game by one win, we’ll realize the positives behind the pain. The Bills are awfully close to being a Super Bowl team… perhaps they’re even a good draft pick or two away from making all the way next season?
And speaking of the draft, the 2021 Senior Bowl is officially in the books as the game wrapped up over the weekend. Reflecting back upon Senior Bowl week, there were some interesting prospect in Mobile, Ala., that might be able to push the Bills over the line.
With that, here are 16 players that impressed this week during the Senior Bowl that should be on the Bills’ 2021 NFL Draft radar:
RB Michael Carter, North Carolna
National running back Michael Carter of North Carolina. Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
After a weak rushing attack in 2020, the Bills could stand to add to their backfield with Zack Moss and Devin Singletary. One guy that wowed at the Senior Bowl was North Carolina running back Michael Carter, who was voted by his peers as the top running back on the National team. Carter led all running backs with 60 rushing yards in Saturday's game. No other player rushed for more than 18 yards on the day.
OL Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater
National offensive lineman Quinn Meinerz of Wisconsin -Whitewater. Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
A DIII prospect, Quinn Meinerz could be a potential project piece for a team like the Bills. However, Bleacher Report says he "captured everyone's attention" during practices last week, so his stock could be on the rise from project to mid-round pick. Meinerz played on the interior of the O-line during the Senior Bowl, but aside from Mitch Morse at center, the Bills could see some changes there. Ike Boettger is an RFA while Jon Feliciano is a pending free agent.
WR D'Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan
National wide receiver D'Wayne Eskridge of Western Michigan. Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
After watching a small, speedy guy torch the Bills in the Chiefs' Tyreek Hill, a "need for speed" feeling came over Buffalo. The Bills have an excellent group of wideouts, but could still stand to invest in someone who makes them faster. Western Michigan's D'Wayne Eskridge turned heads all week throughout practice with his burners and route running. Despite being a small-school guy, some have jolted him up as high as a potential first-round pick. Doubtful the Bills go after a wideout in Round 1, but maybe he dips back down by the end of April. Still a long way to go.
OL Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State
National offensive lineman Dillon Radunz of North Dakota State. Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
Another small schooler on the offensive line, but this time someone on the outside in Dillon Radunz. While Dion Dawkins is a good player and signed a contract extension this past year, the other side of the Bills' offensive line is in much question. Daryl Williams is a pending free agent. On Radunz, B/R said he "secured his status as the top non-FBS prospect in this year's draft" at the Senior Bowl.
EDGE Quincy Roche, Miami
Quincy Roche #2 of the Miami Hurricanes. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Former Temple transfer to Miami, Quincy Roche, had a touted week of practice and NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah had big-time praise for him: “I came away impressed by how hard he battled from rep to rep. He just kept showing up in team drills. He has heavy hands and a motor that runs hot.” Sounds like a Bills guy, and Buffalo certainly could stand to add some younger sack artists. The biggest problem with Roche to the Bills might be his position, though. Several predict him as more of a pass rusher in a 3-4 defense, not a 4-3 defensive end like the Bills would covet.
RB/WR Demetric Felton, UCLA
National wide receiver Demetric Felton of UCLA. Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
Demetric Felton was a running back at UCLA but at the Senior Bowl played wide receiver. He's a player with some speed who is clearly a hybrid type of guy. Regardless of any turnover or lack thereof for the Bills in playmaker spots, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll will be back in 2021, and you know he loves his gadget players. Felton caught a touchdown in Saturday's game.
WR Cade Johnson, South Dakota State
National wide receiver Cade Johnson of South Dakota State .Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
Wideout Cade Johnson stood out with his one-on-one work for a majority of the week according to various reports including Raiders Wire's Marcus Mosher. Again, the Bills could be in the market for a quicker playmaker for the future. Johnson isn't a burner, but the 5-foot-10 target can move off the line and that's important. Buffalo's deep wideout room would allow him time to develop, too.
DE Carlos Basham Jr., Wake Forest
Carlos Basham Jr. #9 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons . (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Carlos Basham Jr. could be in the running for a late first-round pick, right where the Bills pick (No. 30). It's still a little too early to predict that, but again, Buffalo's defensive front-seven could use some added talent and he's projected to be a fit in a 4-3 scheme. Our friends at Draft Wire pegged Basham as one of their "winners" of the 2021 Senior Bowl.
OL Robert Hainsey, Notre Dame
Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Robert Hainsey, Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Heading into the Senior Bowl, Robert Hainsey's goal was to show his versatility, something that the Bills love in offensive lineman. Throughout the week, he lined up at both guard and tackle and Jeremiah praised him as well: "Hainsey was one of the most consistent prospects this week." Hainsey might not come in as an immediate starter, but a potential backup option in multiple places would be valuable as well for Buffalo.
DL Cameron Sample, Tulane
Tulane Green Wave defensive end Cameron Sample. Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
The Bills run a big defensive line rotation under head coach Sean McDermott, so defensive linemen will always be on the team's draft radar every year he's in charge. Tulane's Cameron Sample could be used as a 3-tech player by the Bills' 4-3 front. Like former first-round pick Ed Oliver, he's an undersized lineman. Sample was named the Defensive MVP of the Senior Bowl, so yeah, he had a good week.
LB Tony Fields, West Virginia
National linebacker Tony Fields II of West Virginia (30). Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
Tony Fields is the type of linebacker that compares to the guy that he could replace on the Bills: Matt Milano. He's an undersized guy at 6-foot-1 that could be a scheme fit in a nickel base defense (like McDermott's). He was voted the top linebacker on the National team this week and uniquely wore a helmet wore a helmet that was half West Virginia and half Arizona, where he transferred from.
DE Janarius Robinson, Florida State
FSU's Janarius Robinson (Gannett photo)
While not an overly impressive college resume, Janarius Robinson had 1.5 sacks in the Senior Bowl game, which will certainly put you into the "stood out" category. According to The Draft Network, Robinson's skill set might need to be developed, but he could fit into a variety of schemes in the NFL, including at a 4-3 defensive end spot.
DL Osa Odighizuwa, UCLA
National defensive lineman Osa Odighizuwa of UCLA (92) Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
Osa Odighizuwa was named the top defensive lineman on his team at the Senior Bowl this week. Another guy with potential to rush the passer from the middle of the defensive line, he'll 100 percent be a guy on McDermott's prospect list... Why? Well, we couldn't forget to put a guy with wrestling experience on such a list, right?
OL Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma
Offensive lineman Creed Humphrey #56 of the Oklahoma Sooners. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Creed Humphrey could be in consideration for a top pick by the Bills as he's widely considered to be the best center prospect in the draft. Of course, that Bills could just push him to one of their guard spots, if they did pick him. At the Senior Bowl, Humphrey and Hainsey fell into one category together. According to Pro Football Focus, they were the only two linemen to not allow a QB pressure.
CB Tre Brown, Oklahoma
Oklahoma Sooners cornerback Tre Brown (6) Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Because of his size, the 5-foot-9 Tre Brown might not be high on draft boards, but two picks at the Senior Bowl will get you noticed. For the past few seasons the Bills have brought in cornerback competition, so expect that to continue this offseason. Brown was also named the top player on his team this week at his position, in addition to being named a "riser" by ESPN.
CB Keith Taylor, Washington
National defensive back Keith Taylor Jr. of Washington (8). Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
If the Bills want a cornerback with size, potentially that guy could be Keith Taylor. He thrives more in a zone defense, which is what Buffalo runs, and the 6-foot-2 cornerback got some big praise via Jeremiah as well: "I don't know that I remember a better game from a corner in an all-star game than what (Washington CB Keith) Taylor Jr.'s done today. He's been outstanding. He's just been in position every time." Taylor also potentially projects as a defender that can move all around a defense. Versatility is a Bills staple on both side of the ball.