Bills Wire 2023 draft mock: Our first three-round projection
Here is Bills Wire’s first in-house mock for the 2023 NFL draft from editor Nick Wojton and contributors Justin DiLoro and David De Cristofaro:
Round 1, pick 27:
Boston College Eagles wide receiver Zay Flowers (4) Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Wojton’s pick: Zay Flowers | WR | Boston College
For my mock, Pro Football Focus‘ mock draft simulator was used. Flowers was there and running to the podium was essentially done. Flowers’ game is touted almost all-around, except his route running could stand to improve. Enter Stefon Diggs as his teammate and exactly that should happen. Flowers can also be moved all around the formation, both in the slot and outside, which would give offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey some flexibility to be creative. Flowers met with the Bills at the 2023 combine.
DiLoro’s pick: Dalton Kincaid | TE | Utah
The Buffalo Bills add another weapon to their offense, but not at the expected position. Several top plug-and-play wide receivers were off the board at this time, so the Bills select a premier pass-catcher at the tight end position. Kincaid is a solid route runner and is a dominant threat to win 50/50 balls. The Utah product caught 70 passes for 890 receiving yards and eight touchdown receptions. Kincaid is versatile, with the ability to line up in several different positions. Buffalo could lean on two tight end sets to cause matchup problems next year.
De Cristofaro’s pick: Jordan Addison | WR | USC
With the Bills cap situation being what it is and the need for an additional playmaker on offense, I would not be surprised if Brandon Beane makes a trade or two in the first round whether it’s to move up to select a player or even to swap future draft capital for an additional first-round pick. Adding impact talent on rookie contracts at positions that fetch higher salary commitments than other positions would suggest a wide receiver. However, should Tremaine Edmunds leave in free agency, I’d expect Beane to move further up in the draft for a cap-friendly upgrade. WRs Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Jordan Addison could slide within range, however, and if one does I’d expect Buffalo to move up to take them, with TE Michael Mayer also being a possibility.
Round 2, pick 59:
American offensive lineman Steve Avila of TCU (79) Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
Wojton’s pick: Sydney Brown | S | Illinois
Brown’s stock has gone up since the Senior Bowl, but he could still be around in Round 2 for the Bills. This selection is made with the assumption that Jordan Poyer, a pending free agent, leaves. Brown won’t have a starting job handed to him in Buffalo, but he reads similar to a guy just like Poyer and Micah Hyde. Both of those vets came to the Bills in 2017 as lesser-known free agents. Their biggest trait was their versatility and Brown’s got that. Six interceptions in 12 games last year by Brown for Illinois is pretty cool, too.
DiLoro’s pick: Steve Avila | OL | TCU
The assumption is that Mitch Morse will be back and healthy enough for another season as the anchor of the offensive line. Avila will fill in where Rodger Saffold started last year. A bit of a mauler, Avila will help with the interior run attack. In addition, Avila did not allow a sack during the 2022 campaign.
De Cristofaro’s pick: O’Cyrus Torrence | OL | Florida
There are a few scenarios where I could see Buffalo taking Torrence to address their area of greatest need in the offensive line. Be it outright with the 27th pick overall, or the aforementioned trade-up scenario with Philadelphia for the 30th selection, even if it’s in addition to their own pick at 27, Torrence appears to be a fit for an area the team needs to address and solidify to protect their investment in QB Josh Allen while helping to give him time in the pocket or open up the run game for the offense.
Round 3, pick 91:
Green Wave running back Tyjae Spears (22) Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Wojton’s pick: Kendre Miller | RB | TCU
Miller didn’t do much at the combine because of surgery so he’s been a bit overlooked. He’s still the type of bellcow running back the Bills don’t have. Buffalo has not been shy using Day 2 picks on backs, meanwhile, they have been in terms of taking offensive linemen. The Bills more often have used Day 3 for the O-line, so a back here makes more sense. Assuming Devin Singletary departs in free agency, Miller would provide what the Bills had hoped Zack Moss would be. The more physical runner alongside a quicker guy, aka James Cook.
DiLoro’s pick: Ji’Ayir Brown | S | Penn State
Meet Poyer’s replacement. Brown was Penn Steate’s most valuable player, recording 74 tackles, four-and-a-half sacks, and four interceptions. He was named to a third-team All-Big Ten safety. Brown earned Rose Bowl MVP honors after registering eight tackles, one-and-a-half sacks, and an interception in the game. He does all of the things the Bills need from a safety.
De Cristofaro’s pick: Tyjae Spears | RB | Tulane
Given the team’s pre-draft visit with Tulane’s Tyjae Spears, it would appear they may be preparing to draft a new back in place of free agent Devin Singletary should he depart or if the Bills choose to move on. Spears could fill a similar role to that of his predecessor while bringing more catch-and-run ability to the position.