Bills Wire staff final 2021 NFL Mock draft: A popular name in Round 1

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Nick Wojton
·7 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The 2021 NFL Draft is almost here. We’re a mere day away from Round 1 kicking off.

So you know what time it is.

Here is the Bills Wire staff’s final mock drafts. Those come to us via managing editor Nick Wojton, contributors Justin DiLoro and David De Cristofaro and guest insider Kyle Silagyi.

The Draft Network’s draft simulator helped the gang along the way:

Round 1, pick 30:

Clemson Tigers running back Travis Etienne. Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Wojton’s pick: Jayson Oweh | DE | Penn State

By now we all know about the rumor connecting the Bills to running back Travis Etienne. Personally I read that as a smokescreen, mostly because the Bills showed last year how little they really cared about running the ball. This is Josh Allen's show now, so instead, Oweh is my guy. The Bills have tried to improve their pass rush several times since Sean McDermott took over coaching duties. Oweh, a 6-foot-5 pass rushing prospect has all the makings of a stout edge defender. But the knock on him is that he's going to be a player that needs time to develop. Not a problem with the packed house the Bills have at defensive end right now.

DiLoro's pick: Travis Etienne | RB | Clemson

All right, enough waffling on this pick. This is a straight luxury pick for the Bills. Instead of listening to my head, I’m going with the excitement of drafting a player who will help Buffalo break offensive records once again. Buffalo selects a true No. 1 running back to solidify the offense in Etienne. One may say that having three running backs on their rookie deals is a bit overkill. And you would be right. However, Etienne is one player who can complete the offensive attack. There’s too much to like about adding Etienne to this offensive group.

Silagyi's pick: Travis Etienne | RB | Clemson

I understand all of the potential gripes with this pick - taking a running back in the first round is passé, Buffalo already has three capable backs on its roster, the Bills don’t want a workhorse in the backfield, yadda yadda yadda. But this is Etienne we’re talking about. Simply put, Etienne is a weapon. He’s a well-rounded runner who is likely this class’ best receiving back, as 588 of his 1,502 scrimmage yards last season came off receptions. He would add a new dynamic to a Buffalo offense that desperately needs production out of the backfield - sorry, “the Bills already have Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, and Matt Breida” is not a reason why the Bills should pass on one of the best backs in this draft.

De Cristofaro's pick: Travis Etienne | RB | Clemson

Brandon Beane is looking to improve the run game, which has included pursuing Le'Veon Bell and adding Breida even with Singletary and Moss in the fold. Buffalo may be in search of the dynamic, playmaking swiss-army-knife type of back that has had a game-changing impact for teams in Kansas City, New Orleans, and Minnesota.

Enter Etienne, a player who could add the athletic hybrid catch-and-run back the Bills have sought after.

Unlike former Bills No. 9 overall pick C.J. Spiller who, ironically, was Etienne's coach at Clemson, Buffalo taking a guy with "home-run ability" at RB on the brink of the second round could be a steal, especially a versatile one with the ability to equally impact the passing game. This move could create position depth and, potentially, a valuable trade chip among the incumbent backs.

Round 2, pick 61:

Oklahoma Sooners defensive end Ronnie Perkins. Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Wojton’s pick: Ifeatu Melifonwu | CB | Syracuse

Once again... we're calling a smokescreen here by the Bills. Throughout the offseason, general manager Brandon Beane has expressed how content he is with his No. 2 cornerback battle. There will be Levi Wallace, a guy the team has tried to replace a couple of year in a row with a veteran, and then Dane Jackson, essentially a guy with only a handful of snaps under his belt in the NFL.

Melifonwu is a cornerback with size at 6-foot-2, and The Draft Network pegs him as a player that fits in a zone defense. Plus, the Bills also met with him during the pre-draft run up.
DiLoro's pick: Joe Tryon | DE | Washington

Buffalo needs an edge rusher and in this case, Joe Tryon slides down the board to the Bills at No. 61. Tryon has all of the physical attributes that the Bills will want. Tryon has the size and explosiveness to be a force on the edge for the Bills. However, he does need a little time to refine his pass-rush repertoire. Tryon doesn’t have to take over right away at the defensive end spot either, so he'll have time to grow.

Silagyi's pick: Joseph Ossai | DE | Texas

A player whom Buffalo may consider taking at the end of night one, Texas pass-rusher Joseph Ossai would be a home-run pick if available at the bottom of the second round. A solid athlete with pro-ready size (6-foot-5, 256 pounds), Ossai is in need of time not only to adjust to the NFL, but to the defensive end position, in general, as many analysts feel as though he’s a more natural fit in a 3-4 scheme. Ossai could be productive, if used correctly and in a rotational role, in his rookie season before taking on a larger role in 2022.

De Cristofaro's pick: Ronnie Perkins | DE | Alabama

Edge rush has been an oft-cited position as to where the Bills may add talent in the draft this year and Perkins might be that exact fit for the Bills in Round 2. He had 5.5 sacks in only 6 games last season with Alabama and could join the Bills rotation in a development role like AJ Epenesa did last season. This position group is deep, and some talent sliding in the first round could have a domino effect in players like Perkins being available when the Bills are up at Pick 61.

Round 3, pick 93:

Southern California Trojans defensive lineman Jay Tufele. Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Wojton’s pick: Jay Tufele | DT | USC

While Star Lotulelei will return to the Bills in 2021 after opting out last season due to COVID-19... he still isn't going to play forever. The Bills got a first-hand look at life without him last season and if didn't go well. Tufele is a player that mirrors Lotulelei, too. Not exactly a pass rusher, he has a high motor and takes up space in the middle of the defense on early rushing downs.

DiLoro's pick: Paulson Adebo | CB | Stanford

Adebo performed well for Stanford during his two seasons with the Cardinals. He recorded eight interceptions along with 97 total tackles. He has good size for playing at the boundary and would pushnWallace and Jackson for playing time early in the season. Adebo has a couple things working against him: He did not play last season, which did not help him build on his technique, which needs some work. However, Adebo has time before stepping into the lineup. Once he gets there, he may be the long-term solution opposite Tre’Davious White.

Silagyi's pick: Hamsah Nasirildeen | S | Florida State

Buffalo adds a primary rotational safety and a potential starting nickel in the third round in the form of Nasirildeen. At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, he possesses incredible size for the position and his versatility is undoubtedly something that McDermott will find attractive. With Nasirildeen, the Bills add, at the very worst, a long-term successor to either Micah Hyde or Jordan Poyer.

De Cristofaro's pick: Darren Hall | DB | SDSU

Offering versatility and experience in a familiar defensive, Hall is a player who could benefit from McDermott’s zone coverage as it would play to his strengths. Plus, the Bills have reportedly met with him twice. He projects to be picked somewhere in Round 3 and could find himself in a Bills uniform should he be available.

With Wallace and Jackson set to compete for starting duties across from White, Hall could provide competition for both those players.

1

1