Mel Kiper Jr.’s final 2023 NFL draft mock sends Bills first-round pass rusher
ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. changes his mind in more ways than one regarding the Buffalo Bills in his final mock ahead of the 2023 NFL draft.
In his most-recent one prior, Kiper opted to address a need for the Bills. That prediction had Buffalo using their top pick at No. 27 overall on Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson, clearly a piece that would fill the hole left by Tremaine Edmunds’ departure.
This time, not only does Kiper change his selection, he decided to go and change his mindset for the Bills. Instead of going in the direction of a need, Buffalo takes the best player available (in Kiper’s mind), who ends up being a pass rusher: Iowa State’s Will McDonald IV.
Defensive end is not on the top of the list for the Bills in terms of needs. Not even close. Buffalo has used recent top-round selections on the position, including 2021 first-round pick Greg Rousseau, in addition to Day 2 prospects AJ Epenesa and Boogie Basham.
However, even with this lack of need at defensive end right now for the Bills, there is a connection. McDonald is a player that visited Buffalo for a reported pre-draft meeting.
The Bills allocating a visit with McDonald does express a level of interest in him. The team only has a certain number of them before the draft.
But McDonald is a curious player for Buffalo’s defense. The redshirt senior clocks in at 6-foot-4 and 239 pounds. Because of that, draft analysts think McDonald is better suited to play outside linebacker in a three-player defensive front. Among those with that opinion are NFL.com and The Draft Network. The Bills up with four defenders on the D-line.
Regardless, Kiper sees a fit in Buffalo, and here’s how he explained the selection in his final mock of 2023:
I wanted to slot in Addison here, but I see a fit for McDonald in Buffalo. While he might not be an every-down player as a rookie, his ceiling is high. I’m a big fan of McDonald’s speed game, though he still needs to develop more pass-rush moves.
I also thought about TCU interior offensive lineman Steve Avila, who would fill a hole.
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