All mock drafts should come with a "for entertainment only" warning label.
But that's especially true of mock drafts that are a year away from the real thing taking place. Even though the streets of Philadelphia are still being cleaned up after the 2017 NFL Draft was held there over the weekend, national prognosticators have "moved on to 2018," to steal a line from Bill Belichick.
After their trade down with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Buffalo Bills will have two first-round draft picks in 2018. If they want to use one of them on a quarterback, they'll have to be picking early. Southern California's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen and Wyoming's Josh Allen are all projected to be high draft picks -- Dan Kadar of SB Nation even as them going 1-2-3 in his mock draft. Louisville's Lamar Jackson and Washington State's Luke Falk may also be in the running to be first-round picks.
Clearly, much can change between now and April 2018, but for fun, here's a look at who some of the experts have the Bills selecting next year. If nothing else, it may provide you with an idea of who to keep an eye on during the 2017 college football season.
11. Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State: "This is a projection, but Chubb has superstar written all over him. He's playing in a defense that should be improved and he can really get after the passer."
26 (from Chiefs). Quin Blanding, S, Virginia: "Highly productive player for the last three years who has six interceptions and 356 tackles in his career with the Cavaliers."
6. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson: "Kyle Williams is entering the final year on his contract, and the longtime veteran could need replacing. Wilkins plays on a loaded defensive line but still managed 56 tackles, 13 for loss, and 3.5 sacks last season."
24 (from Chiefs). Luke Falk, QB, Washington State: "Surprise, yet another quarterback. The Bills could be after one in the first round in 2018 and just missed in the top 10 earlier in the mock draft."
7. Arden Key, DE, LSU: "The Bills didn’t add a high-level defensive end in the 2017 draft, and they’ll look to do so next year. Key is arguably the best true pass rusher in the draft class."
22 (from Chiefs). Matthew Thomas, LB, Florida State: "Thomas is an ideal, rangy linebacker for Sean McDermott’s defense. He’s a defender who should earn first-round consideration in 2018."
7. Da'Shawn Hand, DL, Alabama: "It's crazy to think that Alabama's best defensive lineman last season might not have even been a full-time starter, but Da'Shawn Hand has already turned the heads of NFL scouts with his 6'4", 280-pound frame and plus athleticism. The Bills will be playing a 4-3 defense with new coach Sean McDermott. They desperately need to start getting younger as Kyle Williams ages and to get more consistent given Marcell Dareus' issues. Hand's ability to crash gaps and beat blockers one-on-one will make him a scout's favorite. As is always the issue with Alabama players, we'll have to wait and see if Hand is beat up physically or if he's maxed out from a technique standpoint, but the early tape on him is strong."
21 (from Chiefs). Marcus Allen, S, Penn State: "Thanks to a draft-day trade that allowed the Kansas City Chiefs to move up and select Patrick Mahomes, the Bills are back on the clock with selection No. 21 overall. After finding a starting defensive tackle earlier, the Bills can focus on improving a safety position that fell apart over the last few seasons due to free agency, injuries and age. Marcus Allen, a playmaking strong safety, can come in and give the group a boost right away. Allen plays a ton of Cover 2 at Penn State, which has helped him become a versatile safety with the skill set to play in the box or deep in coverage. The Bills didn't address safety or defensive line in the 2017 draft—arguably the two biggest needs—and so far in this 2018 draft, they've checked both boxes.
7. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA: "The Bills move on from Tyrod Taylor and go with Rosen, who showed flashes of greatness when he was healthy at UCLA."
19 (from Chiefs). Derrius Guice, RB, LSU: "Shady McCoy’s replacement — Guice is the game breaker the Bills will make the focal point of their offense in 2018."