The grades are in: What national analysts think about the Bills' draft class - The Buffalo News

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The grades are in: What national analysts think about the Bills' draft class

The Buffalo Bills earned a report card that would put them on the honor roll.

With the 2017 NFL Draft now in the books, several national analysts have broken out their red pens to grade the efforts of all 32 teams. Here is a look at how some of them scored the Bills' class of six players:

• Chad Reuter, nfl.com: A.

Reasoning: "Instead of taking Patrick Mahomes as the quarterback of the future, they moved down 17 spots in the first round, allowing Kansas City to make the pick. They received a third-round pick this year and a future first-rounder for the move down. Buffalo selected a good corner in White with the 27th pick to take over for Stephon Gilmore, meeting a dire need. Well done. Buffalo certainly required help at the receiver position, and Zay Jones was the best value at the spot. In fact, they thought enough of Jones to swap a third- for a fifth-round pick in the process.

They found excellent value in guard/tackle Dion Dawkins, who deserved to be picked higher. The Bills found an excellent quarterback in round five, as Nathan Peterman should have gone a round or two earlier. Sixth-round pick Tanner Vallejo is a special teams ace and will find his way on the field on defense."

• Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated: A-

Reasoning: "The rumor mill headed into draft weekend had Buffalo GM Doug Whaley likely to be fired in the coming days. Whoever ended up calling the shots (coach Sean McDermott ran point, no doubt) made things happen. The Bills traded down from 10 to 27 in Round 1, adding a third-rounder (No. 91) and a 2018 first-round pick. They took talented CB Tre’Davious White at 27, then used No. 91 as part of a trade up for WR Zay Jones. The former is an outstanding coverage corner—not to the level of Marshon Lattimore, who was available at 10, but starter-caliber. Jones essentially replaces Robert Woods, and he could be a good one.

"Day 3 picks of note beyond that: G/T Dion Dawkins, who will have a chance to win a job in camp; and QB Nathan Peterman, who slid into Round 5 but could be groomed as a possible Tyrod Taylor replacement down the line.​ McDermott will love LB Matt Milano (No. 163)—he’s a throwback-type linebacker."

• Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: A-

Reasoning: "The Bills had the fewest picks headed into the draft (six, tied with Atlanta), but they were able to move down, and I like both the move and the talent added. They got a huge haul from Kansas City for dropping 17 spots in the first round, adding a third-round pick and first-round pick in 2018. The early run on quarterbacks should make Buffalo feel better about having Tyrod Taylor around for another season (at least). The Kansas City pick turned into Patrick Mahomes, a player I had rated lower than the guy the Bills got at No. 27 overall. I think the Bills got three players who could start this season. Tre'Davious White, a four-year starting cornerback at LSU, could replace Stephon Gilmore. Zay Jones, who had 158 catches last season, can step in for Robert Woods -- they're both willing blockers -- and probably outproduce him. (Are Bills fans that upset about the Woods departure?) I thought Jones was a first-round talent. In Dion Dawkins, Buffalo got my No. 2 guard, a dominant run blocker who will make the move from left tackle. He gets to the second level with ease, and it could be a great help to Taylor if the run-blocking improves. Dawkins could help the cause.

"Nathan Peterman could be the pick of the draft in a few years, and that's another reason why this class is rated so high. I know there are questions about a guy with average arm strength going to a spot like Buffalo, where cold and wind comes into play. But arm strength can improve in the NFL. Just look at Tom Brady and Drew Brees. With Taylor taking a pay cut to stay, I wouldn't be surprised if Peterman is the starter in a year or two.

"Buffalo did well with what it had. That's four potential starters if we're including next year's No. 1. It's refreshing to see Buffalo move back and add some capital, even in the midst of a potential change in the front office."

• Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: B

Reasoning: "I think they made really good picks with their first two, trading down in the first before taking LSU corner Tre'Davious White, then landing East Carolina receiver Zay Jone in the second. Their other second-round pick, Dion Dawkins, will probably be the starting right tackle. Fifth-round quarterback Nathan Peterman could end up being a potential starter down the road."

• Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: B

Reasoning: "White, Jones and Dawkins will likely to step into starting roles right away at cornerback, wideout and right tackle, respectively. That’s the very good. The rest of the class is meh, led by backup material Peterman. Missing out on a talented tight end also hurts a bit."

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