With free agency having slowed to a trickle in the NFL these days, attention has shifted to the last remaining way for teams to improve their roster in a big way before September.
That would be through the NFL Draft, which will be conducted April 27-29 in Philadelphia.
With spending season in the books, a clearer picture of team needs has emerged. For the Buffalo Bills, they would include wide receiver, cornerback, weak-side linebacker, quarterback and right tackle.
Here is The Buffalo News’ second projection of the draft season, without trades:
1. Cleveland Browns. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M. Garrett ran a 4.64-second 40-yard dash, and demonstrated his power with 33 reps on the 225-pound bench press. If there was any doubt about his status as the draft’s top player, that likely sealed it.
2. San Francisco 49ers. Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford. Quarterback can’t be ruled out here, but until a clearer consensus emerges on which of the four is favored to go first, it makes sense for the 49ers to add a blue-chip defensive prospect, then look for the quarterback early in the second round (or trade up into the bottom of the first).
3. Chicago Bears. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson. Some will consider this a reach, but that’s always what happens with quarterbacks. The Bears won’t have to rush Watson into the lineup after signing Mike Glennon in free agency to be the short-term starter.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama. A top-five tight end? Howard is being talked about as having that type of talent. Getting quarterback Blake Bortles a new best friend sounds like a good plan.
5. Tennessee Titans (from L.A. Rams). Jamal Adams, S, LSU. His combine 40 of 4.56 seconds wasn’t great, but it shouldn’t push Adams too far down the board.
6. New York Jets. Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina. You’ve got to love pre-draft season. The buzz around the Tar Heels’ Pro Day is that a personnel director told ESPN’s Todd McShay compared Trubisky to Aaron Rodgers. If that’s the case, lasting until sixth overall would be a slide.
7. Los Angeles Chargers. Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State. Letting Eric Weddle go was a mistake the Chargers can fix by drafting Hooker, who should be ready to go for the regular season even though he’s missed the pre-draft workouts because of a pair of surgeries.
8. Carolina Panthers. John Ross, WR, Washington. Speed is sexy, and Ross’ 4.22-second 40 at the combine was rated R.
9. Cincinnati Bengals. Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama. Taking a linebacker with character concerns just seems like something the Bengals would do.
10. Buffalo Bills. Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan. Note to self: There are A LOT of O.J. Howard fans on Twitter, and one can easily spend an afternoon debating the merits of drafting a tight end. In this exercise, Howard is gone, so the debate doesn’t exist. While a new head coach usually gets a pick on his side of the ball, it’s hard to argue that receiver isn’t the biggest need on this team. The Bills are one Sammy Watkins rolled ankle away from Andre Holmes being the No. 1 receiver. Davis checks all the boxes and would be a nice pairing with Watkins, while also providing some insurance if the team’s franchise receiver can’t make it through another season because of injury.
11. New Orleans Saints. Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama. There are some injury concerns with Allen that have him slide out of the top 10. The Saints, as usual, need defensive help everywhere.
12. Cleveland Browns. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU. The Browns continue to pass on a possible franchise quarterback, but in Fournette get a franchise running back.
13. Arizona Cardinals. Mike Williams, WR, Clemson. It’s close between Ross, Davis and Williams for the No. 1 receiver. The Cardinals need to start preparing for life after Larry Fitzgerald.
14. Philadelphia Eagles. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State. Drafting a cornerback with a history of hamstring injuries sounds risky, but the Eagles need to get some help for Jim Schwartz’s defense.
15. Indianapolis Colts. Haason Reddick, LB, Temple. Reddick has been a steady riser since the season ended, to the point some think he can challenge Foster to be the first linebacker selected.
16. Baltimore Ravens. Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU. One of the most experience players in the class with 47 career starts, the next level shouldn’t be too big of a jump for White. He’s used to the big stage in all those SEC games.
17. Washington. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State. One of the best offensive weapons in college football, Cook had 2,253 total yards in 2016 for the Seminoles.
18. Tennessee Titans. David Njoku, TE, Miami (Fla.). Pairing Njoku with Delanie Walker would give the Titans the ability to do some creative stuff on offense with quarterback Marcus Mariota.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford. His short-area quickness showed at the combine with the second-best three-cone drill time since 2006. His 40 time of 4.48 seconds solidified his stock as a first-rounder.
20. Denver Broncos. Garett Boles, OT, Utah. After losing Russell Okung in free agency, the Broncos need a new left tackle. Boles has only one year of major college experience, but is one of the two best options in what is perceived to be a weak tackle class.
21. Detroit Lions. Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan. Charlton had 10 sacks in his final 10 games. The Lions keep him in-state to boost their pass rush.
22. Miami Dolphins. Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky. The Dolphins are moving last year’s first-round draft pick, Laremy Tunsil, to left tackle, which leaves a hole at guard. Lamp started 51 college games and is considered one of the safest picks in the draft.
23. New York Giants. Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin. Another left tackle who has just one year of major college experience, the Giants need to replace Ereck Flowers at the position.
24. Oakland Raiders. Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State. McDowell is a boom-or-bust prospect. The knock against him in scouting reports is his desire. It’s hard to predict, then, how he’ll respond after getting handed millions of dollars.
25. Houston Texans. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech. A bit of a surprise as Mahomes passes DeShone Kizer to be the third quarterback selected.
26. Seattle Seahawks. Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama. An overwhelmingly popular pick in most mock drafts, Robinson would fill the Seahawks’ biggest remaining need.
27. Kansas City Chiefs. Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida. Wilson would make a nice pairing with Marcus Peters in the Chiefs’ secondary.
28. Dallas Cowboys. Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee. Barnett had 23 sacks over the past two seasons and the Cowboys need to give their pass rush a boost.
29. Green Bay Packers. Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee. Who? Kamara is one of those players who could surprise as a first-round pick, since he didn’t get a ton of usage in college. His combine measurements were solid, though.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers. Takkarist McKinley, LB, UCLA. A 4.59-second 40 at the combine showed that McKinley has plenty of speed to come off the edge as a pass rusher.
31. Atlanta Falcons. Charles Harris, DE, Missouri. He didn’t start playing football until his junior year of high school, so the belief is Harris’ best is yet to come. He had 16 sacks over the past two years.
32. New Orleans Saints (from New England). Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson. This should be an in-demand pick if a team wants to trade up for Notre Dame’s Kizer, but if the Saints keep it, adding a piece for their secondary makes sense here.