ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. released his latest mock draft Wednesday morning, with a pair of interesting selections for the Bills in the first round with the No. 21 and No. 22 picks. Neither is a quarterback.
At No. 21, Kiper has the Bills selecting cornerback/return specialist Mike Hughes from Central Florida. Kiper's initial mock also had Hughes going to the Bills at No. 21.
"With back-to-back picks here, could the Bills try to package these and move up for a quarterback? It would take both picks – and more – to get into the top 10. Hughes fills a big need opposite 2017 first-round pick Tre'Davious White, and he's a great punt and kick returner, too. He had three touchdown returns last season. After playing at North Carolina in 2015 and a junior college in 2016, Hughes doesn't have a ton of experience, but he emerged as a shutdown corner and important player for the Knights in 2017."
At No. 22, Kiper projects the Bills will select James Daniels, a center/guard from Iowa who is listed at 6-3 and 295 pounds.
Other analysts see Daniels as a borderline first-rounder who needs more upper body strength and might be limited to a zone blocking scheme. The last point is interesting, given the Bills' struggles early in the season with Rick Dennison's zone blocking and then moving to more of a power attack as the season went on. New offensive coordinator Brian Daboll figures to utilize a good deal of gap and power blocking, because they're the best fits for the core personnel with which he's likely to be working, at least for the 2018 season.
Kiper had the Bills selecting Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst in his previous mock.
"Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst is a perfect fit in the Bills' 4-3 – and my top-ranked 4-3 tackle – but the retirement of Eric Wood opens up a void at center in Buffalo, and the Bills could get the top prospect at a real position of need. Daniels is No. 1 on my board there. At 6-4, 296, he can move his feet and get to the second level as a true athlete. He is perfect as an anchor for today's NFL. I wouldn't be shocked if two centers went in the first round. Ohio State's Billy Price is the other one."
Kiper has Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen going No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Browns. He has four quarterbacks being selected in Round 1: Allen, USC's Sam Darnold to the Denver Broncos at No. 5, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield at No. 6 at the Jets and UCLA's Josh Rosen at No. 11 at the Miami Dolphins. He also suggests a team with interest in Louisville's Lamar Jackson could trade into Round 1, possibly with the Steelers' pick at No. 28.
Rosen falling to No. 11 would be a surprise, and if he remains available beyond the first few picks, the Bills could be among the teams looking to pounce.
Kiper has a conference call with reporters scheduled for later today to discuss his mock draft and the upcoming scouting combine.