Brandon Beane isn’t looking forward to Sunday.
By that time, the Buffalo Bills’ general manager will have made his selections in the NFL draft, which begins with the first round Thursday and concludes with rounds four through seven Saturday.
Preparing for the draft has been a welcome distraction for Beane from what’s going on in the country with the coronavirus pandemic.
Work “has been a good distraction for me,” Beane said earlier this month, “and I think my staff to focus on something other than what's hitting us in the face right now. … I'll probably be a little bit sad when the draft’s over, because I don't know what the next distraction will be or where our country will be at that point.”
It’s safe to say Beane’s feelings are shared by many sports fans. Mock draft machines have been a fun way to pass the time. Debating what teams should do and where prospects should go has given us our sports fix.
With the first round set to start Thursday night, here is The Buffalo News’ final mock draft. This one covers all seven rounds for the Bills and was produced with the mock draft machine at profootballnetwork.com.
Second round, No. 54 overall – Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama.
Reasoning: The Bills have to get younger at edge rusher. Lewis is a bit of a projection after missing all of the 2018 season because of a knee injury and playing in just 26 games during his college career. Still, he produced in 2019, finishing with 31 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and six sacks in being named a second-team All-Southeastern Conference selection. At 6 feet, 5 inches and 262 pounds, he’s got ideal size as a 4-3 defensive end. The Bills can bring Lewis along slowly behind Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison and Trent Murphy at the position.
Third round, No. 86 overall – Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame.
Reasoning: There is a very real chance Claypool won’t be available at this point of the draft Friday night, but in this scenario he was. This would be a popular choice among fans, for good reason. At 6 feet, 4 inches and 238 pounds, he ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine. He’s not just a workout warrior, either, having caught 13 touchdowns in 2019. He would add the size element currently lacking in the Bills’ receiver room.
Fourth round, No. 128 overall: Jack Driscoll, OL, Auburn.
Reasoning: Driscoll started all 13 games the past two seasons at Auburn after transferring from UMass. Some scouting reports project him as a guard, but the Bills like that kind of versatility. The biggest knock on him right now is his strength, but the Bills have put a big emphasis on strength and conditioning and likely feel like they can work with that type of player.
Fifth round, No. 167 overall: Michael Ojemudia, CB, Iowa.
Reasoning: It’s a good idea to take a cornerback every year. Ojemudia had six interceptions and 15 pases defensed over the past two seasons with the Hawkeyes. He’s got ideal size at 6 feet, 1 inch and 200 pounds and ran the 40 in 4.45 seconds at the combine. Josh Norman and E.J. Gaines are both playing on one-year contracts, so cornerback is a long-term positional need.
Sixth round, No. 188 overall: Mike Warren, RB, Cincinnati.
Reasoning: The Bills need a bruising, between-the-tackles runner. That’s Warren, who put up solid numbers for the Bearcats in 2019 (261 carries, 1,265 yards, 14 touchdowns, 21 catches, 253 yards, 2 TDs). From his scouting report on nfl.com, Warren “makes big-man runs on goal-line and chain-moving downs.” That’s an element the Bills could use on offense in 2020.
Sixth round, No. 207 overall: Tanner Muse, S, Clemson.
Reasoning: The Bills are still looking for the ideal "Buffalo nickel" defender. Muse fits the physical profile at 6 feet, 2 inches and 227 pounds. He played true safety for the Tigers, but his NFL scouting reports suggest a change to linebacker could be coming at the next level. Muse, a third-team All-American, led Clemson with four interceptions in 2019, ran a 4.41-second 40 at the combine and projects as an immediate contributor on special teams.
Seventh round, No. 239 overall: Nate Stanley, QB, Iowa.
Reasoning: This one’s for the “teams should draft a quarterback every year” crowd. Stanley’s scouting report reads similar to Josh Allen’s in that both have a strong arm, but have struggled with accuracy. Any quarterback chosen at this point in the draft would complete with Davis Webb for either the No. 3 job or, more likely, a spot on the practice squad. No. 2 quarterback Matt Barkley is entering the final year of his contract, so it’s not a bad idea to look for another developmental player at the position. Stanley was a three-time team captain at Iowa, demonstrating admirable leadership. He was an honorable mention All-Big Ten pick in 2019 after throwing for 2,941 yards and 16 touchdowns (seven interceptions).