Sunday, April 30, 2023

Buffalo Bills 2023 NFL Draft Grades Roundup

The 2023 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, and we have compiled a consensus ranking using NFL draft grades from a variety of sites.

What draft grades have the media given to the Buffalo Bills? What are they saying about the Bills' 2023 draft haul?

MORE: 2023 NFL Strength of Schedule - Grade: A

I thought the Bills would move up for a pass-catcher in the first round, and that's what they did to land Kincaid. Torrence was a steal because of the power and nimble feet he'll provide in the run game and Williams should play immediately in Tremaine Edmunds' old spot.

They picked an outside receiver with downfield ability in Shorter, who could push Gabe Davis. Broeker could have easily been a top-150 selection because of his toughness inside and experience at tackle. Austin has potential as a physical outside corner.

ESPN - Grade: B

I didn't have tight end listed among the Bills' pre-draft needs, but we ought to consider their first pick as a player who could fill the void at slot receiver. They traded up two spots to take Dalton Kincaid (25), the best pass-catching tight end in this class. He led all FBS tight ends with 70 catches last season and did a lot of damage out of the slot. This is a team that needed a playmaker to take the load off Stefon Diggs, and Kincaid will help. Josh Allen now has Kincaid and Dawson Knox as his top two tight ends, and he has to be thrilled.

O'Cyrus Torrence (59) is a road-grading guard who should push for early playing time. Off-ball linebacker Dorian Williams (91) ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at the combine, and he has some coverage ability. After Tremaine Edmunds left in free agency, Buffalo has a need at inside 'backer, though I'm not sure Williams is the perfect fit. Nick Broeker (230) is a decent guard prospect who is definitely worth a Round 7 flier.

I question the Bills not taking a corner until the seventh round, but the first three selections in this class are enough for a solid B.

SI - Grade: B

The Bills got excellent value over the first two rounds, snagging Kincaid on the first night before landing Torrence to beef up their interior on Friday evening. Buffalo wasn't expected to take a tight end after extending Dawson Knox last offseason, but Kincaid gives it another weapon to stretch defenses down the seam. In the latter round, the Bills again focused largely on offense with Shorter and Broeker, who should be depth pieces for the next year or two, with Shorter playing on special teams. Williams is intriguing, as Buffalo is thin at linebacker after watching Tremaine Edmunds leave in free agency.

PFF - Grade: A

Day 1: The Bills make a small jump but land the premier pass-catching tight end in the draft in Kincaid. The 10th overall player on the PFF big board, this is a huge value pick. Kincaid was the focal point of the Utah offense and led all players at the position with a 91.8 PFF receiving grade.

Day 2: Like the Giants just a few picks ago, this could have easily been the Bills' first-round pick. A mountain of a man at the position, he can still move better than his size would suggest. After starting his career at Louisiana, he made the move to the SEC with ease, finishing 2022 with an 89.9 PFF run-blocking grade, which was the best in the Power Five last season.

The Bills trade up to secure Williams, a player with legitimate range and a huge wingspan. Those traits helped him morph into one of the most impactful players at the position against the pass throughout his college career. Williams produced a top-10 coverage grade among FBS off-ball linebackers in two of his last three seasons at Tulane.

Day 3: Shorter is one of the bigger wide receivers in this class, coming in at 6-foot-4 and 234 pounds with nearly 34-inch arms. He was a big-play threat for the Gators and averaged 19.9 yards per reception in 2022 without a dropped pass. He'll likely fill a similar role for Buffalo and compete to be on the receiving end of Josh Allen bombs.

Most of Broeker's 3,323 offensive snaps at Ole Miss came at left tackle, but he kicked inside to left guard in 2022. He was a reliable pass protector for the Rebels with 70.0-plus PFF pass-blocking grades in each of the past two seasons.

Austin produced 70.0-plus PFF coverage and run defense grades in his final season in college. On the field for 476 coverage snaps, he allowed 42 receptions for 529 yards in 2022.

Fox Sports - Grade: B

In the first round, the Bills went after a creative and compelling solution to their offensive problems: tight end Dalton Kincaid. He is a big slot threat in the offense and a cross between a receiver and tight end.

"That TE is awesome. He can be their version of Travis Kelce. Great pick," an NFL passing-game coordinator told me.

If Kincaid develops into the Kelce of this offense, then this pick will be a coup. Even if he ends up more like a Zach Ertz, that would be a great selection for quarterback Josh Allen, who desperately needed another reliable pass-catcher.

The draft continued to Day 2 on a positive note with guard Cyrus O'Torrence, a mauler of incredible size (6-foot-5, 330 pounds), in the second round. Then things went against the grain in the third round when they took linebacker Dorian Williams. It made plenty of sense — until Bills GM Brandon Beane revealed he planned to use Williams as a weakside linebacker, rather than inside where they need help replacing Tremaine Edumunds. That made the pick a headscratcher.

On Day 3, the Bills finished with fifth-round receiver Justin Shorter, who is actually bigger than most receivers in this draft at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds. Buffalo took Ole Miss guard Nick Boeker and Oregon State cornerback Alex Austin in the seventh round.

USA Today - Grade: B-

With QB Josh Allen recently admitting he'll soon have to gear down his running, felt like the AFC champs pivoted to supporting him in that effort. Dalton Kincaid was widely rated as the top tight end in a deep class of them, even garnering unfair comparisons to Travis Kelce. The first-rounder should become a needed volume option between WRs Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. Mauling second-round G O'Cyrus Torrence ought to make the pocket more comfortable for Allen if not improve the running game for guys actually charged with carrying the ball.

The Ringer - Grade: B+

The Bills did exactly what I had hoped they'd do in this draft by bolstering their offensive skill player position group with Dalton Kincaid. The former Utah tight end brings high-end movement skills and toughness after the catch, and should be able to give Josh Allen a much-needed boost on passes to the short and intermediate areas. Buffalo got good value in the second round in Florida guard O'Cyrus Torrence, a player I had ranked 18th overall on The Ringer's Big Board. And they addressed their thin linebacker group by grabbing Tulane's Dorian Williams in the third round. He's a rangy, aggressive playmaker at the second level. I'm intrigued by day-three pick of Florida receiver Justin Shorter, who gives Buffalo a developmental player with high-end athletic traits.

Sporting News - Grade: C

The Cowboys reached right away for need with 4-3 run-stuffing nose tackle Smith in the first round. Schoonmaker, Vaughn and Brooks didn't give them the offensive skill punch they needed. Overshown is their type of linebacker to complement Micah Parsons, and he and Smith save the class for immediate impact, on top of Fehoko's own big defensive upside.

Touchdown Wire - Grade: A-

The Bills have had issues getting past the Chiefs in recent years, and the fact that the Chiefs have Travis Kelce is one of the primary reasons. So, the Bills went out and got the closest thing to Kelce in this class. Kincaid can demolish defenders in contested-catch situations, he can shred man and zone coverage with his route and spacing awareness, and he's going to be Josh Allen's new best buddy. Getting TE1 with the 25th pick? No problem there. Buffalo also needed beef in the offensive line, and this is about where Torrence should have gone — he's a dominant earthdog who struggles with agility situations, but as he's used to blocking for Anthony Richardson, Allen's game will seem quite similar.

The loss of Tremaine Edmunds in free agency left the Bills in need of a linebacker, and Dorian Williams is one of the better run-and-chase guys in this class; perfect for a team that plays nickel about 90% of the time. Shorter, who stood out at times when I was watching Richardson's tape, is a huge (6-foot-4, 229-pound) target who can really move in a straight line.

More: 2023 NFL Draft Grade Roundups

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