Aug 20, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Danny Shelton (71) takes on Buffalo Bills offensive guard John Miller (76) during the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Article continues below ...
With the NFL Draft quickly approaching, we will be examining the offensive guard position and players the Buffalo Bills should be considering in the NFL Draft.
The Buffalo Bills won’t be looking for a starting offensive guard in this year’s NFL Draft, but finding depth at the position is a must. Plus, with Richie Incognito nearing his final years in the NFL, a replacement will be needed eventually.
The Buffalo Bills could be smart in fixing that issue before it becomes an issue.
Both John Miller and Richie Incognito provide an excellent starting combination at guard. Incognito has taken full advantage of his second stint in Buffalo and Miller has been a massive hit by Doug Whaley as a 3rd round pick in 2015.
The negative to the current roster is depth as there are no backups currently signed for 2017. The Bills can’t ignore Incognito’s age and must look for a potential successor.
While Miller has been a success, his injury history and pass protection leaves the door open for improvement at right guard.
Improvement Need: MEDIUM
The Buffalo Bills must find a way to re-sign backup G Ryan Groy. He proved he can provide depth at multiple positions across the line. Even with that signing, they could still benefit from adding another veteran or rookie who can do the same.
Finding backups who fill multiple spots will save money in a year where money will be tight.
Now let’s take a look at where the draft may help the Bills future.
Sep 26, 2015; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Indiana Hoosiers head coach Kevin Wilson talks with offensive lineman Dan Feeney (67) during the first quarter against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Dan Feeney – Indiana
6’4” , 310 lbs
All-Big Ten 1st Team (2015 & 2016)
If there is anybody remotely close to being taken in the top 10 as a guard, it will be Dan Feeney from Indiana. Feeney has been described as a ‘mauler’ and capable to fit in any offensive scheme. He has experience paving the way for Falcons RB Tevin Coleman and faired well at the Senior Bowl.
I am not predicting that Feeney will be taken at #10, but IF anybody listed as guard is picked a #10, it’s him. Feeney could push Miller to the bench as a rookie and John Miller off the bench means that the offensive line depth just got that much better.
The best improvement is depth and competition, and picking Feeney here would do that. If Feeney is on the Buffalo Bills mind, it serves them best to trade down, or hope he drops slightly, if there is a run on a different position, and trade up to get him with their 2nd round pick.
Let’s see if there are any other prospects the Buffalo Bills should target in a later round.
Sep 23, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes offensive lineman Isaac Asiata (54) celebrates with teammate Utah Utes offensive lineman Garett Bolles (72) after a third quarter fumble recovery for a touchdown against the USC Trojans at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Utah Utes defeated the USC Trojans 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
Isaac Asiata – Utah
6’3” , 323 lbs
Offensive Morris Trophy Winner
2nd Team All-Pac 12
Asiata projects at the NFL as a guard or center. The versatility component may make him a quality mid-round selection to backup multiple positions. What the Buffalo Bills are hoping for is to add a veteran free agent and a youngster to round it all out.
The youngster in this case could be Asiata, who comes from a dominant NCAA offense that has produced quality NFL offensive linemen over the past few seasons.
While slightly smaller than the 6-3, 335 pound Jackson, Asiata possesses a similar bowling ball-like build, winning with sheer power, aggression and underrated agility.
Projected Bills NFL Draft Round: 4–5
I am not going to guess what a future projection will equate to in reality. What you get is a 4-year starter from the Pac 12. A player who played almost every position along the offensive line, which should equate to a quality backup day 1.
If he develops the nastiness of a Jackson, then that’s just a plus, because he will be groomed to replace Incognito in a few years.
Dec 5, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Clemson Tigers center Jay Guillermo (57) prepares to snap the ball during the second half against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the ACC football championship game at Bank of America Stadium. Clemson defeated North Carolina 45-37. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Jay Guillermo – Clemson
6’3” , 325 lbs
1st Team All-ACC
Rimington Trophy Watchlist
Rex Ryan is gone, but there is a strange love affair the Buffalo Bills have had with Clemson players, so let’s try to find the next one so you are well versed for when it happens.
Guillermo had a much better season in 2015 than he did in 2016. That inconsistency is a reason for him to not be picked too high, but his experience should get him drafted. As what I would suspect is a late-round pick, Guillermo could provide a decent backup and special teams player for the Bills.
I wouldn’t take him above round 6, solely because unlike others mentioned in this post, I don’t see the potential to start for an NFL team. What he does bring that’s better than our other predictions, is better skills at pass blocking vs. run blocking. Most of who we are projecting are guys who will fit initially into the zone-blocking running scheme the Bills will deploy.
This could be a fault, because where the right side of the Bills offensive line seems to fail most, is in pass protection.
Projected Bills NFL Draft Round: 6
Should the Bills find a guard that is a better pass protector than John Miller, that could make for an interesting training camp battle. I love Miller and what he brings as a former 3rd round pick in terms of value, but that isn’t to say the Buffalo Bills won’t look for improvement.
Improved pass protection will help any QB the Bills have next year.
Jan 2, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Wisconsin Badgers defensive end Alec James (57) and Western Michigan Broncos offensive lineman Taylor Moton (72) in action in the 2017 Cotton Bowl game at AT&T Stadium. The Badgers defeat the Broncos 24-16. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Taylor Moton – Western Michigan
6’5” , 326 lbs
2016 All-MAC First Team
Versatility is king.
Without requiring a starter at guard, Day 3 of the NFL Draft will be the time to watch for guard picks by Buffalo. Day 3 players typically provide depth and special teams contributions. Sometimes teams look for raw talent that could be molded into a future starter or just a long time backup.
Moton will bring more versatility having played at guard and tackle, most recently at right tackle during his senior season. Western Michigan was a predominantly pass-first offense and adding improvement in pass protection is a need along the offensive line.