Buffalo Bills: Scouting the 2017 NFL Draft for an Offensive Tackle
With the NFL Draft quickly approaching, we will be examining the tackle position and players the Buffalo Bills should be considering in the NFL Draft.
The Buffalo Bills will be going into the offseason with questions at the tackle positions, specifically the right side. The Bills have been inconsistent to say the least on that side, but they do have options on the roster, should it not be addressed in the NFL Draft.
Here’s a list of the current offensive tackles on the Bills’ roster:
LT Cordy Glenn (27 years old, 4 years left on contract)
RT Seantrel Henderson (25 years old, 1 year left on contract)
RT Cyrus Kouandjio (23 years old, 1 year left on contract)
Need For Improvement: Medium
Left tackle is set with Cordy Glenn, who can also play right tackle if needed. I mention that because Kouandijo — who is listed as a right tackle — is a far better left tackle. He has a knee injury history and backpedals easier and more comfortably from the left side.
The best use of all the offensive linemen may be to have Glenn play RT and Kouandijo at LT. However, Glenn is paid as the left tackle and the Buffalo Bills will not pay for two left tackles. Thus, the right tackle spot is still a whole that can be filled in the draft.
Or at the very least, the NFL Draft should provide an upgrade over Jordan Mills..
Seantrel Henderson has been a very good RT when healthy, but since his health issues began, he can’t be relied upon to start a full 16 games. Where the Bills MAY want to explore is trading Kuoandijo to a left tackle needy team and add some draft picks.
Who may the Bills add if the only additions are thru the draft? Let’s start with who the Bills should take at the 10th overall pick should they address tackle there.
Ryan Ramczyk – Wisconsin
1st Team All-Big 10
Consensus All American
If the Buffalo Bills select an offensive linemen with the 10th pick, there is a strong possibility they will be picking the first linemen in the draft. Ryan Ramczyk is arguably the best overall linemen, with Cam Robinson the other top name to consider.
What I like about Ramczyk is that he is a strong run blocker and I am erring on the side of “Wisconsin produces NFL linemen”. The Bills recently dipped into the Alabama pool for an offensive tackle and Kouandjio just hasn’t produced as planned.
Where you can speculate that Ramczyk isn’t a good choice, is because of his recent injury problems. He played thru a hip injury, but was still an all-American in 2016 and will miss the combine workouts while he recovers from hip surgery.
Ramczyk also has a good underdog story, as he began his college career at a Division III school before transferring to Wisconsin. He is a Wisconsin native, which as a Bills fan I find to be a bonus.
I am tired of hearing our management imply that we have an advantage when the winter hits. We have a lot of players from warm-weather schools and states. Ramczyk adds a cold weather mauler to our team, one that I believe won’t be hurt by the cold come December.
Should the Buffalo Bills pass on a Tackle in Round 1, let’s take a look at who else they could add later in the draft.
Garett Bolles – Utah
First Team All-Pac 12
Garett Bolles was out of football for awhile and actually worked two years as a garage door repairman. It’s nice to have a backup plan, but he will get drafted and have a chance to contribute in the NFL.
Where he could become an option for the Buffalo Bills, is that he has a troubled past that teams will need to be comfortable with prior to selecting him.
If you are willing to select Bolles, what can be expected is the physical tools, but still work to be done in terms of technique. He projects as a solid offensive tackle in a zone-blocking offense (Hello Bills).
Where he is lacking is in terms of experience and age. Bolles will turn 25 before the start of the NFL season and only started 1 year at Utah.
This can be a good thing, as whatever team drafts him can try to mold him into what they want. Players can be too experienced if you need to teach them new techniques. They can default to their old habits once the lights come on.
A clean slate and the right offensive line coach could make Bolles a development option at either tackle spot.
Projected Bills Draft Round: 3-5
With Bolles’ background, age and experience, I wouldn’t want Whaley to reach early. While I do believe you can use him with the plan to develop, chances are that he will be forced to play in year one with Henderson’s issues.
I would take him and try to get the most out of his tools, but not put the pressure of starting right away on him.
Adam Bisnowaty – Pittsburgh
2-time First Team All-ACC
Pittsburgh has done fairly well moving offensive linemen into the NFL. I say why not give Adam Bisnowaty a shot to provide depth if he is available on day 3.
From everything I have read, Bisnowaty will not grade out too well in the technical drills during the pre-draft process. I am not a scout, but at some point late in day 3, I would take Bisnowaty. His upside may not be as high as others, but he produced over multiple years in college.
I know scouts have to over analyze everything, but the left tackle for a very good running game should be considered if he falls.
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For a day 3 pick, you aren’t expecting a starter, but depth that could potentially develop into a starter. CBS Sports’ Rob Rang says of Bisnowaty:
While his college days were spent on the left side, Bisnowaty’s physical style of play make him better served on the right side at the next level. He may not possess the elite tools to warrant first round consideration but Bisnowaty could make a team look awfully smart on Day Two.
If the Buffalo Bills attempt to flip Kouandjio into more picks, they will need depth at the left tackle position. A player with that experience in college would be nice.
Projected Bills Draft Round: 5-7
Just like Bolles, I would like this pick, but not if it means you reach. Bisnowaty will take some time to trust in a NFL game — and that’s ok.
At a base level, Bisnowatny is Pittsburgh born and bred. You hope his mental makeup will fit in well with what the Bills are trying to develop. He is a mauler and a tough football player.
That’s it for our preview of tackles.
What offensive tackle would you like to see the Buffalo Bills draft this year? Leave your comments below!
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