The pick is in

Mock draft has Bills taking LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. in first round

AP Photo In this Oct. 21, 2023 file photo, LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. (11) runs past Army defensive back Cameron Jones (10) on his way to the end zone during an NCAA football game in Baton Rouge, La.

And just like that, the 2024 NFL Draft is just days away. The first waves of free agency have come and gone, and now it is time for teams to finish building their rosters for the 2024 season (although there will still be plenty of signings after the draft and throughout the summer).

This is arguably the biggest draft for Buffalo Bills GM Brandon Beane since 2018, when he selected QB Josh Allen. The Bills have entered window No. 2 of Allen’s career, and it is crucial that Beane and his staff hit this draft out of the park. The best way they can do that is by drafting more weapons for Allen, specifically wide receivers, as the Bills essentially have to replace Stefon Diggs AND Gabe Davis. The biggest question, aside from who are they selecting, is will the Bills trade up, trade down or stay put at pick No. 28?

Personally, I think this is the year to be aggressive at least once, if not twice. If you are tasked with replacing one of the best wide receivers in franchise history, this is NOT the year to let the board fall to you — go up and get the guy who you like and who you have a first-round grade on. Plus, Beane gets antsy, which he admits; let’s not forget that he traded up to select CB Kaiir Elam in 2022, and then traded up for TE Dalton Kincaid in 2023.

In addition, the Bills still have 10 total picks this year following the Diggs trade. I highly doubt all 10 rookies will make the 53-man roster. And since the Bills still have Josh Allen as their quarterback, their window is still open. I think it’s smart to go after as many dynamic weapons as you can so that you can have them for four or five years on cheap, rookie deals; replace those household names that you lost with new, young high-end talent.

Before I get into my mock draft, let’s take a look at Buffalo’s current draft picks (via the Bills’ website):

≤ Round 1: No. 28 overall

≤ Round 2: No. 60

≤ Round 4: Nos. 128, 133

≤ Round 5: Nos. 144 (from Bears), 160 (from Packers), 163

≤ Round 6: Nos. 200 (from Cowboys through Texans), 204

≤ Round 7: No. 248

Seven-Round Mock Draft


BUF receives: Pick No. 22

PHI receives: Pick No. 28, 2025 2nd-round pick

R1: No. 22

WR Brian Thomas Jr. (LSU)

With the 22nd overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft … I have the Bills using the second-round pick that they acquired in the Diggs trade to move up to get their new WR1 in Brian Thomas Jr. After the first tier of wideouts (Marvin Harrison Jr, Malik Nabers, Rome Odunze), Thomas is arguably the next best receiver that teams will be going after. Standing at 6-foot-3, 209 pounds, Thomas has the size, the speed (4.33 40-yard dash), and the athleticism (9.84 RAS — relative athletic score) to dominate at the next level. He led the nation with 17 receiving TDs last season, on top of his 1,177 yards on 68 receptions.

(If the Bills do not get Thomas, I just want to say that I am a huge Xavier Legette fan).

R2: No. 60

WR Ja’Lynn Polk (Washington)

I have the Bills double-dipping at wide receiver with their second-round pick, taking Ja’Lynn Polk 60th overall. Polk is an underrated pass catcher in this class as he has had to share the field with Rome Odunze each of the last three seasons. However, Polk had 1,159 yards and nine TDs on 69 receptions playing as a WR2 in 2023. He is another receiver who has great ball skills and can go up and make the tough, contested catch, like Thomas. He can win down the field, not necessarily because of his speed, but from his strength and great hands. He is also an effective blocker, another aspect that the Bills are trying to replace with Gabe Davis’ departure.


BUF receives: Pick No. 100

WSH receives: Pick Nos. 128, 144, 200

R3: No. 100

S Cole Bishop (Utah)

This is where I have the Bills making another trade UP, this time getting their third-round pick back by sneaking into the end of Round 3. I think this would be a great deal if the Bills can swing it because they would still have a fourth-round pick, two fifths, a sixth AND a seventh remaining. Plus, Washington has three third-round picks and no picks in the fourth and sixth rounds, so this could be a team that is looking to move back on Day Three based on the value of their board. (When I conducted this mock draft on Pro Football Network, they only accepted this trade if I gave them the first of each of my picks in rounds 4, 5 and 6.)

So with that third-round pick, I have the Buffalo Bills selecting S Cole Bishop. Bishop is a very intriguing prospect, as he is versatile, has great instincts, and plays with a high motor. He can play free safety or strong safety, although scouts say he is more effective when he’s closer to the line of scrimmage. Regardless, he is a great tackler and has great coverage abilities, as he shows good route anticipation. And on top of all this, he is incredibly athletic, as his 9.86 RAS score ranked 15th out of 1,000 safeties ranked since 1987.

R4: No. 133

G/C Tanor Bortolini (Wisconsin)

With their fourth-round pick, I have the Bills taking Wisconsin’s Tanor Bortolini. Like Bishop in the last round, Bortolini seems like that Sean McDermott type of player — tough, gritty, competitive, plays with intensity, etc. And best of all, he’s versatile, as he’s played four of the five positions on the offensive line throughout his career. Though he has a lot of experience in run-blocking schemes and is solid in pass protection, he still has some areas that he can clean up. This would be the perfect prospect for OL Coach Aaron Kromer to polish up, especially if the Bills would rather keep Connor McGovern at left guard.

R5: No. 160

DT Gabe Hall (Baylor)

Coming in with the 160th overall pick is Baylor DT Gabe Hall. Standing at 6-foot-6, 290 pounds, Hall is a “physical specimen with exceptional size, length and build,” according to NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein. He is another player who checked out very high on the RAS chart (9.20) as he has great burst and explosiveness. However, he still has some areas of his game that he needs to work on, especially considering he weighs less than most defensive tackles at the NFL level. I think Hall would be a great piece to add to Buffalo’s defensive line as he can develop behind Ed Oliver at the 3-technique.

R5: No. 163

DT Khristian Boyd (Northern Iowa)

Well, I double-dipped at WR and now I’m double-dipping again, this time taking DT Khristian Boyd. This essentially works off of my previous selection as, unlike Hall who has the length but not the weight, Boyd has the weight but not the length. He is listed at 6-foot-2, 329 pounds with a smaller wingspan of roughly 77 inches (Hall’s wingspan is 84 inches for comparison). Boyd has good strength and explosiveness that helps him to be disruptive against the run and the pass. At first glance, he has the body of a nose tackle, but he actually plays more like a 3-tech. I think

Boyd and Hall could play well off of each other and would make for an interesting blend of attributes behind Oliver, DaQuan Jones and Austin Johnson.

R6: No. 204

RB Isaiah Davis (South Dakota St.)

Since the Bills did not sign a running back in free agency (other than re-signing Ty Johnson), I think that finding an RB2 to complement James Cook and to take the pressure off of Josh Allen is a big need. Depending on how big of a need the Bills think it is, they could draft a running back higher than Round 6. (If they do, I like Audric Estime from Notre Dame in the mid-rounds.) But based on how my board fell, I landed on Isaiah Davis from South Dakota State. Davis has a rare combination of size, speed, vision and athleticism, as he is listed at 6-foot, 218 pounds and scored an 8.86 on the RAS scale. Over the last two seasons combined, Davis ran for 3,029 yards and 33 TDs on 485 carries (6.2 ypc). A true sleeper.

R7: No. 248

CB Jarius Monroe (Tulane)

Another sleeper candidate is Tulane’s Jarius Monroe. Monroe has excellent size (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) and ball skills, as he defended 22 passes and picked off six of them over the last two seasons. Along the same lines of playing with physicality, Monroe says that he plays with a lot of passion. Some other traits that I like about him are his leadership and communication skills, his willingness to learn, and his ability to play special teams (and potentially safety as well). For as much as the Bills need to replace Tre White, let’s not forget about Siran Neal, who was a gunner on special teams, a backup nickel corner, and could play some safety when needed. Jarius Monroe could very quietly come here and fill all of those roles.


Well, that concludes my seven-round mock draft; we’ll see how close (or far) I am to the Bills’ actual draft. I would say that this is my final mock draft, but there are still a few days left to keep looking into these prospects! That being said, you can find me co-hosting the Going Deep Buffalo podcast on the Built in Buffalo network every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. EST, as we will have full coverage of the 2024 Buffalo Bills draft class.

You can also follow me on X (formerly Twitter) @kevin_siracuse.


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