The 2024 NFL Draft is a little over a week away, and for Bills Mafia, the excitement of the numerous possibilities that Brandon Beane has at his disposal is at a fever pitch. Trades should be expected, but can’t be assumed. In this exercise, we look at a Buffalo mock draft utilizing all 10 picks as they currently stand, without trades. 

Round 1, Pick 28: AD Mitchell, WR, University of Texas

I’m not wasting any time here. Wide receiver is clearly the most pressing need, and even in a deep wide receiver class, there are certain prospects worth selecting late in the 1st round. Mitchell is one of them. Mitchell was a monster at the Combine, weighing in at 6’2” 205 lbs with a 39.5” vert, 11’4” broad, and 4.35 40-yard dash. He’s coming off a 55 reception, 845 yard, 11 touchdown season. With size and speed, Mitchell has tools to emerge as a high-level target for Josh Allen.

Round 2, Pick 60: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State University 

In this scenario, Keon Coleman, another big, athletic wide receiver, is available at 60th overall. There’s no reason not to double dip at easily the most-needed position for Buffalo. I don’t care (much) about Coleman’s very not-great 4.84 40-yard dash. Running the 40 is a skill to itself. Coleman has plenty of game speed and a “that ball is mine” mentality when the ball is in the air. 

Round 4, Pick 128: Leonard Taylor III, DT, University of Miami

Day 3 of the NFL Draft is full of Buffalo draft picks. Some of these have a good chance of being packaged for a move-up, but as stated, we’re making all picks in this mock. Leonard Taylor III is a bit inconsistent, but he’s toolsy, explosive, has good hands, and is well-suited as a rotational 3T defensive tackle in Sean McDermott’s defense. 

Round 4, Pick 133: Maason Smith, DT, LSU

It wasn’t that long ago that Maason Smith was being discussed as a potential first-round caliber prospect. A year at LSU full of inconsistencies is seeing Smith slide to somewhere in the middle of the draft, but Smith is another high-upside defensive line fit with good pop in his hands.

Round 5, Pick 144: Malik Mustapha, S, Wake Forest

If there’s one mid-round safety that I want Buffalo to target, it’s Malik Mustapha, who might be one of the most underrated defenders in this class. Mustapha flies around, plays with urgency, and compete, and he hits hard. Buffalo has a starting safety tandem locked up for 2024, which would give Mustapha time to learn and develop. The instincts and the strong tackling will have McDermott in love.

Round 5, Pick 160: Zak Zinter, G, University of Michigan

Zak Zinter was an anchor on the national champion Michigan offensive line. He plays with a strong anchor and is road-graded in the run game. Zinter showcases a strong anchor, good awareness, and is a definite plus in the run game. He needs some development against the pass rush, but in the 5th round, there are plenty of traits to be happy about. 

Round 5, Pick 163: Dillon Johnson, HB, University of Washington

I have been calling for Dillon Johnson on Day 3 of the draft to Buffalo for months. Buffalo could use some thunder to go with James Cook’s lightning, and Johnson would gladly provide it. His athletic testing didn’t pan out, but it’s not surprising since he’s been recovering from injury all offseason. Put on the tape and you’ll know that this 5’11” 217 lb running back gets stronger as the game goes. He battles and is a load to bring down. I would be all for him as a complementary hammer. 

Round 6, Pick 200: Anthony Gould, WR, Oregon State University

The back of this draft isn’t particularly deep, with some players opting to return to school with NIL deals on the table, but that’s a conversation for another time. Oregon State is quietly sending a handful of players to the NFL this year, and wide receiver Anthony Gould should be one of them. Gould is very small, even by small wide receiver standards, at 5’8” 174 lbs. However, he has flexibility to line up all over the field, runs good routes, and plays bigger than his size. He has plenty of explosiveness as well, as evidenced by the blazing 4.39 40 yard dash. Oh, and he’s a return specialist that could have a lot of fun with the new kickoff rules.

Round 6, Pick 204: Johnny Dixon, CB, Penn State

Johnny Dixon was being talked about as the best cornerback in this class as of a year ago, and now finds himself in a pre-draft free fall. Despite having an inconsistent year, Dixon still possesses length and athleticism at the position, and developed an ability to blitz from outside in 2023 that led to leading all FBS cornerbacks with 4.5 sacks. Dixon has experience and a very high football IQ, consistently showcasing the ability to diagnose plays early on.

Round 7, Pick 248: Andrew Raym, C, University of Oklahoma

You can never have too many offensive linemen, especially one with over 2,000 collegiate snaps under his belt. Raym has experience and good hands but has limited athleticism in his upside. Still, adding an experienced interior offensive lineman with the last pick in the draft to add some depth to the O-Line room isn’t a bad way to go. 

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Gallery Credit: Dan Bahl

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