Should the Buffalo Bills Target a WR in Round 1? Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jordan Addison Options?

It’s no surprise that Mock Draft Simulator users are pretty savvy when it comes to knowing what NFL teams might do. Using MDS data, we can see that users expect the Buffalo Bills to either go wide receiver or offensive lineman in the first round. But should the Bills be targeting a WR in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft?

Is Drafting a Round 1 WR the Best Move for the Buffalo Bills?

According to the latest MDS data, users have mocked a wide receiver or offensive lineman to the Bills 22.2% and 22.1% of the time, respectively. Focusing on the wide receiver position, is that the best option for the Bills’ front office?

The Buffalo Bills Need WR Help

The Bills have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. Last season, they finished second in the NFL in yards per game (397.6) and points scored (28.4), trailing only the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

At first glance, offensive skill position help may not seem like an area of need for the perennial Super Bowl contenders. However, a closer look at the Bills’ offense reveals a weaker-than-you-may-expect group of pass catchers.

Annual All-Pro WR Stefon Diggs has been elite ever since joining Buffalo in 2020 and is undoubtedly a true WR1. The issue isn’t Diggs — it’s everything behind him.

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Last season, Diggs finished seventh in receptions per game (6.8) and fourth in receiving yards per game (89.3). In order to find the next Bills on the list of 2022 receiving leaders, you’ll have to scroll all the way down to 81 and 82, where you’ll find Gabe Davis and Dawson Knox averaging 3.2 receptions for 55.7 and 34.5 yards, respectively.

Buffalo’s wide receiver situation became so dire last year that they lured Cole Beasley out of retirement to join them for the final month of the regular season plus the postseason. Suffice it to say WR is a position of need for the Bills. Specifically, they need a solid WR2 to complement Diggs.

Which WRs Are Options for Buffalo Bills in the First Round?

The Bills’ first pick comes at No. 27 overall. With that late of a first-round selection, they won’t be the first team to draft a wide receiver.

The good news is there should still be plenty of wide receivers available for them. The bad news is this WR class is quite the step down from last year’s. While there are plenty of capable NFL starters in this class, the top guys are nowhere near as strong as the group of Drake London, Garrett Wilson, and Chris Olave we got last year.

Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba seems to have settled in as the consensus WR1 of this class. It’s safe to say he will be off the board prior to Buffalo’s first-round pick. It’s also highly likely that at least another one or two wide receivers are gone before the Bills are up. However, in the absence of a clear hierarchy at the position, any of the next few guys could fall to Buffalo.

If the Bills do go wide receiver at No. 27 overall, it will likely be one of three guys: USC’s Jordan Addison, TCU’s Quentin Johnston, or Boston College’s Zay Flowers.

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Head coach Sean McDermott could undoubtedly make any one of these three prospects work as his WR2. While I’m not the biggest fan of this class — or Johnston in particular — at the very least, they would all be an immediate upgrade on Davis.

Addison is a smaller, shiftier receiver, who profiles in the slot at the NFL level. The Bills tried to address that role last year by extending Isaiah McKenzie and drafting Khalil Shakir. They’ve since cut McKenzie, while Shakir is a Day 3 pick. Addison would certainly leapfrog Shakir on the depth chart.

Johnston is a throwback, big-bodied outside flanker. He’s very different from Diggs, which would provide Josh Allen with an entirely different WR skill set to utilize.

Similar to Addison, Flowers is also a small, shifty receiver. He looks like a more stout DeVonta Smith, checking in at three inches shorter and 12 pounds heavier. If Buffalo is looking for that underneath slot guy, and they either can’t get one or don’t prefer Addison, Flowers may be just as good.

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