After two rounds and a lot of wheeling and dealing, the Buffalo Bills addressed three of their top needs in the NFL Draft Friday night.
Less than 24 hours after filling a major hole at cornerback with Tre’Davious White from LSU, the Bills picked highly productive wide receiver Zay Jones from East Carolina and offensive lineman Dion Dawkins from Temple in the second round.
While the Bills moved down in the first round for White, Friday was all about moving up.
For Jones, they made a deal with the Los Angeles Rams to jump from the 44th spot in the second round to 37th. The Bills also gave the Rams the 91st overall pick, in the third round, which they acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs to move down from 10th to 27th to grab White Thursday night. Buffalo also picked up the 149th overall selection, in Saturday’s fifth round.
For Dawkins, the Bills traded with the Atlanta Falcons to move up from the 75th spot to 63rd in the second round by giving up the 149th and 156th choices in the fifth round.
The maneuvering left the Bills with no third- or fourth-round selections, but two fifths and a sixth remaining for Saturday.
“It is a long time” until the next pick “and we knew that; that was part of what you evaluate when you go and make this type of move,” coach Sean McDermott said. “You have to understand that is the other end of the deal. Right that you are going to sit around a while. The same time the caliber of the player has to be enough that in our evaluation that we feel good about it. That was the case with Dion.
“These moves were if our player was there we were going to look to do something as opposed to sitting around. We were able to do some things with that first round pick where we gained some ammunition to be able to move some things around. We came into this draft a week ago, potentially, we were sitting here the last couple days before the draft with six picks. We accrued some picks and we’ve had to package some things to get some guys, but guys that we believe in.”
Jones will be reunited with his former college position coach, Phil McGeoghan, who fills the same role with the Bills. McDermott said that was a factor in the decision to select Jones.
In 50 career games at East Carolina, Jones caught a staggering 399 passes for 4,279 yards (but averaged only 10.7 yards per catch) and 23 touchdowns.
“I don’t even know if I’ve caught that many in my life, right?” McDermott said. “I mean that’s a lot of balls. It’s a ton of balls in a college career, that’s very impressive. You can’t ignore it. You talk about fundamentals – throwing and catching. You guys have heard me talk about fundamentals before, that’s an important part.
“When that ball is thrown in his area, he’s catching it. So, we hope that that continues and so that gives you consistency. There’s not a whole lot to incompletions, right? I don’t like those. They don’t move the chains very…