Best available players for Buffalo Bills in NFL Draft: Troy Franklin, Austin Booker

After punting on Day 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft and going without a pick, the Bills stayed at all three of their Day 2 picks and added the trio of wide receiver Keon Coleman, safety Cole Bishop and defensive tackle DeWayne Carter. Those are their most significant additions of their draft class this year.

But they’ve got plenty more work ahead of them, with seven selections over the next four rounds. They’ll have one pick in the fourth round (No. 128), four picks in the fifth round (Nos. 141, 144, 160 and 163), one sixth-round selection (No. 204) and the first pick in the seventh round (No. 221).

Whether or not GM Brandon Beane stays and makes all those selections is another story entirely. Regardless, Beane almost exclusively uses his Day 3 selections on positions that could conceivably make the 53-man roster.

Which positions fit that description, and who are some names to monitor? Here is the Bills Day 3 big board.

*Arranged by overall need at position

Wide receiver

The Bills already drafted a wide receiver when they selected Keon Coleman at pick No. 33, though the case to double dip at the position this year is a strong one. Even with Coleman, the team only has four players who are a safe bet to make the 53-man roster this year at this point. The strength of the receiver class this year could bring on someone who could backfill the positions at either slot receiver, Z-receiver or someone who can do both.

Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

There is a lot to like in the Bills’ pairing with a player who moves faster on tape than his 4.41 40-yard dash indicates and one with excellent yards after catch and separation skills. Franklin’s size is the biggest concern, but he’d be a natural fit at Z receiver in their offense, which they could use after drafting Coleman. There’s a real argument that the Bills don’t have anyone quite like him on their roster.

Devontez Walker, WR, North Carolina

Walker’s fit in the Bills offense likely would be similar to Franklin’s, but Franklin is the superior prospect because he is better collecting yards after the catch.

Javon Baker, WR, Central Florida

Baker may wind up as a late-third, early-fourth round target who could play across the formation. He doesn’t have incredible speed, but he has the playmaking ability to outperform his draft position, which would be maybe a round or two higher in most years. He could likely fit in at any of the three receiver spots, depending on their preference. Z receiver is the likeliest first stop.

Malik Washington, Virginia

After the Coleman selection, slot receiver is much more realistic, and that’s just what the small but speedy Washington would provide an offense.

Jacob Cowing, Arizona

Cowing has done a little bit of everything throughout his college career. At UTEP, he was a boundary downfield threat who averaged nearly 20 yards per catch on 69 receptions in one season. Then at Arizona, Cowing was a short-to-intermedia weapon who won with separation from the slot receiver position. He’d be an outstanding fit for the Bills.

Jha’Quan Jackson, Tulane

Anthony Gould, Oregon State

Jamari Thrash, Louisville

Ryan Flournoy, SE Missouri State

Ainias Smith, Texas A&M

David White, Western Carolina

Offensive line

The Bills moved on from center Mitch Morse in the offseason, with the plan of moving left guard Connor McGovern to center, and inserting reserve David Andrews into the starting lineup at left guard. Even though that’s the tentative plan, it’s not set in stone for the long term. The Bills have an opening for a developmental offensive linemen, and could go one of two ways. They could go for a versatile interior line prospect that could challenge down the line to start over either Andrews or McGovern, or they could go after a tackle/guard versatile player in the event right tackle Spencer Brown leaves in 2025 via free agency.

Tanor Bortolini, C/G, Wisconsin

An athletic offensive lineman prospect with experience at both guard and center, Bortolini would project well to the Bills’ defensive scheme and potential role.

Nathan Thomas, T/G, Louisiana

Ethan Driskell, T, Marshall

Mason McCormick, IOL, South Dakota State

Beaux Limmer, IOL, Arkansas

The Bills have looked to add athletic offensive linemen, which is just what Limmer brings. He had one of the best Relative Athletic Scores at the center position in this year’s class, which has shown to be a commonality of the offensive linemen the team has gone for in the draft and free agency. Limmer has experience playing both guard and center and could develop into a starter down the line. If Limmer hits, he could easily replace David Andrews or Connor McGovern in the starting lineup at either guard or center — though the Bills would likely prefer center.

Sedrick Van Pran-Granger, Georgia

Hunter Nourzad, Penn State

Nick Gargiulo, IOL, South Carolina

Javon Foster, T, Missouri

Christian Mahogany, IOL, Boston College

Kingsley Eguakun, IOL, Florida

Matt Lee, IOL, Miami (FL)

Jacob Monk, IOL, Duke

Dylan McMahon, IOL, NC State

Jalen Sundell, IOL, North Dakota State

Edge rusher

Austin Booker, Kansas

Size, traits and projection sums up Booker the best, but this is the type of edge rusher the Bills have gone for in the past. He has only 505 snaps in college to his name, so he’d be a project and rotational player for the first year or two.

Cedric Jonson, Ole Miss

Brennan Jackson, Washington State

Nelson Ceaser III, Houston

Javon Solomon, Troy

Mohamed Kamara, Colorado State

Xavier Thomas, Clemson

Braiden McGregor, Michigan

Running back

James Cook is the clear as day top back in Buffalo, but there is an opening for someone to take over the No. 2 role behind him. The team brought back Ty Johnson on a one-year deal, though the right rookie could earn a consistent role as early as the 2024 season. If the Bills are looking to add someone with a differing skill set, physicality and short-yardage ability could be the lean. Special teams ability would be a huge plus, considering the drafted runner would be the third running back on the 53-man roster.

Jaylen Wright, Tennessee

In a limited role compared to others, Wright showed terrific yards after contact that could lend itself well to what the Bills are looking for in a No. 2 back. He also has 4.38 speed and big-play ability.

Braelon Allen, Wisconsin

If the Bills are looking for a big-bodied back to try and pick up some tough yardage, here is a potential target in that third or fourth round range.

Audric Estime, Notre Dame

Estime is a big back who runs with power and has one of the better short-yardage abilities of the class. The Bills have a vacancy for that type of player.

Ray Davis, Kentucky

Isaac Guerendo, Louisville

Isaiah Davis, South Dakota State

Finding a running back this late with some short-yardage ability who can also be active on game days for special teams is an ideal scenario. That’s just what Davis, who is nearly 218 pounds, would provide. The Athletic draft expert Dane Brugler wrote that Davis “runs tough and balanced with the feet to pick through the defense on early downs.”

Kimani Vidal, Troy

Rasheen Ali, Marshall

Cody Schrader, Missouri

Blake Watson, Memphis

Boundary cornerback

The Bills top three boundary cornerbacks are set for 2024 with Rasul Douglas, Christian Benford and Kaiir Elam, but the group is lacking a fourth to round out the depth chart. The Bills have had success with their Day 3 selections of cornerbacks, and they could go back to the well to find their fourth corner for the 2024 season. Special teams ability would be a major plus for any player they add at corner.

T.J. Tampa, Iowa State

Caelan Carson, Wake Forest

Nehemiah Pritchett, Auburn

M.J. Devonshire, Pittsburgh

Devonshire, despite a smaller frame (5-10, 186), has an arm length of nearly 33 inches, which is something the Bills look for in zone-scheme cornerbacks. The Bills have also had plenty of success drafting defensive backs from Pittsburgh, so that certainly helps this pairing.

Cam Hart, Notre Dame

Josh Newton, TCU

Qwan’tez Stiggers, Toronto (CFL)

Kalen King, CB/S, Penn State

Linebacker

The Bills have five linebackers that have a good chance to make the 53-man roster right now, though they’ve kept six in the past – especially for special teams purposes. With Tyler Matakevich, Tyrel Dodson and Siran Neal all no longer on the team for 2024, there is a vacancy for special teams assets, and linebacker is one of the easiest positions to translate to those core-four responsibilities.

Tommy Eichenberg, Ohio State

Cedric Gray, North Carolina

Jeremiah Trotter, Clemson

Jordan Magee, Temple

Edefuan Ulofoshio ,Washington

Curtis Jacobs, Penn State

JD Bertrand, Notre Dame

Jaylan Ford, Texas

Tyruce Knight, UTEP

Darius Muasau, UCLA

Nathaniel Watson, Mississippi State

James Williams, Miami (FL)

Steele Chambers, Ohio State

Michael Barrett Jr., Michigan

Joe Andressen, Buffalo

Safety

The Bills spent the No. 60 pick on Cole Bishop which makes double-dipping on a safety a bit more unlikely. However, if there’s someone sticking out on their draft board, you can’t rule it out entirely because the team can get out of veteran Mike Edwards’ contract pretty easily this summer. Either that, or they’d be committing to keeping five safeties in 2024 if the second safety earns a roster spot.

Malik Mustapha, Wake Forest

Mustapha is likely more of the strong-safety type in the Bills’ scheme as a strong run defender with size. The overall coverage instincts could be a draw despite the limited playmaking production. He would be an interesting partner next to Bishop in a starting lineup.

Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, Texas Tech

Kitan Oladapo, Oregon State

Beau Brade, Maryland

Evan Williams, Oregon

Daijahn Anthony, Ole Miss

Sione Vaki, Utah

Mark Perry, TCU

Defensive tackle

The Bills spent No. 95 on Duke defensive tackle DeWayne Carter, who fits more into the three-technique role than one-technique. If the Bills wanted to try and find a developmental one-technique on Day 3, they could conceivably make a spot for it. But with some roster limitations, it’s not a necessity.

Khristian Boyd, Northern Iowa

A small-school, yet versatile defensive tackle prospect who could find a home for the Bills as a long-term one-technique over time.

Tyler Davis, Clemson

Davis is an intriguing candidate for a one-technique defensive tackle later on in the draft. He’s not quite as versatile as the Bills prefer, though at this point in the draft, that is less important.

(Photo of Troy Franklin: Ric Tapia / Getty Images)

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