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Bills Reacts Survey — What position should Buffalo draft in Round 1?

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By: Kyle Thele

Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images

The Bills are in need of reinforcements… and likely a few new starters come Week 1 of the 2024 NFL season

Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NFL. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Buffalo Bills fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate in the weekly emailed surveys.

We’re deep into the early offseason of professional football, with the NFL Scouting Combine taking place this week at Lucas Oil Stadium. As such, the Buffalo Bills and each of the 31 other NFL teams are keenly focused on scouting players who may become potential draft picks in April — or added via undrafted free agency following the draft.

Though the Bills once again made it to the Divisional Round of the playoffs, they lost yet another home playoff game to end their season. By the end of the season, Buffalo’s defense was a mash unit, especially at linebacker — and wide receiver Gabe Davis wasn’t able to suit up.

Immediately after, the focus began to shift to what the team needs, personnel wise, to get over the hump. It seems a foregone conclusion that Davis will be playing elsewhere next season, with the Bills cap-strapped and Davis likely to command a premium as a free agent.

As for the other receivers, Stefon Diggs seemed to struggle often during the second half of the season, with defenses committing significant resources to stopping him. That allowed second-year receiver Khalil Shakir to step up and become a highly efficient option for quarterback Josh Allen. But Shakir’s best role is as a slot receiver, and someone who can gain yards after the catch via shifty moves and deceptive speed.

The Bills have yet to draft a first-round wide receiver to add to Allen’s arsenal. Under general manager Brandon Beane, the team has only brought in one first-round talent: Calvin Benjamin.

Interestingly, the healthiest unit on defense to close the season seemed to fair the worst in its biggest moment. The defensive line failed to meaningfully disrupt quarterback Patrick Mahomes at any point of the game. Now, One Bills Drive is looking at a massive amount of potential attrition along the D-line, thanks to expiring contracts and free agency.

Along the interior of the D-line, DaQuan Jones, Jordan Phillips, Poona Ford, Tim Settle Jr., and Linval Joseph are all free agents. That leaves just Ed Oliver under contract for the 2024 season. As for defensive end, A.J. Epenesa and Shaq Lawson are both set to enter free agency.

Yet another elephant in the room is what the team does at safety. Micah Hyde and Taylor Rapp are both free agents, and Hyde may ultimately retire. Beyond 2024, Jordan Poyer won’t be under contract. Head coach Sean McDermott has continually praised what having Hyde and Poyer means to the defense and the team, and it’s fair to question at what point he tries to find their successors. Most would say those behind Hyde and Poyer on Buffalo’s roster are at best depth players.

So, we’ll ask you here: What position do the Buffalo Bills need to address the most in Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft — defensive tackle, edge rusher/defensive end, safety, or wide receiver?

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Originally posted on Buffalo Rumblings