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Mel Kiper remains focused on Buffalo Bills’ offensive needs in latest mock draft

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By: Matt Byham

Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

Kiper sends more help to quarterback Josh Allen

The 2024 NFL Draft will be here before we know it. This week, the NFL Scouting Combine has the NFL world’s attention with several hundred potential draft prospects showing all 32 teams what they can do.

With combine and draft season in full swing, that means Mel Kiper Jr. is back front and center to get people excited and talking about what could be come draft day for everyone’s favorite team.

The Buffalo Bills are scheduled to make 10 picks in this year’s draft, and it’s paramount to the team’s long-term success that they hit on as many as possible.

In Kiper’s first mock draft of 2024, back in early January, he sent wide receiver Adonai Mitchell to One Bills Drive, likely based on a feeling that wide receiver Gabe Davis is headed elsewhere in a few weeks. Regardless, the team has a need in the room whether Davis leaves or not.

In Kiper’s latest mock draft, he sticks with the offensive side of the ball for the Bills in Round 1, selecting:

Brian Thomas, Jr., WR (LSU)

Essentially, the reasons for Kiper choosing Mitchell before remain in place with this selection of Brian Thomas, Jr. In discussing his pick, Kiper notes:

“With Gabe Davis likely to sign elsewhere in free agency, the Bills have to find a No. 2 wideout this offseason. The draft might be their best opportunity to do that. There might be six or seven receivers taken in Round 1 in April. Thomas, who played mostly outside receiver for the Tigers, caught 68 passes for 1,177 yards and led the FBS with 17 touchdowns in 2023. At 6-4, he has a stellar combo of size and speed. He also has great hands. The best way to take Buffalo’s offense to a new level is with an upgrade on the other side of Stefon Diggs.”

To all that, I’ll say: Precisely, Mel Kiper. It’s also refreshing to see someone note the importance of filling the WR2 role, instead of suggesting wide receiver Khalil Shakir can simply step in there. Shakir is going to be his best operating out of the slot.

Thomas might be my favorite realistic option at wide receiver in Round 1 for the Bills. He represents the full package as a boundary receiver, and clearly possesses the alpha gene on the gridiron. Drafting Thomas would allow the Bills to immediately fill the void left by losing Davis, and give them an opportunity to further develop Thomas into a larger, featured role down the road.

The biggest question to raise in Kiper’s selection is whether Thomas would even be available for Buffalo to draft at 28. A player of Thomas’ size who posted 17 touchdowns last season for LSU is going to be on everyone’s radar.

We understand the Kansas City Chiefs have a need at receiver, and wouldn’t it just be like Andy Reid to somehow outsmart Sean McDermott once again to move in front of him and take Thomas? The Chiefs aren’t alone in looking for more help at receiver. The Dallas Cowboys, who might still hold a grudge after missing out on tight end Dalton Kincaid, also have been tied to wide receivers in this year’s round of draft talk.

While there’s no guarantee that Thomas will be available and or at the top of One Bills Drive’s big board when their turn at the podium arrives, it’s safe to say that adding him would improve the chances of success for quarterback Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs. It’s likely that any receiver the team covets will have observably strong hands and a proficient ability to separate at all levels of the field.

The Bills have yet to draft a wide receiver in Round 1 of any draft during Josh Allen’s career. Does that change with Brian Thomas?

What do you think, Bills Mafia — does Kiper’s selection of Brian Thomas Jr. seem like a realistic move for the Buffalo Bills in April?

Originally posted on Buffalo Rumblings