Buffalo Bills 2024 NFL mock draft: A new era is upon the franchise

The 2024 Buffalo Bills will look a lot different than the 2023 team that lost its divisional-round game against the Kansas City Chiefs, and that has failed to cash in on what they hope is the first "Super Bowl" of the Josh Allen era.
Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott
Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott / Jeff Zelevansky/GettyImages
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The 2024 Buffalo Bills will look a lot different than the 2023 team that lost its divisional-round game against the Kansas City Chiefs, and that has failed to cash in on what they hope is the first "Super Bowl" of the Josh Allen era.

As the cost of having an MVP-caliber quarterback on its roster increases, the Bills had to make financial and fit-related choices across its roster, cutting or trading multiple starters on offense and defense, including Pro Bowl players Micah Hyde, Tre'Davious White, Mitch Morse, and both starting wide receivers, Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis.

As a team that entered the 2024 offseason with negative salary cap space, general manager Brandon Beane did his best to restock the team with low-ceiling veterans who can buoy the team while younger impact players flourish going forward. The next step is the 2024 draft that begins on April 25th. How will the Bills attack this year's draft and how do the Bills use their 10 picks to restock the roster to create another window for Josh Allen and the Bills to survive a loaded AFC and make a Super Bowl run?

First Round - Pick 28 - Brian Thomas, Wide Receiver, LSU

Why the Bills won't trade for Malik Nabers

A lot of discussion after the Bills traded Stefon Diggs to the Houston Texans has centered around the Bills potentially moving up in the first round to pick Malik Nabers of LSU to replace Diggs as WR1. Nabers is considered a can't-miss prospect at wide receiver; he has prototypical size and speed and is an amazing route runner. In most drafts, Nabers would be the first wide receiver off the board and a top 3 pick.

The Bills have a history of trading for big-name wide receivers. In 2014, the Bills traded the 9th pick in the draft, along with first and fourth-round picks in the 2015 draft to move up 5 spots to draft Sammy Watkins. The trade for Watkins was done to support Kyle Orton and EJ Manuel, two quarterbacks that pale in comparison to the talent of Josh Allen. And four years ago, the Bills traded for the recently traded Stefon Diggs, giving Minnesota the 22nd pick in the 2020 draft; a pick that became Justin Jefferson.

Nabers will be tempting for Beane and head coach Sean McDermott, and the Bills Mafia will undoubtedly covet the star wideout. However, given the multiple needs Buffalo has along its roster, the lack of impact Sammy Watkins had in 2014, and the depth of wide receiver in this year's draft, the Bills are unlikely to give up the necessary draft capital to move up high enough to pick the LSU product.

Why Brian Thomas is the right fit for the Bills

As I wrote in my Mock Draft in February, after letting Gabe Davis leave in free agency, Brian Thomas would provide the Bills with a much-needed deep threat. Now, with Stefon Diggs gone, Thomas' expectations would rise, maybe beyond reasonableness for a rookie. While he's not the polished receiver that Marvin Harrison Jr. and the top-tier of this year's pass catchers are, he has shown flashes of being a number-one type talent and still has the elite acceleration and top-speed characteristics NFL GMs envy and the Bills need. Gaining a potential game-changing wide receiver this late in the first round would be a win for Brandon Beane on day 1 of the Draft.

Thomas may be off the board by the time the Bills draft at pick 28, given his speed and production at LSU, including a nation-leading 17 TDs. In that case, the Bills should take what would be panned as a reach by many pundits and select the draft's best center, Jackson Powers-Johnson of Oregon.

Losing starting center Mitch Morse leaves a big hole that could be filled for the next eight to ten years with the pick of Powers-Johnson. First-round centers are rare but often result in Pro-Bowl-level production without the hype of glamour positions fans and experts prefer in the first round. Jackson-Powers would almost definitely be the best player on the board if he's available at pick 28 and would even be a good player for Beane to use some of his 10-pick draft capital on to move up for if Thomas is off the board early.