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
2 of 3

Second Round - Pick 60 - Jaden Hicks, Safety, Washington State

The Bills lost both starting safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde to free agency. Primary backup Siran Neal is also gone. That leaves the Bills looking for two starters in its defensive backfield to compete in the AFC against the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and Lamar Jackson.

Jaden Hicks of Washington State provides Brandon Beane with the opportunity to select the draft's best safety at an area of need without reaching in terms of draft position. Hicks is also a candidate for Beane to use his additional draft capital to ensure that Hicks begins his NFL career in Orchard Park.

The Cougar standout projects to be a long-term NFL starter at safety. He's young, 21, has great size at 6'2" 215, and ran an impressive 4.5 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Hicks, a two-year starter at Washington State, recorded 75-plus tackles in consecutive years and would give head coach Sean McDermott a Jordan Poyer-like safety who can play multiple positions and is an intimidating, good tackling presence on the field.

Fourth Round - Picks 128 and 133 - Cooper Beebe - Guard, Kansas State and Maason Smith, Defensive Interior, LSU

Losing center Mitch Morse to free agency means that starting guard Connor McGovern is likely to become the Bills' new center in 2024. Assuming Brandon Beane does not pick Jackson Powers-Johnson in the first round, he can fill another position of need with a player who is likely to have a long NFL career as a starter.

Cooper Beebe of Kansas State is a four-year starter and 2-time Big 12 offensive lineman of the year. Beebe impressed at the combine in athletic testing and his 6'3" 335-pound frame is perfectly tailored for the NFL interior line. He also provides versatility, having logged snaps at left guard and both tackle positions throughout his career. He's a high-character guy and two-time team captain and should be a great locker room fit for the Bills.

The Bills' interior defensive line returns both starters and Ed Oliver showed flashes of production that Bills fans hoped for when he was selected with the ninth pick in the 2019 draft and earned him the third-highest salary on the team. DaQuan Jones is also back in Orchard Park, but Jones' age, 32, and Oliver's price tag make finding depth and production in the draft a high priority. Maason Smith provides an opportunity for both.

The massive 6'5" 305 Smith only started one year at LSU but he has the size and potential to be a star at the next level if he can improve his technique as he gains experience. The NFL Draft is a constant balance of filling needs and building and improving the roster in the long term. Smith provides the Bills with a potential star in the middle of the draft in an area in need of depth in 2024.