Buffalo Bills 2022 NFL Draft positional primer: offensive line
The Buffalo Bills appear to have five starting linemen locked in for the 2022 season. Dion Dawkins and Mitch Morse are entering their fourth year together on the roster, and both have contracts extending through 2024. The pro from sophomore Spencer Brown is the right tackle, free agent signee Rodger Saffold will play left guard, and Ryan Bates (who signed a four-year, $17 million contract with $8.8 million guaranteed) is expected to play the good guard in this situation.
That said, Saffold is a free agent after this season, as is backup Cody Ford. The team‘s only backup center option with a Morse injury would be Bates. So there’s room for the team to add an inside lineman early in the draft, if they want to. Here is how the draft class stacks up.
Evan Neal and Ikem Ekonwu are considered the 1A and 1B offensive tackles in this class and among the top five potential picks. Mississippi State’s Charles Cross is second tier, but a prototypical left tackle with excellent agility and flexibility. Trevor Penning of northern Iowa is also in the second tier, but considered an option to play tackle or guard.
They have to grow corn with HGH in Cedar Falls, Iowa, because that’s the best explanation for Spencer Brown and his college teammate, Penning, to test both of them as elite athletes. The 6-foot-7, 325-pound Penning had a 40-yard dash at the 97th percentile and a three-cone drill at the 98th percentile at the NFL Combine. He’s a mean brawler who’ll happily duke it out with his opponent on the grass at the end of a game. Put Penning on RG and Brown on RT and you’ve got the NFL version of the Bash Brothers.
25th pick contenders
Zion Johnson (Boston College)
Johnson is probably the best pure inside lineman prospect in the draft. Left guard and left tackle first at FCS Davidson and later at Boston College, Johnson is an elite athlete with excellent technique and tenacity. He also practiced at center during the Senior Bowl.
Tyler Linderbaum (Iowa)
Linderbaum is considered the best pure center in the draft, although not every team is sold on his 6’2″, 296-pound frame. A state champion wrestler, he’s a flexible technician who produces tapes of instruction for the offensive line.
Kenyon green (Texas A&M)
Green might remind you of Cody Ford when you read his reconnaissance reports. This is not an immediate negative, as it might seem. Just remember Ford’s selling points: a road grader with experience both guarding and tackling, plenty of upper body strength, and occasional issues with kicking technique. the hand which can lead to failures in the protection against passage. For the Bills, who value versatility, a player who could play up to four positions down the line would be a plus.
Fringe first round
Dylan Parham (Memphis)
Parham has played for an often difficult-to-project offensive scheme in the NFL, but he was a multi-sport athlete in high school, became a four-year starter in college, and could potentially play all five OL positions.
Tyler Smith (Tulsa)
Smith is one of the tooled options in the draft, a 6’5”, 325-pound lineman who played left tackle in college but looks like a potential Pro Bowl-or-bust left guard draft. .
Choose out of nowhere
Bernhard Raimann (Central Michigan)
Raimann definitely fits Buffalo’s recent penchant for athletic ability. The Austrian came to America with an athletic background, and he has all the physical tools to be a top-level impact tackle or offensive goalkeeper. But he’s only played football since he was 14 and didn’t start playing offensive line until 2020 (tight game before that). If he works, everyone will understand why – and if he doesn’t, it will show too.