Bills would preferably be on the receiving end in the NFL draft after dealing Diggs to Houston

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — One day, Brandon Beane joked the Buffalo Bills are going to select a receiver in each of the seven rounds of the NFL draft.

The next, the Bills general manager saying there’s no lock he’s drafting a receiver in the first round.

Don’t be fooled.

Hard as Beane has been working at trying to keep everyone guessing in the wake of trading Stefon Diggs to Houston, it would be difficult to imagine the Bills passing up on filling what stands as their biggest need — and in a draft class projected to be deep at receiver.

While Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. will most assuredly be gone by Buffalo’s scheduled pick at No. 28, the Texas junior tandem of Adonai Mitchell and Xavier Worthy, or perhaps Georgia’s Ladd McConkey, could be available.

Leave it to Beane to hedge his bets.

“If all our first-round receivers are gone and the next guy is well into the second round, but we have other positions, we’re going to take the other position,” Beane said. “You still gotta take good football players. And even if we don’t get the player that everyone is looking for in April, it doesn’t mean there’s not other ways to do it.”

Receiver was already a need before Diggs’ departure, with Buffalo losing Gabe Davis to free agency. Minus Diggs, who topped 1,000 yards and 100 catches in each of his four seasons in Buffalo, the Bills are down to Khalil Shakir, coming off a promising second season, and free-agent additions Curtis Samuel and Mack Hollins.

And don’t forget tight end Dalton Kincaid, the rookie who finished second on the team with 73 catches and third with 673 yards receiving.

A bulging payroll left Beane no choice but to hit the reset button for the four-time defending AFC East champions. The salary-cap purge included Buffalo cutting center Mitch Morse, and the breakup of a veteran secondary that had been together since 2017. Cornerback Tre’Davious White and safety Jordan Poyer were cut, and safety Micah Hyde is contemplating retirement.

Though safety is an unlikely first-round target, adding a pass rusher is always an option — UCLA’s Laiatu Latu or Missouri’s Darius Robinson are potential candidates — especially with Von Miller turning 35.

Beane’s expectations aren’t diminished.

“This organization and our fanbase needs to trust that we are going to trot out a damn good team come September,” Beane said.


Beane hasn’t been afraid of making moves on draft day. Buffalo currently has 10 selections, though only two (28 and 60) in the first three rounds. Buffalo, however, did land a 2025 second-round pick in the trade with Houston, which could be put into play should Beane deem it necessary.


Buffalo hasn’t selected a receiver in the first round since Beane’s predecessor, Doug Whaley, made the ill-fated decision to move up five spots in the order to select Sammy Watkins at No. 4 in 2014. Watkins topped 1,000 yards just once in three seasons before Beane traded him to the L.A. Rams in 2017. The Bills have selected a WR only seven times in the draft, and three times in the past 40 years (Watkins, Eric Moulds at No. 24 in 1996 and Lee Evans 13th in 2004).


The Bills will have $6 million in cap space to play with by designating White as a post-June 1 cut, which is why Beane didn’t rule out adding an experienced receiver by either trade or free agency before the season opens.


Wide receiver, defensive back, edge rusher, defensive line, offensive line and linebacker.


QB, running back or tight end.


Barring a trade up, the Bills will be selecting outside of the top 20 for a fifth consecutive year.



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