At this time next week, we’ll be seeing the dreams of 262 prospects come true when their name gets called at the 2022 NFL Draft. This year, just like the past few, is a complete mystery as to who the Buffalo Bills will pick. The Bills are currently slated to select at number 25 overall. As usual, practically nothing about their plans has been leaked. From an outsider’s standpoint, cornerback is the biggest need for the current Bills’ roster. But the Bills’ general manager Brandon Beane keeps insisting, like he does every year, that the pick will be the best prospect available no matter the position (except quarterback for obvious reasons). So, with that said, could a running back round 1 be in the cards?
What Running Back is Round 1 Worthy
This year’s running back class has a lot of talent. Although, almost all of them are viewed as Day 2 and later picks. Now, teams could feel differently, but Breece Hall out of Iowa State is viewed by many draft experts as the only round 1 worthy running back. Hall has good size at 5’11” and 217lbs and is a great athlete. He ran a 4.39 40-yard dash with a 40” vertical jump.
Hall was extremely productive in college as well. In 2020 behind 1,572 rushing yards and 21 rushing touchdowns, Hall was the first unanimous All-American in Iowa State history. In 2021 with 1,472 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns, Hall was an AP All-American, Doak Walker finalist (best running back in college award), and the Big 12 offensive player of the year. Hall set an FBS record with 24 straight games with a rushing touchdown. He also offers receiving upside. He had solid production in that department in school with 734 yards, 6 touchdowns, and numerous highlight-reel catches.
Would Beane take a RB in Round 1
During last year’s draft, the Bills were heavily linked to Clemson running back Travis Etienne. Etienne was ultimately selected before the Bills’ pick by the Jaguars. The running back himself even said that he thought he was going to be a Bill. Etienne was viewed as a home-run threat and the Bills could be after that again.
Brandon Beane appeared in a press conference this week and said that he is not opposed to taking a running back round 1 if that player is dynamic enough to fit in and help their offense. While many believe round 1 running back isn’t the way to go in the current state of the NFL, Beane has made it clear he doesn’t think that. While it’s not too much to think about considering he wasn’t in charge, Beane was part of a Carolina Panthers’ front office that selected Jonathan Stewart (2008), and Christian McCaffery (2017) in the first round.
Does RB in Round 1 Make Sense for the Buffalo Bills
Looking at the big picture, a running back in round 1 does make sense for the Buffalo Bills. Having one of the best rosters in the league means they don’t have many holes. One they do sort of have is an x-factor running back. Devin Singletary is solid, but a free agent after the season when Josh Allen’s new contract will kick in. Zack Moss also has not panned out to be what he was supposed to be heading into his 3rd season.
A strong running game would open up the already deadly Bills’ passing attack even more. It would also allow Josh Allen to take fewer hits when he’s forced to be the team’s leading rusher. Brandon Beane also said that he does not have 32 prospects with first-round grades on them this year. So, if he sticks true to his best player available approach, it is very possible that Hall could be his highest-graded player when the Buffalo Bills are on the clock. With a roster so deep, stacked with talent, and essentially set, not many rookies can step in and make an impact right away, except a top-tier talented running back or cornerback.