The NFL Draft is about three weeks away, and the Bills are preparing for what is likely to be their last significant addition for the 2022 season. As free agency has cooled off and they addressed some needs, there have been three common mock draft first-round picks for the Bills at No. 25.

Cornerback, because of the uncertainty surrounding Tre’Davious White’s knee rehab and the need to upgrade Dane Jackson as a starter. Wide receiver, because Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders have moved on and the looming threat of the booming wide receiver contract market. And last, the interior offensive line, though the case for it lost some strength once the Bills matched the Bears’ offer sheet for Ryan Bates.

Regardless, it has lingered inside those boxes, but the 2022 draft looks like the most an “immediate need” hasn’t mattered since the Bills began their build in 2017. Their starting lineups are almost completely set, and the only spot that isn’t — second cornerback — is one they haven’t shown any urgency in addressing through the draft or free agency previously.

Things could be wide open for the Bills early in the 2022 draft. So which under-the-radar positions have a legitimate shot to happen on April 28?

Here are the “sneaky firsts” the Bills could look to address with their top selection.



Without question, the position that deserves more attention as a possible Bills first-round pick is safety. If nothing changes, the Bills will enter a sixth consecutive season with Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer as their highly successful safety duo. Good things in the NFL can’t last forever because of the salary cap, aging and wear and tear. Hyde (31) and Poyer (31 on April 25) are likely in the final stage of their prime, and the question of retirement always springs to mind the later a player gets into his 30s. Furthermore, Poyer is in the final year of his contract.

With younger core players possibly needing a new contract next offseason (Stefon Diggs, Dawson Knox, Tremaine Edmunds) and Josh Allen’s cap hit ballooning to $39 million in 2023, the Bills will have a tough time keeping everyone. And Poyer is a logical choice to move on from considering his age. That alone should vault drafting a safety in the first round into consideration. Plus, Hyde is a free agent after the 2023 season. The Poyer-Hyde duo can’t keep playing forever, and there’s a distinct possibility 2022 will be their last season together.

There also might be a developing possibility for the Bills in the draft. The further into April we get, the more Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton seems to be drifting down the order. And with it, the more realistic an opportunity becomes for the Bills to move up the board and select him. Hamilton has the exact type of profile general manager Brandon Beane and the Bills usually covet. Hamilton is a rare package of size, length, coverage skills and fluidity, able to be plugged into the lineup all over the field — and he just turned 21. Hamilton has been called a “unicorn,” and many believe he’s the best player in the draft or at least on the short list.

“A long, supersized safety, Hamilton has the explosive range, smarts and toughness to be deployed anywhere on the football field,” The Athletic draft expert Dane Brugler, who has Hamilton ranked fifth on his big board, wrote this offseason. “He anticipates well vs. both the pass and the run and shows the ball skills and tackling balance to be a consistent finisher. Hopefully he lands in a defensive scheme that understands how to best maximize his talent because Hamilton can be a diverse matchup weapon thanks to his rare skill set.”