If you are not familiar with the system, the NFL awards compensatory draft picks to teams based on the players that they lost and gained in free agency. The way that the complicated compensatory formula shook out for the Bills presents an interesting opportunity for them in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Consider the following players: FB Patrick DiMarco, WR Andre Holmes, OL Vlad Ducasse, DE Ryan Davis, S Jordan Poyer, S Micah Hyde, K Stephen Hauschka.
If the Bills cut 3 of these players by Week 10, they will receive a compensatory 3rd round draft pick in the 2018 draft. If they cut 4 of these players by Week 10, they would receive a 3rd AND a 4th round pick. A few weeks ago, GM Brandon Beane said that he would not be doing his job if he did not consider the compensatory pick possibility when creating his 53-man roster. Since Beane is considering the possibility, we should too.
Let’s start with cutting three players for a 3rd round pick. The first two cuts are simple, in my opinion. OL Vlad Ducasse had an underwhelming training camp and has not looked good in either of the preseason games. I think the decision to move on from Ducasse is a simple one for the Bills. The second cut I would make is DE Ryan Davis. Initially, I thought he was someone that the Bills would find value in, but thanks to the fantastic summer that DE Eddie Yarbrough had, I think the Bills will move on from Davis.
Last week, WR Andre Holmes was an easy 3rd cut for the Bills. Thanks to Anquan Boldin’s unexpected retirement and Rod Streater’s injury that has him week-to-week, this decision to cut Holmes will be harder to justify for the Bills. I still think that Holmes will be cut before the Week 10 deadline, but thanks to the recent movement within the WR position group, the Bills will have to get fancy with his release.
My plan would be to keep Homes on the opening day roster while the Bills have time to scour the plethora of released WR’s that will be available after the roster cut down to 53 players on September 2nd. I would take some time to get a new WR acclimated to the system and when he is ready, I would promote him to the active roster and then release Holmes. If Rod Streater is placed on IR, then Brandon Beane might have to pick up two WR’s instead of just one.
If Streater can return to action, it will likely be before Week 10, making this decision easier for the Bills brass.
The only way that I can realistically see the Bills squeezing out another fourth rounder would be if Stephen Hauschka struggles early in the year and the Bills want to move on from him for a free agent kicker. Of course, I am not rooting for this to happen- I want Hauschka to make every FG and XP in his Bills career!
To summarize…the Bills will get a 3rd round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft if (when?) they cut:
OL Vlad Ducasse (most likely on September 2nd)
DE Ryan Davis (most likely on September 2nd)
WR Andre Holmes (most likely before Week 10, after +1 FA WR to roster)
What are your thoughts Bills fans? Do you agree with my top 3 cuts? Who would your 4th cut be?