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2018 Buffalo Bills mock draft: Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch

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With the Bills’ second pick in the POD mock, they move to fix their defense.

Las Vegas Bowl - Boise State v Oregon Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills are back on the clock after picking up Lamar Jackson 10 picks ago. With one of their biggest needs out of the way, the Bills are aiming to make another big move to build upon their surprisingly decent 2018 season.

Thorpac is the acting general manager for the Bills and with the 22st pick in the draft, Buffalo is taking Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. Here’s Thorpac, again, with the explanation:

The Bills headed into the draft with two first rounders and two second rounders. With those four picks, we’re hoping to get a new quarterback, an immediate starter at middle linebacker, an impact receiver, and an upgrade at either defensive tackle or along the offensive line.

With our first pick (#12), the Bills selected Lamar Jackson. More than a few PODers have panned this pick, and I think that’s because they see him as Michael Vick 2.0, when, in reality, Jackson is Aaron Rodgers (but faster, and a quicker study). Come back in two or three years and let’s see!

With our other first-round pick, we selected Leighton Vander Esch, linebacker from Boise. LVE will quarterback our defense from Day 1. Lions fan who paid attention to how the team drafted and deployed Jarrad Davis this past season have a good map for how the Bills will handle LVE.

Vander Esch is excellent against the run and holds his own against the pass. He’ll need to work on rushing the quarterback, but for now, in our defense, we’ll focus on using LVE’s extreme athleticism—he scored 9.97 on the RAS, which places him fifth-best all time for LBs—to disrupt our opponents’ game plan.

All told, the Bills end the first round with Aaron Rodgers and Jarrad Davis. I’d call those both huge wins, even if I could have theoretically traded down and still picked both players. Without the possibility of trading picks up or down, and with a dire need for someone to quarterback on each side of the ball, the Bills ended up with the best traditional linebacker in the draft, and the best quarterback in the draft. I’d call those both huge wins for a franchise that needs them.

Catch up with all of the picks with our POD Community Mock Draft tracker.

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