2024 NFL Draft: Assessing Buffalo Bills Draft History Injury Trends

2024 NFL Draft: Assessing Buffalo Bills Draft History Injury Trends

As the 2024 NFL draft approaches, countless mock drafts, speculation, projections, and more have been done to identify who the Buffalo Bills may target at pick 28 and beyond. Whether based on positional need, skillset, or who could be the player to get the Bills over the hump, there are a ton of options. 

One notable trend that has shown to have some level of consistency is considering a player’s injury history early in the draft. Since 2018 when Brandon Beane took over as GM, there has been a consistent and reliable trend of selecting players with minimal injury concerns in rounds one and two of the draft. Once they hit Round 3 and beyond, things are more flexible, but knowing what players may be off the board medically when the Bills are on the clock helps narrow possibilities down. 

The Bills have selected 45 players since 2018 which provides a pretty strong sample size. To see the 2018-2021 draft histories, click here. For 2022, click here

2023 NFL Draft

Pick #25 TE Dalton Kincaid


Right shoulder injury, missed 1 game. 

Back fracture, missed 1 game. 

Pick #59 G O’Cyrus Torrence


Concussion, missed 2 games.


MCL sprain, side not specified, missed 1 game.

Pick #91 LB Dorian Williams


Left wrist fracture, missed Senior Bowl.

Pick #150 WR Justin Shorter

High School


Ankle fracture, side not specified 


2018 Penn State 

Dislocated patella, preseason, missed 9 total games.

2019 Penn State

Head/neck or left shoulder injury, missed 1 game.

2021 Florida

Head injury, Gasparilla Bowl, taken to hospital.

2022 Florida

Hamstring strain, side not specified, missed 3 games.

Pick #230 OL Nick Broeker

No publicly reported injuries.

Pick #252 CB Alex Austin


Undisclosed injury, vs California, missed 1 game.

Draft Analysis

The Buffalo Bills have continued their trend over the last six seasons of selecting players without major or even moderate injury concerns in the first two rounds. Most fractures, minor sprains, contusions, and isolated soft tissue injuries led to minimal missed time. The one exception is fractures for obvious reasons. 

Once the third round begins, the Bills become more relaxed in terms of selecting players with injury concerns as this appears to be the demarcation point for getting top talent. The Bills have also selected players without injury concerns in this round, but historically this has trended towards talent plus increased injury risk.

Every player they have selected in the first two rounds has managed to stay fairly healthy during their time as Buffalo Bills. Many have had high-ankle sprains, AC joint sprains, minor strains/sprains, and concussions, but otherwise have not suffered major injuries or missed extended time. Many of the players selected in the first two rounds have largely been productive at some point in their time in Buffalo even if it was a slow development.

The two exceptions to this have been Cody Ford and Kaiir Elam. 

Ford missed half of the 2020 season with a meniscus tear and throughout his other two seasons battled various injuries including requiring off-season shoulder surgery. He was largely ineffective playing guard and tackle before his trade to the Arizona Cardinals. 

Elam had battled several foot and ankle injuries during both seasons and missed most of last year due to a lingering ankle issue. Both have been viewed as busts or at the very least not lived up to their draft status. Both came in with minimal injury issues coming out of college and that luck did not transition to the pros. 

One additional note, the 2017 Bills draft class is not addressed as that was completed under a different general manager. The conservative nature of selecting players in Round 1 & 2 did fit in line with the Tre’Davious White, Zay Jones and Dion Dawkins selections. Dawkins has continued to play and be incredibly durable. Zay Jones had his torn labrum issue linger all season his rookie year and got it repaired following the season. That did affect his production at times.

We did see White fall off a cliff with his ACL tear followed by his Achilles tear. The Bills got five supreme years out of White before he began to suffer injuries with those not really being predictable. He is the only other high draft pick that has dealt with injury but well into his career. It’s better to have gotten production out of him early on rather than nothing at all. 

Looking at an overview of the players drafted since 2018, there have been 45 players drafted. Of those 45 players, only 20 remain on the Bills roster. There are 21 players still in the league on an NFL roster somewhere that were either claimed, traded for, left in free agency, or cut. 

Since 2018, only four players are not on NFL rosters which include: VoSean Joseph, Austin Proehl, Marquez Stevenson, and Rachad Wildgoose. Everyone except Wildgoose continued to play football at lower levels for several years with Joseph going to the CFL, Proehl to the XFL, and Stevenson to the UFL. Wildgoose retired and is producing content on YouTube.

This at least indicates that Brandon Beane has been successful at drafting and retaining players or if they leave for various reasons, they remain in the league elsewhere.

Looking at this year’s draft prospects requires identifying criteria to understand their process to select players who could be targets based on the above-mentioned draft tendencies. 


-I used The Athletic’s Dane Brugler’s “The Beast” draft guide as a reference for this project using his draft grades on every player and obtaining additional injury history.

-Players are sorted into three different tiers: Healthy, Concerns, and Traits. Each player will have their projected draft grade in parentheses next to their name.

-Using the past trends observed by the Bills, a healthy pick in Round 1 or 2 is someone graded out at that position who has minimal injury history such as most fractures, minor sprains, contusions, or overall minimal missed time. Muscle strains aren’t necessarily excluded, but they have to show that they are several years removed from their last instance.

-Concern picks are players identified as around 1 or 2 talents that have injury concerns and will have a brief injury history included.

-A Traits pick is projected as a Round 3 player or beyond. The Bills tend to go traits in this round regardless of injury. They will also have a brief injury history included.

-Many players are listed as Round 2-3 grade in the draft guide. To help determine a cut-off, players with injury issues listed under Concerns are the top 64 players. Traits will be players with injury concerns pick 65 and beyond.

-Nearly every position will have healthy, concerns, and traits picks.


-Running Back isn’t a strong class and I don’t anticipate the Bills selecting someone in the second round which means any running back is in play to be selected in the third round or later regardless of injury.

-Tight End is not a high draft need and will not be addressed for this project.

-There were several offensive line prospects that I did not consider as this is not a high draft need and I do not expect them to be available when the Bills are selecting such as Joe Alt, Olu Fashanu, etc. 

-We have Josh Allen, no need to look at quarterbacks until Day 3. 

Wide Receiver


Marvin Harrison (1st)

Rome Odunze (1st)

Adonai Mitchell (1st-2nd)

Roman Wilson (2nd)

Ricky Pearsall (2nd-3rd)

Troy Franklin (2nd-3rd)

Xavier Worthy (2nd-3rd)

Malachi Corley (2nd-3rd)

Xavier Legette (2nd-3rd)


Malik Nabers (1st)- 2023 right shoulder injury, 2021 left shoulder injury, may require surgery

Brian Thomas (1st)- left shoulder injury, may require surgery

Ladd McConkey (1st-2nd)- 2023 back soreness, 2022 knee tendinitis, turf toe, High school Jones fracture. Detailed analysis here

Keon Coleman (2nd)- nagging injuries in 2023, partial hip/groin tear in 2022


Jalen McMillen (3rd-4th)- 2023 Grade 2 MCL sprain, 2021 right-hand injury requiring surgery, 2020 high-ankle sprain

Tez Walker (3rd-4th)- High school ACL tear

Malik Washington (3rd)- High school ACL tear

Interior Offensive Line


Zach Frazier (2nd)

Cooper Beebe (2nd)

Christian Haynes (2nd-3rd)

Dominick Puni (2nd-3rd)


Graham Barton (1st)- 2023 concussion, left knee sprain, shoulder labrum repair

Jackson Powers Johnson (1st-2nd)- 2024 hamstring at Senior Bowl, 2023 hip/groin issues, multiple concussions, 2022 knee injury, 2021 right foot/ankle

Jordan Morgan (1st-2nd)- 2022 ACL tear, missed most of 2023


Christian Mahogany (3rd-4th)- 2022 ACL tear, 2021 knee sprain

Offensive Tackle


JC Latham (1st)

Amarius Mims (1st)

Kingsley Suamataia (2nd)

Patrick Paul (2nd-3rd)


Tyler Guyton (1st-2nd)- several undisclosed injuries between 2022-2023 missing 5 games.


Kiran Amegadjie (3rd)- 2023 left partially torn quad tear, requiring surgery

Blake Fisher (3rd)- 2021 torn meniscus, missed most of the season

Defensive End


Jared Verse (1st) 

Dallas Turner (1st)

Chop Robinson (1st-2nd)


Laiatu Latu (1st-2nd)- 2020 neck fusion, detailed analysis here

Marshawn Kneeland (1st-2nd)- 2023 elbow injury, 2022 calf injury, 2020 undisclosed injury

Darius Robinson (2nd)- 2023 undisclosed injury, 2022 left shoulder injury, 2021 right ankle injury, 2020 right ankle injury


Adisa Issac (2nd-3rd)- 2021 Left Achilles tear, missed season

Jonah Elliss (3rd-4th)- 2023 torn labrum shoulder requiring surgery, 2022 undisclosed injury missed 3 games

Defensive Tackle


Byron Murphy (1st)

Kris Jenkins (2nd)


Johnny Newton (1st-2nd)- Right foot Jones fracture

Ruke Orhorhoro (2nd-3rd)- 2023 off-season shoulder surgery, 2020 right meniscus tear

Maason Smith (2nd-3rd)- 2022 left ACL tear

Michael Hall (2nd-3rd)- 2022-2023 battled several nagging injuries 


Braden Fiske (3rd)- 2023 nagging injuries, 2022 shoulder cleanup

Brandon Dorlus (3rd)- 2021 off-season shoulder surgery

Mekhi Wingo (3rd-4th)- 2023 core muscle repair, 2022 core muscle repair



Edgerinn Cooper (2nd)


Junior Colson (2nd)- 2024 right hamstring strain Combine, 2023 off-season foot surgery


Payton Wilson (3rd)- Two ACL tears, two shoulder labrum tears, shoulder blade issue, stinger, concussion

Tommy Eichenberg (3rd-4th)- 2023 dislocated elbow



Quinyon Mitchell (1st)

Terrion Arnold (1st)

Cooper DeJean (1st-2nd)- While healthy, coming off a fibular fracture, detailed analysis here

Nate Wiggins (1st-2nd)

Mike Sainristil (2nd)

Max Melton (2nd-3rd)

Andru Phillips (2nd-3rd)

TJ Tampa (2nd-3rd)

Kamari Lassiter (2nd-3rd)


Kool-Aid McKinstry (1st-2nd)- 2024 Right foot Jones fracture, 2023 concussion

Ennis Rakestraw (2nd-3rd)- 2023 groin injury, 2021 ACL tear





Jaden Hicks (2nd)


Javon Bullard (2nd-3rd)- 2023 left ankle sprain, 2022 DUI


Cole Bishop (2nd-3rd)- 2022 nagging undisclosed injuries, 2021 undisclosed, hamstring injury

Tyler Nubin (2nd-3rd)- 2023 Right knee meniscectomy, 2022 right hand fracture

Malik Mustapha (3rd)- 2022 illness, 2021 ACL tear

Dadrion Taylor-Demerson (3rd-4th)- 2023 groin, 2021 undisclosed injury, 2019 undisclosed injury

Pre-Draft Visits/Interviews

Thank you to Ryan Talbot of NYUpstate.com for curating this list of pre-draft visits and interviews


Italicized is Top 30 Visit

WR Xavier Worthy

WR Troy Franklin

WR Roman Wilson

WR Adonai Mitchell

WR Xavier Legette

OT Patrick Paul

DT Byron Murphy

CB Kamari Lassiter

CB Cooper DeJean 

CB Andru Phillips


WR Brian Thomas

WR Keon Coleman

WR Tez Walker

WR Jalen McMillan

WR Ladd McConkey

OT Kiran Amegadjie

G Jordan Morgan

OL Graham Barton

DE Marshawn Kneeland

DE Adisa Issac

DE Laitau Latu

DT Ruke Orhorhoro

DT Maason Smith

DT Johnny Newton

DT Braden Fiske

LB Payton Wilson

S Javon Bullard


The Bills have plenty of options when it comes to selecting a wide receiver or cornerback in the first two rounds. This does not imply that they will, but if some of their other draft targets are off the board, they can pivot without taking a risk. 

The Top 30 visits, interviews, Pro Days allow the ability to determine who the Bills are interested in, what positions, and who needs extra research. The Bills used 17 interactions on players with extensive injury histories including multiple Top 30 visits. They used 10 on players with minimal injury concerns or in the case of Cooper DeJean, assess to make sure there weren’t any concerns. 

This exercise is to help identify what potential draft targets could be selected within the first two rounds. If the Bills skip over a player or a player begins to fall, understanding the injury concerns may explain why. This isn’t meant to outright predict who they will select, but can help narrow down who they could by eliminating variables. 

Last year, Dalton Kincaid was considered a safe pick from a healthy standpoint and he ended up being a selection. I missed on O’Cyrus Torrence as I did not research far enough on his position but he would have also been a healthy pick.

The Pick Is In

It remains to be seen what the Bills do when selecting at pick 28. Whether they move up, down, or stay put and what position they choose is anyone’s guess. 

We know that historically they have had a Top 30 visit with their eventual first round draft selection. However, 2023 was the first year where that did not happen with Dalton Kincaid. He had a Zoom meeting and NFL Combine interview later revealed. It’s important to note that there are only 17 reported Top 30 visits this year which means 13 are unknown.

There is a strong chance that the 11 names under the healthy section could be a future Bills selection if the board falls their way. The bolded and italicized players above appear to be the ideal matches based on past history.

The draft is far from a guarantee, but the trend to target healthy and talented players early in the draft should continue into 2024 as the Bills find their next key contributors. 

Top Photo Credit: Buffalo News