ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Bills completed their 2023 draft class Saturday, selecting wide receiver Justin Shorter (Florida) in the fifth round, and using seventh round selections on offensive lineman Nick Broeker (Mississippi), and cornerback Alex Austin (Oregon State). Each of the picks came after the Bills traded down.
Here’s four additional things to know about Buffalo’s third day haul:
More weapons for Josh Allen
The 6-foot-4, 229-pound Shorter gives Buffalo a big target a big target in the passing attack, along with first-round pick Dalton Kincaid, a 6-4, 246-pound tight end from Utah. Shorter also has good speed for his size, having run the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds at the NFL scouting combine.
Shorter was the No. 1-rated wide receiver in his recruiting class (2018), ahead of current NFL receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Shorter signed with Penn State and played two seasons there before transferring to Florida, where he caught 95 passes for 1,395 yards and eight touchdowns in three years. His 19.9 yards per reception ranked seventh among FBS players in 2022.
Added depth on O-line
After drafting guard O’Cyrus Torrence in the second round on Friday, the Bills doubled up on interior lineman with their first of two seventh-round selections.
The 6-4, 305-pound Broeker won the Kent Hull Trophy as the best offensive linemen in the state of Mississippi in 2022. He received first-team All-SEC and second-team All-America accolades after starting 13 games at left guard and not allowing a sack in 472 passing plays. Starting at left tackle the previous two years, Broeker allowed four sacks on 929 passing plays.
Cornerback wasn’t thought to be a position of need for the Bills, having drafted Kaiir Elam in the first round and Christian Benford in the sixth last season. But the Bills found one that they liked with the 252nd overall pick.
Austin, listed at 6-1, 191 pounds, started 30 of 36 games played over the past three seasons at Oregon State, recording 140 tackles, four interceptions, 24 passes defensed, three fumble recoveries and a sack. the son of a Long Beach City councilman also signed an NIL deal that created a scholarship for students who have overcome adversity.
Picking up picks
Beane traded down three times on the third day of the draft, acquiring another pick in the seventh round and two sixth-round selections in the 2024 draft.
The Bills were scheduled to pick at No. 137 in the fifth round and No. 205 in the sixth. Without making any trades, the Bills could’ve had fewer than six player in their draft class for the first time in team history.
Dropping 13 spots to pick Shorter at No. 150, the Bills added pick No. 215 in the sixth round from the Commanders. They stockpiled sixth-rounders for next year from the Texans and Rams by dropping 25 spots to select Broeker at 230th overall, and moving down 37 slots before taking Austin.
Expecting to also receive a third-round compensatory pick after losing linebacker Tremaine Edmunds in free agency, the Bills should have 10 selections going into the 2024 draft that some analysts consider to be deeper than this year’s.
Beane traded the 130th pick in the fourth round to move up two spots for Kincaid in the first round. The Jaguars used that pick on Oklahoma State defensive end Tyler Lacy. The next selection was Purdue wide receiver Charlie Jones, who played his freshman season for University at Buffalo.
Jonah Bronstein joined the WIVB squad in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. The Buffalonian has covered the Bills, Sabres, Bandits, Bisons, colleges, high schools and other notable sporting events in Western New York since 2005, for publications including The Associated Press, The Buffalo News, and Niagara Gazette. Read more of his work here.