Buffalo has only been at the Division I level since 1997, but they’ve had a number of successful prospects make the league over that time, perhaps most notably Khalil Mack, who went fifth overall to the then-Oakland Raiders in the 2014 NFL Draft.
But UB had some history with the NFL Draft before the late 1990’s. Their first selection actually came in the 1952 NFL Draft, with tackle Les Molnar hearing his name called by the New York Yanks (who would technically play as the Dallas Texans due to the Yanks’ dissolution.)
Buffalo did manage to have one player from their FCS era team drafted in their return to the sport’s top leagues in tackle Ed Ellis, who was selected by the New England Patriots in the 1997 draft, breaking their 33-year gap without a Bull being selected in the draft.
Since then, a number of players have experienced success coming out of Buffalo as a draftee, including RB James Starks (sixth round, 2010), DE Steven Means (fifth round, 2013) and the aforementioned Mack. (Vikings WR KJ Osborn spent the majority of his career at UB before his transfer to Miami and subsequent selection in the 2020 Draft.)
Several UDFA’s have also found roles in professional ranks, including WR Naaman Roosevelt, DB Cameron Lewis, DE Demone Harris, TE convert Tyree Jackson, and RBs Jaret Patterson and Branden Oliver, amongst others.
Buffalo has had a bit less success in graduating draft picks in recent years, with two combined picks over the last five drafts, after getting at five picks from 2010 to 2015.
We go over those respective careers below:
TE Mason Schreck
Drafted: 2017, seventh round, 251st overall, Cincinnati Bengals
Schreck, a former HS quarterback in Medina, Ohio, was a reliable depth option at tight end in his college career, operating primarily as a secondary end for the majority of his time in Buffalo. He finished with 107 receptions for 1,113 yards and six touchdowns in four seasons, with his senior year as his best one. He finished 2016 with 59 receptions for 621 yards and four touchdowns as the team’s starter, proving himself as a big-play receiver with a career average 10.4 yards per catch.
Schreck found a spot on the Bengals as a special teamer, but ended both the 2017 and 2018 seasons on injured reserve. He would spend 2019 and 2020 on the Bengals practice squad with four game appearances before being waived and placed back on the practice squad on Sept. 2021.
He is currently rostered on a future/reserve contract with Cincinnati.
EDGE Malcolm Koonce
Drafted: 2021, third round, 79th overall, Las Vegas Raiders
Malcolm Koonce was a stalwart piece of the Buffalo defense from 2017 to 2020 along the edge, finishing his UB career with 109 tackles, including 22.5 tackles-for-loss, 17 sacks, four forced fumbles and three passes defensed. Koonce was a first-team all-MAC lineman in his first season as a starter, repeating the accolade his senior season with 30 tackles, 6.5 TFLs and five sack in a COVID-shortened six-game season.
Koonce, who subsequently played in the Senior Bowl, was drafted in the third round by the Las Vegas Raiders despite many draft networks giving Koonce a projection between rounds four and six. He was the selection acquired in exchange for tackle Rodney Hudson.
Koonce was rostered for much of 2021, but only saw action on 13 snaps, primarily on special teams. Despite the short usage data, Koonce has already recorded a sack in the regular season, sacking Washington QB Taylor Heinecke in his debut.
Koonce is currently on a four-year rookie deal.