Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Buffalo Bills Team Needs: Pre-Draft


Joe Catalfamo
With very little available cap space entering the offseason, the Buffalo Bills weren't very active in free agency. As we approach the draft there are a number of positions they must address if they want to put an end to their 16-year playoff drought. | Photo Credit: boston.com

The Buffalo Bills took a back seat in the first part of the free agency period, but made a splash as the second wave of free agents became more accessible. Debatably the most significant move the Bills made this offseason was to keep the offensive line intact. With LT Richie Incognito’s resigning, LT Cordy Glenn’s $13.7 million tender contract being signed, and still having pro-bowler Eric Wood under contract, the offensive line has very high expectations in 2016. Additionally, the Bills went out and signed seven-year veteran center/guard Fernando Velasco from Carolina, and restricted free agent T Jordan Mills signed the qualifying offer he was tendered on March 7. With all these additions and added depth, the offensive line is the most stable position going into the 2016 season.

The Bills have taken an active role in addressing their lack of depth on the defensive side of the ball this offseason, but is still the main point of improvement moving forward. LB Zach Brown and CB Corey White both visited Orchard Park on April 4th, and it didn’t take very long for them to make a decision as they signed with the Bills just hours after arriving in Buffalo.

Brown, who played all five of his professional seasons with Tennessee, is a perfect fit to work alongside current starter Preston Brown. The pair will complement each other very nicely; Zach Brown is an experienced player at the linebacker position, while Preston Brown still has room to mature and develop as a player. The linebacker from Tennessee saw a very productive first two seasons as a starter with the Titans, totaling 90-plus tackles before suffering a torn pectoral muscle and missing the entire 2014 season. In his impressive return in 2015, he contributed 77 tackles and 2 interceptions.

Meanwhile, with the departure of cornerbacks Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks opening up holes in the depth chart, Corey White will provide much-needed experience that will be valuable to the Buffalo secondary. The 5th year player out of Samford was drafted in the 5th round by New Orleans in 2012, and found himself playing for the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. The most successful season of his career came in 2014 when he recorded 50-plus tackles, two forced fumbles and two interceptions.

Although the Buffalo Bills are taking steps in the right direction, they still have holes to fill throughout their roster. With a seemly-disappointing 8-8 record in 2015 and suffering from their 16th straight season without a playoff berth, the expectations are astronomical for the 2016 season. It is tough to imagine what the town of Orchard Park will encounter if the Buffalo Bills end the 2016 season without a playoff bid. That being said, here are the most important positions of need that the Bills still need to address as we approach the draft.

 

1. Defensive End

The Bills released DE Mario Williams in early March, so there is definitely room for improvement here. Currently their most productive end is Jerry Hughes, who found his fair share of inconsistency in 2015. That leaves 3rd year player IK Enemkpali, who didn’t start a single game in 2015, as their second edge player. The Buffalo defense struggled unexpectedly last season, and a main issue was rushing the passer. While the Bills’ aggressive defense piled up a league-high 54 sacks in 2014, this past year they only totaled a woeful 21 sacks. The lack of depth and talent-level at this position, or at any position in the front seven, is the main concern of the Buffalo Bills.

 

2. Linebacker

The linebacker position is definitely a focus moving forward for the Bills. Starter Nigel Bradham signed with Philadelphia in March which certainly leaves a gap to fill for next season. Especially when monitoring in the 3-4 system, talented pass rushers and run stoppers on the edge are at a premium, so the Bills will need to make a splash at this position. Starting LB Preston Brown had a good year in 2015, but his inconsistency is still concerning for the Bills, considering he is the only returning starter at the linebacker position (excluding Manny Lawson who plays both LB and DE). The depth at this position is discouraging as well since rookie AJ Tarpley found himself retiring prematurely, but the recent signing of Zach Brown could help with this problem.

 

3. Wide Receiver

The Buffalo Bills could use some additions at the receiver spot. Sammy Watkins was very productive in 2015, but not many other receivers gave significant contributions throughout the season. The talented veteran Percy Harvin had a roller-coaster season in Buffalo; he produced in some games, was irrelevant in others, and constantly battled injuries for the duration of the season, not to mention he is an unrestricted free agent as a result of his contract being voided. The production of backup WR Robert Woods decreased tremendously, and Chris Hogan, who was a reliable target for Tyrod Taylor, recently signed with New England this offseason. Although Buffalo resigned Leonard Hankerson who only played a handful of plays in the last game of 2015 against the Jets, the wide receiver position could use either a big talented player from the draft, or a very reliable veteran to top off the already-talented offense.

 

@Joe Catalfamo is an AFC East writer for Pro Football Spot. Follow him on twitter  @Jcatalfamo3.


Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0



User Feedback


Just a couple of years ago, Buffalo had the best D-Line in the NFL. Kyle Williams, Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes and Marcel Dareus. Kyle Williams is getting older, Mario is gone, so they do have a need on the edge, do they go LB before DE?

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think they take the best available regarding DE and LB. I'm more concerned with the LB position since they have little-to-no depth here, while they have more quality depth up front with Manny Lawson and Corbin Bryant. Preston Brown didn't have the best year in 2015, so I think a stud LB will be a better pick. Although, they could still use an athlete on the edge.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
On 4/22/2016 at 0:33 AM, Augustine Harmon said:

Who do the Bills have at the safety spots? I know Darby is kicking butt at corner, but who's on the back end?

Corey Graham, who was one of the top tacklers on Buffalo's defense. Also Aaron Williams is returning from a neck injury suffered in 2015; he's still young with lots of talent. Baccari Rambo and just recently-signed UFA Robert Blanton will most likely be the back ups.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
On 4/22/2016 at 8:18 AM, Mal McCauley said:

I still can't believe it's been 16 years since they have been to the playoffs.... wow. 

Pretty unbelievable. Very hopeful for 2016, but given their schedule difficulty, there's a lot of work to be done.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
On 4/22/2016 at 8:18 AM, Mal McCauley said:

I still can't believe it's been 16 years since they have been to the playoffs.... wow. 

Got to hope that playoff drought ends soon. It's just not good for the league to have a team struggle for so long. But at least now, they've got back-to-back seasons at .500 or better. Ryan's just got to do his thing in the draft and get some new talent at DE and LB. 

Joe Catalfamo likes this

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
On 4/25/2016 at 7:38 PM, Joe Catalfamo said:

Corey Graham, who was one of the top tacklers on Buffalo's defense. Also Aaron Williams is returning from a neck injury suffered in 2015; he's still young with lots of talent. Baccari Rambo and just recently-signed UFA Robert Blanton will most likely be the back ups.

Ok cool. I remember Rambo getting run over by Spencer Ware, wasn't sure who the others were ;)

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, James Reagan said:

Got to hope that playoff drought ends soon. It's just not good for the league to have a team struggle for so long. But at least now, they've got back-to-back seasons at .500 or better. Ryan's just got to do his thing in the draft and get some new talent at DE and LB. 

 

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, James Reagan said:

Got to hope that playoff drought ends soon. It's just not good for the league to have a team struggle for so long. But at least now, they've got back-to-back seasons at .500 or better. Ryan's just got to do his thing in the draft and get some new talent at DE and LB. 

I think their main points of emphasis in 2016 need to be rushing the passer, and staying healthy and consistent on the offensive end. Buffalo is notorious for not making the one or two big plays that win them games that they SHOULD win (for example, Jacksonville last year, and Oakland the year before). If the Bills crack down on defense more and keep making plays on offense, they could definitely have a chance to see the post-season.

James Reagan likes this

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Mark Skol Jr. said:

Not a quarterback?

Tyrod is a very safe option for the time being, and he proved that by having a very efficient 2015 season. He made huge plays down the stretch and kept his INT's very low. That being said, since Buffalo's biggest struggle last season was on the defensive side of the ball, I think they should look for a defensive stud like Rankins, Lawson, or Ragland to add depth or maybe even compete for a starting spot.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now



Draft Coverage