Buffalobills.com has reported that rookie offensive lineman Ed Wang has been shifted to guard, where he has been practicing the last few weeks. Wang has been battling injuries his entire rookie season, and his thumb is still not 100% as he tries to make this adjustment. While the Bills have been shuffling around their offensive line depth extensively, this move could increase trepidation about the future of the franchise in terms of personnel.
While the prevailing thought in football media is that drafts generally take about three years before you can judge them, the Bills approach to rebuilding this moribund team is through the draft. While obviously it is too early to write off a draft five games into its existence, and three years is a pretty good benchmark for draft evaluation, Ralph Wilson and Buddy Nix’s approach to making this team competitive is to build through homegrown talent. Based on early returns from the new regime, you have to be a little worried (again) for the future of this franchise.
While I don’t want to press the panic button, this shift is another indication that the Bills’ front office is not sure of itself. The Bills have recently ignored some pressing issues on this team in the draft. There are positions in today’s NFL that have a higher value than others. Whereas a questionable franchise QB like Jay Cutler can net a team like the Broncos a first round pick and then some, a former first round pick RB like Marshawn Lynch warrants only a 4th round pick in return. The moral of the story is to get impact players at impact positions. The Bills have glaring holes at quarterback, offensive tackle and pass rusher. The only one they’ve attempted to remedy in recent drafts is pass rusher, and they seem to have apparently whiffed miserably by selecting Aaron Maybin over Bryan Orakpo, Clay Matthews, or Baltimore Ravens left tackle Michael Oher.
The Bills’ attempt at the positions most coveted by most general managers were 5th round offensive tackle Ed Wang and 7th round QB Levi Brown. The Bills cut Brown, and didn’t even sign him to the practice squad out of camp. They resigned him only after releasing Trent Edwards, though they now deem him worthy of being on the active roster. Wang was another project pick. The Bills touted him as a raw prospect with a big upside. A player with all the tools who can blossom into an effective NFL tackle. Well, the Bills have a glaring hole at right tackle…and Wang has been moved to guard.