The Buffalo Bills season has been over for weeks, but with the East West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl in the rear-view mirror, things are finally starting to pick up.
Finishing 8-8 this past fall, the Bills don’t have too many major needs, but there will be some holes to fill because of cap casualties and players leaving in free agency.
In simplest terms, Buffalo has six needs; linebacker, wide receiver, pass rusher, safety, offensive tackle and quarterback.
Every Monday for the next seven weeks we’ll take a look at each one of those positions, starting with an overview this week.
Linebacker: While Preston Brown’s season was lackluster compared to his rookie campaign, he’s someone the Bills can rely on moving forward. However, if Nigel Bradham leaves in free agency, like most think he will, Buffalo could be in trouble. This position will most likely be addressed early in the draft and through free agency. This is where the Bills could spend their first-round draft pick. Alabama’s Reggie Ragland is a name to keep in mind. Ragland spent time during Senior Bowl week at outside linebacker showing his versatility.
Wide Receiver: As much of a stud Sammy Watkins was this past season, Buffalo needs a second weapon to pair wit him. In an ideal world, Buffalo takes a chance on some one like Alshon Jeffery or Percy Harvin. Both players are coming off of injury-riddled seasons and their price tags could go down because of it. They could be options, but Jeffery will probably demand to much on the market. Draft-wise, if Ole Miss wide standout Laquan Treadwell drops to the Bills at No. 19, there should be no hesitation to snag him. However, that’s not a likely scenario, so Buffalo could look at someone like Braxton Miller on Day 2.
Pass Rusher: With Mario Williams a likely cap casualty, Buffalo will be looking for someone new to pair with Jerry Hughes. Muhammad Wilkerson is a player the Bills could target in free agency, but will most likely be too expensive. A couple of names that could float around Buffalo are Denver Broncos defensive ends Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson. Both have had productive seasons for the AFC champs. There are also many avenues to take in the draft like Eastern Kentucky’s Noah Spence.
Safety: Safety is where things get tricky for Buffalo. The Bills will have both starters coming back in 2016, but both Corey Graham and Aaron Williams have their own questions. Graham was a liability in the passing game this past year, but it was his first year at safety. Even Williams himself isn’t sure how he’ll react to his first tackle. The best way to fill this need would probably be in the draft.
Offensive Tackle: If Buffalo is unable to re-sign Cordy Glenn, things will get a lot more murky, but for now let’s assume he stays a Bill. The Seantral Henderson project was nice for a while, but after two seasons the former Miami lineman has yet to adjust to the NFL game at a consistent level. The best way to go about this is through the draft and give Henderson some more competition for training camp.
Quarterback: While the Bills look like they’ve found their long-term solution, they’re still in need of a backup quarterback. In two games this past season EJ Manuel wasn’t able to get the job done. An upgrade needs to be made. This can come in Day 3 of the NFL Draft. Some names to keep an eye on are Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott, Oregon’s Vernon Adams Jr., Stanford’s Kevin Hogan and Ohio State’s Cardale Jones. Adams could be a stud in the league one day and would fit what Buffalo is doing nicely.
Come back next Monday to see a full breakdown at linebacker.