The Buffalo Bills’ offensive line will look a lot more crisp next season, thanks to a few additions and some healthy veterans.
Well into the free agency period, the Buffalo Bills have shaped together a roster full of depth. It was a major concern at the start of the period, noting that the team had 24 unrestricted free agents on the roster. One position group that got a little stronger has been the offensive line.
The Bills’ offensive line is the most important group on this offense. Without them, the Buffalo Bills wouldn’t be the NFL’s two-time rushing leader. Not to mention the uncertainty they’ve had at quarterback, the offensive line needs to make sure their quarterback is given the best opportunity to succeed.
Last year, the Bills’ offensive line was ranked 11th in the league by Pro Football Focus and was carried by Richie Incognito — who they named as the team’s top overall lineman (87.2 overall grade), top run-blocker (84.0 grade) and top pass-blocker (88.8 grade).
There were a few things holding this offensive line back last season. Those include losing Eric Wood mid-way through the season, Cordy Glenn not being 100% the whole year and Jordan Mills not meeting expectations.
Next season should be different.
Having Eric Wood back at center will do wonders for the line. Not only is he a good blocker, but he’s the leader of the offensive line and does an excellent job of controlling what’s happening around him. In addition, a 100% healthy Cordy Glenn will keep the left side as one of the strongest in the league.
On the right side, John Miller will look to continue his improvement from a year ago. After having a rough rookie season, Miller had a strong 2016 campaign and solidified himself as the starter moving forward. He will look to prove that it was the right move. Jordan Mills was re-signed this offseason and looks to be the starter at right tackle — as of right now. If the Bills don’t draft a tackle that could start day-one, he will be competing for that starting job.
What to do at right tackle?
With all that being said, the right tackle is the only spot I’m worried about on this offensive line. Luckily, that could be addressed in the NFL draft. As of right now, according to CBS Sports, there are 10 offensive tackles in this draft that are projected to go in rounds 1-3.
That not only means there is quite a bit of talent at the position, but also means that the Buffalo Bills don’t necessarily have to use their first or second round pick on a tackle. 6 of those 10 players are expected to go in round three.
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If the Bills decide to use a mid-round draft pick on a RT, they would likely just be adding competition for Jordan Mills. I wouldn’t mind that route, competition could be exactly what Jordan Mills needs to improve and bringing in a hungry rookie would be ideal.
Of course, they could also use their first or second round draft pick on a very talented right tackle that could start day-one, like Ryan Ramczyk, Garrett Bolles or Cam Robinson. I would like to note, though, if you like bigger offensive lineman then you’re going to like the third rounders more. Of those 6 players projected as third rounders, three of them are 6’7” and three are 6’6”.
Lastly, the team could decide to grab a veteran free agent, like Ryan Clady, but I think they’re better off going with a rookie.
Speaking of free agents, the Buffalo Bills signed two this offseason that will bring depth to the offensive line.
Offensive line depth will give the Buffalo Bills a security blanket.
Having depth for your offensive line is crucial in the NFL and even more crucial for a team like the Buffalo Bills that always seems to be haunted by injuries. Luckily, Buffalo was smart this offseason and is preparing for the worst next season.
First, the team signed a versatile guard in Vladimir Ducasse. He has a ton of starting experience and in fact has started at some point in each of his 7 seasons in the league. His contract is favorable to the Buffalo Bills (3-year, $3.5 million) and will act as a security cushion.
The other smart move from the Buffalo Bills came when they matched the offer sheet sent to Ryan Groy by the Rams. A restricted free agent this offseason, bringing him back will give the Bills a second versatile body on the offensive line. His familiarity with the offense will come in handy — much like we saw in the second half of the season last year.
Together, Ducasse and Groy will be able to fill in anywhere needed. Don’t forget, the Bills still also have Cyrus Kouandjio, Patrick Lewis, Michael Ola and Seantrel Henderson on the roster. With all that being said, I firmly believe this offensive line can crack the top-10 next season.
What are your early thoughts on the Buffalo Bills‘ offensive line? Leave your comments below!