RT Joe Devlin (1976-1982, 1984-1989)
This name might surprise a lot of you and some of you probably have no idea who he is. Joe Devlin is often regarded as one of the most underrated and under-appreciated Buffalo Bills‘ players in franchise history.
Devlin ended up missing the 1983 season, but for the other 13 years he was as dependable as they come. He would finish his career with 191 games played — all with Buffalo — and 179 of those were starts. There were only 2 seasons that he didn’t play a full season.
Joe Devlin was the team’s right tackle and mostly protected Joe Ferguson and Jim Kelly during his tenure. He would help the team to the playoffs four times — 1980, 1981, 1988 and 1999 — but would retire the year before the Bills’ first trip to the Super Bowl.
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Devlin also helped a handful of running backs reach the 1,000-yard mark, including Terry Miller in 1978, Joe Cribbs in 1980 and 1981, Greg Bell in 1984 and Thurman Thomas in 1989.
After seeing Jordan Mills the past few years at right tackle, I’m convinced that he’s not starter material. In addition, Cyrus Kouandjio just had hip surgery and will miss some valuable time this offseason with a new coaching staff.
With that being said, the Buffalo Bills will be looking to upgrade their right tackle. What they need is a player like Joe Devlin — reliable, good pass-block, good run-block, smart. Not only was he a bright spot in some of the franchise’s worst seasons, he was highly regarded by all of his teammates.
Take it from Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure, who played with Devlin from 1976-1979 and then again in 1985. Joe DeLamielleure was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
"“One of the best tackles I’ve ever played with,” said DeLamielleure. “Never went to a Pro Bowl, which was a joke. Literally one of the best players I’ve ever played with.”"
If the Buffalo Bills can find a new right tackle — or even a left tackle and move Cordy Glenn to the right side — the offensive line would be dominant all the way through. Not only would that open up our passing game, but it would make the Bills’ run game that much scarier.
Let’s move on the defensive side of the ball, where our first need is a talented safety. Here’s who I would bring back in time.