6 Former Buffalo Bills who would thrive on the 2019 roster
By Avery Duncan
Bruce Smith – Defensive end
One of the Bills’ biggest questions looming is how they will get to the quarterback consistently. Jerry Hughes is half of the answer, but the other half is unknown–with Trent Murphy and Shaq Lawson as breakout candidates. In this fantasyland of time travel, Buffalo gets its complement to Hughes and then some in Bruce Smith.
Smith proved his worth to the Bills–after being selected at No. 1 overall in 1985–nearly from the get-go. After not hitting the ten-sack landmark as a rookie Smith recorded 15 as a sophomore; then proceeded never to look back. He didn’t stop getting to the quarterback until 2003 with the Redskins when he recorded his 200th, still the most in NFL history.
Smith was a model of consistency during his time in Buffalo. From 1986 to 1990 he had at least 11 sacks in every season. In 1992, he picked up right where he left off after a knee injury forced him to sit out most of the 1991 season. Smith then recorded seven straight seasons of at least ten sacks, including three with at least 14. Impressive numbers before accounting that he played as a hand-in-the-dirt defensive end in a 3-4–a defense that favors sacks via edge rushers.
While Smith kept getting to quarterbacks, he also racked up awards. He finished his career as a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, 11-time Pro Bowler, eight-time first-team All-Pro, and a first-ballot Hall of Famer. His game predicating on the ultimate package of quickness, finesse, and power was often unblockable; some consider him to be the best defensive end ever. Now imagine that with the Bills’ current, stout defense–enough said.