There is no question that the focus for the 2021 season for the Buffalo Bills is the Super Bowl. Over the past two seasons, the team has been steadily building with making the playoffs in 2019 then winning the division last year and making a deep playoff run all the way to the AFC Championship Game.
As training camp, and the 2021 season, quickly approaches the focus is now trying to find those last final pieces that can round out the roster. While the Bills have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL, there is certainly room for improvement.
One of those areas of focus has been tight end and for most of the offseason, the Bills have been closely tied to Zach Ertz, who is rumored to be available. This week, it was reported that the Bills were close to a deal for the former All-Pro tight end.
While Ertz would certainly be an improvement at the position, it isn’t the move that would really put the team over the top. The move the Buffalo Bills should make is on the defensive side of the ball and that is signing free agent Steven Nelson.
The cornerback position is one of the weaker on that side of the football and certainly has plenty of questions after Tre’Davious White. While the Bills have shown they can win with someone like Levi Wallace, and Dane Jackson presents great upside, Steven Nelson is an experienced cornerback who is still in the prime of his career at 28 years old.
In his career, Nelson has started 68 games between his time with the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers. Last year, Nelson started 15 games for a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that allowed the third-fewest passing yards in the NFL. Nelson finished the year with 48 total tackles, two interceptions, and nine passes defended.
While Zach Ertz would grab headlines and it would be fun to think about him being added to this dynamic passing attack, the question is how much he could actually contribute. When considering the Bills are very deep at wide receiver with players like Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders, and Gabriel Davis, targets could be limited for Ertz unless Brian Daboll shifts his game plan to incorporate the tight end more.
However, this would then mean taking away targets from some of the wide receivers previously mentioned.
If the Buffalo Bills were to add Steven Nelson, it gives them a clear starter opposite Tre’Davious White but also dramatically improves the depth. This would move Wallace and Jackson down to reserve roles and could step in if the team loses a starter to injury. It also would allow the defense to match up better against spread offenses when they have to lineup against four-wide receiver sets.
While Zach Ertz would be an improvement, and it would be tough to fault the Buffalo Bills going that route, the addition of Steven Nelson would have a greater impact and really help the Bills chances of a Super Bowl run in 2021.