NFL – Buffalo Bills’ Season Review – Part 4

28 Jan

The final entry of our four part Bills’ season review delves into what the team needs to accomplish in the off-season as far as adding talent to improve their standing. Having made it to the AFC Championship game in 2020, the challenges GM Brandon Beane faces are much different than in previous off-seasons. Nonetheless, there are still areas where the Bills need to get better next season. Here are our projections on the positions Beane has to address:


Running Back


As prolific as Buffalo’s passing attack was in 2020 behind the arm of Josh Allen, the run game was very much abysmal. Allen, on scrambles and designed runs, was the best run game option. There is some debate as to whether the team needs a more dynamic running back to improve the rushing attack, or a stronger offensive line. Free agency is not a good option if Beane decides on adding a playmaking back. Most of the options are either too overpriced, plodding runners or are aging. Some draft experts see the Bills possibly taking a back with pick # 30 in the first round, and if players like Clemson’s Travis Etienne or Najee Harris of Alabama are still on the board, Beane might be tempted to go that route. Both are versatile and explosive.


Defensive Tackle


Star Lotulelei’s decision to opt out of the season left a hole in the Bills’ defensive rotation that hurt their ability to contain the run. Buffalo might not want to wait to see what kind of condition Star, a big man, is in after not playing all year, and one name on the free agent market that stands out as a perfect fit for his spot is Dalvin Tomlinson of the Giants. He is a solid space-eater type of lineman with a high motor who would make the players around him, including Ed Oliver and the linebackers, so much more effective. It will take some salary cap finagling to be able to sign him, but I would like to see him be a top priority. In the draft, a couple of those space eating type tackles could potentially fall to the second round. They are Alabama’s Christian Barmore and Marvin Wilson of Florida State. In the middle rounds, an intriguing name is Tedarell Slaton from Florida, who is a mountain at 6’5 and 358 pounds.


Edge Rusher


Premier edge rushers in free agency are rare and usually expensive, and require an investment the Bills can’t afford at this point. There are some names on the list that stand out, but they are either 30+ years in age or will command dollars Buffalo doesn’t have, even if they cut ties with Trent Murphy and save some cap cash. That leaves the draft again. Edge rushers who project to be available when the Bills pick are Patrick Jones II of Pitt and Carlos Basham out of Wake Forest. Mid-round possibilities include Tulsa’s Zaven Collins and Shaka Toney from Penn State. Buffalo might also consider a late round flyer on a local product, University of Buffalo’s Malcolm Koonce.




In today’s NFL you can never have enough cover corners, and although late round 2020 pick Dane Jackson could be a candidate for a breakout season, Buffalo could go CB as high as their first round pick if he’s the best player available. Aaron Robinson of UCF has been projected to the Bills at that pick by Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network. Asante Samuel Jr. could fall to them at pick 30 also. He has NFL bloodlines as his father played in the league. If the Bills are looking for length at the corner, a later round gem might be found in Washington’s Keith Taylor or Robert Rochell from Central Arkansas. The free agent CB list is mostly older players over 30 or Buffalo retreads like Ronald Darby and Nickell Robey-Coleman.


Offensive Line


Among free agent tackles on the market, the Bills’ best option looks like re-signing Darryl Williams to man the right tackle spot for another year. Also, their best and least expensive FA choice at guard appears to be their own Jon Feliciano. That leaves the college ranks again. Using the best player available formula, if Alabama tackle Alex Leatherwood or Tennessee guard Trey Smith fall to 30, either could be picked. There are plentiful choices from rounds 2-6 available among O-line prospects. The team would do well to look at players like Ben Cleveland from Georgia, Notre Dame’s Aaron Banks, Walker Little from Stanford, Dillon Radunz, a North Dakota State stud, and Spencer Brown of Northern Iowa.


Wide Receiver


This is definitely not a position of need for the Bills. However, should the team look to save cap space and add speed by not bringing back return specialist Andre Roberts, they might look for a cheaper and faster option like D’Wayne Eskridge of Western Michigan, who comes highly recommended by Rayonsports contributor and draft guru Josh Pohlman. Shi Smith from South Carolina and Dazz Newsome out of North Carolina are other later round possibilities.

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