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NFL – Buffalo Bills’ Season Review – Part 4

19 Jan

The fourth and final section of our annual Buffalo Bills’ season review is our favorite part, where we put on the general manager’s hat and make suggestions as to what the team needs to do to improve going into next season. It’ll be a much easier offseason for Brandon Beane and the front office compared to last year, when they had major holes to fill all across the roster. Beane did yeoman’s work to fill those holes in both free agency and the draft, and the results of that work were positive as the team turned its’ record around from 6-10 to 10-6 while claiming a wild card playoff spot. Here is our list of needs for the Bills, with suggestions as to how to go about filling them:

 

Quarterback

 

This should come with an asterisk as it really just means backup* QB. Josh Allen is firmly entrenched as the starter, but it would behoove the Bills to kick the tires on some veteran backups to battle Matt Barkley in training camp for the clipboard carrier’s job. Most of the available “backup” types, like Washington’s Case Keenum and Colt McCoy, Chase Daniel of Chicago or Kansas City’s Matt Moore, are well into their 30s so the Bills would be looking at a short term deal. Maybe the team would consider bringing back an old friend to be third string QB and a special teams contributor, Joe Webb III of Houston.

 

Running Back

 

While Devin Singletary is poised to carry the load as the lead back next season, the situation behind him will likely change. Frank Gore faded as the season went on and he may not even decide to play another year. T.J. Yeldon was rarely used and has to be looking for a different situation where he can get on the field more. Senorise Perry is also a free agent. That leaves Christian Wade as the sole returnee so Buffalo has to add some depth in the backfield. Kenyan Drake, who exploded onto the scene after being traded from Miami to Arizona, figures to cash in on his play from the second half of 2019 with the Cardinals. He would be an ideal complementary back to Singletary but may cost a bit too much for the Bills’ liking. Philadelphia’s Jordan Howard and Jonathan Williams of the Colts are a couple of younger and cheaper options. If they stay true to their formula, they’ll add a back in the draft, probably in the mid-to-late rounds. Players in that category are A.J. Dillon of Boston College, Lamical Perine of Florida and Benny Lemay of Charlotte.

 

Wide Receiver

 

This is the position that Buffalo is in the most need of an upgrade on offense. The additions of John Brown and Cole Beasley improved the receiving corps immensely in 2019 but there is still a need for a big, fast, strong pass catcher who makes the contested catches. Bills’ fans have clamored for Cincinnati’s A.J. Green but he is 32 years old and injury prone. The only WR on the market who comes close to filling the above-mentioned needs for Buffalo is Amari Cooper of Dallas. I see the team using the draft to get their man, with a deep class of receivers available. This position has a great chance of being the top priority of the team in the first round with the talent available. Players likely available at the Bills’ slot at # 22 are Tee Higgins of Clemson and Laviska Shenault of Colorado, both dynamic playmakers. If Brandon Beane waits until the second round to grab a receiver, Justin Jefferson of national champion LSU and Michael Pittman Jr. of USC are candidates. Possible late round gems are Bryan Edwards of South Carolina and Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool.

 

Linebacker

 

With Lorenzo Alexander retiring and the linebacking depth thin as it is, this position will be high on Beane’s list for additions. I believe the best free agent available, and a good fit for Buffalo’s defense, is New England’s Kyle Van Noy. Signing him would be the double hit of improving an already strong defense and weakening a tough Patriot defense. Matthew Judon of Baltimore is another interesting prospect. He is only 28 and a top young star on the Ravens’ defense. In the draft, Buffalo could go after Kenneth Murray of Oklahoma or LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson in the first round, or wait until round 2 and target Zack Baun of Wisconsin, Troy Dye of Oregon or Malik Harrison of Ohio State. Late round prospects include Carter Coughlin of Minnesota and Patrick Queen of LSU.

 

Edge Rusher

 

The lines between outside linebackers and edge rushers have been blurred in the last couple of years. The Bills still employ a defense that uses linebackers and defensive ends, and any edge rusher added would have to line up at one of those spots. As for free agents, Pittsburgh’s Bud Dupree would be a nice addition, and although he’s up in years at 32 Carolina’s Mario Addison could be considered. In the draft, Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa would have to be looked at if he falls to the Bills in the first round, as would Curtis Weaver of Boise State. Later round sleepers are Alton Robinson of Syracuse and Charlotte’s Alex Highsmith.

 

 
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  1. ExoRank

    January 30, 2020 at 5:24 am

    Awesome post! Keep up the great work! :)