It’s safe to say my beloved Buffalo Bills haven’t made as big a free agent splash since, well, maybe never. Bryce Paup was a nice pick-up back in 1995, earning Defensive Player of the Year Honors, with London Fletcher a close second in 2002. But this year’s signing of Mario Williams has the potential to eclipse both. Mark Anderson’s addition to the defensive line all but insures the Bills won’t be going front four in the upcoming draft. Where will they be going? Here are some thoughts:
Sitting at number ten puts them in a tough position – the best tackle (USC’s Matt Kalil) and wide receiver (Okahoma State’s Justin Blackmon) will both be gone. The Bills currently lack a legit starting left tackle on their roster, and the inconsistent play of every wide receiver on their roster has them in the hunt for a top flight pass catcher. After Kalil and Blackmon, the next two at tackle and wideout, respectively, are Iowa’s Riley Reiff and Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd.
On the other side of the ball, the switch from a 3-4 to 4-3 alignment takes pressure off the existing (and thin) linebacking crew, though age is an issue. Veterans Nick Barnett and Kirk Morrison currently line-up outside with up-and-coming sophmore Kelvin Sheppard. Morrison has had injury issues, and could easily be overtaken by a young stud in the form of Luke Kuechly from Boston College.
If the Bills are serious about adding Kalil or Blackmon, they’ll have to move up to three (Rams) or four (Browns) to get them, which will likely cost them a future first round pick in compensation. Is six or seven spots worthy of losing a top pick next year? Depends on the grades the Bills have on Kalil vs. Reiff or Blackmon vs. Floyd.
I predict the Bills won’t move up, they’ll stay put and draft Reiff if he’s there. They have starting receivers and linebackers on the team, but they don’t have a starting left tackle on this roster, and the odds of picking one up in free agency at this point are thin. General Manager Buddy Nix may have said they think they already have a left tackle on the roster, but this is liars season. Nobody is revealing their true intentions.