Five things the Bills will do this offseason

Posted on March 1, 2010 by Patrick Moran

Buddy NixThe offseason fun for the Buffalo Bills and the rest of the NFL soon gets underway.  The annual free agent shopping spree commences at the stroke of midnight Friday and obviously the NFL draft is less than two months away.  The Bills will be looking to find as many pieces as they can to improve their team and speculation bounds daily on how they’ll go about doing it.

They need at least one if not a pair of offensive tackles. Finding a nose guard and at least one defensive end is a priority for the defense as well as various depth upgrades.  A quarterback is more than just a miniscule possibility and with news coming out that Terrell Owens and Josh Reed definitely won’t be back, the team suddenly needs help at wide receiver.

Some maneuvers will have to play themselves out, but I’ve come up with a list of five things you can count on the Bills doing for sure.

  • Find a right tackle in free agency
  • Find a second wide receiver in free agency
  • Sign as much defensive depth in free agency as possible
  • Draft a left tackle with their first pick
  • Draft a nose tackle with their second pick

Let’s examine each of them.

FREE AGENCY

Wide Receiver: The Bills have to replace Owens and Reed.  James Hardy and Stevie Johnson return and will get a shot to earn their way onto the field, but I highly doubt Nix will bank on either.  Buffalo doesn’t have the luxury of using an early pick on a receiver in the draft as tempting as Dez Bryant may be. Given their needs and realistic options, this is a position certain to be addressed in free agency.

Chris Chambers or Kevin Walter could be signed and fit nicely next to starter Lee Evans.  Antonio Bryant is also available but his salary demands and spotty history will probably scare the Bills away.  More unheralded options could include Kelley Washington, Nate Burleson or Bobby Wade, who would be a great candidate to replace Reed in the slot.

Right Tackle: Demetrius Bell and Jamon Meredith are prospects, but for now that’s what they remain, prospects.  Meredith has a lot to learn and so does Bell once he’s fully recovered from his knee injury.  Expect the Bills to bring in a veteran right tackle as they’ll clearly draft one for the left side early.

Artis Hicks (Minnesota) would be a great candidate who’s been a backup in Minnesota but is capable of moving into a starting role in Buffalo.  Tony Pashos and Mark Tauscher are capable veteran options.  One way or the other I expect a tackle to be added via free agency.

Defensive Depth: No matter what the front office or Chan Gailey tells you about the roster makeup, it’s terribly ill-equipped to run any version of the 3-4. As of now Nix is saying Chris Kelsay and Aaron Schobel will be moved to linebacker and Kyle Williams COULD play nose tackle, but I don’t buy it.  To make matters worse, this team has positively zero depth behind already iffy starters on the front seven and that will be addressed in free agency with low key depth signings.

I expect Buffalo at a minimum to add a defensive end, nose tackle and a pair of linebackers in free agency. Nick Eason, with connections to Doug Whaley could be a prime end prospect.  Bryan Robinson could be brought in at tackle as a quick stop gap.  Ryan Fowler may be someone who gets a look at inside linebacker.

They won’t sign a lot of big names, but they’ll add to their roster in large numbers with bargain free agent signings similar to what they did in 2006.

DRAFT

From now until April 22 you’ll see a million mocks and countless breakdowns of what the Bills may or may not with their first few picks. Save the time and energy of reading through them because it’s obvious to anyone clear headed what the team is going to do with their first two picks. I don’t know who they’ll go with, but I’m confident where they’re going early.

Also notice I list both as picks instead of rounds because I expect the team to move up and/or down the board during draft weekend.

FIRST PICK: Buffalo is going to take a left tackle with the ninth overall selection.  You can book it right now.  Who that person may be remains a mystery, but with Russell Okung certain to be off the board it’s going to come down to Bryan Bulaga and Anthony Davis.  We’re not sure who Nix prefers and it’s improbable he’ll say beforehand, but one of those two guys will be in a Buffalo uniform come April.

SECOND PICK: Buffalo is moving to a 3-4 and while they’ll add depth and possibly a starter in free agency they will not find a nose tackle.  Don’t be fooled by Nix’s comments, Kyle Williams is no two-gap answer.  The Bills will take a defensive tackle with their second pick and it will be one of these three: Dan Williams, Terrence Cody or Cam Thomas.  From accounts I’ve heard Cody had a great combine and may move up team’s draft boards.  Buffalo may have to get back into the late first round to land him.  Regardless of who, they’re taking a hole clogger with this pick.

From there the Bills could go in any direction with the rest of the draft.  Perhaps they grab a quarterback with their third pick.  They’ll definitely try to bolster their pass rush.  Lastly, if they don’t do it in free agency the Bills will draft another tight end and possibly earlier than most anticipate.

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3 Comments on Five things the Bills will do this offseason

  1. george

    few things:
    1. any chance you think the bills bring torry holt in for a season? he would provide a decent #2 option, would sell some tickets, much like owens did & maybe help finally develop hardy & johnson. (sims-walker gushed about how much he helped his development last year in jsx)

    2. if bradford by some grace of god fell to the 9th spot, you still dont think the bills would take him?

  2. Kyle

    I like the idea of Torry Holt being brought in to create some competition at the no. 2 spot at WR, but he might want a bigger contract than the penny-pinching Bills would pay.

    I think that regardless of whether Bradford or Clausen drop to the ninth pick of the draft the Bills should take a tackle. The guys they have right now aren’t impressive and free agency won’t help much in giving them a solid outside blocker that will last more than 2-3 years.

  3. Matt

    2010, per usual, is a rebuilding year for the Ills. They should play young guys at the 2nd WR spot and not some washed up old vet like Holt, which would be the same as keeping TO only TO has more left these days than Holt.

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