It has already been a busy offseason for the Bills. They signed Mario Williams and Mark Anderson to bolster their pass rush and re-signed wide receiver Stevie Johnson on a long-term deal. The two acquisitions shored up one of the team’s weak spots while keeping Johnson kept wide receiver from being a real trouble spot. If they draft well, it will be a very successful offseason for a team trying to build on a 6-10 season.
Left Tackle: Demetrius Bell is gone, leaving a hole on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s blind side. The Bills could move Erik Pears from the right side, but they’d be in much better shape if they could solidify the position for the long term. Iowa’s Riley Reiff could do that for them at the 10th overall pick and that makes him the ideal need pick for the team on the first day of the draft. If he doesn’t make it, Stanford’s Jonathan Martin could interest them although he appears lower than 10th on most draft boards.
Wide Receiver: Johnson’s back, but the team needs another outside receiver who can win one-on-one battles and make plays down the field. If Rieff isn’t around, Michael Floyd might fit the bill at 10th overall. In a perfect world they would get Rieff and then add a receiver with the ninth pick of the second round. Appalachian State’s Brian Quick, Illinois’ A.J. Jenkins and LSU’s Reuben Randle would all be worth a look.
Cornerback: Terrence McGee, Aaron Williams, Leodis McKelvin and Drayton Florence are all back at corner for the Bills, but they had their problems in coverage last season. The improved pass rush should help them do a better job this season, which is the reason this doesn’t rank above wideout on their list of needs, but there’s still room for a talented body in the mix.
Linebacker: Nick Barnett and Kelvin Sheppard fill two starting spots in the Bills’ 4-3 look quite well and Kirk Morrison will get first shot at the third spot. Adding someone who could push him this year and replace him down the road would be a nice addition to the Bills defense. With five picks between the third and fifth rounds, they could probably grab a couple of promising backers who could help the team on both defense and special teams.
For the first time in a while, the Bills have more spots secure than they have holes to fill. Taking the next step to playoff contention will take filling those needs, especially the left tackle position, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them be aggressive about getting what they need. Ralph Wilson wants to see a winner, so expect G.M. Buddy Nix to pull the strings he thinks will get him one.