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Team needs: Buffalo Bills

Doug Marrone speaks to the press for the first time as head coach of the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York Reuters

Last offseason, the Bills tried to strengthen their team around quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in hopes of ending their playoff drought. They grabbed some promising players in the draft, but the season still went south and it’s harder than ever to ignore the fact that the team doesn’t have the franchise quarterback that’s a prerequisite for championship contention. Consider that a teaser for the first of the draft needs we’ll discuss in this space. 

Quarterback: Swapping Fitzpatrick for Kevin Kolb may actually be the textbook definition of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, but it was important for them to admit defeat after giving Fitz a big contract so they could make finding a new signal caller the priority it should have always been. The Bills have met or will meet with just about all of the top prospects at the position in this year’s class, with special attention being paid to Ryan Nassib because he played for new coach Doug Marrone in Syracuse.

The question is whether he’s worth the eighth pick in the draft or if the Bills should be looking for a surer thing up top while relying on Marrone’s offensive acumen to help develop someone selected later in the process. Or, should things work out, just take Nassib early in the second round or trade up to take him late in the first.

Linebacker: Flipping between defensive schemes in recent years has left the Bills short on linebackers who can fill the top spots on the depth chart. New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine says that the team will run multiple fronts, which means they’ll need more versatility than holdovers Nigel Bradham and Kelvin Sheppard or newly signed Manny Lawson bring to the table. Barkevious Mingo of LSU could be such a player in the first round, although the disparity between his physical gifts and on-field production remains concerning.

Wide Receiver: Stevie Johnson has one spot locked down, but it’s a big question mark behind him on the depth chart. The Bills let Donald Jones and David Nelson walk and haven’t added anyone to a thin group with little experience. That’s going to make the job more difficult for whoever winds up playing quarterback. There isn’t a receiver who appears to be worth taking with eighth pick, but prospects like Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins and Baylor’s Terrance Williams could make sense for the Bills in the second round as they try to flesh out their offensive attack.

Guard: The Bills fielded a strong offensive line last season, but lost Andy Levitre to a huge contract with the Titans and did struggle to find a consistent answer at right guard when Levitre was here. We’d say that the overall strength of the line and the dire straits at the previously discussed sports makes this need less significant than one you’d need to fill with the eighth pick, but you don’t always get things to play out the way you like.

North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper or Alabama’s Chance Warmack may be too good for the Bills to pass up in the first round, especially since it isn’t like having a great offensive line is going to be a weakness if that’s how things wind up for the Bills. Whatever happens at quarterback and receiver, the Bills are going to ride Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller hard next season. Getting one of the best offensive linemen in the draft would be a good way to make that course of action pay off.

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37 Responses to “Team needs: Buffalo Bills”
  1. fthrvic says: Apr 11, 2013 3:04 PM

    Based on the previous team needs that have been posted on PFT, can I correctly assume these are not necessarily the most important areas of needs for the Bills as well?

  2. steelernationisuperiortothelowlyplebsofthenfllolol says: Apr 11, 2013 3:13 PM

    LOL it’s the Bills! They don’t have team needs; they need a team!

  3. cdavls17 says: Apr 11, 2013 3:14 PM

    Since when has Nix drafted oline in the 1st rd? Never, the guy doesnt believe in spending early picks on them. The Bills brought in 27 players so far 7 Qbs, 6 Wrs, 5 Safeties, 6 LBs, and 2 TE. I think it is obvious that the bills want and are interested in those areas or they wouldnt have shown so much interest in the guys and never even met with Warmack or Cooper other then at the combine which I am not seeing them even have meetings set up with them there.

  4. madmax80 says: Apr 11, 2013 3:18 PM

    Simplified:

    Team needs: Buffalo Bills
    EVERYTHING

  5. flash1283 says: Apr 11, 2013 3:19 PM

    Bills first team need = Tom Brady to retire!

  6. tharoostah says: Apr 11, 2013 3:23 PM

    Team Needs Buffalo Bills: A new GM

  7. billsfaninmiami says: Apr 11, 2013 3:34 PM

    This is a pretty good assessment of the team’s needs. Trouble is, the Bills only have 1 first round pick and (at least) 5 holes to fill.
    Nix should go WR – Cord Patterson – or G -Chance Warmack first.

    Nassib will fall in their lap in round 2.

    Then some good sense in the War Room and a touch of good luck will make for a decent draft.

    Bills will be OK. Eventually – hopefully soon.

  8. whatnojets says: Apr 11, 2013 3:34 PM

    Team Needs: 53 professional NFL players

  9. RussianBreadMaker says: Apr 11, 2013 3:35 PM

    Team Needs: New City

  10. whatnojets says: Apr 11, 2013 3:37 PM

    Since I will be going on an international business trip and I will not be around when my beloved New York Jets “needs” get adressed, I will state what I think:

    NEW 53 Professional players and a new owner

  11. themagicman1223 says: Apr 11, 2013 3:40 PM

    Team need : No quarterback from the 2013 class.

  12. theytukrjobs says: Apr 11, 2013 3:44 PM

    Bills are stocked at special teams gunner, third string / blocking tight end, and I actually like their backup right guard and think he’s at or above league average for a backup right guard.

    Other than that, they need basically everything.

  13. krustylaugh says: Apr 11, 2013 3:47 PM

    Nix will not draft a guard in the first round. Maybe they could take a LT and slide Glenn inside but it’s doubtful. Nix and Whaley have done a tremendous job building a solid offensive line with spare parts. They acquired Young, Pears, Brown, Snow and Urbik off of waivers or free agency. Glenn was stolen in the 2nd round and Hairston is becoming a very good fourth round selection. Z. Sanders =TBD.

    We need major help @ WR. The QB goes without saying, but we need to take 2 wr’s with our first 4 picks. This draft is loaded with play making wr’s and we can’t continue to ignore this position any longer.

    Nix usually doesn’t like to move around during the draft, but if there is ever a year to move back for extra picks, it’s this one. Nix needs to put on his big boy pants and move down the draft board (if possible).

  14. livepredictor says: Apr 11, 2013 3:50 PM

    Team needs WR’s…No, if’s, ands or Buffs!

  15. gnorules says: Apr 11, 2013 3:50 PM

    PFT line of the day…. “Swapping Fitzpatrick for Kevin Kolb may actually be the textbook definition of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”

  16. dgoens3109 says: Apr 11, 2013 4:03 PM

    Seriously… can we just rename them the Buffalo 6-10′s so I can stop getting my hopes up??

  17. sanitytrek says: Apr 11, 2013 4:19 PM

    There is no discussion here. The Bills need to draft the best rookie QB at 8. They can fill needs from 2nd round on, but QB is the TOP priority! End of discussion. No more posts necessary. This is FINAL.

  18. westbrookcondo says: Apr 11, 2013 4:26 PM

    I agree with Krusty with regard to OL replacements are the guard position, but besides WRs the Bills also need LBs. Nix needs to trade down enough to pick up an additional 2nd or 3rd round pick and get a WR and LB along with a QB.

  19. mungman69 says: Apr 11, 2013 4:32 PM

    Post this: it won’t matter whom Buffalo picks cause they got Kolb there. Dude don’t even know how to pronounce his own name. Think about that.

  20. EJ says: Apr 11, 2013 4:35 PM

    I like the assessment, but the Bills are in better shape than you would think on the Offensive line. Between Glenn, Hairston, Pears and Young the Tackle position is solid. Wood has the Center position covered as long as he stays healthy. As for Guard, Urbik and Brown can hold it down and if Marrone wants to fortify the position they could use Zebrie Sanders inside. I am thinking they could use one or two of the latter rounds to pick up a couple backups, maybe Center and Guard?
    The QB situation is the biggest need. Nassib should still be there once the second rolls around, If not, I can see them taking Manuel or Glennon.
    The Wide Receiver spot is another dire need. Using their first pick to take a Receiver wouldn’t bother me. Maybe Patterson or Woods? Austin is too small and in my eyes isn’t worth a first round pick in the top 10. Austin reminds me too much of Roscoe Parrish, who was injured a bunch because of his size.
    Linebacker can be solved in the third or fourth with someone like Khaseem Greene or Jon Bostic. Both players can be plugged in to start.

    This will be Buddy Nix’s last draft, I hope he goes out on a good note! Go Bills!!!!

  21. buffalomafia says: Apr 11, 2013 4:39 PM

    Dear Lord do not let the Bills draft Nassib! He doesn’t have the arm strength to throw the long ball according to numerous scouts! Thank you!

  22. phinfan86 says: Apr 11, 2013 4:41 PM

    so i guess we can all assume that for every “team needs” post, theres gonna be at least 20 people posting: team needs, A WHOLE NEW TEAM!!!! so original…….

  23. papazoid says: Apr 11, 2013 4:53 PM

    Buffalo: a drinking town with a football problem.

  24. nativeraider says: Apr 11, 2013 5:01 PM

    I always like me some Bills but jeez…They never really added much besides Kolb. At this point if I was the Bills Id go WR Patterson or G Warmack in the draft. Too many holes on D might as well put up some points or open some holes for Spiller.

  25. kwickett85 says: Apr 11, 2013 6:15 PM

    In my opinion the Bills should just draft LB, O-line, and WR with the first 3 picks. Then see what QB’s are still there in the 4th round. Draft one as a backup behind Kolb…if it doesn’t work out draft one early next season.

    Just don’t feel like any of these QB’s are worth a 1st round pick. Levitre needs to be replaced, they need another weapon to throw to on offense, and the defense REALLY needs to be fixed…won’t matter who the QB is if they play like that again next year.

  26. kingdm8 says: Apr 11, 2013 6:52 PM

    They won’t draft Nassib. Every time a college coach takes an NFL job the talking heads project them to take their former stars in the draft. Remember when Pete Carroll was sure to take a USC player every year in the first round? He never did. Same with Saban, etc. I’d be shocked if the Bills took Nassib.

  27. frankdatank23 says: Apr 11, 2013 8:21 PM

    “kingdm8 says:
    Apr 11, 2013 6:52 PM
    They won’t draft Nassib. Every time a college coach takes an NFL job the talking heads project them to take their former stars in the draft. Remember when Pete Carroll was sure to take a USC player every year in the first round? He never did. Same with Saban, etc. I’d be shocked if the Bills took Nassib.”
    —————————————————-
    You missed it. This actually just happened last year, with the same exact pick….. the bills faced this team twice last year.

  28. bosshoghussla says: Apr 11, 2013 8:34 PM

    sanitytrek

    Thank god you said “this is FINAL”…I was so unsure before, but now…

  29. pepper75 says: Apr 11, 2013 9:13 PM

    For weeks, I’ve been reading and reading about Buffalo’s team needs. Quarterback. Receiver. Linebacker. Offensive line.

    Not once have I read “leadership”. This is a team (and town) that has been beaten into accepting the glory days will NEVER return and a 6-10 finish in Buffalo is like a 12-4 finish in New England; a success.

    Marrone gives a new energy and new hope to the team. Although we are only a few weeks into the new league year, it is unquestionable that Marrone is encouraging and promising in his attitude. Obviously, the proof is between September and (hopefully) January, but the new regime seems to give a feeling that it is pointing in a proper direction.

    This team has several needs in key positions but, in a draft where there is no clear-cut, stand-out talent, the position of the player they draft may lose out to the character of the player they draft.

  30. kingdm8 says: Apr 11, 2013 9:21 PM

    Frankdatank23, that’s a good point. I forgot about the Tannehill-Sherman connection. Still, it’s very uncommon.

  31. bills399 says: Apr 11, 2013 10:49 PM

    I love the uneducated bills haters who say things like the bills draft needs “include 53 players”. Having two top running backs, a #1 wr, a pro bowl de and dt, a probowl safety, a future probowl cb and dt, constitutes as needing a whole team.

  32. chucksports says: Apr 12, 2013 9:17 AM

    The only reason Rochester doesn’t have a NFL team is because Buffalo would be jealous

  33. jpaq68 says: Apr 12, 2013 9:57 AM

    Forget what they need, here’s what they’re going to get:

    1st round- Ryan Nassib QB – Syracuse.
    2nd Round- Sharmarko Thomas SS – Syracuse.
    3rd Round- Justin Pugh OG – Syracuse.
    4th Round- Brandon Sharpe OLB – Syracuse.
    5th Round- Alec Lemon WR – Syracuse.
    6th Round- Marcus Sales WR – Syracuse.

  34. bbillsfan01 says: Apr 12, 2013 1:58 PM

    Year after year the front office proves that are totally clueless. From drafting, to coach selecting (jury is out for 2013) to keeping it’s own free agents.
    Case in point.
    Need a fast, adequate #2 WR. Emanuel Sanders can be had for less than $2Mil and it Effs the Steelers bc they don’t have cap space. He’s better than anything The Bills get in the 3rd round and now they’d have 3 starting WR (don’t forget the midget they drafted last year) and they have plenty of cap space.
    What’s that you say? The Pats are doing that?
    Case closed.
    The best get better, the Bills swirl…
    Adios Buddy. Enter Doug Whaley and maybe some hope.

  35. rabidbillsfan says: Apr 12, 2013 2:07 PM

    @buffalomafia

    Care to name your “numerous scouts”? From what I’ve read from the like of the guys at NFLN and ESPN, and you know, actually watching him play, Nassib has anything but a “noodle arm”. He’s reckless with his throws, trusts his arm too much. Which is fine, and is correctable, but he needs to remember their are 10 other guys on the field, and thinking he has to make a play is a poor attitude for a QB. I like him, not at 8 though. Working in a system he knows will allow him to possibly thrive, so I won’t crucify the Bills if they make a play for him, there are worse options. They need a legitamate #2 though, which is why I could see them going after Patterson or Austin, and either of those guys @ 8 are ok. Over-valuing playmaking ability is fine by me, and both of those guys are playmakers.

  36. pioniere says: Apr 14, 2013 7:18 PM

    The Bills will draft a safety, Kenny Vaccaro, with the #8 pick. As was pointed out in a great article on WGR-550, Mike Pettine has always had good safeties play a key role in his defenses. It will be the same here, especially with the likes of Gronkowski and Hernandez in the division.

  37. michlight1231 says: Apr 15, 2013 12:14 AM

    All you different fans of different team go on Buffalo needs a new team/new city but what about Seattle they turned around in a year. All im saying is the bills don’t need a New city. Maybe a little luck.

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