Between trading away assets for future picks and some of the cuts they made, it’s reasonably clear the Bills are trying for a clean slate.
But coach Sean McDermott said it wasn’t a deliberate attempt to purge players who were put in place by former General Manager Doug Whaley. After cutting running back Jonathan Williams, there are just six Whaley draft picks remaining on the roster, two each from 2014, 2015 and 2016.
“It’s not so much bringing in our own guys. I’m not in that mode of thinking,” McDermott said, via Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News. “It’s about the right guys. It’s about the right guys at the right time. That’s really what we’re interested in, is good people, good football players that are interested in the team-first mentality and embrace what this city’s all about.
“So in regards to that, there’s good football players that were brought on by Doug, and that’s what we’re interested in. Whether it was past regime, current regime, I’m not interested in that mode of thinking.”
Still, it doesn’t take a long look to realize why they might want to, and why such moves are necessary. Of the 20 draft picks made by Whaley, only Shaq Lawson (first round) and Adolphus Washington (third) from the 2016 class, Nick O'Leary (sixth) and John Miller (third) from 2015 and Preston Brown (third) and Seantrel Henderson (seventh) from 2014 remain.
Meanwhile, the turnover throughout the roster is significant.
Only 22 players on the Bills’ 53-man roster played a game for the team last year.
“I believe in the first year, when you look at it, you’re always going in and looking to make sure you get the right people on board, on the bus. And get people that are already on board in the right seats,” McDermott said. “That’s a natural occurrence the first year at times. Some of those are tough, difficult decisions. Unpopular in some ways, and I recognize that. . . . But it takes some of those decisions for us to get to where we’re trying to go.”
And mostly, where McDermott and new G.M. Brandon Beane are going is the opposite direction which Whaley had the team pointing.