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MOtorboat
01-27-2008, 12:49 PM
The Bills are in an interesting position. They seem to have a lot of young talent, but now that young talent has to come through and propel them to the next level. Of course, the problem the Bills face right now is that they are in a division with possibly the best team of all time. Meaning a 4-2 divisional record may be the best they can get in the next few years.

What has hindered the Bills from developing is J.P. Losmanís inability to step up and be the No. 1 quarterback they wanted him to be when they drafted him four years ago. So, in 2007, the Bills went out and spent another day one pick on a quarterback, and brought in Stanfordís Trent Edwards in the third round.

Edwards stepped in, in his rookie season and didnít do a bad job, leading the Bills to a 7-9 record, 5-4 in games he started. He threw eight interceptions, but also seven touchdowns, and his rating was 70.4. Not horrible numbers for a guy thrown to the fire. Heís big, 6-3, 230, and does have a good arm, though he lacks some mobility, but with Edwards it appears the Bills have finally found what they were looking for when they took a quarterback on day one four years ago.

Sitting behind Edwards in the backfield was another rookie in Marshawn Lynch. Lynch, who is a tough runner, though he tends to bounce things outside, stepped in from almost day one and ran for 1,115 yards and seven touchdowns. He was exactly what the Bills needed when oft-unhappy Willis McGahee left town. With Lynch and Edwards, it seems as the Bills may have found their starters for years to come. Dwayne Wright and Fred Jackson back Lynch up. Long-time fullback Ryan Neufeld is a blocking back, that was utilized a little more this season with the departure of McGahee, but the Bills still favor one-back sets.

Robert Royal and Michael Gaines start at the two tight end positions. Both are big targets, but still need to improve in the passing game to help take the pressure of Edwards and the receiving core. Combined they totaled 50 catches for five touchdowns. With a young quarterback, I think those numbers will probably go up next year.

Lee Evans is one of the top receivers in the league, but his numbers significantly dropped off last season as the Bills struggled to get him the ball. Defenses were able to key on him, and the Bills have to find some other options to take the pressure of Evans and allow him to break out once again next season. Josh Reed has been inconsistent at best for the Bills as he enters his seventh NFL season. Heís a third-receiver at best, and Roscoe Parrish, the Billsí other option, is as well. The Bills are a team that may look at a receiver like Limas Sweed in the first round, or look at taking Mario Manningham or James Hardy if they are available in the second. The Bills may even be a candidate to try and find someone in free agency.

The Buffalo Bills offensive line was inconsistent at best. They allowed 48 sacks, 25th worst in the league, and averaged less than four yards per carry, good for 28th in the NFL. The Bills need to upgrade along the offensive line if they want to give Edwards the protection he needs to become the franchise quarterback. Jason Peters will be entering his fifth season with the Bills, and his third season as the starter at left tackle. The Bills were atrocious running the ball to the left side, and Peters clearly is more of a pass blocker. It may be time for the Bills to try and upgrade the position in order to protect Edwards blind side, while trying to run the ball to the left.

Derrick Dockery, a free agent signing before 2007, was a little disappointing, but Dockery is a good guard, and some of his production problems may have been because of Peters next to him. Dockery has started all but three games in his five-year career, and could help anchor this line in the future. Melvin Fowler was a free agent signing two years ago, who will only be 29 next year. He helped the Bills to a decent running game on the right side of the line, but needs to be more consistent in the pass game.

Likewise, Brad Butler, in his first year as the full-time starter, was very good in the run game, but inconsistent against the pass. The Bills ranked in the top 10 in the running game over left tackle. Butler was drafted as a tackle in 2006, but started all 16 games at guard. Langston Walker is another free agent signing along this offensive line. As stated, over left tackle, the Bills were great in the run game. Heíll be the starting right tackle next year, as well.

The Bills have a decent core to the line, and there were no injuries along the line in 2007. They will need to be more consistent, especially at left tackle. If there is a change along the line, it would be at left tackle.

Aaron Schobel and Chris Kelsay are decent defensive, but their production was way down in 2007. Kelsay isnít a pass-rushing type of defensive end, but heís been pretty good against the run. Schobel, on the other hand, is the pass rusher. Problem is, he 6.5 sacks this past season, his worst performance since his rookie season in 2001. The Bills are going to need much more from these two if they are going to improve from their 29th place finish against the pass. The Bills were 29th in sacks, with Schobel leading the team with his 6.5. Anthony Hargrove will be just 25 next season, and could push either of these defensive ends for a starting position, if he ever lives up to his free agent contract.

Larry Triplett will be just 29 heading into next season, but he hasnít been the defensive force they thought he could be at defensive tackle when they signed him away from Indianapolis two years ago. During his 2005 season with the Colts he had four sacks. In the two seasons with Indianapolis, heís had just 3.5. They need him to get a better push from the left side, which in turn will help Kelsay. Kyle Williams, a fifth round draft pick in 2006, has been a pleasant surprise, stepping in and starting all but five games in his first two seasons. But heís going to have to take on more double teams next year to make this unit more effective. I wouldnít be overly surprised if the Bills try to find some depth to help push their four starters. They would love for John McCargo, a first-round selection in 2006, to step in and be a force, but so far, heís shown no signs of that.

Paul Poslusznyís early-season injury really hindered this defense. The second round pick was expected to step right in at middle linebacker and start. He did so for three games, and had 26 tackles before breaking his arm, and having to sit out the rest of the season. John DiGiorgio stepped in and did a decent job, recording 113 tackles, two sacks and an interception in 14 starts. However, a healthy Posluszny will most likely take the starting job back, heading into 2008.

Angelo Crowell, a third round pick in 2003, finally showed that he can step in and be the full time starter at weak side linebacker. His 126 tackles led the team, and he also registered two sacks, a forced fumble and an interception. Crowell will be expected to have the same production next season.

At the other outside linebacker position, the Bills need to find a solid starter. Keith Ellison started 9 of the last 12 games, but the sixth-round pick in 2006 didnít perform very well, notching just 39 tackles, one sack and one interception. Heís shown a nose for the ball, but his consistency just isnít there. The Bills may look to upgrade this outside linebacker position in the offseason. If they stick with Ellison, heíll really need to step up early in the season to keep the job.

Donte Whitner, the teamís first round selection in 2006, has shown a real nose for the ball from the Strong Safety position, and should be an anchor to the defensive secondary for many years. He notched 89 tackles, a forced fumble and an interception, as his production went down a little in his sophomore season. His production should go up, as they upgrade positions in front of him. Opposite him at free safety, the Bills had a pair of injuries that really hindered the team. Ko Simpson, a fourth-round selection in 2006, was expected to be the starter, after a decent rookie campaign, but he broke his left ankle against Denver in week one and couldnít return. Simpson should be the starter, but pushing him may be George Wilson, who stepped in and had 39 tackles, two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, and a fumble recovery.

Terrence McGee is a solid cornerback, missing just five games in his first five seasons, he notched four interceptions and 21 pass deflections, while also having 78 tackles this season. However, the Bills are looking for a complement to him at the other corner position. The Bills would like Ashton Youboty to be that guy, but injuries and inconsistency have hurt the young corner. He had 23 tackles and one interception, while playing in 11 games this season, and starting in three. Jabari Greer started 13 games this season, but never has produced much more that a nickel or a dime back in his four-year career. The Bills need either Youboty or Greer to step up and really take that position over next season.

Rian Lindell is a solid kicker, who missed just three kicks this season, and had two kicks of 50-plus yards. He is not a great kickoff guy, but he is the strongest leg on the team. Brian Moorman is a middle-of-the-road punter, but he is serviceable, despite his averaging dropping a full two yards this season.

Terrence McGee and Roscoe Parrish are very good returnmen, and should be featured in their respective return positions next season as well.

SmilinAssasSin27
01-27-2008, 03:32 PM
Some are saying they may go after Connor to play alongside Puz and Crowell. After how Crowell played last year, that would have all the makings of an incredible LB corps for a long time.

MOtorboat
01-27-2008, 03:47 PM
Some are saying they may go after Connor to play alongside Puz and Crowell. After how Crowell played last year, that would have all the makings of an incredible LB corps for a long time.

I would think so too, they definitely need help on the strong side. I think they need one more DT too, and maybe a DE.

SmilinAssasSin27
01-27-2008, 03:49 PM
They NEED another WR to complement Evans. I could definitely see them going after Connor, but it would also be very tempting to see Limas Sweed sitting there.

MOtorboat
01-27-2008, 04:25 PM
Obviously, this is subjective, but over the course of the last eight drafts, I see this:


WR
All-Pro Good Average Bust
7 6 5 19
OLB
All-Pro Good Average Bust
3 8 3 1

Wide Receivers

2007
No. Player Team Evaluation
2 Calvin Johnson Detroit Good
9 Ted Ginn, Jr. Miami Bust
23 Dwayne Bowe Kansas City Good
27 Robert Meachem New Orleans Bust
30 Craig Davis San Diego Bust
32 A. Gonzalez Indianapolis Good
2006
No. Player Team Evaluation
25 Santonio Holmes Pittsburgh Good
2005
No. Player Team Evaluation
3 Braylon Edwards Cleveland All-Pro
7 Troy Williamson Minnesota Bust
10 Mike Williams Detroit Bust
21 Matt Jones Jacksonville Bust
22 Mark Clayton Baltimore Average
27 Roddy White Atlanta Average
2004
No. Player Team Evaluation
3 L. Fitzgerald Arizona All-Pro
7 Roy Williams Detroit All-Pro
9 Reggie Williams Jacksonville Average
13 Lee Evans Buffalo All-Pro
15 Michael Clayton Tampa Bay Bust
29 Michael Jenkins Atlanta Bust
31 Rashaun Woods San Francisco Bust
2003
No. Player Team Evaluation
2 Charles Rogers Detroit Bust
3 Andre Johnson Houston All-Pro
17 Bryant Johnson Arizona Average
2002
No. Player Team Evaluation
13 D. Stallworth New Orleans Average
19 Ashley Lelie Denver Bust
20 Javon Walker Green Bay Good
2001
No. Player Team Evaluation
8 David Terrell Chicago Bust
9 Koren Robinson Seattle Bust
15 Rod Gardner Washington Bust
16 Santana Moss New York Jets Good
25 Fred Mitchell Philadelphia Bust
30 Reggie Wayne Indianapolis All-Pro
2000
No. Player Team Evaluation
4 Peter Warrick Cincinnati Bust
8 Plaxico Burress Pittsburgh All-Pro
10 Travis Taylor Baltimore Bust
21 S. Morris Kansas City Bust
29 R.Jay Soward Jacksonville Bust

Outside Linebackers

2007
No. Player Team Evaluation
26 Anthony Spencer Dallas Average
2006
No. Player Team Evaluation
5 A.J. Hawk Green Bay Good
9 Ernie Sims Detroit Good
13 K. Wimbley Cleveland Good
22 Manny Lawson San Francisco Average
2005
No. Player Team Evaluation
11 DeMarcus Ware Dallas Good
12 Shawne Merriman San Diego All-Pro
15 Derrick Johnson Kansas City Good
2004
No. Player Team Evaluation
17 D.J. Williams Denver All-Pro
27 Jason Babin Houston Bust
2003
No. Player Team Evaluation
10 Terrell Suggs Baltimore Good
2002
No. Player Team Evaluation
31 Robert Thomas St. Louis Average
2001
No. Player Team Evaluation
11 Dan Morgan Carolina Good
2000
No. Player Team Evaluation
2 LaVar Arrington Washington All-Pro
16 Julian Peterson San Francisco All-Pro

SmilinAssasSin27
01-27-2008, 04:33 PM
I don't think you can put 2007 as busts or good at the WR spot. It takes most 3 years to get acclimated. Ginn showed plenty of signs of brilliance and had a number of ST big plays called back. Meachem was injured.

MOtorboat
01-27-2008, 04:35 PM
I don't think you can put 2007 as busts or good at the WR spot. It takes most 3 years to get acclimated. Ginn showed plenty of signs of brilliance and had a number of ST big plays called back. Meachem was injured.

OK...so take 2007 out, I still think it's a better bet to go LB than WR...

SmilinAssasSin27
01-27-2008, 04:37 PM
I agree, but w/ a young QB another weapon may be needed...especially w/ the LB depth this year.

MOtorboat
01-27-2008, 04:40 PM
I agree, but w/ a young QB another weapon may be needed...especially w/ the LB depth this year.

But can they get that weapon in the second with Hardy or Manningham, and then take Connor (or Rivers) in the first?

SmilinAssasSin27
01-27-2008, 04:43 PM
Yeah...it could go either way for them. I think Manningham goes in round 1, but there are a couple of others that could help. I still likely would go w/ Limas though. Big body, tough receiver to play off of Evans' speed game.

dogfish
01-27-2008, 05:25 PM
good article. . .


i think the bills are an interesting team-- this was a rebuilding year after getting rid of veteran mainstays like london fletcher, takeo spikes, nate clements and willis mcgahee. . . seems to have worked out pretty well for them, as their young players got a lot of experience this year, and the team played hard and showed a lot of grit down the stretch despite a ton of injuries. . .

edwards looks like he can be the real deal if they can put some weapons around him, and finding a QB is almost always the hardest part. . . they desperately need another impact receiver-- ideally a big possession guy to move the chains and help out in the red zone, a guy who can complement evans and work the underneath stuff while he stretches the field. . . i would think sweed would be awfully tempting for them-- they really need some size at the position. . . if they can find a solid #2, parrish is a quality slot receiver, and reed is an adequate #4. . .

they obviously need help on the line, but i don't agree that replacing peters is the way to go-- even if he's not the most effective run blocker, LT is the spot where you're most likely to sacrifice some production in that area in exchange for solid pass pro. . . IMO they drastically overpaid for dockery and walker (dockery got paid as much as steve hutchinson, and isn't half the player hutch is IMO). . . i think their line as a whole is too big and slow-- they really struggle with speed, especially walker, and those big lumps can't get to the second level to open things up for lynch. . . he showed more toughness running up the middle than he was projected to, but they still need to get him in space more often to realize his full potential. . . that's another area where they could really use some size at WR, as none of the guys they have other than possibly reed is worth much of anything as a blocker. . .

i also think that lynch was severely under-utilized in the passing game-- coming out of college he was touted as one of the most polished backs in recent years in terms of route running and his ability to catch the ball, but he only had 18 receptions for the year. . .

their D-line is pretty much just a bunch of guys, and IMO this is where they need the most work on that side of the ball-- their cover-2 is never going to work the way it's supposed to without a front four that can generate consistent pressure. . . schobel and kelsay are grinders, but they really need schobel to rebound this coming season and rush the passer the way he did in the past. . . they've a t least invested the resources at DT, but it hasn't paid the type of dividends they were hoping for so far. . . i still think mccargo has the tools to develop into a contributor, but they probably need to invest another mid-rounder this year at the position, at the very least, and it would make sense for them to look for a pass rush specialist as well. . . WR may be the most pressing need, but i don't think it's out of the question that they could spend their 1st round pick on the D-line. . .

you're correct that they need more depth at LB-- neither ellison nor haggan is anything special, but they can probably get by with those guys at SAM for another year if pos can stay healthy. . . he looks like he'll anchor the LB corps for the next decade or so if he can. . .

their safeties are awesome, and they're really reaping the benefit of spending some 1st day picks there a few years back-- safeties with range and athleticism are essential for the cover-2, and those guys have both in abundance. . . they're set there if simpson can come back healthy. . . youboty is looking llike a bust, though, and they may need some help there. . . of course, decent cover-2 corners can usually be found in the middle rounds of the draft or sometimes later (or gotten relatively cheap in free agency), so that shouldn't be a particularly difficult area to address. . . .

i couldn't disagree more with your assesment of brian moorman. . . how can you call a guy who made all-pro the past two years "middle of the road??" :confused: :confused: he did have a bit of a down season this year, but the guy is generally recognized as one of the best in the league-- he probably faces worse weather than any other punter in the league, and he does a great job of handling the elements. . . he's also an extremely accurate punter-- this year he was among the league leaders at punts inside the 20 yard line, but had far fewer touchbacks than any of the other leaders in the category, and his punts were returned for far fewer yards. . .


overall, i'd say buffalo's rebuilding project is coming along nicely-- they still need to draft well and add some more parts, but they have some nice young players to build around. . . they aren't the flashiest team, but they play hard. . . i think they're still a year or two away from any kind of serious contention, but with a good offseason they're capable of being a factor next year. . . .

dogfish
01-27-2008, 05:27 PM
Yeah...it could go either way for them. I think Manningham goes in round 1, but there are a couple of others that could help. I still likely would go w/ Limas though. Big body, tough receiver to play off of Evans' speed game.

yea, manningham's not really the guy they need IMO-- they need somebody who can beat press coverage and go over the middle on 3rd downs. . .

MOtorboat
01-27-2008, 05:48 PM
their D-line is pretty much just a bunch of guys, and IMO this is where they need the most work on that side of the ball-- their cover-2 is never going to work the way it's supposed to without a front four that can generate consistent pressure. . . schobel and kelsay are grinders, but they really need schobel to rebound this coming season and rush the passer the way he did in the past. . . they've a t least invested the resources at DT, but it hasn't paid the type of dividends they were hoping for so far. . . i still think mccargo has the tools to develop into a contributor, but they probably need to invest another mid-rounder this year at the position, at the very least, and it would make sense for them to look for a pass rush specialist as well. . . WR may be the most pressing need, but i don't think it's out of the question that they could spend their 1st round pick on the D-line. . .

I disagree about them investing in the defensive tackle position. Larry Triplett and Kyle Williams don't get enough pressure at all, and McCargo, a second round pick, hasn't lived up to any expectations they've had at all. You have to expect a second-year defensive tackle to get into the starting lineup, which he could not do. Triplett, maybe is an anchor there, but if he is, he's got to get more pressure, especially for what they've paid him.


i couldn't disagree more with your assesment of brian moorman. . . how can you call a guy who made all-pro the past two years "middle of the road??" :confused: :confused: he did have a bit of a down season this year, but the guy is generally recognized as one of the best in the league-- he probably faces worse weather than any other punter in the league, and he does a great job of handling the elements. . . he's also an extremely accurate punter-- this year he was among the league leaders at punts inside the 20 yard line, but had far fewer touchbacks than any of the other leaders in the category, and his punts were returned for far fewer yards. . .

In 2004, he was 14th in net average. In 2005, he was 18th in Punts inside the 20 and second in Net Average. 2006 was clearly his best year, finishing second in Inside the 20 and Net Average. But, in 2007, his Net Average dropped to 14th. Sure, he received all-pro honors last year, and deserved it, but was it a career year, or the average? Looking back at his career it seems it was a career year.

Lonestar
01-27-2008, 06:11 PM
Obviously, this is subjective, but over the course of the last eight drafts, I see this:


WR
All-Pro Good Average Bust
7 6 5 19
OLB
All-Pro Good Average Bust
3 8 3 1

Wide Receivers

2007
No. Player Team Evaluation
2 Calvin Johnson Detroit Good
9 Ted Ginn, Jr. Miami Bust
23 Dwayne Bowe Kansas City Good
27 Robert Meachem New Orleans Bust
30 Craig Davis San Diego Bust
32 A. Gonzalez Indianapolis Good
2006
No. Player Team Evaluation
25 Santonio Holmes Pittsburgh Good
2005
No. Player Team Evaluation
3 Braylon Edwards Cleveland All-Pro
7 Troy Williamson Minnesota Bust
10 Mike Williams Detroit Bust
21 Matt Jones Jacksonville Bust
22 Mark Clayton Baltimore Average
27 Roddy White Atlanta Average
2004
No. Player Team Evaluation
3 L. Fitzgerald Arizona All-Pro
7 Roy Williams Detroit All-Pro
9 Reggie Williams Jacksonville Average
13 Lee Evans Buffalo All-Pro
15 Michael Clayton Tampa Bay Bust
29 Michael Jenkins Atlanta Bust
31 Rashaun Woods San Francisco Bust
2003
No. Player Team Evaluation
2 Charles Rogers Detroit Bust
3 Andre Johnson Houston All-Pro
17 Bryant Johnson Arizona Average
2002
No. Player Team Evaluation
13 D. Stallworth New Orleans Average
19 Ashley Lelie Denver Bust
20 Javon Walker Green Bay Good
2001
No. Player Team Evaluation
8 David Terrell Chicago Bust
9 Koren Robinson Seattle Bust
15 Rod Gardner Washington Bust
16 Santana Moss New York Jets Good
25 Fred Mitchell Philadelphia Bust
30 Reggie Wayne Indianapolis All-Pro
2000
No. Player Team Evaluation
4 Peter Warrick Cincinnati Bust
8 Plaxico Burress Pittsburgh All-Pro
10 Travis Taylor Baltimore Bust
21 S. Morris Kansas City Bust
29 R.Jay Soward Jacksonville Bust

Outside Linebackers

2007
No. Player Team Evaluation
26 Anthony Spencer Dallas Average
2006
No. Player Team Evaluation
5 A.J. Hawk Green Bay Good
9 Ernie Sims Detroit Good
13 K. Wimbley Cleveland Good
22 Manny Lawson San Francisco Average
2005
No. Player Team Evaluation
11 DeMarcus Ware Dallas Good
12 Shawne Merriman San Diego All-Pro
15 Derrick Johnson Kansas City Good
2004
No. Player Team Evaluation
17 D.J. Williams Denver All-Pro
27 Jason Babin Houston Bust
2003
No. Player Team Evaluation
10 Terrell Suggs Baltimore Good
2002
No. Player Team Evaluation
31 Robert Thomas St. Louis Average
2001
No. Player Team Evaluation
11 Dan Morgan Carolina Good
2000
No. Player Team Evaluation
2 LaVar Arrington Washington All-Pro
16 Julian Peterson San Francisco All-Pro


as you note WR is a shaky choice at best in the draft.. Of all the WR we have ever taken and that has to be almost 20 or so since mikey has come to town only Marshall is a keeper.IMO

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