I've gotta start with Russ Brandon because I don't understand why anybody has a problem with his promotion or role with the Bills. His new job is pretty typical for an NFL team. As an example:
The Baltimore Ravens FO has Richard Cass, a business guy as the President and highest ranking member who isn't the owner.
At the top of Paul Allen's (the owner of the Seahawks) front office is Jody Patton. Lord knows how the Seahawks went to a Super Bowl with a business woman looking over Tim Ruskill and Mike Holmgren's shoulder.
Lisa Williams, another woman is the President and CEO of the Denver Broncos.
The Houston Texans have a pair of Vice Chairmen who are businessmen and limited owners.
Joe Banner, a numbers guy, is the President of the Philly Eagles.
Danny Morrison, a non-football guy, is the President and higest ranking non-owner of the Carolina Panthers.
Unlike most other NFL teams, the Bills don't have an owner capable of running the day to day operations of the franchise. We've got a 90something year old owner who can't do the job that a Rob Kraft or the Rooney kids do. Why would anybody have a problem with Russ Brandon being in the FO when if it wasn't him, it would be Ralph Wilson? Brandon isn't around to draft players or make football decisions. His football role is that of overseeing the finances of the team and keeping the FO organized and directed. It's no surprise that the Detroit Lions and Ralph's buddies in the Ford family have a businessman as President. If anybody is curious as to what Brandon's job is, check out Tom Lewand's bio. It's long, but the first paragraph or two is all you need to know: http://www.detroitlions.com/team/staff/tom-lewand/e26de250-ac2c-4ec0-9bd1-90550e19fe1f
On Buddy Nix, Buffalo needs to make changes to the front office in both personel and structure. If Nix does that, he'll have my support, if not, I'll join the people who are beyond sick of Ralph Wilson's shenanigans.
I think Tom Modrak gets more flack than he deserves. While I've criticized the Bills' inability to find true impact in the early rounds, I think the draft has gone far better than John Guy's free agency has. Yesterday I said I wouldn't mind if Modrak stuck around, but I've rethought that some. I think one of the structural changes that the Bills need to make is to have a head of college scouting who actually lives here in Buffalo and works with Nix on a daily basis. If Modrak wanted to take a demotion to being a simple scout (and Modrak's not a young guy, so that might be appealing to him) and have his role be to live in Jacksonville and scout the players or positions that OBD wants him to and then comes back to Buffalo to help get ready for the draft for 4-6 weeks prior, then I'd happily take Modrak back.
I'm open to a lot of different names for the next head coach. I don't think Buffalo needs a proven winner and we've seen lots of coordinators come in and grab full control of the locker room and have early success. I can't get the fear that Buffalo ends up with a Weis or Brian Schottenheimer or something terrible out of my head though.
On the Bills' needs:
QB - I have no clue why anybody thinks the odds of Brohm growing into a long term starter here are anything better than remote. He got cut for a reason. He cost the Bills nothing for a reason. Other teams didn't grab him first for a reason. He's been one of the worst QBs in the league during the last two preseasons. How anyone can be comfortable not addressing QB and going into next year with Brohm starting is beyond me. The Bills have no bigger need than quarterback and I'm not sure how that isn't obvious to everyone. It's by far the most important position in the league and the guys we have are terrible. All that said, if Buffalo doesn't make QB a priority in the draft, I'll almost be relieved. I'm not sure I like the QBs this year and if Buffalo sticks with the board and never gets a chance to draft one, then I'll be OK with it. If at any point in the draft, Nix and co. think that a QB presents good value, they have to take him, no exceptions.
The reason I'm OK with not adding a QB in the draft is that I think next year's options are much, much better. Especially in the middle and later rounds where I like very few of the options this year. Next year's mid round guys like Case Keenum, Jerrod Johnson, Pat Devlin, Nathan Enderle, Kevin Reilly, Adam Weber, Ricky Stanzi, Andy Dalton and maybe guys like Blaine Gabbert, Nick Foles, John Brantley and Dayne Crist is a much, much more intriuging group to me.
Even if Buffalo drafts a QB this year in the 2nd or 3rd round, I'd like to see them take another one in the middle rounds of the 2011 draft.
RB - Buffalo has too many needs to make RB any kind of priority, even if Lynch isn't on this team next year. Wouldn't mind Buffalo taking another shot in the dark on a late round guy if the value is there though. This could be a year to find a quality depth guy in the 7th round or after the draft.
FB - Quick shout out to my favorite player in the 2011 draft, Stanford FB, Owen Maricic. Wouldn't it be great if Buffalo had a real FB?
TE - I wouldn't mind a polished blocker to be brought in via FA or in the later rounds of the draft, but let's give Nelson some time.
WR - I'd like to give every opportunity possible to Hardy and Johnson next year. It often takes awhile for WRs to get it, but once they start to, they can get really good in a short period of time. I do think WR is a big need, but if all they do is add a crappy vet for depth and a late rounder or some undrafted kids who can only play the slot, then at least we'll get to see what Hardy and Johnson can do.
OT - As obvious a need as they come. I don't think that Bell can be counted on to play LT and if he does pan out, he could always play on the right side. I think Buffalo can find somebody after the first round which is something I'm not sure they can do with QB this year. Guys like Joseph Barksdale, Selvish Capers, Jason Fox and Anthony Castanzo are some 2nd and 3rd round prospects who might not be available at 40 in a normal draft, but this year is so deep, including at OT, that I think Buffalo can get a steal here that they can't at other positions.
OG/OC - I'm comfortable bringing the starting three back, but the lack of depth is pretty bad. I don't mind a long term approach here though where Buffalo decides that they've got two players who could be here a long, long time and decide to draft a guy in the mid rounds or wait until next year and be patient with the inside of the line. I don't think there's a rush to fill every hole this year, so if you're set on 2 out of 3 spots, you can afford to role the dice on mid and late round guys growing into good starters, especially at positions like guard and center where they often do.
DE - I think this is still a huge need. I know the line has bounced back, but Schobel is declining as a player, may not fit a new scheme and could retire. Denney is a FA, Kelsay is on the last year of his deal and Ellis and Maybin are total question marks. Buffalo has a need here regardless of scheme. I think Derrick Morgan isn't an unrealistic first round pick and I wouldn't have any problem with Buffalo passing on a mediocre QB or raw OT to draft a DE in the early rounds.
DT - I don't think this is a need. I know Stroud is old. I know Spencer Johnson is just OK. I know that McCargo is a bust, but Buffalo has Stroud, Williams and Johnson under contract for awhile still and McCargo is a very cheap option as a 4th DT who could be solid in that role with a fresh start from a new coaching staff. DT is such an important position, that I'd be happy with them drafting one at any point though. It's a critical spot, so any selection is a good investment in the future.
LB - another obvious need. I think it's the most complicated need on the roster though. I'll hold off until we've got a better idea of next year's scheme. Do we need a blitzer or a new weakside guy? Does Poz go outside? Is it that crazy to think Maybin could be moved outside? I just don't know the answer to any of those right now.
CB - Can we finally not draft a CB? Buffalo has five guys under contract for next year (McGee, McKelvin, Florence, Corner, Lankster) and a new coach may want to bring a guy he's familiar with to Buffalo too. Buffalo has a great pass defense, so let's just leave this one alone.
S - See "CB". I'll be pretty pissed if Nix and the new staff don't bring George Wilson back though. Solid depth and a great special teamer and locker room guy. Bring him back.
I'd rank Buffalo's draft needs like this:
That's the big six, I think these other needs are secondary, but would be good adds:
FB that has offensive value
even more DE
even more LB - could be much, much higher if there's a scheme change
even more OL