I believe that we had a very successful draft in restocking and retooling our defense for the 3-4 and hybrid 4-3 looks.
There are still gaps to be had on the offensive side of the ball. Please let me know if any of these players were resigned before the lockout but below are my top 3 positions and who I think are viable candidates.
QB - lack of depth behind Fitz
TE - lack of depth
OT - lack of depth
After the jump I will show potential FA pickups.
The QB position is the engine of the offense. With Fitzpatrick - a gutsy and driven QB - at the helm we're going to need depth due to his physical nature of play and lack of good outside tackles to protect him. Levi Brown is a developmental project who didn't even make the opening day roster last year but projects to be back to the team. This is clearly a position that needs to be addressed. Here are some free agents:
1.) Brady Quinn (Den) - he has started some games in the NFL level with some degree of success. Physical and athletic he is similar to Fitz in that manner. With his prior NFL experience, he may project as a backup for Fitz and his NFL career (if given the opportunity) is far from over.
2.) Matt Leinart (Hou) - yes he has the image of the golden party boy from California but there is no questioning his skills. He has the experience at the top level at USC and performed well with the Cardinals before the plug was pulled on him. He doesn't throw the ball deep despite having elite WR's but if Gailey can get him to take chances deep we have a great backup that can energize the team if Fitz goes down.
3.) Tyler Thigpen (Mia) - a starter in Gailey's KC offense and Gailey spoke very highly of him. Little downside to bringing him in to compete since he is familiar with Gailey and his expectations.
4.) Marc Bulger (Bal) - a multiple year starter in St Louis who some (me) believe his best years are behind him. He's not afraid to chuck it deep but isn't very mobile. He is a veteran option for Gailey and gang.
5.) Brodie Croyle (KC) - again familiar with the Gailey offense in KC and I can see him being looked at for that simple fact. Displayed decent control of the offense while in KC but if my memory serves me correctly had some injury issues. Not a problem for a backup however.
Buffalo clearly needs more depth all around in the tackle position and a quality starter on the right side.
1.) Jared Gaither (Bal) - rumors on the boards were abundant that Buffalo was looking to trade for him. Tall and atheltic but issues regarding work ethic and some injury concerns. Clearly an upgrade and instant starter on the right side and potentially can compete on the left side as well.
2.) Ryan Harris (Den) - Athletic and big - 6'5" at 300 lbs and was the anchor of the right side of Denver's line. Immediate starter on the right side for Buffalo.
3.) Jermon Bushrod (NO) - with NO having many FA's it is possible for Bushrod to hit the market. Was the left tackle during NO's push to the Super Bowl and can play either side. Immediate starter for Buffalo.
5.) Langston Walker (Oak) - older (31) but a big sucker at 6'8" and 350 lbs. Would provide depth and a potential starter on the right side. Just because Buffalo released him when he failed on the left side doesn't mean he isn't a good right side starter.
Rumors abound that Gailey only uses Tight Ends for blocking and not much for receiving. While I have no evidence (nor did I investigate) I can't imagine a NFL coach completely disregarding a position and considering it another O-Line position when he competed against the likes of Gates and could see how dominant a TE can be.
1.) Leonard Pope (KC) - big TE who can block and catch a goal line pass. Good run blocker and understands Gailey's approach with TE's.
2.) Randy McMichael (SD) - Nix will be familiar with McMichael who while older can provide some veteran leadership to our TE group.
3.) Desmond Clark (Chi) - Older at 34 but performed well but has seen decreased reps with Chicago. Good all-around TE with few injury problems.
4.) Bo Scaife (TEN) - older but a solid NFL starter. Started only 7 games in 2008 but had a breakout year. 2009 & 2010 have cooled off a bit.
5.) Ben Thomas (Arz) - young (26) and big at almost 270 lbs. Big blocking TE for Gailey to utilize but wasn't a constant starter.