FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 01: C.J. Spiller #28 of the Buffalo Bills carries the ball in the first half against the New England Patriots on January 1, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
We are now less than two weeks away from the beginning of 2012 NFL free agency, and we're also under two months away from the start of the 2012 NFL Draft. Before we launch full-bore into the news and related commentary of a full-blown NFL off-season, it's time to take one last look back at the Buffalo Bills as we know them now.
I'm going to be offering my own opinions on the team's overall needs in a series of posts today, but it makes sense for me to start in areas where I believe the Bills don't need to make moves. Those positions are obviously few and far between - and everyone is aware of them already - but for at least one position, there's some interesting debate to be had. Let's go!
Running Back: Between stars Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, the Bills already don't have enough touches to go around. Both of those players should be - time will tell if they will be, but they certainly should be - staples for Chan Gailey's offensive game plans next season. They've also got a third back in Johnny White that carries value as a special teams guy. Nothing needs to change here.
Inside Linebacker: When I say "inside linebacker," I'm really only talking about a specific role - that being the two-down thumper that comes off the field in sub-packages in favor of Nick Barnett. The Bills already have that part-time player in tow in the form of Kelvin Sheppard. Barnett provides depth there in a pinch, and there are other young players to consider, as well. The Bills will be addressing linebacker, but their priority should be speed and athleticism, which means the focus needs to be much more on outside guys.
Defensive Tackle: Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus are the nucleus of the defense, and while they'll be on the field as much as possible, clearly they're human, and they'll need to be spelled from time to time. Here's the thing: thanks to a transition back from the 3-4 defense, the Bills' roster is chock-full of big guys that can't play the edge in the new 4-3 alignment. Even if the team releases a veteran, they've got a nice mix of wide-bodied pluggers (Torell Troup, Kellen Heard) and athletic penetrators (Spencer Johnson, Dwan Edwards, Alex Carrington and others) that depth really isn't an issue. This position should not be addressed, either.
Kicker and Long Snapper: An astute commenter pointed out that these could be added to the list, and he's correct. The Bills handed out long-term extensions to Rian Lindell and Garrison Sanborn this past month, so no movement is expected at either spot.
Are there any positions you'd add to the list, Bills fans? Would you say that any of the three positions above are needs?