Had some time to kill watching the Pittsburgh Penguins game. I know I'm an odd sports fan. I'm not regional when it comes to sports. Grew up in the Syracuse area. I love the Buffalo Bills for football, Pittsburgh Penguins for hockey, New York Yankees for baseball and the Chicago Bulls for basketball. I never change teams though. I chose a team and I stick with them for life. I've seen the Penguins go from brink of Bankruptcy to Stanley Cup. The Bulls going from Dynasty all the way down the basement but to a respectable team with D.Rose. Yankees always are competitive and have magic up their sleeve. I'm still waiting on the Buffalo Bills but anything can happen.
So I have 3 slightly altered off-season plans, all aimed at breaking down our Playoff wall. I'll try to make them quick they are thought out in every aspect besides money. Which I know I know is a huge aspect to off-season plans. I'm pushing for the playoffs though. I got a new regime and coaching staff but still have to be aggressive. It is no longer an excuse to have a 1st year staff and come up short. They want to flex their muscle and show we can do it. A disappointing season will not do for this Franchise because more heads will roll.
Warning: Nassib will not be part of any of the plans. I'm sorry Cuse fans but yeah I just don't like him for the Bills. As the Now or future quarterback. I think he did a lot for Syracuse I just can't see that in the AFC East or NFL or Bills. We can respectfully agree to disagree. I wish him the best. Plus I think coming here isn't the best for him. Everyone highlights the familiarity and "knowing" the offense. However Nassib wasn't the main reason the Syracuse Orange won games obviously he helped but more often then not he didn't win the game for them. He didn't lose the games but it was the run game and defense that really made the Cuse turn around and consistency. Nassib was a pillar but not the foundation. We need a QB to lay the foundation to something special in Buffalo we haven't had in years.
Our Free Agents No Matter the Scheme:
- 1st and foremost all the plans start with Signing Jarius Byrd for his career basically. I want him to be in a Bills uniform as long as possible.
- It'd be nice to get Andy L. under contract as well. I think it will be easier since he wants to be here. His agent is the same as Woods and Urbik. It might sound crazy but even for some crazy reason we weren't able to sign Andy. I'm confident we can find a guard in the draft or even have on of our tackles kick inside between Hairston or Sanders. I'd love to have Andy back though for a fair price.
Based on Scheme:
Offense: I think we sign David Nelson ( to act as a better Alec Lemon with Stevie in the slot too) Donald Jones we sign as well for depth. Think the offense like any NFL offense would be better served with a strong armed and mobile quarterback.
- Delonie Walker I think would be a key addition to the team. Gives as an all around player that is like combining Scott Chandler, C-Mac and Tashard Choice all in one.
- Explore Jason Campbell. If T-Jax goes to the Jets. Campbell comes at a reasonable price.
Defense:Breakdown of 4-6 I think we will play more of the 4-6 style of defense or at least need that capability in our personnel. This makes me strongly question Kyle Moore. I know a lot of people are high on him. The guy can not contain. Same with Kelsay and you need that especially on our outside guys in the 4-6 and even in the 4-3.If you don't do that you leave your SS out to dry. We don't have at this time a very talented SS to compensate for that.
- Sign Kyle Moore to a cheap contract. Allow him the chance to compete and prove he can contain/compete with draft pick. See if Pettine can coach him up. If he can then produces in the season then give him a bit of a raise once he is a proven asset. Not yet though. Keep the contract cheap.
- Sign Merriman to cheap veteran deal as assurance. He can get push off the edge yet is able to contain and not expose the defense. I liked that he played special teams as well.
- Sign Mckelvin for his return skills if possible. Love to have him back but if he walks we have plenty of people to plug in.
- Don't sign any old Jets. I hear the Jets names being thrown around none excite me. They are old and never really produced anything last year.
- Rather we explore other Veteran Linebackers that produced a bit last year. In Shaun Phillips (for assurance against another knee injury for Mark Anderson). Takeo Spikes if he doesn't retire. Always liked him and he played in all 16 games. Got around the same stats as Sheppard
- Armond Armstead. from Toronto CFL. Perhaps we will keep expanding our Market perhaps helping with our lack of Canadian fans. Guy is a DT that can help in 4-6 or 4-3 all across the line. He is 6 foot 5 300 pounds. Only 22 years old. Buffalo wont be a horrible shock to him since he played in Toronto.
Overall Scheme: Defense keeps you competitive and your name in the game. It allows you to get to the playoffs and through the season. A great QB gets you championships.
Draft Breakdown: Just a brief view of how I see each round crossing with what I've seen from the Bills.
1st Round Pick: Always looking for an impact player. Only 1 impact right away QB and that is Geno Smith. I don't think he will make it to 8 but if he does he is the only QB I would take in Round 1. You get proven talent that has shown up year after year on top of great physical/athletic record as well. Hopefully a high character guy. Doesn't need to be a leader but a team player with team attitude.
2nd Round Pick: You take a shot with the ratio of talent vs potential vs Need. I think this how buddy nix's likes his 2nd round picks. He hit on Cordy Glenn so far and many would say he missed with Troupe with this mindset. These are candidates with question marks whether they are character or position or physical tools and consistency.
3rd Round Pick: Position of need with a skill set. More often than not a raw skill set. We see this in Graham and Carrington. Both had physical gifts but were raw. Carrington provided a versatile player on defense. Graham had speed and a bit more size than former speed receiver in Parrish.
4-7th Round Picks: Bills love versatile players that are physically big and can handle/dish out abuse throughout the season. They like winners and hard workers. High Character guys. That can provide depth played for good teams.
1st Draft (Dream Draft)
1st Round: Ezekiel Ansah out of BYU.
I can see the fans rolling their eyes. I didn't do trades since that is impossible to predict. If we can trade down and get this guy between 10-14 range. For extra mid round pick that only adds to the value. I highlight Michael Brockers of the Saint Louis Rams. As I said before Defense gets you to be competitive and gets you into the playoffs. We need a play-maker, a young durable freak of a player. If something happens to Mario Williams, or Mark Anderson they are the Foundation of our defense. To get pressure and control the line of scrimmage. The Ravens have their Turrell Suggs freak of nature and Ansah would be ours. An athletic raw football player. That will be coached up by Pettine and will grow and contribute. When he couldn't get to the QB he put those mitts up and affected the throw. He played all over the Defensive Line. I know it is a bit of hypercritical thing to say after stating a 1st round pick should have years of support backing him. However I think Ansah is just one of those rare prospects you can take a chance on given his physical gifts and his ability to show how he has caught on to the game so fast.
2nd Round: E.J Manuel/Tyler Wilson
I like both QBs for different reasons. Wilson I really grew to appreciate after seeing him against LSU. I felt he had a good feel for when to tuck and run and make the right throw. He was tough. He had enough athletic ability. He made more than one read. He checked all his options, He throws a nice out pattern, his deep ball has some concern. He wasn't perfect by any means but he hung in the game. I like E.J Manuel a lot because he has all the physical tools and his flaws are fixable. Will he start right away? Probably not but he gives you great options and is a leader that has had to wait behind a QB in Christian Ponder before. He ran a pro system and lead his team back again Clemson. He has the arm strength and skill to make the right throws and the mobility to make score that way as well. The NFL is moving in that direction but I'm not really sure how long those QBs can last. As we saw with RGIII when you do those types of gusty plays you are one hit away from your season ending. However even Aaron Rodgers has that scramble ability that you love.
3rd Round: Phillip Thomas out of Fresno State or Top Cornerback left (David Amerson, Darius Slay)
Some may think he will be gone by now in the 3rd round. The Buffalo Bills have had a weird kind of luck under Buddy Nix. I have watched each draft by him Each time I remember seeing players thinking great they are going to be gone this round i wish we got them. They always had a way of sticking around a round longer. Guy is a play maker. He can play center field yet can get up in the line of scrimmage and mix it up.
It all depends on where the Bills see Aaron Williams. If they move him to SS then we need to add a man to man cover corner that is physical. If not then we need a SS that can play center field yet also come down and attack the run.
4th Round: Tavarres King out Georgia.
This guy is a threat for the deep ball. He has great speed and hands for the deep ball. Doesn't fade away in big games against big teams. I just like that amount of talent and play-making ability in the 4th round. Solid size at 6-1 200 pounds. He gives whatever QB we have another target down the field. Having him and Graham out there only makes each of them more dangerous.
5th Round: Kevin Reddick out of UNC Chapel Hill
The guy can play any of the linebacker positions. We have young guys in Sheppard and Bradham. Reddick will fall in line with both of those guys. He was 1st team All ACC. Lead the league in tackles for a loss. Meaning he knew how to attack and bring the ball carrier down. We need that in our linebacking core. Solid tackling with an aggressive nature. 6-2 240
6th Round: A.J. Klein Iowa State.
I'm not sure if he will last till the 6th. I wouldn't mind giving up the 6th and 7th to try and get back into the 5th to grab him. I believe Klein and Reddick just have an knatch for being around the ball. They play 100% all the time and will be solid depth guys that will bust their rump on special teams. 1st team All Big 12. Again another guy that doesn't miss tackles has solid size to play any of the positions. 6-1 246.
7th Round: Zach Sudfled out of Nevada or Joseph Fauria out of UCLA.
Just assurance and someone to work with in case Scott Chandler can't come back as fast. We don't want him to rush and these two guys both know how to block. Yet have the ability to catch the ball and be huge red-zone targets.
Alternate Draft Selections:
If we can't get Tyler Wilson or Mike Glennon in the 2nd round then:
2nd Round: Top Cornerback Available. Names I like. Johnathan Banks out Mississippi State , Logan Ryan Rutgers and Jordan Poyer Oregon State. In that order.
I say the best CB available with the thought process that we change Aaron Williams to SS. We need great one on one Cornerbacks and I'm not sure that plays to Aaron's skill set as much as SS does. These CB get turnovers and they know how to make an impact. They are big and physical. Like I said above Defense gets you to the playoffs.
3rd Round: Zac Dysert out of Miami OH
A solid guy that will develop on the bench. I think eventually he will be our Kirk Cousins. I think we wont get a franchise QB until we throw everything we got into the next draft. I'd hate for us to try and make a QB something that he is not. Dysert has a chance to turn into a great QB but in no way are we banking all our hopes on him. I say we trade the farm next year to get a top 3 candidate but that is up for debate and another post.
**You have to play to the draft. There is premiere talent at DL and Inside Linebacker, Guard and solid at TE.**
- A young QB in Tyler Wilson/Mike Glennon or in Zac Dysert. Basically a guy to develop and grow.
- Rather would stop seeing Fitz hence the move to get Campbell. Someone who can back up but could start if a rookie isn't ready for some reason. If Fitz come back then so be it.
- Play-Making WR in Tavarres King. A guy that knows how to handle the deep ball. Could produce in a west coast offense. Allows you to either cut ties with Marcus Easely or Brad Smith (who I think has developed into a solid WR) for us.
- Tight End Prospect who is big and can block yet can make Red-zone catches. I worry about Lee Smith and his discipline and it allows us to have assurance if Scott Chandler needs more time.
- **Delonie Walker would be great because he combines so many players for us in one. He will now have Superbowl experience. I star him because who knows if he would want to leave SF no matter the outcome of the Superbowl.**
- Load up on young talent. Why because this allows us to be more aggressive to get a Top QB next years draft and or another play-maker if coaches are confident in Wilson/Glennon or Dysert. Plus a lot of our starters and pro bowler tackle are starting to age and get dinged up.
- We get a young unique prospect with our 1st round pick. He has talent and needs to be taught the game by Pettine. He is versatile. He will be our Terrell Suggs. He will play his heart out no matter where we place him.
- We either pair up Gilmore with another young physical CB prospect or we pair up Byrd with a physical centerfield SS depending on what we do with Aaron Williams. Either moves makes us younger and more aggressive which is a plus.
- We grow a stable of OLB/DE that can contain and pass rush on the other side. With Mark Anderson/ Ezekiel Ansah/Shawne Merriman and or Shaun Phillips. Guys that can rush the QB and contain the run with either hand on the ground or standing up.
- Kyle Moore is Mario Williams under-study in case of injury. Moore can't defend against the run he does have some pass rush ability. So we allow him to develop behind Williams.
- ***With Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Kyle Williams, Chris Kelsay. Ranging from 27-33. Adding two Defensive Linemen in Armond Armstead through free agency is like getting an additional 2nd round pick. He can learn and eventually help replace the production of Kyle Williams allowing him to extend his career hopefully by taking some of the snaps. Being 22 Armstead can grow with Marcel Dareus. Ezekiel Ansah at 23 year old provides the same opportunity with Armond Armstead.** Armstead frees up Dareus to be a NT as well if Troupe can't cut it and gets injured again.**
- With everyone healthy a future Defensive line of Ezekial Ansah, Armond Armstead, Marcel Dareus, Kyle Moore or an alternate would still be lethal. If Troupe can pan out which I think he has talent just needs to stay healthy that only adds another layer to our foundation.
- We add two seniors in Kevin Reddick and A.J. Klein. They have similar traits to Weatherspoon of Atlanta and Reddick has lead ACC in tackles for a loss and A.J Klein is always around the ball. Both can contribute to special teams. It can give us a young core of Bradham, Sheppard while allowing Barnett to be phased out.Compete with Moats, Morrison etc and see if Reddick and Klein can unseat them which I believe they both could.
We need more talent and youth on defensive side of the ball. Having a well built Offensive Line gives us that freedom along with our dynamic run game.
There are not a ton of elite WR/QB prospects in this draft. We play to the strengths of the draft. While hopefully locking up a 2nd round talent in the process. This gives us the ability to really make a strong move next off-season for whatever holes on offense we need to cover. Whether it is WR/Offense play-maker or QB or both.