After a quiet first week to 2013 NFL free agency that saw more players lost than gained for the Buffalo Bills, we thought we'd take some time this morning to re-assess the team's needs. Free agency is now a buyer's market and the 2013 NFL Draft begins five weeks from this Thursday, so consider this something of a mental reset for the community as the team gears up to, you know, actually bring in new players.
Quarterback: On top of the team's long-standing need for a franchise signal caller, the team now does not employ a quarterback that took a snap anywhere in the 2012 season. This is the Bills' biggest need by a significant margin.
Wide Receiver: Only two players on the roster (Stevie Johnson and T.J. Graham) played more than 50 percent of the team's snaps a year ago, and between those two, Johnson is the only player that is remotely proven at the NFL level. Also: of the six receivers currently on the roster, two of them didn't play at all last year on offense, and a third, Marcus Easley, only got four snaps. Buffalo needs not just a starting-caliber player here, but a good deal of depth (as in perhaps four or even five bodies), as well.
Tight End: Buffalo already has six tight ends on the roster (including Dorin Dickerson), but aside from Scott Chandler - who is coming off of January ACL surgery - all are depth/reserve type players. Buffalo needs a player that can start if Chandler's slow to return to form, and ideally this would be a player that can move around the formation and cause matchup problems.
Guard: Two free agents have joined new teams (Andy Levitre in Tennessee, Chad Rinehart in San Diego), and unless the team wants to pencil in Colin Brown as the starting left guard, they'll likely be in the market for a player to plug in as Levitre's replacement.
Pass Rusher: The signing of Manny Lawson gave the Bills some much-needed versatility in their stable of edge defenders, but more of that is needed - as are numbers, considering that they've only got three on the roster, and neither Mario Williams or Mark Anderson are particularly comfortable playing in space. Plus, it'd help Williams immensely if the team had a dynamic edge rusher on the other side of the field.
Linebacker: In most cases the Bills will only have one or two linebackers on the field, and in passing situations one of those may be the re-signed Bryan Scott. Ideally, the Bills will find themselves a three-down middle linebacker type that can play all downs and can run, hit and cover. They desperately need that type of player on defense after the release of aging veteran Nick Barnett.
Cornerback: Even after re-signing Leodis McKelvin, the team is one quality option away from having a good deal of depth at this position - and that extra body would allow them to more freely experiment with 2011 second-round pick Aaron Williams, who may not be destined for a cornerback role over the long haul.
Safety: Jairus Byrd is on the franchise tag and is no lock to sign long-term, and while Da'Norris Searcy has some promise as a strong safety, the team could use a third player that, at minimum, can hedge the team's bets on Byrd moving forward.
How would you prioritize this list of needs, Bills fans?