Like most Bills fans I wasn't expecting much last season. If I recall correctly, I guessed somewhere around 5-11, 4-10 for my season W/L prediction at the beginning of the year, but after they hit 2-2 when they beat the Ravens in dramatic fashion, I heard the whistle and was all aboard the "crazy expectations train". I was looking for EJ to develop on the go, and to carry the team to a 10-6 finish with a clutch win against the Pats. Was that too much to ask? I pretty much knew that the season was over after the loss to the Steelers with how flat the Bills came out, and how the QB position continued to be a revolving door, so I was hoping for a strong finish by the defense, and the offense to show, at least, some sort of competence to finish 8-8 7-9. I, again, was disappointed at the end of the season with the team having a roller coaster ride for the remaining 6 games, in which, I saw no improvement or consistency from the offense, or should I say EJ Manuel, which lead to a 6-10 record and a lot of the same questions at the end of the season. Is EJ our guy? Will Byrd stick around? And, why can’t we stop the run?! So, with these questions I took to my favorite time of the year, the offseason, to get familiar with the land scape of the draft, (which I knew pretty well because I started looking at prospects after the Steelers loss) to see who was coming in free agency, and to look at possible replacements for a certain ST coach that still happens to be on the coaching staff ┐(￣ー￣) ┌
So as I enter the offseason I have four main objectives, #1 Get bigger all the way around. #2 Give EJ whatever help he needs to succeed, O-line, WR, TE, whatever. #3 Either make sure Byrd stays in Buffalo, or that I get a decent price for him in a trade, I can't let him walk for nothing. #4 add some depth so that when the Injuries strike we don't totally bomb.
The first thing I do when I sit down in the chair is call Parker and offer Byrd a 5 year deal worth 40 million and have an incentive that if Byrd plays two straight seasons we add another three million on to his contract, a million more at the end of each year of the three years left. We’ll say that Byrd turns it down. So with a plan in mind, I offer him a 5 year 50 million dollar, he accepts.
I have no intention of paying Byrd that much money so with Pettine supposedly having interest in him, I trade the pro bowl safety to the Browns for their late 1st round pick and their 3rd round pick.
With the Byrd man gone I lock up A. Williams to a 4 year 24million dollar deal to secure my future pro bowl safety for a while.
I start negotiations with Dareus and see If I can’t re-sign him to 6 year 50million dollar deal, but Dareus tells me he wants to wait until his final year to start negotiating so that he doesn’t get screwed. I pick up his option.
It’s a shame that Carrington got injured after such a great training camp, but that’s the NFL. I offer him 2 year 5 million dollar contract with a 3rd year option that pays another 3 million if I chose to pick it up. He accepts.
When Frank Summers was in the game, the running game prospered, when he was out the game Spiller and Fred struggled to find any running room at all. Plus, he’s decent back in short yardage situations. Because of these reasons I offer him a 2 year 2million dollar deal. He accepts.
Players I’m letting hit the market/Cut
It was nice having you play for us Scotty, but were looking in a different direction on offense and you don’t fit .
Well, what else can I say than… Whooohooo !
Moats, you were a nice role player, and you will always go down as the player that put Brett Farve on the downward spiral. Have a nice life away from Buffalo.
See ya 7/11, I prefer Kwick Fill.
You were as clutch as Dereck Jeter in the post season man, but because of that you’ve become a little too rich for my blood. Hope you can get your "kicks" somewhere else. (Sorry, had to do it.)
I don’t know where to start, and actually, when did we begin?
See you later buddy, stay away from rubber mats.
Well, Doug, you were like the date after the horrible date that was nearly just as bad as the horrible date. So that makes you a little less than horrible.
You can thank Gailey for your job.
Sorry man, but we’ve got, Jeff Tuel. (I can’t believe I just said that)
OK, now I have about $23,374, 638 in free cap space after everything is said and done. (special thanks to Over the cap.com for helping me figure this stuff out since math is not my strength) http://overthecap.com/ So now I'm looking towards free agency.
Free agent signings
Jon Asamoah, G, Previous team-KC
Asamoah, was a big reason why Jamaal Charles had such success in the run game last year, while Jon's price is most likely going to be high it will be worth it to give Fred and CJ room to roam. His deal will most likely be around 5 years 30 million
My cap is now $18,382,638
Delmas, was solid in coverage last year, +5.4 PFF rating, but struggled in the run a tad having a -1.5 PFF rating. I know run defense was a weakness last year but Delmas knows the new defense that's going to be coming in, and we also need a stop gap at S until we can get someone to replace Byrd. I'm signing Delmas to a 2 year 7million dollar deal.
My cap is now $15,077,638
Daryl Sharpton, LB, Previous team- Texans
Sharpton is a tale of two players. One player is great against the run and had a PFF rating of +8.8 when in run defense. The other player is horrible in coverage and shouldn't be on the field for anything longer than a third and three. He will give us stoutness against the run in the early downs and can be pulled for a player more suited for coverage in the obvious passing downs. He can come a bit cheaper due to his poor versatility. 3 years 3million.
My cap is now $14,489,305
I'm looking to keep my cap around 8million so I have enough to sign my rookies. I have enough room left to either sign one more big free agent or two or three more cheaper free agents.
While the Cards would be fools for letting Winston go, we'll say I "wow" him into coming to Buffalo (or throw enough money at him) . We put him at the right side of the O-line and hope for the best. He signs for 4 years 26million.
My cap is now at $8,359,305 the exact number I want to be at.
Right now, as I look at my roster, I've basically addressed my O-line needs getting a young gun at G that will stick around for a while, and a vet at RT that's been around the block a few times and knows his way through the woods. My needs as I enter the draft are: A three down ILB (assuming that Kiko moves to the weak side), A big WR, TE, CB (in case last year was a fluke for McKelvin) and a project S. The only major need I see is TE, so I can mostly stick to best player available.
The draft unfolds and in a surprising, but somewhat expected, turn of events Jake Mathews falls to Buffalo at 9.
While Mathews is a tempting pick, and it practically breaks my heart not to take him, I elect to trade down due to having signed Eric Winston in free agency.
I have several teams ringing the phone of the hook, the Rams, the Cardinals, and the Dolphins mainly. I refuse to let a division rival like the Dolphins get Jake Mathews, so I tell the Fins to take a hike. Now it's between the Rams and the Cards, I take the highest offer which happens to be the Rams since they traded the 2nd overall pick to the (name team here) and got some picks in return. They trade me the 13th pick, 44th pick, and 141st pick for the 9th, and the 169th. I smile, and say "thank you very much", look at my draft picks and count ten of them, the 13th(STL), 26th(CLE), 41st, 44th(STL), 71st(CLE), 73rd, 105th, 137th, 141st(STL), and 201st. I strap in for what should be a fun draft.
Pick 13, Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
With teams going to 3, 4 and sometimes 5 receiver sets, having two or three good corners is key to winning in this league. Gilbert is a physical CB that can totally take a WR off his route or whiff on some jams at the line of scrimmage. Luckily, he has the speed to make up for his mistakes, but NFL WRs will be less forgiving when Gilbert commits some of his miscues. With Gilmore, McKelvin and Gilbert, the corner position turns into a strength, and eases the pain of the secondary after losing Byrd.
Pick 26, Ryan Shazier, ILB/OLB, Ohio state
I have a difficult time taking Shazier here with Jace Amaro still on the board, but after Mosley, who is taken at this time, and Shazier, there's a small drop off at ILB talent. I console myself by saying that there are TEs that can give me the same production with more potential in the upcoming rounds. Shazier gives me flexibility at LB being able to play outside or inside without missing a step. While his floor is low, his ceiling is higher than most LBs in this draft with his good size and great athleticism. Shazier is an above average blitzer who can go both the A and B gaps, as well as the edge. The knock on Shazier is that he is a boom or bust LB that one minute can wow you, and the next leave you shaking your head. If someone can get a hold of his talent and coach him the right way, he will become a force to be reckoned with.
Pick 41, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
I get my big bodied receiving threat for EJ by taking Jenkins, and I also get a great run blocking TE to set edge on outside runs. Jenkins is not as athletic Eric Ebron, but he does a have quickness to him that is impressive for a man of his size. He has very sure hands and a big frame that will give EJ a security blanket to look to when things are breaking down. I've heard rumors floating around that Jenkins is like Gronkowski. I don't know if there is any truth to them, but from what I watched on tape, he has the potential to be dominant.
Pick 44, Martavius Bryant, WR, Clemson
Bryant is another "boom or bust" prospect. His size and speed makes for a tantalizing offer. He struggles with drops every now and then, but many people say that it's due to focus not lack of skill. He was never really thrown to at Clemson due to Sammy Watkins and De'andre Hopkins. A positive for him is that he seems to have a knack for coming down with contested catches. If Bryant is given time to develop properly and learns to use his size, he will become a proto typical #1 WR in the NFL.
Pick 71, Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
Mettenberger is the perfect QB to draft for the Bills. He's injured so he won't be able to challenge Manuel, he's raw so it would be surprising if he did challenge, and he has all the tools to be successful. Mettenberger has a cannon for a arm. He struggled with his accuracy and his footwork his first few years, then Cam Cameron came as offensive coordinator. When Cameron took over and brought a pro style offense with him, Mettenberger exploded having his best season ever completing 65 percent of his passes for 3,082 yards with 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Mettenberger's accuracy also got better as well, putting balls to receivers in stride on the numbers, and right in the bread basket on the streaks. He is being compared to Rivers but he has a much stronger arm.
Pick 73, Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford
Reynolds is a aggressive, rangy free safety that displays solid coverage and has a knack for creating turnovers. He tends to let his eyes stay in the back field sometimes due to his aggressive nature which leads to some big plays that go over his head. When he sticks to his assignment I would say that he is the third best safety in this draft. Reynolds has such a knack for the football that if the ball is in his vicinity, it will be either tipped or intercepted every time. He could definitely replace Byrd in a few years.
Pick 105, Brandon Thomas, G/OT, Clemson
Thomas is a versatile O-lineman that would be best suited playing G but could play OT if needed. He runs and pass blocks well and has the frame to fill out more. If Thomas is given a few years to learn the G position he will easily over take Urbick at RG.
Pick 137, Lorenzo Taliaferra, RB, Coastal Carolina
Taliaferra has the size, 6'0 231lbs, to run between the tackles, which he'll need to be able to do with the way Hackett likes to call plays. He also has some speed to his bigger frame making him a decent option for when Freddy starts to go downhill. He needs to work on picking the right holes, a lot of the time he will take the first hole he sees and run straight, which isn't always a bad thing, but he can leave some yardage on the field. All in all he should some snaps this season.
Pick 141, Caleb Lavey, ILB, Oklahoma State
Lavey recorded 93 tackles with 2.5 sacks, four interceptions, three passes broken up, three forced fumbles and 12.5 tackles for a loss. He played really well for Oklahoma State slowly racking up more and more playing time. He is a real sleeper who could end a better LB from this draft.
Pick 201, Chaz Sutton, DE/LB, S.C.
Sutton was buried on South Carolina's defensive line especially with all the Clowney hype going on. He obviously has some stuff to work on or else he wouldn't be a seventh round pick, but he has the physical tools to succeed in the NFL at 6-5, 235 pounds. He was decent against the run but struggled in the pass against stronger Linemen that could hold up against his bull rush. This is very much a depth pick.
So, for a overview, I drafted: Justin Gilbert, Ryan Shazier, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Martavius Bryant, Zach Mettenberger, Ed Reynolds, Brandon Thomas, Lorenzo Taliaferra, Caleb Lavey, and Chaz Sutton.
I don't really know who is going to go undrafted, or be drafted , I find that hard to predict so I don't even try. (I really don't try because I predicted Da'rick Rodgers to go in the 2nd last year. So my confidence is shot .)
Cuts after the draft
Jeff Tuel-I have Mettenberger now so I don't really need Tuel. I throw him on the practice squad, and hope no one notices.
#4 Marquise Goodwin/Martavius Bryant #5Martavius Bryant/Marcus Easley
*I have the #3 spot listed as the SLOT position.
TE- #1 Austin Seferian-Jenkins #2 Chriss Gragg #3 Lee Smith
LT- #1 Cordy Glenn #2 Eric Winston #3Chris Hariston
LG- #1 Jon Asamoah #2Craig Urbick #3 Brandon Thomas #4 JJ Unga
C- #1 Eric Wood #2 Craig Urbick #3 Jon Asamoah
RG- #1 Craig Urbick #2 Jon Asamoah #3 JJ Unga #4 Brandon Thomas
RT- #1 Eric Winston #2 Chris Hariston #3 Cordy Glenn
DT- #1 Marcel Dareus #2 Kyle Williams #3Alan Branch #4 Corbin Bryant
RDE- #1 Alex Carringotn #2 Alan Branch #3 Mario Williams #4 Chaz Sutton
MLB- #1 Ryan Shazier #2 Daryl Sharpton #3 Kiko Alonso #4 Caleb Lavey
LCB- #1 Stephon Gilmore #2 Leodis Mckelvin #3 Justin Gilbert
RCB- #1 Leodis Mckelvin #2 Justin Gilbert #3 Stephon Gilmore
NCB- #1 Justin Gilbert #2 Nickel Robey
SS- #1 Aaron Williams #2 Ed Reynolds #3 Danorris Searcy
FS- #1 Louis Delmas/Duke Williams #2 Ed Reynolds #3Jonathan Meeks
KR- Marquise Goodwin
PR- Leodis Mckelvin
LS- Garrison Sanborn
Offense- Well, the offense hasn't changed that dramatically this off-season. I've fixed O-line by adding a G, Asomaugh, and a RT, Winston, that are hugely better then the players that held their positions previously. I've added a BIG target in Seferian-Jenkins for EJ who should help tremendously. I've also added a potential #1 receiver in Bryant who will need some time to develop, which, luckily, we have some depth at WR so that he doesn't have to start right away. At RB I've added Fred Jackson's future replacement in Taliaferra. He will hopefully learn to use his size to his advantage. The Mettenberger pick was simply me hedging my bets. If Manuel doesn't take any steps forward then I'll have someone to lean back on until I find a replacement , and who knows maybe Mettenberger is the guy. I will still express my undying support of EJ, though, so I don't kill his confidence. Overall, the offense should have only one excuse for not preforming well this year, E.J. Manuel.
Defense- The defense under took a little bit more change this off season. Not much changed along the D-line besides the drafting of Chaz Sutton ,which it's still questionable if he makes the team after training camp. LB is going to look a bit different. I have Sharpton and Shazier at MLB. Sharpton will play on the run downs and Shazier will play everything else. I've moved Kiko to the weak side, and then I have Lawson and Bradham battling it out for strong side. The CB position is starting to look like a stronger position on this team with addition of Gilbert who can play anywhere Schwartz wants him to. In a year or two our secondary will be one of the best in the league. S took the biggest hit this off-season with the loss of Byrd, I like to think that the pain will be somewhat eased by Delmas, and possibly Duke Williams if he can come along this year. I'm really excited about Reynolds and he brings to the table in a few years. Aaron Williams will be better after having a full season under his belt at S, and I'm still holding out hope for Searcy or Meeks that they can become solid contributors in this defense . Overall, the defense has the potential to be great this year and I expect it to be top 10 .
P.S. I apologize for any grammatical errors. I typed this up in word and when I switched it over it screwed some stuff up. I tried to fix as much as I could see.