What is the Buffalo Bills' biggest need this off-season? This community says it's neck-and-neck between defensive tackle and wide receiver; needless to say, there are a huge amount of Bills fans who would like nothing more to see the Bills add a defensive tackle - preferably one adept at stuffing the run - this off-season.
He's not getting as much attention as big-name free agent tackles such as Albert Haynesworth (his teammate) or Corey Williams, but Randy Starks is a former high draft pick with tons of ability. He played second fiddle to Haynesworth in Tennessee, who sported one of the deepest lines in the AFC last season. Couple his natural talent with his coming from a strong defense, and it seemed like Starks could be a solid, underrated addition for a team like the Bills.
Music City Miracles' Take
Then I asked Jimmy, head blogger at SB Nation's own Music City Miracles, for his opinions on Starks. The man who accrued 16 tackles as a Titan last year despite seeing several starts when Haynesworth was out did not get a ringing endorsement from Jimmy. In fact, it's hard to call it an "endorsement" at all...
Obviously, Albert Haynesworth is getting all of the attention up front. How well did Starks play when Haynesworth was out of the lineup last season?
Starks was terrible when Haynesworth was out. The defense gave up about 80 yards more per game rushing with Starks starting.
How likely is Starks to walk considering Haynesworth's situation?
I am not sure that "walking" is the right term. I don't see any scenario where the Titans offer him a contract.
How was Starks used in rotation? Was he more of a run down or a pass down tackle, in your opinion?
Starks was only used in the rotation when there wasn't another option. In case you cannot tell, I am not very high on Starks.
Yikes. Good-looking first impressions are nice, but it's all about personality in this league, and apparently, Starks' play has been ornery. It's not just the woeful drop in run defense production that Jimmy mentioned that concerns me - it's the fact that the well-respect Titan guru went out of his way to state plainly that he's not high on Starks that is most disconcerting.
There are still appealing traits to Starks' availability. Though he was unproductive in 2007, he does have 10.5 career sacks and averaged 44 tackles per season from '05 to '06. There is talent there, and his size (6'3", 312) is ideal for the Cover-2. It's very likely that a switch in defensive philosophy for Starks could return him to his old productive ways; Jimmy's interview, however, makes one think twice - or even three times - about viewing Starks as the potential answer to the run defense woes in Buffalo.
I'd love to hear your thoughts not only on Starks and his impending free agency, but how you'd like to see these bios/interviews structured as we move forward. Be sure to check out our free agent database, a one-stop shop where you can track all of these interviews. Have at it, folks.