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Buffalo Rumblings Community Needs List, V2.0

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Getting Evans help tops priority list (BuffaloBills.com)

Almost two weeks ago, we took a look at the first version of our Buffalo Rumblings Community Needs List and saw how quickly and aggressively the Buffalo Bills attacked some of those top needs with the additions of DT (#1) Marcus Stroud and Spencer Johnson, LB (#4) Kawika Mitchell, TE (#5) Courtney Anderson and CB (#6) William James.

When we revisited that original list, I kindly asked the community to re-work that needs list based on the moves the Bills had made in free agency. Here are the fruits of your labor, in what we're dubbing version two of the Buffalo Rumblings Community Needs List:

1. Wide Receiver: The Bills made a serious push to address this position in free agency with the team heavily pursuing WR Bryant "Panda" Johnson, but his signing with the 49ers has left this position as bare as it was when free agency started. Wideout is the clear-cut top need for the Bills, as it's the one position where finding a starter in the draft is an absolute certainty.

2. Tight End: Even after the signing of Courtney Anderson, the Bills lack a true difference-maker at the position. Robert Royal is seemingly a lock for the roster due to his run blocking, but it's not absolutely necessary for the team to retain Anderson, Teyo Johnson, Derek Schouman or Tim Massaquoi. Buffalo needs to, at the very least, find a receiving threat at this position, but if they can find a starter to supplant Royal, it would be even better.

3. Center: Despite the coaching staff's faith in Fowler, this community seems very down on him. Excellent O-Line analysis provided by Ron from NM proves that Fowler is the weakest link along the line, although he is solid enough in pass protection. The Bills could stand to find a bigger, more run-blocking oriented center to eventually replace Fowler at the pivot.

4. Defensive End: Easily the position spoken out for the most amongst this community, defensive end ranked in at #4 on this list. The consensus is that the Bills must, at a bare minimum, add a speed rusher that can play on pass downs, as pass rush was a huge problem for Buffalo's defense last season. If the team can find a value selection (including Florida's Derrick Harvey, I'll concede) that can eventually replace one of the team's starters, it would be a good thing for the present and future of this defensive line.

5. Cornerback: Even though the club added William James, there are only four NFL-worthy cornerbacks on the roster (sorry, Dustin Fox). Bills head coach Dick Jauron all but confirmed this past week that the team could add up to two cornerbacks in this draft; with four corners with NFL starting experience on the roster, however, the team doesn't have to find a starter. This position should, however, be addressed early and often by the Bills.

6. Defensive Tackle: The team has four solid players on the interior of the line (Stroud, Johnson, John McCargo and Kyle Williams), but questions about Stroud's health remain. A mid-round rookie that can plug the run would be a nice addition in the event that Stroud can't stay healthy - because as it stands now, run defense is still a problem for this team.

7. Wide Receiver 2: Even after adding one wide receiver, it's clear that another is needed. Depth beyond the team's top four receivers (Lee Evans, the new addition, Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish) is woefully thin. The team should look to add another receiver with size, red zone potential and special teams ability to replace the departed Sam Aiken.

8. Fullback: The team added veteran Darian Barnes in January when it was announced that they would re-incorporate the fullback into their offense, but Barnes has hopped from team to team for a reason - his run blocking is only average. If the Bills can find a way to add a smash-mouth fullback - or a fullback with pass receiving skills - in the 5th or 6th round, that player could wind up starting for this team and being a key contributor on special teams.

9. Strong Safety: This isn't necessarily viewed by us as a big need, but it seems that the Bills are hell-bent on adding more versatility to their defensive backfield. As it stands right now, only two of their safeties - Donte Whitner and John Wendling - have the athletic ability to switch safety positions on the fly. Ko Simpson and George Wilson are exclusively free safeties. If the Bills truly want to get Whitner deeper into coverage more often, they'll look to add a coverage strong safety who can play on pass downs, leaving Whitner at the strong slot on run downs.

10. Offensive Tackle: The team seems relatively comfortable with Kirk Chambers as its third tackle, and Chambers performed relatively well in spot duty last season. Still, there are a lot of quality tackles available in this draft, so if the team can find value at the position, they may just add one to develop and eventually replace Langston Walker at right tackle.

11. Linebacker: The team has five players with starting experience at linebacker, so adding one early is not a priority. However, Angelo Crowell is scheduled to hit the open market as a free agent after the 2008 season, and the team has little depth (especially from a special teams standpoint) after the top five guys. It's a certainty, in my mind, that a linebacker will be drafted that can play special teams early and eventually back up Crowell at the strong side position.

12. Quarterback: QB remains on our needs list, but only as a contingency in the event that J.P. Losman's trade demands are met. That does not seem likely at this point, so QB may be dropped off the list altogether.

So there it is. Our brand new, fully revitalized community needs list. We'd love to hear further feedback on this list as we get closer to draft day.