Last week, a reader sent me an email asking me to opine on who I thought the ten most important Bills players with two or fewer years of experience are. So I did.
Naturally, someone then asked me to do a similar opinion piece about the ten Bills players aged 30 or above. Fair's fair. Those ten names are after the jump; as always, you're encouraged to provide your own lists.
10. Corey McIntyre, fullback (32). He must be pretty important, considering he was one of the first re-signings of the Buddy Nix era. As long as Chan Gailey continues to spread things out offensively, McIntyre won't be a big part of the offense, but he's a solid teammate and a better specialist.
9. Brian Moorman, punter (35). Coming off the third-lowest gross punting average of his career, and seems to have lost some of the flair for the dramatic coffin corner kick that made him such an asset for this team in the middle parts of the decade.
8. Rian Lindell, kicker (34). What? There aren't a lot of players aged 30 or over on this team. That's a good thing. Embrace the fact that Buffalo's solid, unspectacular, hit-or-miss-in-clutch-situations kicker is on this list. It means your team is young.
7. Chris Kelsay, outside linebacker (31). Another major re-signing of the Nix era, Kelsay's deal feels more ceremonial than anything. The team may like his work ethic, his attitude and how those assets apply to the team - Bills fans should really be more appreciative of them, too - but the fact is, Kelsay is more often an on-field liability than an asset. The only way I see him improving is if he eliminates the mistakes. Impact is still a need at OLB, and Kelsay won't be providing it.
6. Andra Davis, inside linebacker (32). Signed as a free agent last March, Davis was imported to help the team transition to the 3-4. A shoulder injury landed him on IR, the team isn't running solely a 3-4 anymore, and Davis is entering the final year of a two-year deal. The inside linebacker spot is sufficiently messy that the odds of Davis starting next year are about equal to the odds of Davis being in need of a job this fall.
5. Drayton Florence, cornerback (30). I'm still not sure fans wholly grasp just how thin Buffalo's cornerback position might be next season, and Florence's impending free agency is a big part of that potential problem. Though he did commit an inordinate amount of penalties in 2010, he was also by far Buffalo's most consistent defensive back, and made the most big plays, as well.
4. George Wilson, safety (30). Re-signed to a three-year contract extension in March. Wilson has long been a staple on special teams, and with Donte Whitner's free agency looming, Wilson looks to be in line for the first full-time starting gig of his career. Wilson is one of Buffalo's most important team leaders.
3. Terrence McGee, cornerback (30). For a numbers of years, the Bills had a great deal of stability at cornerback, even while McGee was missing at least one game per season every year since his rookie year. Over the last two seasons, McGee has missed a combined 12 games. When healthy, he is still Buffalo's best cornerback. All signs are that he'll be healthy whenever the 2011 season starts. The team needs him to stay that way.
2. Lee Evans, wide receiver (30). Evans is coming off a season in which he recorded career lows in receptions and yards, despite the fact that Gailey re-introduced the concept of competency into Buffalo's offensive attack. Gailey expects more out of Evans, and he's got plans to make him a bigger part of the Bills' offensive attack. Until that happens (and perhaps even after), Evans is clearly behind Stevie Johnson on Ryan Fitzpatrick's list of go-to receivers.
1. Fred Jackson, running back (30). I'd argue that Jackson is the most vital member of Buffalo's offense. He's certainly the most versatile and has the most well-rounded game. While Gailey tries to figure out how to use the rest of his offensive weapons - including Jackson's flashy understudy, C.J. Spiller - he'll continue to rely on Jackson, who is Buffalo's most consistent player on either side of the ball.