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Buffalo Bills 2015 NFL Draft needs: a foundation on offense

Prioritizing the Bills' needs on offense can be a tricky thing to do - unless you break the exercise up into two, far more practical lists.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Very few Buffalo Bills fans or observers would argue against the idea that, among the three phases of professional football, the team is in need of improvement on offense far more than they are on defense or special teams. With the 2015 NFL Draft now less than a week away, most draft conversations are, unsurprisingly, gravitating toward the offensive side of the ball.

Prioritizing those needs depends on how you're approaching roster-building. The team's list of needs for the 2015 season (and how likely they are to satisfactorily fill those needs) differs from what it'll look like when thinking about the 2016 season and beyond.

Which is why, rather than making one definitive needs list for the offense, we're going to make two.

Bills needs (offense), 2015 NFL Draft

  1. OL: Only 2-3 starting positions are settled, and while there are prospects worth putting into a competition, a starting-caliber rookie would be a huge coup on the second day of the draft.
  2. TE: With a starter in place, the Bills are now in need of role players - and a rookie could be in line for a pretty healthy chunk of playing time.
  3. WR: The top three is settled, but a worthwhile project receiver - ideally, one with size - would add a dimension that is currently lacking.
  4. RB: Buffalo is clearly committed to LeSean McCoy as the lead back. An upgrade on the existing depth, chiefly Fred Jackson, may be tempting, but is not strictly necessary.
  5. QB: The Bills are built to make a playoff push behind a game manager, giving Matt Cassel the best shot at the starting gig. A developmental rookie is possible, and is the biggest wild card for the Bills entering draft week.
  6. FB: Jerome Felton has this position locked up for the time being. Any backup would need to play a big role on special teams.

Bills needs (offense), 2016 and beyond

  1. QB: This has been the Bills' most pressing big-picture need for two decades, and that remains the case.
  2. OL: Tackle is potentially a huge need long-term, with Cordy Glenn scheduled for unrestricted free agency next spring and two projects that may or may not pan out.
  3. WR: Percy Harvin is only on a one-year deal, so a talented receiver that could contribute heavily in a year might be worth looking into.
  4. TE: There's a starter in place for the next several years, but useful depth with upside would be a very nice thing to have, indeed.
  5. RB: Questions about McCoy's long-term viability, plus Jackson's age and the short shelf life of the position, will essentially always make this area a need in the not-too-distant future.
  6. FB: Again, this is Felton's job, and any backup would almost exclusively be a special teams player for the foreseeable future.

What do you think, Bills fans? Is it useful to break up a needs list into short-term and long-term views? How would either of your lists differ from those above?