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The impressive dynamic in Buffalo Bills new front office

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Examining the dynamic that’s emerged on the football side of Buffalo’s quickly reconstructed front office.

The Buffalo Bills front office and coaching staff looks drastically different than it did just a few months ago. And for the most part, over the past 3-5 years many key pieces high on the personnel side were the same.

Not anymore.

With the hire of head coach Sean McDermott in January, and especially Brandon Beane’s arrival as GM just two weeks ago, the Bills have a plethora of new members of their football department.

After 17 years without making the playoffs, that’s a positive development.

Staffer Josh Rawdin noticed a trend in Buffalo’s wave of front-office hires: The majority of the guys are (around) 50 years old or younger and have (around) 15 or more years of NFL experience... an impressive dynamic.

Let’s take a look:

New Bills staff mold

Name Position Age NFL Experience
Name Position Age NFL Experience
Sean McDermott Head Coach 43 18
Brandon Beane General Manager 40 19
Joe Schoen Assistant General Manager 38 17
Brian Gaine Vice President of Player Personnel 43 18
Malik Boyd Director of Pro Personnel 47 14
Lake Dawson Assistant Director of College Scouting 45 16
Marvin Allen National Scout 51 24
Brian Adams National Scout Mid-50s 27
Dennis Hickey Senior College Scout 46 20

A personnel department loaded with relatively young but very experienced employees is ideal.

Over at The Phinsider, Josh Houtz wrote an article about the many Dolphins ties the Bills have in their new-look front office.

Here’s what he wrote on Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen:

“Schoen has been with the Dolphins since 2008, where he started as a national scout. He’s been a huge contribution to the team’s scouting department and had his fair hand in drafting some of the current players on the roster. After his sixth season in Miami, Schoen was promoted to director of player personnel. Although the Dolphins and Tannenbaum were able to block the hire, they allowed the Bills to pluck away the highly regarded scout. Buffalo got a good one in Joe Schoen.”

Some notable players picked by the Dolphins from 2009 - 2016 (in chronological order, starting in 2009):

  • Vontae Davis, Sean Smith
  • Koa Misi, Reshad Jones
  • Mike Pouncey, Charles Clay
  • Ryan Tannehill, Olivier Vernon, Lamar Miller, Rishard Matthews
  • Jelani Jenkins, Mike Gillislee
  • Jarvis Landry
  • DeVante Parker, Jordan Phillips, Jay Ajayi
  • Laremy Tunsil

A handful of quality players in a variety of rounds, a few players who eventually made their way to Buffalo.

Here’s Houtz on Bills Vice President of Player Personnel Brian Gaine:

“Gaine spent six years with the Dolphins, and eventually worked his way up to assistant general manager under Jeff Ireland. During his time with Miami, Gaine interviewed for the general manager position twice. Despite being named a finalist both times, he was never picked for the job.”

Houtz also pointed out that when Dennis Hickey was hired in 2014, the Dolphins let Gaine go, and he landed in Houston, and he was the Texans Director of Player Personnel for the past three seasons.

Speaking of Hickey, Buffalo’s new Senior College Scout:

“The former Miami Dolphins’ general manager, drafted several key players currently on the roster. Those players include: Jarvis Landry, Jay Ajayi, Ja’Wuan James, DeVante Parker, Terrence Fede, Jordan Phillips, Tony Lippett, among several others. Unfortunately, when Mike Tannenbaum arrived in Miami, Hickey was the odd man out. He left Miami shortly after the 2015 season.”

Yeah, somehow, Mike Tannenbaum still had the ability to wield power after his tumultuous time in New York with the Jets and a few years away from football. In Hickey’s first year as Miami’s GM, the team went 8-8. Ju’Wuan James and Jarvis Landry were the Dolphins first two picks in the draft, and they found serviceable defensive-line depth in Terrence Fede in the seventh round.

The following year, with Hickey as GM, Miami picked DeVante Parker and Jordan Phillips with their first two selections and snagged Jay Ajayi in Round 5 but went 6-10. Also, Hickey was the GM when the Dolphins traded for Kenny Stills, and signed Ndamukong Suh and Branden Albert in free agency.

Beane has certainly created a Bills front office with a young, fresh look featuring plenty of experienced and well-respected minds.