Reggie Ragland is still sitting near the bottom of the Buffalo Bills’ linebacker depth chart. Phillip Dorsett is available via trade from the Indianapolis Colts. Swapping the two former top NFL Draft picks makes complete sense.
A week ago, I received an email from our Chris Blystone at our Colts blog, Stampede Blue, about possible linebacker cuts that could be coming at the end of the preseason. I mentioned that Ragland might be on the outside looking in and we put it to the side until I saw the report that Dorsett was on the trading block.
Ragland missed his rookie season with a knee injury and returned to find a defense that didn’t fit his skill set with the replacement of Rex Ryan by Sean McDermott. Shifting him back to a team that predominantly runs a 3-4, where he could play the thumping inside linebacker he was born to play, could be just the thing to set his career back on the right path.
Dorsett has had durability issues, missing six games over his first two seasons, while hauling in 53 passes for 753 yards and 3 touchdowns. They have had a pair of receivers emerge this offseason, making Dorsett reportedly expendable.
Dorsett was the 29th overall selection in 2015 while Ragland was 42nd in 2016. It is likely Buffalo would have to give something else to the Colts in the exchange for Dorsett, but it wouldn’t be a very high pick.
Here’s a mini scouting report on Dorsett from Blystone:
“Dorsett's primary skill set is on the outside taking the top off the defense. His game-breaking speed and good hands make him a great deep threat for any team who can run an effective play action or have an offensive line that gives the quarterback time to throw the deep ball. Additionally, he has shown the athleticism to go up and get the ball when contested and to make plays in space when given the opportunity. He needs to work to develop his ability to run the whole route tree if he wants to become more than a one-dimensional guy, but it is fair to say that the Colts do not exactly have great strengths in the areas that would help him to succeed. A change of scenery might be just the thing to help get the pressure off his back and allow Dorsett to hone his skill. At worst, Dorsett is a consistent deep threat that requires defenses to respect his blazing speed. At best, he can become a T.Y. Hilton-like player who can be moved all over the field and create serious mismatches for secondaries.”
The Bills are missing that over-the-top threat without Sammy Watkins and the loss of Anquan Boldin due to his sudden retirement leaves an empty spot in the wide receiver corps. It’s an intriguing possibility for both players and teams.