It’s not fair to expect the Buffalo Bills to field high-quality players at every position. Most teams have their weaknesses, and when they move to address them they’ll develop other weaknesses. It’s a cycle.
The Bills took an interesting route in addressing the poor play they received at right tackle last year. In addition to drafting a possible starter, they decided to bring back the guy who struggles last year to compete for his old job. With the end of training camp in sight, that guy is set to keep his job for another season, if only by default.
Name: Jordan Mills
Height/Weight: 6’5”, 316 lbs
College: Louisiana Tech
Draft: Round 5, Pick 163 by the Chicago Bears (2013)
Financial Situation (per Spotrac): Mills signed a two-year deal this offseason the carries a cap hit of $1.65 million this year and $2.15 million next year. Only $400,000 of that is guaranteed.
2016 Recap: Mills started all 16 games for the Bills last year. As you might recall, he was clearly the weakest link on an otherwise solid offensive line. Pro Football Focus rated him 56th among 76 qualified offensive tackles in 2016. Were it not for the suspensions and medical issues Seantrel Henderson faced over the course of the year, it’s doubtful that he would have held on to his job (or earned a new deal this year).
Positional Outlook: While the Bills traded into the back end of the second round to acquire Temple’s Dion Dawkins, he hasn’t done much to earn the starting role so far this year. Henderson is set to miss the first five games of the season to a suspension, and there’s nobody else anywhere close to being able to step up and start at right tackle right now.
2017 Offseason: The Bills somewhat surprisingly brought Mills back at the end of March on the two-year deal. Despite an uninspiring training camp so far, Mills was listed as a starter on the (PR team-generated) depth chart that was released earlier in the week.
2017 Season Outlook: Contrary to the expectations (and hopes) of Bills fans, Mills is probably going to roll into the season starting at right tackle unless Dawkins steps up big time over the next few weeks. Mills was the weakest link on the offensive line last year, but if he can step his own game up and improve his play against the pass rush this year he could at least stop being a liability. At this point, that’s all I’m asking for.