With the first wave of NFL free agency over and the second wave wrapping up, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane says his team is essentially done signing veterans and now seems like as good a time as any to exam exactly where the roster currently stands.
What follows is a list (in no particular order) highlighting areas that should be addressed before the end of the draft. The one position I won’t include is quarterback. Admit it; you are quarterbacked out for now. In addition, we all know QB is the most important position in sports, so let us give the other people some love.
Kyle Williams’ replacement
This is an under-the-radar need, but one that needs to be addressed sooner than later. Yes, the Bills signed the heart-and-soul of the team to a one-year deal, but for this defense to get to the level Sean McDermott envisions, someone has to play the Kawann Short role. Drafting Kyle’s replacement with the big man still on the roster would provide a year of invaluable tutoring on not just how to play the position, but be a true professional.
Some names to keep an eye one: Maurice Hurst, Trenton Thompson
By pure numbers alone, this is an area in desperate need of bodies. Buffalo currently has four corners under contract. Beane essentially signed Vontae Davis to replace E.J. Gaines. Coming off a season riddled by injury, Davis is no sure thing to last 16 games. Ideally, the Bills would bring back Leonard Johnson, if only for his familiarity with the system. With four picks on Day 2 of the draft, don’t be surprised if Beane and McDermott bring in a pair of youngsters to play in the slot and eventually replace Davis.
Some names to keep an eye on: Jaire Alexander, Isaiah Oliver, Carlton Davis
As of the time of this writing, the Bills have seven linebackers under contract heading into the 2018 season. In his second year, Matt Milano is the only sure starter and Lorenzo Alexander will have some role in the defense. Aside from those two, Buffalo has special teamers and bubble players. This makes this arguably the biggest hole on the Bills roster. Could the Bills stay pat at No. 12 and 22 and take a LB?
Some names to keep an eye on: Roquan Smith, Tremaine Edmunds, Rashaan Evans
Finally, some offense. The hope is that Zay Jones and Kelvin Benjamin return fully healthy in 2018, but they will need some help even when they stay off the injury report. Even though Beane said that the Bills are focused on the draft and that they are short on funds, this may be an area they can still find an impact player on the cheap. Bringing back Deonte Thompson may be an under-the-radar move to improve this position.
Some names to watch: Deonte Thompson, Terrelle Pryor, James Washington