Fans often discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of their favorite team, with conversation usually focusing on offense vs defense. Well let’s take it a bit more granular and power rank the position groups on the Buffalo Bills. Feel free to call me out in the comments or present your own list.
Alright, here we go. Let’s do this from worst to first with a brief explanation for each group.
- Specialists: The specialists are a group in turmoil. Stephen Hauschka will be competing with Tyler Bass for kicking duties. Corey Bojorquez finds himself in another 80s movie as he co-stars with Kaare Vedvik in “Punter Battle II: The Puntening.” Only Reid Fergson seems to have a lock on his job after the other incumbents struggled in 2019.
- Tights ends: It kills me to rank any group with Lee Smith this low, but facts are facts. Smith’s niche role may not be emphasized in Buffalo any more as his usage decreased as the season wore on. Tyler Kroft hasn’t been a revelation. Dawson Knox has been promising but needs to work on catching.
- Defensive ends: I still love Jerry Hughes but he needs a player to complement him on the other side and Trent Murphy has not been consistent enough. I like A.J. Epenesa’s potential and Mario Addison intrigues me but both will need to acclimate to a defense that loves to mix and match.
- Running backs: The running back room has the potential to prove they belong a lot higher on the list but for now they sit here mostly due to an “incomplete” grade. Devin Singletary had a nice debut year but it’s unknown whether he can carry a full load. Zack Moss has a lot of film I like, but is unproven like all rookies. T.J. Yeldon has shown he belongs in the NFL but doesn’t elevate the group.
- Quarterbacks: Josh Allen brings the quarterback room to the middle of the pack in these power rankings as a dual threat quarterback who has shown flashes of exceptional talent. This group isn’t higher as Allen has yet to fully realize his potential. Matt Barkley, Jake Fromm, and Davis Webb don’t move the needle much.
- Offensive line: The continuity of this group should be a positive and even weakest link Cody Ford flashed here and there. The rest of the starters (Dion Dawkins, Quinton Spain, Mitch Morse, Jon Feliciano, and Ty Nsekhe) all qualify as at least “good.” This group would be higher if it weren’t for a few flaws such as the power running game. And they’d be lower if the depth weren’t so good.
- Defensive tackles: Ed Oliver started to click and Harrison Phillips should return this season. We all know how much I stick up for Star Lotulelei and his role on the team. Vernon Butler and Quinton Jefferson will have a bit of learning to do but are both talented and versatile additions.
- Linebackers: This is arguably the first position group where the starters are all excellent. Granted, on the Buffalo defense that’s really only Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano but they both are important cogs in the machine. A.J. Klein provides one solid depth piece and likely rotational starter. From there it’s a steep cliff unless a player like Vosean Joseph or Tyrel Dodson steps up.
- Safeties: And this is the first group where there’s no argument that the starters are excellent. The tandem of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer get it done game after game. This group would be higher if it weren’t for a steep cliff with depth. Dean Marlowe and Jaquan Johnson could surprise us, but it’s definitely a “could” at the moment.
- Wide Receivers: John Brown and Cole Beasley absolutely helped Josh Allen elevate his game last year and provide different receiver styles to keep defenses guessing. The addition of Stefon Diggs makes this a position of strength for the Bills. Isaiah McKenzie and Duke Williams provide reasonable depth. If Gabriel Davis and Isaiah Hodgins push by them, it would make this a group with enviable depth.
- Corners: The Buffalo Bills love nickel defense making this closer to a trio of starters than duo. Tre’Davious White puts one third of the group at All-Pro level. Levi Wallace is considered the weak link on defense by some. If so, that weak link still allowed the Bills to run an elite passing defense. Taron Johnson is a heck of a slot corner when not hampered by injuries. This group gets a major push thanks to incredible depth. While E.J. Gaines and Josh Norman may both have their best days behind them, Sean McDermott has integrated both players into elite defenses during his career.