The 2023 NFL Draft is in the rearview mirror and soon enough the Buffalo Bills’ new batch of rookies will hit the field for their first pro minicamp.
With training camp and the NFL preseason still a few months away, there’s no telling whether good fortune awaits the year’s Bills team. Those who analyze all facets of the draft have given solid marks for the job general manager Brandon Beane and One Bills Drive turned in over the course of the three-day event last week. But does a headache still linger following what felt like a numb effort this past January in a home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals during the divisional round of the NFL playoffs?
It’s quite possible if put to task in trying to sum up the team’s 2022 season, many within Bills Mafia would chose the word “trauma.” It’s a term we at Buffalo Rumblings have utilized fairly extensively over the last calendar year, beginning with the heinous and cowardly mass shooting at Tops all the way up to pro tennis player Jessie Pegula revealing that her mother Kim Pegula, Owner and President of the Buffalo Bills, had suffered traumatic cardiac arrest. Impossible it seemed. The cruelest of all parallels imaginable for a team forced to watch their brother in battle, safety Damar Hamlin, lay lifeless on the field, eventually being brought back to life and ushered into an ambulance after suffering what we now know was commordio cordis. Trauma.
But 2023 is about new opportunities. Hope springs eternal, after all. Damar Hamlin has been medically cleared to resume in full his football career. The team has a promising group of new faces set to leave a positive mark on the football field.
With that spring of hope comes a torrent of writing by those who pass judgment on NFL teams through power rankings. Though we have to wait several months before finding out what this year’s product looks like in action, now’s as good a time as any to digest what others think of the Buffalo Bills’ offseason and the team’s chances heading into a fall full of meaningful football.
Listed after the break are 10 outlets that provided post-draft rankings for each NFL team. Our focus remains only on the good guys who play for Bills Mafia. We’ll start with the most generous ranking, working our way down the hierarchy ladder. Predictably, there are those who continue circling Buffalo’s wagon, and those who’ve begun leading the horses out to pasture. Unfortunately, Cynthia Frelund — whose analytics are on another level — remains absent here: an arena begging for the brand of intelligence she brings to NFL analysis.
CBS Sports: No. 3
Previous rank: No. 4
Some have said the window is closing on this team, but I don’t buy it. They had a good, solid draft, which will help Josh Allen. The change to Sean McDermott calling the defense should make it more aggressive. — Pete Prisco
The Athletic: No. 4
Draft takeaway: With Dawson Knox and first-round pick Dalton Kincaid, no 12 personnel in the league has a scarier-sounding tandem of tight ends to the plucky young protagonist of an ‘80s movie.
Hype man: Kincaid really is a perfect fit for what we need on offense. Did you see Dane Brugler call him maybe “the best pass catcher in this draft, regardless of position”?
Dawson Downer: How long can we really expect Von Miller and Stefon Diggs and Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde to be elite? Is Sean McDermott taking on too much responsibility having to call games on defense? This feels like the last best shot for this roster nucleus to win a ring (or even make it to the AFC Championship Game). — Bo Wulf
NFL.com: No. 4
Previous rank: No. 4
The Bills did the right thing in Kansas City, dedicating the top of their draft board to players who will make life easier for Josh Allen. Buffalo traded up in the first round to select Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid, a soft-handed playmaker and interesting complement to incumbent tight end Dawson Knox. Buffalo then used its second pick to address the interior of the offensive line, selecting O’Cyrus Torrence, the highly regarded guard out of Florida. With two moves, Allen gets a much-needed weapon in the passing game and the promise of better protection up front after absorbing 33 sacks a season ago. If the Bills can stick the landing with a DeAndre Hopkins acquisition — he likes the organization, you know — the offseason will be perceived as a smashing success.
Sports Illustrated: No. 4
The Bills seriously upgraded their offense on multiple fronts and added a ton of physicality. That’s not just true about the second-round pick, guard O’Cyrus Torrence, but almost every one of their offensive players has an edge. First-rounder Dalton Kincaid is a tight end–wide receiver hybrid. Justin Shorter, the wide receiver out of Florida, is also massive and is going to be a problem for smaller defensive backs. — Conor Orr
NBC Sports: No. 4
It feels like the Bills have been forgotten after their disappointing postseason loss. But make no mistake, Buffalo loaded up this offseason. In the draft, the Bills picked the top tight end in Dalton Kincaid, a highly-touted guard in O’Cyrus Torrence and a much-needed linebacker in Dorian Williams after losing Tremaine Edmunds. — Logan Reardon
USA Today: No. 4
The D gets OLB Von Miller and S Micah Hyde back − plus the emotional lift from Damar Hamlin’s return − while QB Josh Allen has a new weapon in TE Dalton Kincaid. But the ability to run the ball remains in question at a time when Allen is signaling he’ll dial down his downfield forays. — Nate Davis
FOX Sports: No. 4
Buffalo’s offseason was a bit more quiet than in years past, but it looks sneaky good on paper. The offensive line was arguably their biggest issue last year, and they focused on improving it in both the draft and free agency. First-round pick Dalton Kincaid should be able to contribute early, though the presence of Dawson Knox takes some of that pressure off. It was a coup to retain Jordan Poyer, and Damien Harris is a sneaky smart running back signing. It was easy to feel a bit down on the Bills in February, but things are looking up in May. — David Helman
Bleacher Report: No. 4
The Buffalo Bills won the AFC East for the third straight season in 2022, but a lopsided loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the playoffs ended the season on a sour note.
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who was visibly upset at the end of that loss, told HBO’s The Shop that he still isn’t sure what needs to happen to get over the hump.
“It doesn’t make sense,” Diggs said (35:30 mark). “I will rack my brain with this s—t at this point. ... I think it’s more execution than anything. S—t is small little pieces on why s—t is not going right. ... We’ve got the players. We’ve got the plays. Why s—t ain’t coming together?”
It should make Diggs happier that the Bills should be that much more dangerous on offense this year. Damien Harris gives the team a physical presence in the run game, and first-round pick Dalton Kincaid offers the Bills a field-stretching tight end.
“The Bills are a dangerous team, no doubt,” Davenport said. “Buffalo could absolutely make it to the Super Bowl. But the loss of middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds was a legitimate blow, and the AFC is so loaded this season that all it takes is one flaw to potentially be a team’s undoing.” — BR NFL Staff
New York Post: No. 5
Josh Allen has been gifted a dangerous new weapon in rookie TE Dalton Kincaid and bludgeoning G O’Cyrus Torrence, but MLB Tremaine (Edmunds) leaves a hole. Allen vows to stop pretending he’s a running back, but we’ll see if James Cook can step up with Devin Singletary gone. Damar Hamlin’s return will be inspirational. — Steve Serby
Sportsnaut: No. 8
Previous rank: No. 7
The Buffalo Bills are just hanging in as a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Josh Allen‘s penchant for forcing throws and bad decision-making – compounded by an average supporting cast around him – played a significant role in Buffalo’s collapse late last season. Buffalo’s defense is also showing some signs of regression. The Bills have another year, but they’re close to being viewed simply as a perennial playoff team. — Matt Johnson
Where would the Buffalo Bills land on your NFL power rankings? Does a near-universal fourth-place finish seem justified given last season’s result? Did you take the time to check out those teams ranked ahead of the Bills by Sportsnaut? It’s quite a list, in spots. Some might say it was crafted in the dark. Though, perhaps that was out of necessity on their part.
Like every other team in the league, it’s Bills versus everybody. That includes the royal we of Bills Mafia, which marches into the dog days of summer still in search of professional football’s grandest, most superior stage.
Feeling pretty psyched? Me, I feel fine. Remember, those good guys have an alien throwing footballs.