You Should Go All in on the Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills bet on themselves the last offseason, and it paid off better than they could have imagined. By trading for Stefon Diggs, they bet that a true alpha receiver would help Josh Allen take the next level as a quarterback. By the end of the 2020 season, Diggs led the league in targets, receptions, and yards, while Josh Allen received two MVP votes. The Bills’ offense was electric and was the reason behind their 13-3 season and an AFC Championship game appearance. It’s been a relatively quiet free agency for the Bills, losing receiver John Brown and signing Emmanual Sanders being their biggest moves. The Bills will now focus on the draft to put the final pieces for their roster.
The Bills defense took a step back from the 2019 season, in which a stout defense carried them into a playoff appearance. However, this is still a solid unit that’s only missing a couple of pieces. Their biggest area of need is likely at cornerback, mainly their secondary option behind star Tre’Davious White. By only resigning Levi Wallace to a one-year deal, the Bills confirmed that they don’t see him as a long-term solution. This cornerback class is deep, with Patrick Surtain II, Jaycee Horn, and Caleb Farley leading the way. While it’s unlikely that any of those three players are still around at the 30th pick, the Bills will still have good options if either Greg Newsome or Asante Samuel Jr is there.
Another option for the Bills is to look at upgrades on the defensive line. The Bills have solid players in their front four, but they do not have a true star pass rusher. The team was also not great at stopping the run, ranking 23rd in ESPN’s Run Stop Win Rate percentage. Adding more talent to their defensive line would help with that, and there would be a couple of good options for the Bills to choose. There’s no real consensus on who the top edge rusher in this class is, so any of Kwity Paye, Jaelan Phillips, Azeez Ojulari, Jayson Oweh, or Greg Rousseau could be an option here. The Bills could also look at an interior lineman, such as Christian Barmore, to add to the rotation of Ed Oliver and Vernon Butler.
The Bills could also consider a linebacker. It is unlikely that either Micah Parsons or Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah will be there in the late first round, but Jamin Davis and Zaven Collins would be good additions to this defense, likely being an upgrade over AJ Klein. The Bills are in a great spot at the end of the first round to take the best defensive player available, if they choose so, and immediately gaining an upgrade.
There is not much the Bills have to do to upgrade their offense. Josh Allen is an elite quarterback and has one of the best receiving corps in the league. Diggs and Sanders lead the way, but Cole Beasley was named 2nd team All-Pro this season as one of the best pure slot receivers in the league, and rookie Gabriel Davis had a great season. This offense was 2nd in the league with 31.3 points per game during the regular season and is returning nearly all of the offensive starters. Dawson Knox is a solid tight end for now, but the Bills could look for an upgrade over him in the draft.
The Bills’ running game wasn’t great, only ranking 20th in rush yards, their elite passing attack more than makes up for it. Zack Moss and Devin Singletary are also young, talented running backs and will get better in 2021. However, this shouldn’t stop them from drafting a running back on day two or three of the draft. The Bills do need improvement on the interior of the offensive line, however, and this could be another direction they go at the 30th overall pick. If Alijah Vera-Tucker is available, he should be the Bills’ top choice here. If not, the Bills should probably wait for the second round to pick up the best interior o-lineman available. The Bills’ offense is their strength, and by returning nearly the whole squad, they’ve set themselves up to run it back.
The Bills are to be envied right now. They made it to an AFC Championship and are returning nearly the entire team and coaching staff. Having a young elite quarterback-receiver tandem like the Bills have in Allen and Diggs is something teams across the league are searching for. This team should be competing for the top seed in the AFC again, and with a good draft, they might be able to reach their first Superbowl since 1994.