Team Needs: Buffalo Bills
NEEDS RATING KEY
5.0 - High priority. This is a position that is a glaring weakness and there is the likelihood that this team cannot compete next year without making a major addition here.
4.0 - Medium Priority. This is an area that is an obvious weakness, but the team isn't quite desperate to make a major move here possibly because they have some young potential. But this is an area that if the team cannot fix via free agency, will definitely use one of their picks in the first three or four rounds to supplement.
3.0 - Upgrade Potential. This is a position that isn't a weakness per se, but there is significant room for an upgrade. If the right player comes along they will certainly snag him, but if they don't fix this position with a major free agent addition or early round pick, then it's not the end of the world.
2.0 - Depth Need. An area where there is a need to add depth. Perhaps there is an aging veteran and they might want to start to look at grooming his heir apparent or replacement. Not likely to be a high priority and a position that more than likely will be address in the middle and late rounds rather than with a top pick.
1.0 - Future Need. This is an area that is not a priority, and doesn't initially appear as a need. But there is some room to develop some depth for perhaps two or more years down the line. This is usually an area that a team will look at in the late rounds if at all.
0.0 - Non-need. This is a position that is a strength of their team, they have a solid starter, capable depth, and/or a young player at the position that they like and want to develop. Very little possibility this area is addressed and would be the equivalent of a wasted draft pick.
Top 10 Needs
1. DE - 4.5
2. CB - 4.0
3. WR - 3.5
4. OT - 3.0
5. LB - 2.5
6. TE - 2.5
7. QB - 2.5
8. DT - 2.0
9. FB - 1.5
10. OG - 1.5
Quarterback - The Bills long-term deal to Ryan Fitzpatrick makes it likely that he'll return in 2012, but beyond that is in doubt. The Bills will likely draft a developmental prospect this year. Chan Gailey likes Fitzpatrick a lot, but they'll likely look at someone in the middle portion of the draft to give them another body along with Tyler Thigpen behind Fitzpatrick. NEED: 2.5
Running Back - C.J. Spiller played well down the stretch with 446 yards in the final 6 games, coupled with Fred Jackson's 917 yards over the first 9 games gives them a solid 1-2 punch if they can find a way to get both players to produce at that level together. Jackson is entering a contract year, and the Bills have indicated they want to give him a long-term deal. They aren't expected to make major changes here with Johnny White returning as the No. 3 back. NEED: 1.0
Fullback - Corey McIntyre is solid but is entering his contract year and is 33 years old. A valuable special teams player, he could continue as a role player. This position has lessening value since the Bills have embraced the spread offense, but they might add another young body to perform these duties down the road. NEED: 1.5
Wide Receiver - The Bills want to retain Stevie Johnson, but only for the right price. They could tag him if a deal doesn't get done before the start of free agency, but it could go either way in terms of Johnson returning as their top wideout. They like the young group they have in David Nelson, Donald Jones, Brad Smith, Naaman Roosevelt, and Derek Hagan, but all are just backups and complementary players, and none are close to filling in for Johnson as their top wideout. Even if they keep Johnson, they will likely try and supplement this position with addition players, but it will become a priority if Johnson is lost. NEED: 3.5
Tight End - Scott Chandler is a free agent and was a productive redzone option that they want to retain. But this is also a position that could use an upgrade with a more dynamic everydown threat to pair with Chandler. Although the tight end position has never really been one that Chan Gailey featured heavily in his offense. NEED: 2.5
Offensive Tackle - The Bills want to keep Demetrius Bell at left tackle, and he seems to prefer staying. But he could find a decent market for him as a free agent if other teams don't have issues with his durability. They like Chris Hairston enough to allow him to compete with Bell for the starting job, but probably not enough to be comfortable giving him the job outright if Bell signs elsewhere. But even if Bell is retained, it's likely this team will draft some insurance in the middle rounds. If Bell is lost, then it will become a higher priority. Erik Pears was surprisingly solid at right tackle and thus earned an extension in December. NEED: 3.0
Offensive Guard - Andy Levitre has been solid for them at left guard over the years, and has also been a competent left tackle at times when injuries have hit there. He's entering a contract year and should be inline for an extension. Kraig Urbik was solid at right guard for most of the year and filled in admirably at center late in the year when Eric Wood went down with injury. He and Chad Rinehart are restricted free agents that likely will get long-term extension similar to Pears. This is position that they are relatively secure at up front, and thus any addition will be for depth not need. NEED: 1.5
Center - Eric Wood has missed time in all 3 years, and his ACL tear could limit him somewhat next year. Urbik is a capable fill-in if need be, but it wouldn't hurt this team to improve their depth here if a good player comes along. NEED: 1.0
Defensive Tackle - The Bills are expected to commit more to the 4-3 this year under recently promoted defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt, which likely will mean that Kyle WIlliams and Marcell Dareus will play here, making them solid. Dwan Edwards could be cut, and Spencer Johnson is a competent reserve but probably playing his last year with the Bills means that they should be looking at depth. Torell Troup and Kellen Heard provide some beef, but they will likely be looking at adding depth that can put pressure on the QB. NEED: 2.0
Defensive End - Shawne Merriman didn't do much in 5 games with the Bills, but they seem intent on bringing him back for the final year of his contract. But he'll likely just be a situational rusher rather than a starter. Alex Carrington is too bulky for the 4-3 and even if he slims down will just be a rotational option at left end. Chris Kelsay probably will be a starter up front, but will turn 33 in October and was a fairly mediocre starter back when the Bills were a full-time 4-3 defense. This is a position in dire need of a major upgrade. NEED: 4.5
Linebacker - Nick Barnett and Kelvin SHeppard will be inked in as the starters at WILL and MIKE spots, which likely leaves Arthur Moats as the top candidate at the SAM spot. Danny Batten will also be in the mix, but it's definitely a position in need of another body to improve competition if not an outright upgrade. NEED: 2.5
Cornerback - Leodis McKelvin hasn't lived up to his potential, and at this point can only really be counted on as a nickel corner. Terrence McGee could be a cap cut, leaving Drayton Florence and the unproven Aaron Williams as their potential starters. If they cannot upgrade this spot with one of the top free agents, it's likely this will be a position of need high in the draft. NEED: 4.0
Safety - The team is pretty solid with Jairus Byrd, George Wilson, and Da'Norris Searcy as their trio here. Searcy could push Wilson for his starting spot, as well as supplant free agent Bryan Scott as what is essentially a nickel linebacker in the box. If Scott isn't retained, it probably increases the chances they try and upgrade their depth. NEED: 1.0
Kicker - The team just re-upped with 35-year old Lindell for four more years, making this position solid. NEED: 0.0
Punter - 36-year old Brian Moorman is entering the final year of his contract, so it's possible they look at a young guy to push him in camp. NEED: 1.0
Return Specialist - Between Spiller, McKelvin, Brad Smith, and Justin Rogers, they are solid here. NEED: 0.0
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