2013 NFL Draft: Buffalo Bills Top Five Needs
2013 NFL Draft: Buffalo Bills Top Five Needs
With a new first-year head coach at the helm, the Buffalo Bills are about to enter a new era in the history of their franchise. Head coach Doug Marrone has already set the tone for this new era by releasing veterans George Wilson, Nick Barnett, and Terrence McGee, indicating that he wants the team to get younger and more athletic.
Obviously, one way to get younger is to add key pieces through the draft, meaning that this year’s draft will be another big tone setter for the future of the Bills organization. Marrone has the reputation of being a great offensive coach, but so far this offseason most of the moves he’s made have been on the defensive side of the ball, so it’ll be interesting to see what he tries to address more in the draft: the offense or the defense since offense is his specialty, but the Buffalo defense is a bigger concern heading into the season.
After spending the last four years as a college head coach, Marrone should have some familiarity with the talent available in the draft this year. He’ll need to use that knowledge to his advantage, as the Bills have quite a few needs to fill, and so they’ll need to make the most of their draft picks, including the 8th overall pick in the draft. Let’s take a sneak peak at some of the needs the Bills have this offseason that they’ll be looking to address in the upcoming draft, as Marrone and the Bills embark on a new era of football in Buffalo:
It’s a forgone conclusion that the Bills are going to draft a quarterback, and use either their first or second round pick to do so. The team is expected to cut Ryan Fitzpatrick and go with a younger quarterback to help rejuvenate the franchise. Ryan Nassib of Syracuse could be the most likely candidate, as he has spent the last four years under the tutelage of new Bills head coach Doug Marrone and new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Nassib is also climbing draft boards quickly and could be one of the first quarterbacks chosen. However, the near consensus for the top quarterback available is Geno Smith of West Virginia, and there’s a chance the Bills will have the opportunity to select him with the 8th overall pick.
If Buffalo is going to draft a quarterback, the least they could do is get him a young wide receiver to throw to. The Bills feel good about what they have in Steve Johnson, but if they’re going to become a truly competitive team, they’re going to need multiple threats at wide receiver. The Bills may not be able to get one until the later rounds, but with solid depth at wide receiver in this year’s class, a third or fourth round pick spent on a wide receiver may be able to give them a talented player and potential starter.
This may be Buffalo’s biggest need. The Bills need a complete makeover at the linebacker position, which is the heart of their defense. Buffalo was one of the worst teams against the run last year, so finding some run stoppers is going to be a big priority for them. It’s going to take more than one player to fix the problem, so look for the Bills to spend multiple picks on linebackers in this draft.
The Bills just cut George Wilson, so they’re going to need someone to replace him. Jairus Byrd is one of the top players in the league at the free safety position, but he can be even better if Buffalo can bring in someone competent to play alongside him and really sure up the secondary.
Buffalo has Mario Williams locked up at one defensive end spot, but now it’s time to find him a partner. There are a number of difference making rush ends available, especially early in the draft, and any one of them would be great to pair up with Williams to give the Bills two great pass rushers that teams have to worry about. If Buffalo passes on taking a quarterback in the first round, this may be the best way to go, as there’s sure to be an elite-level pass rusher available.
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