The Buffalo Bills haven’t been a good drafting team in the past decade as the results have shown. They’ve only cracked a .500 record twice in the past 13 years. With a new GM and head coach however, they are banking on the fact that their first draft class together will set the franchise up for years with the building blocks to create a contender.
Everyone knows about rookie QB E.J. Manuel. He is the future, the franchise, the guy that the Bills have been waiting for since Jim Kelly retired. He’s got a lot on his shoulders, but if the Bills brass didn’t think that he could handle it, they wouldn’t have drafted him where they did (see Geno Smith).
Manuel isn’t the only rookie that will be expected to contribute right away. Rookie WR Robert Woods is listed as third on the depth chart, but will likely see a lot of action in three-WR sets. Woods is a good route runner with a solid set of hands and will be counted on to be a safety valve for Manuel.
Also ready to contribute to the WR corps is fellow rookie Marquise Goodwin. Goodwin is blazing fast and while his contributions will generally be seen in the kickoff game, expect to see him get into the lineup and try and get past the defense for a quick touchdown. Goodwin will no doubt be an exciting player on the Bills’ offense and special teams.
Lastly, there is LB Kiko Alonso. Alonso is taking an important position on the Bills’ defense. He’ll line up as the Mike linebacker in new DC Mike Pettine‘s exotic defense. He’ll be counted on to do a lot of things, including blitz and cover the other team’s primary tight end. He may dodge a bullet in Week 1 by facing Tom Brady for the first time without star TE Rob Gronkowski, but he will surely have his hands full on Sunday.
Alonso has a very aggressive style of play which could help set the pace for the rest of the defense.