The Bills have done a great job addressing their depth issues during the offseason. What McDermott has been able to do with such little salary cap to work with has been pretty impressive. That being said, outside of the Micah Hyde signing, they have failed to address the starting positions that need to be filled after losing several players. They still have a lot of work to do before the start of the 2017 season and most of it will need to been done in the draft. However, they still have a enough salary cap remaining to land a starting player or two in free agency before or after the draft. With that in mind, lets take a look at their biggest needs.
#1 Wide Receiver
Depth Chart: Sammy Watkins, Andre Holmes, Corey Brown, Kolby Listenbee, Brandon Tate, Walter Powell, Dezmin Lewis, Jeremy Butler and Corey Washington
McDermott stated that he thinks they already have their #2 wide receiver but I highly doubt he really believes that. It’s certainly possible that Andre Holmes could return to his 2014 form when he put up 693 yards and 4 touchdowns but it’s not likely. With Sammie Watkins constantly injured, the Bills really need to find a sure thing that is capable of being a #1 wide receiver just in case Watkins goes down. I’m guessing that they will find that person in the draft. Most people have the Bills picking Mike Williams in the first round but I think it will be Corey Davis or O.J. Howard (TE) if they choose to go that route. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they went with Zay Jones in the second round and used their first round pick to address a different need.
Depth Chart: Ronald Darby, Kevon Seymour, Leonard Johnson, Charles Gaines, Marcus Cromartie, Marcus Roberson and Bradley Sylve
The Bills are lacking talent at the cornerback position after letting Stephon Gilmore walk in free agency and cutting Nickell Robey-Coleman. Ronald Darby is a solid #1 cornerback but Kevon Seymour is a huge downgrade as the #2 cornerback. He had a solid rookie season last year but he is still no more than a #3 cornerback. There are still several good cornerbacks available in free agency but with so many talented rookie cornerbacks this year, I’m guessing that the Bills will look to the draft to find their #2 cornerback.
Depth Chart: Reggie Ragland, Preston Brown, Lorenzo Alexander, Ramon Humber, Jacob Lindsey, Eddie Yarbrough and Junior Sylvestre
Currently, the Bills don’t have a weak-side linebacker or a strong side linebacker of starting caliber. Preston Brown and Reggie Ragland are both middle linebackers and Brown has been a disappointment over the last two seasons. I have no idea where Lorenzo Alexander will play in McDermott’s 4-3 defense. He is simply too slow to provide good pass coverage as a linebacker. In my opinion, the Bills should use most of their remaining salary cap to get a starting linebacker in free agency and use their first round pick on Reuben Foster. I really want the Bills to pick Corey Davis or O.J. Howard but there’s just not enough starting caliber linebackers in the draft to be able to find one in the third or fifth round. I really like Zay Jones and I think he is good enough to be a #2 wide receiver for the Bills. The Bills could get him in the second round or maybe even the third round if they want to risk waiting. This draft class has so many talented cornerbacks and the Bills will be able to find one in the third round.
Depth Chart: Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Colt Anderson, Joe Powell, Jonathan Dowling and Shamiel Gary
The Bills signed Micah Hyde to be their starting strong safety and Jordan Poyer to be their starting free safety. Hyde is a solid starter but I don’t feel comfortable with Poyer as as a starter. He’s a decent free safety but considering the lack of talent at the cornerback position, the safeties will need to be capable of providing extra support for the cornerbacks this year. I would like to see the Bills use one of their 5th round picks on a safety to compete with Jordan Poyer. I think Rayshawn Jenkins is a potential sleeper in the draft and he will probably still be available in the 5th round.
Other Needs: Right Tackle, Defensive Tackle, Defensive End