At Building the Herd, we want our readers to have a chance to voice their opinions on the topics we cover regarding the Buffalo Bills. So, Connor Manley and Rob Quinn decided to begin a weekly “mailbag” in which we’d answer whatever questions you have about the team– from offseason moves, to predictions in the draft, etc.
Each week we’ll select five tweets to answer, but be sure to share your thoughts on each question in the comments section!
@Jason_walker24: What round do you think Doug addresses QB?
That’s a tough question, considering the public comments Doug Whaley has made about Tyrod Taylor’s need to improve and take the next step in his development to be trusted as a franchise quarterback. Both Taylor and EJ Manuel are unrestricted free agents following the 2016 season, so the Bills will certainly take a quarterback in the draft.
However, they also need to make sure that it’s a player that could potentially start on the opening day of the 2017 season, in case Taylor isn’t retained. With the multiple needs on defense as well as the offensive side of the ball, I can see them taking a quarterback in the 3rd or 4th round. Some names to consider are Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott, Ohio State’s Cardale Jones, Stanford’s Kevin Hogan and N.C. State’s Jacoby Brissett.
Doug Whaley has said multiple time the Bills are adding a QB throughly the draft or FA. The draft makes much more sense unless they want Fitzpatrick back in town. Considering the talent in this year’s class, which there isn’t a lot of, the Bills would be smart to draft a guy in the 4th or 5th round. Like a Dak Prescott or Kevin Hogan to develop as a backup/potential starter in case Tyrod bolts after the season.
@RDQ_geography: Who’s the best 1/0 technique DT in the draft?
This year’s crop of interior defensive linemen is an interesting one, as there’s several players that can flourish at the nose tackle position. If you’re looking for the old-school, traditional two-gapping zero technique, Clemson’s D.J. Reader comes to mind first. Then you have guys like Louisiana Tech’s Vernon Butler, Alabama’s Jarran Reed, Baylor’s Andrew Billings and UCLA’s Kenny Clark that can play as a shaded nose or the one-technique (between the center and guard) as one-gap players that can not only take on double teams in the run game, but generate some pressure in passing situations.
That has to be Vernon Butler from Louisiana Tech. In 2015, Butler totaled 50 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss and three sacks. As a junior, he totaled 55 tackles with 13 for a loss and one sack. Butler has versatile size for 4-3 scheme and could fit as a zero or one-technique nose tackle.
@RobynMundyWYO: What are your thoughts about the way the Tyrod Taylor negotiations are playing out in the media?
In today’s information age, we see front office executives and agents use the media to their advantage in order to leverage themselves in negotiations. Tyrod Taylor had a very good season and showed that he could take care of the football, make the smart throws and extend plays with his legs.
However, Doug Whaley’s comments regarding the need for him to improve his passing over the middle of the field in addition to his need to show that he can step up in those crunch-time situations hold merit as well. We just saw passers like Brock Osweiler, Sam Bradford and Kirk Cousins get huge paydays during the free agency period, so it’s logical for the Bills’ brass to make sure they know what they have before handing out a huge contract extension (*cough* I’m looking at you, Ryan Fitzpatrick! *cough*).
The Buffalo Bills see Tyrod Taylor as a good QB, not great. They do not want to fall into another Fitzpatrick trap and sign him prematurely. Development in year two is critical to Buffalo. All the reports that have come out have probably been leaked by both sides to gain some sort of leverage. The Bills will pay Tyrod Taylor franchise money, but only if he improves next year.
@PresentedByNick: Where do you want the Bills to go with their first pick in the draft, No. 19 overall?
There’s a lot of directions the Bills could go with their first round pick, seeing as they’re in desperate need of help throughout the defensive front seven. However, I wouldn’t rule out a wide receiver that brings either lethal downfield speed (think Baylor’s Corey Coleman) or one with the size to consistently win in contested situations, something the team’s lacked for years (think Ohio State’s Michael Thomas).
A wildcard would be a defensive back, whether that’s a safety or a cornerback. Stephon Gilmore is an unrestricted free agent following the season, and while Ronald Darby was fantastic as a rookie, the team is left with Nickell Robey, Javier Arenas, Mario Butler and Sammy Seamster as the reserves. If either were to get injured, the Bills would be in trouble. As for safety, Corey Graham is getting up there in age and doesn’t have the range he used to, while Aaron Williams is returning from a serious injury. Robert Blanton was brought in to compete for the starting job, which isn’t very encouraging. A player like West Virginia’s Karl Joseph, Florida’s Keanu Neal or Boise State’s Darian Thompson could be surprise selections.
Personally, I think you need to look at the depth and tiers of talent at each position, and select the best player available at a position of need. Too often we as fans look for the biggest hole on the roster and want to fill that with the first-round pick, even if that player isn’t as talented as one that’s available at say, the second-most pressing need.
With that said, I think Mississippi State defensive lineman Chris Jones, Georgia’s strong-side linebacker/edge rusher Leonard Floyd, or Ohio State’s inside linebacker Darron Lee would be my three choices at pick No. 19.
They are going to select a defensive player, but the question is who? The obvious players connected throughout the off season have been Reggie Ragland, Noah Spence, Kevin Dodd, Sheldon Rankins, Vernon Butler etc. However, with Nigel Bradham leaving it opens the door for them selecting Ohio State’s Darron Lee.
Hopefully Rex Ryan finally adapts and gets a smaller linebacker who is good in coverage which is very much needed in today’s passing league. Now this could all change one of the top wideouts like LaQuon Treadwell or Corey Coleman fall to 19, but I personally don’t see the Bills going anywhere other than defense in the first round.
@JakeElman: Does LeSean McCoy have something to prove next year?
Absolutely not. Obviously there will be the media questions surrounding his bar fight with off-duty police officers in Philadelphia when he gets to training camp, but on the field there’s nothing to prove. Dealing with nagging injuries throughout the year, McCoy gained 895 yards and three scores on 203 carries, forcing 34 missed tackles—the seventh most among all running backs—while adding another 292 yards and two scores in the passing game and had 14 carries go for 15 or more yards.
With the success that rookie fifth-round pick Karlos Williams and the late season street free agent signing of Mike Gillislee, McCoy won’t have to touch the ball 300+ times a year, meaning that he’ll be fresh in a rotation of talented running backs.
Yes. Shady needs to prove he’s still the running back he was in 2013. LeSean McCoy needs to prove that the money the Bills invested into him was worth it and he also needs to show that he can stay healthy and out of trouble for the remainder of the off season.