The Buffalo Bills are one of the NFL’s more complete teams. With that said, they still have needs heading into this off-season. The Bills need to replace and upgrade certain areas to polish off this team to make a Superbowl run next season. In terms of the Buffalo Bills offseason needs, the areas that stand out are cornerback, defensive line, and offensive line.
Appearing on the podcast “What’s Next with Eric Wood?”, Bills general manager Brandon Beane said he is not afraid to pull the trigger on a big trade or big free agent signing like the Rams did. Obviously cap space needs to be cleared for the Bills to make moves, but thanks to Joe Schoen tipping us off last week, we can assume the Bills have a plan to clear some cap. Fortunately for the Bills, their three biggest needs are also some of the positions with the deepest amounts of talent in this year’s draft.
The Bills have one of the best cornerbacks in the league in Tre’Davious White. White unfortunately tore his ACL mid-season and the Bills were left without their arguably best player on defense. Looking ahead to next season, White might not be ready to go at the beginning of the season. The cold hard truth is that he may never get back to the level of play he was at either. That, combined with the fact that Levi Wallace is set to hit free agency, has pushed cornerback to the Bills’ biggest need as of right now. If White is not ready week one, and Wallace departs, the starting two cornerbacks are Dane Jackson and Cam Lewis.
Luckily, there is some solid talent at cornerback in both free agency and the draft. Double dipping and adding a good veteran in free agency and drafting a young guy early (rounds 1-3) could be ideal in fixing this problem. Another attribute they should highly consider in a new corner is speed and physicality. The Bills need someone who can get physical with receivers at the line of scrimmage and has the speed to keep up across the field. In his end of the season press conference, general manager Brandon Beane said, “Cornerback is absolutely a need.”
The Bills have heavily invested in their defensive line with draft picks, and even some solid sized free agent signings. Besides a somewhat breakout season from Ed Oliver (9th overall pick in the 2019 draft), it hasn’t panned out. Rookie D-end Greg Rousseau (30th overall pick in the 2021 draft), had a solid first year but is a developmental player. The free agent signings of Mario Addison and Star Lotulelei have been somewhat disappointing. Jerry Hughes, Addison, Vernon Butler, Efe Obada, Justin Zimmer, and Harrison Phillips are all set to hit free agency. While Phillips is likely to be retained, the same cannot be said for the rest of the crew who haven’t been overly productive and are getting up there in age. The Bills still need help both in run defense and pass rush, and now they will need depth too.
The Bills could badly use some star power along the defensive line. There are some stars in free agency, headlined by Chandler Jones and Von Miller. There are also some very talented D-lineman in this upcoming draft that could fall right into the lap of the Bills’ who have the 25th overall pick. This is another situation in which the Bills could benefit from a double dip. Brandon Beane likes the best player available approach.
If a player like Jordan Davis (D-tackle from Georgia) falls to them, there’s no way you can pass up on him. Whether it’s in free agency, the draft, or both. The Bills will have the opportunity to beef up their d-line and they have to. Adding a monster 1-tech would allow Ed Oliver to breakout even more. It could even have a trickle down effect on the rest of the defense as a whole as well.
The Bills seem to be set at offensive tackle between Pro Bowl tackle Dion Dawkins and promising rookie Spencer Brown. They also have good depth if they decide to keep Daryl Williams and their other rookie in Tommy Doyle. Mitch Morse is still one of the best pass blocking centers in the league and should remain as the anchor. They badly need to upgrade at both guard spots.
Although Ryan Bates stepped in and played great late in the season, he is a restricted free agent. While he will likely be retained, the Bills still should not look the other way at guard. Josh Allen was the most pressured quarterback in the league last season, per fantasypros.com. Brandon Beane knows this and according to Bleacher Report, he said that his first priority this off-season is protecting Josh Allen. Upgraded guard play will also help the Bills run game, which hasn’t been too top notch the past few seasons.
Assuming they clear some cap space, the Bills will have options in free agency. There’s two links to free agents that standout right away that could help the team. The first being Austin Corbett who has links to new Bills’ O-line coach Aaron Kromer. The second being Andrew Norwell. Norwell was on the Panthers when McDermott and Beane were around and they love their former Panthers. There is some really good guard prospects in the draft. Unfortunately with a big need for quality offensive lineman around the league, there could be a run on o-lineman before the Bills make their first selection of the 2021 NFL Draft. Ideally, adding a good veteran guard will likely be the best option. They will have experience playing against NFL defensive lineman and you can feel better knowing a more experienced guy is protecting your superstar quarterback.