Written by: Barry Lewis on April 23, 2011
The Bills, like the Cincinnati Bengals, face the dillema of having to play in a division where the top team’s, New England Patriots, New York Jets, and Miami Dolphins, have better talent, better front offices and better markets.
The Bills have been consistently on the outside looking in when it comes to competing for a playoff spot and it doesn’t help when the team consistently makes bad draft decisions (i.e Aaron Maybin and JP Losman) with high draft choices.
The Bills have issues on both sides of the ball. They need a franchise quarterback to go along with a potential franchise running back (CJ Spiller). They need help on the offensive line. They may lose Lee Evans because of his salary ($8.4 million). They need better personnel on the defensive line after losing Aaron Schobel to retirement. They need a rush linebacker/defensive end considering the flop that Maybin has been since being drafted in 2009.
In order to build around Pro Bowler Kyle Williams, the Bills selected Marcel Dareus who can play end or tackle and would be a nice fit in either a 3-4 or 4-3 package. In addition, they drafted CB Shareece Wright who will compete for a nickleback job in year 1 and undersized OLB who may have to convert to safety in Brian Rolle from Ohio State.
If there was a year where the front office has given Ryan Fitzpatrick all of the tools to be successful through the draft then this was as close as good as it could get – outside of not addressing the potential departure of Lee Evans.
They drafted two potential starters in year one in G/C Stefan Wisniewski, Penn State, and OT Jah Reid from Central Florida. Each are considered value picks where Wisniewski has been valued as high as the top pick of the 2nd round and Reid has been grading out 4th round and continues to climb draft boards. Additionally, the Bills addressed a area of need by getting a very good tight end in Kyle Rudolph from Notre Dame. If he stays healthy, Rudolph is a top 12 capable tight end in the NFL. Finally, the Bills drafted Owen Marecic, FB, from Stanford and Greg McElroy, from Alabama.
Marecic should give the Bills a solid option in their running schemes for Spiller and Fred Jackson as well as an insight into Andrew Luck if the Bills end up with the first pick in the 2012 draft.
Overall, the Bills had a solid draft. They did not draft any solid options at wideout and they lacked drafting a rush linebacker as well which is definitely needed unless Maybin turns it around.
With that in mind, they got a fine piece to the defensive line in Dareus and got very nice value in Wisniewski and Reid. Their draft grades out as a B-.