by Mario Granata
There has been a lot of speculation circling around the 716 as to the 50th selection for the Buffalo Bills. Now, there have been many dealings during free agency for the Bills, which was essentially their “Draft” but what will they do to continue the momentum? Will they address some needs on the offensive line? Will they add some athletes to the secondary? Check out what the pick at #50 means to the Bills, both long and short term.
If the Bills take an offensive lineman with the 50th selection on Friday, there might be a sigh of relief for the Bills faithful. The line was sub-par last season and although the Bills picked up Richie Incognito to essentially fill the right guard spot, what will they do with the left guard? There have been talks that perhaps Cyrus Kouandjio has been improving and question marks as to Chris Williams’ health, but if the Bills take an offensive lineman with #50, fans could have their answer.
Tackle Selected: Cordy Glenn slides down to left guard and Seantrel Henderson moves to left tackle.
Projected Line: LT Henderson, LG Glenn, C Wood, RG Incognito, RT Kouandjio/Draft Pick
Guard Selected: Glenn and Henderson will remain the tackles, and Wood will be the center with Incognito at guard. This will inevitably spell the end of Chris Williams, as the Bills could free up some cap room by releasing him post-June 1st, and have Kraig Urbik as a “6th man” off the bench to fill in when needed.
Center Selected: If the Bills select a center with the 50th pick, this will probably indicate the move of Eric Wood back to guard (which he played his rookie season) and prove that the Bills have more problems with their line than fans originally thought.
*As a special move, the Bills could swap the 50th pick to the Eagles for the services of Evan Mathis and give Philadelphia a “Chip” to use in negotiating moving up to select Mariota. While Mathis isn’t a long-term solution, he would bolster that line pretty quick.
Much like the offensive line, the secondary for the Buffalo Bills can be a topic of debate with the 50th selection. Will Corey Graham slide back to Safety? What is the health of Leodis McKelvin? Can Nickell Robey play the nickel package in a Thurman/Ryan scheme? Is Bacarri Rambo or Duke Williams be that solid back end player a Ryan system leans on? With the history of what Ryan wants to do in his secondary, it isn’t a mystery other than that he wants that group to be solid, as they would have to be with the complex blitz packages that he implores. If the Bills go either safety or cornerback with #50, look for moves to be made that weren’t expected.
With the moves that the Bills have made in free agency, it seems hard to surmise that they would pick a quarterback with their first pick in the 2015 draft, UNLESS there was a player that they didn’t expect to fall to them at 50. Dinner dates with Bryce Petty aside, the Bills could select a project, have Cassel as a Plan B emergency option, while they make their way with Taylor. If a quarterback is selected at 50, you can pretty much bank on the fact that EJ Manuel’s 5th year option will not be picked up.
This is a position that Rex Ryan covets in his defense, and a position that “The Architect” Doug Whaley has hit on in recent drafts. Kiko Alonso, Nigel Bradham and Preston Brown were all taken in the 2nd round or later, and proved to be players for the Bills. If the Bills take a linebacker with the 50th pick, it would be an inside player to join Brown in patrolling the middle, and to keep Bradham outside because they aren’t completely sold on the 30-year old Manny Lawson.
With the moves that the Bills made in the free agency period, they were able to have some freedom to take a player that isn’t an immediate need for them in the 2015 Draft. They could just “throw in the towel” so to speak and filter some of their draft picks this year for some in 2016, as they will have some big name players to sign next season, and acquiring picks is the cheapest option for them. Whatever they to in 3 days, it will be fun to watch.