Buffalo Bills Draft
By The Associated Press
BUFFALO BILLS (9-8)
LAST SEASON: Front-office and major roster overhauls didn’t deter Bills from exceeding extremely low expectations in making playoffs and ending 17-year postseason drought, longest in North America’s four major professional sports. First-year coach Sean McDermott successfully cultivated winning culture by leaning on veteran leaders to establish close-knit bond among players. First-year GM Brandon Beane made deft trades in adding draft picks and beginning to clear team’s books of high-priced salaries, including DT Marcell Dareus. RB LeSean McCoy was workhorse on offense that lacked consistency at QB (Tyrod Taylor) and established depth at WR. Revamped group of DBs, led by free-agent-additions safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, jelled immediately in helping patch defensive deficiencies.
THEY NEED: QB, LB, WR, C, LG.
THEY DON’T NEED: CB, S.
POSSIBLE 12TH PICK: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA; QB Josh Allen, Wyoming; QB Sam Darnold, USC; QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma; WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama; LB Roquan Smith, Georgia; LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech.
POSSIBLE 22ND PICK: QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville; OL Will Hernandez, UTEP; WR D.J. Moore, Maryland; DT Maurice Hurst, Michigan; C Billy Price, Ohio State.
OUTLOOK: Bills might take step back before begin advancing after yet another offseason overhaul in bid to build through youth and shed high-priced contracts. Difficult to see how playoff stars will align perfectly for second consecutive year with questions at quarterback, offensive line and with McCoy set to turn 30 in July. With 12 career appearances, including one playoff start, free-agent addition A.J. McCarron most experienced QB on roster after Taylor traded to Cleveland. Offensive line and leadership roles took hits with C Eric Wood diagnosed with career-ending neck injury and LG Richie Incognito’s abrupt retirement. Receiver group lacks established threat beyond Kelvin Benjamin, who’s coming off knee surgery. Bills plugged holes on defense by adding DT Star Lotulelei and LB Trent Murphy, but have yet to address free-agent loss of starting MLB Preston Brown.
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