With the rush of free agency in the rearview mirror it is time to focus in on the NFL Draft, specifically on team draft needs. In this article we look at the Buffalo Bills draft needs for 2016 as we approach the April 28th 1st round from Chicago. 2015 didn’t quite go to plan for the Bills. While they seemingly found a quarterback in Tyrod Taylor, the defense regressed in its first season under Rex Ryan, falling from 2nd overall in DVOA in 2014 down to 24th. It was a quiet free agency for Buffalo. Cap concerns meant they had to cut Mario Williams in order to keep Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito on the offensive line. So with the roster largely unchanged what do the Bills need as we head towards the draft?
The Bills have Sammy Watkins, and Sammy Watkins is very good, but he can’t do it all by himself. Charles Clay and Robert Woods are fine depth players but they shouldn’t be seeing 70+ targets, which is what they got last year. With Chris Hogan departed that number is set to go up, not down. Finding a tight end or a slot receiver who can give them a different kind of threat will be key to ensuring Tyrod Taylor doesn’t regress in 2016.
After trading Kiko Alonso before the 2015 season the Bills were left with a bit of a void in the middle of their defense. The thought, I imagine, was that the defensive line was so good it would help to mask lesser play at the second level. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case for Buffalo’s defense as their performance fell apart. There is a bevy of linebacking talent in this year’s draft and Buffalo should be sat in prime position for a Darron Lee or Reggie Ragland on day one.
While they were able to bring back Richie Incognito on a long term deal and tag Cordy Glenn, the Bills O-Line is far from perfect. Cyrus Kouandjio is yet to convert his draft day potential into on-field production and it is increasingly clear that NFL teams need 2 left tackle quality players to defend against modern pass rushers. With Glenn not locked down long term it might be wise for Buffalo to give themselves some options going forward.