Thursday, January 17, 2013
Buffalo's non-QB needs
By Tim Kavanagh
The Buffalo Bills decided that no matter what they do with their player personnel this offseason, they needed to alter their coaching staff to get the most out of whoever was on the field this upcoming season. We know that the QB position is one that will be addressed to some degree -- whether or not Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starter in 2013, he's the only one currently under contract, so they'll need to find some help -- but what are some other needs?
ESPN AFC East blogger James Walker is going through the teams in that division and assessing their offseason needs, with a post on the Bills on Thursday. Aside from QB, Walker believes that the Bills would do well by addressing their LBs and WRs. On the LBs, Walker writes, "You can't run a 3-4 defense without linebackers. New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will bring a hybrid 3-4 and 4-3 scheme to Buffalo. The Bills were 31st against the run and need an enforcer (or two) in the linebacking corps. The good news is the draft is filled with good linebackers. Buffalo has the No. 8 overall pick and could have access to draft top linebackers such as Alec Ogletree, Jarvis Jones and Manti Te'o. Free agency also is an option. Buffalo was pushed around way too often last year and changes need to be made. "
Te'o has been in the news a lot over the past couple days, but his play on the field could be a boost to Buffalo nevertheless. In fact, he was Mel Kiper Jr.'s pick for the Bills at No. 8 overall in his initial mock of this draft season:
Mel Kiper, Jr.Mock Draft 1.0
"The Bills really need help at interior linebacker, where Kelvin Sheppard is a good player, but won't become a great one. Te'o doesn't have elite athleticism, but he has elite instincts, elite intangibles and will become the leader of a defense by the end of training camp. He makes the Buffalo run defense better immediately, and very quietly was second in the nation in INTs, showing great awareness in his drops (and good hands) against the pass. He may not end up this high, but I'm sold on him as a high-level NFL middle linebacker."