Commentary

Horton: AFC East offseason needs

Breaking down the top six areas to address for every squad

Originally Published: April 19, 2011
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
Braylon Edwards and Santonio HolmesAristide Economopoulos/US PresswireThe New York Jets are going to have some depth issues next year at WR.

Amid the NFL labor situation, with no free agency yet, one thing is certain: There will be an NFL draft starting Thursday. With that come mock drafts (from Mel Kiper and Todd McShay) and team needs that must be met. Gary Horton examines the top six needs for every team in the NFL. Here is the file for the AFC East.

Buffalo Bills

Top needs:
1. Defensive line: This was the worst run defense in the league in 2010, and help is needed all along this line. Nose tackle Kyle Williams is the only really productive player, and Bills' other guys are aging. They also really need to develop a young defensive end.

2. Outside linebacker: Aaron Maybin looks like a possible bust as a 3-4 edge rusher. Young Arthur Moats and veteran Shawne Merriman can't be counted on, and it is hard to imagine where the pass rush is coming from with the exception of the motor of Chris Kelsay.

3. Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick shows flashes of excellent play, but on a good team, he probably should be a quality backup. With so many other holes to fill on this roster, the coaches might live with Fitzpatrick another year. He isn't a franchise QB, but he's good enough to win games if other players are doing their own jobs effectively.

4. Left offensive tackle: Demetrius Bell was adequate in 2010, but the Bills have passed on a lot of premier offensive tackles in recent years and it has hurt them in pass protection and run blocking. Could he move to right tackle if Buffalo finds a player for the left side? The Bills must do a better job of protecting the edges.

5. Tight end: In an era of tight ends who are productive in the passing game, the Bills have virtually no production in this area. They do not have a TE who can stretch the defense and move the chains on third down. They can't continue to ignore this position.

6. Strong safety: Donte Whitner is a terrific player, and he is coming off a 140-tackle year in 2010. However, he wants big money and could easily leave in free agency. They might need to find a solid player in the deep middle of the field with good cover skills.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.