Top offseason needs: AFC East
The most pressing holes for the Bills, Dolphins, Patriots and Jets
Welcome to the 2013 version of Insider's offseason staple series: Plugging the Holes. This marks the third of an eight-part examination in which Football Outsiders identifies the biggest needs for every NFL team, division by division, going into the 2013 offseason.
The series continues Wednesday with Outsiders' look at the AFC East.
Buffalo Bills: Linebacker
The Bills had a lot of hope invested in their defense going into the 2012 season, and to say it didn't work out is a bit of an understatement. Buffalo ranked 22nd in yards allowed, 26th in points allowed and 27th in defensive efficiency according to the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings (explained here).
Surely the Bills would like to throw some money at the problem, except that they threw lots of money at the problem last year by signing Mario Williams to the biggest defensive free-agent contract ever, then signing Mark Anderson with whatever money was left. It's hard to see big changes in the secondary either, since that's where the Bills have used a lot of recent draft value. Their starting cornerbacks are a 2012 first-rounder (Stephon Gilmore) and a 2011 second-rounder (Aaron Williams), and 2012 fourth-rounder Da'Norris Searcy probably moves into the strong safety spot. The free safety spot is only a hole if they let Pro Bowler Jairus Byrd leave in free agency, which they probably won't.
To read the rest of Football Outsiders' analysis of the biggest offseason needs for AFC East teams, you must be an ESPN Insider.