Coming off a 6-10 2013 season, the Buffalo Bills look like they are very close to being a playoff contender in the AFC.
Despite starting three different quarterbacks because of E.J. Manuel being unable to stay healthy, the Buffalo Bills still finished 6-10 and having losses come down to the wire against several teams including the New York Jets, the New England Patriots, and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Also, despite mediocre quarterback play from two rookies and one unproven quarterback in Jeff Tuel, E.J. Manuel and Thad Lewis, the Buffalo Bills still competed with tough teams due to a solid running game that didn't even perform to their heights with neither Fred Jackson nor C.J. Spiller being a thousand yard rusher, with Spiller having nagging injuries all year.
On top of that, the Buffalo Bills saw their defense go from bottom five in the NFL to top 15 behind the emergence of Kiko Alonso and one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. While the Bills still have some needs to fill to get them closer to the playoffs, they are a very talented and young team that are close.
1. Offensive Tackle
With Chris Hairston not being able to stay healthy and Eric Pears being inconsistent, the Bills could use an upgrade across from emerging left tackle Cordy Glenn.
The offensive line play for the Buffalo Bills besides center Eric Wood and left tackle Cordy Glenn, was inconsistent at best, watching E.J. Manuel get killed against the New York Jets the first time around and watching Thad Lewis get his ribs broken, literally, against the Saints.
All this happened despite left tackle Cordy Glenn only allowing one sack all year! The Buffalo Bills need an upgrade at right tackle if they want to see E.J. Manuel stay healthy and reach his potential as a quarterback.
This would also help a team that finished fourth in rushing attempts and who may have the best one two punch in the NFL at running back, run block even better leading to potentially two 1000 yard rushers next year with Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller both having above 900 rushing yards this season.
If Jake Matthews, tackle out of Texas A&M is there, look for him to be the pick at nine. However, with many teams in the top eight now having options on whether or not they are going to select a quarterback in the first round with resigning or signing of quarterbacks, Jake Matthews may not be there.
However, if this is the case, I could easily see tackle Taylor Lewan out of Michigan be the pick. Lewan would fit Buffalo very well as he is a solid pass blocker but has an underateed mean side in the run game.
2. Tight End or Wide Receiver
Despite the Buffalo Bills just trading a sixth round pick for wide receiver Mike Williams the other day, wide receiver is still an option for Buffalo. Mike Williams has struggled ever since a good rookie year, Marquise Goodwin couldn't stay healthy in his rookie year and due to his size, who knows if he can this year, and with Stevie Johnson possibly playing his last season in Buffalo, wide receiver could be the pick at nine.
If Mike Evans, wideout out of Texas A&M, is still available, it may be tough for the Buffalo Bills to pass him up due his size, speed, and potential at wide receiver. With a roster filled with receivers, other than Mike Williams, shorter than six foot and possession receivers, Mike Evans could be that big red zone target E.J. Manuel could use if the Bills aren't sold on Mike Williams, possibly trading for him just because of potential.
While offensive tackle seems more likely after the Mike Williams trade, I wouldn't rule out wide receiver just yet.
Also, tight end could be the pick if the Buffalo Bills are sold on tight end Eric Ebron out of North Carolina. Eric Ebron is a freak of an athlete, being the best tight end prospect since Vernon Davis was picked sixth overall by the San Francisco 49ers in 2006.
The Buffalo Bills desperately need an upgrade on tight end Scott Chandler who, besides being tall, doesn't provide much in the passing game. An upgrade at tight end could do wonders for E.J. Manuel.
Note: I believe the Bills are in a position where they can take the best player on their board due to not having many desperate needs. So if this is the case, don't be surprised if linebacker C.J. Mosley or someone like safety Haha Clinton-Dix, both out of Alabama, are the pick to replace free safety Jairus Byrd or an upgrade at linebacker.
What I Would Do
If I were the Buffalo Bills I would try to trade up for Greg Robinson if he gets to four or so overall. Going up to one or two would cost a lot but Greg Robinson would be huge for the Bills on what they want to do offensive wise. If not, try to trade up for wideout Sammy Watkins. The Buffalo Bills are very close and after not being in the playoffs for a NFL long 14 years, they are itching to get there.
If it costs to much to trade up, I'm trading down and trying to stock pile draft picks for one of the deepest draft classes in a while.
However, I believe that offensive tackle Taylor Lewan is going to be the pick if the Bills stay put. Lewan will help protect E.J. Manuel while providing a boost in the run game and make a great pair with left tackle Cordy Glenn.