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Bills Today: McDermott sees a good deal of roster building ahead

Posted Mar 2, 2018

Here’s the Bills news of note for Mar. 2nd.

1 - McDermott sees a good deal of roster building ahead
The first year as the Buffalo Bills head coach was a success for Sean McDermott, as he propelled the team to their first playoff berth in 17 seasons. Now, a lot of Buffalo’s fan base believes the Bills will be in the playoffs on an annual basis.

“We made a lot of progress in a short amount of time, made some big-time gains in that first year,” said McDermott. “It was a team effort, really.”

Despite ending the postseason drought, McDermott understands the team has holes to fill and progress to make. Finishing the season 9-7 and squeaking their way into the playoffs was a little too close for comfort.

“The biggest thing for us is making sure we hit the reset button. We’re not maybe as far along as some people think we are,” said McDermott. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. At the same time we must remain true to who we are as an organization and our core values.”

A lot of the work this offseason will be tending to the team’s free agents. The Bills are slated to have 18 unrestricted free agents in 2018. Linebacker Preston Brown, the NFL’s leading tackler a season ago, is among the names on that list. Cornerback E.J. Gaines, who aided the Bills to an 8-3 record when healthy, is also set to become a UFA.

Even though the free agency period doesn’t begin until Mar. 14, the Bills have been proactive in addressing positions of need. On Monday, the team signed cornerback Vontae Davis to a one-year contract. Once free agency officially arrives in a little over a week, look for Buffalo to continue bolstering their roster.

2 - Tre’ thinks former LSU teammate can break 40-yard dash record
A year ago, Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White took part in the NFL Scouting Combine after a successful four-year career at Louisiana State University. A year later, White’s watching as one of his former LSU teammates is trying to make some noise at this year’s event.

That teammate is Donte Jackson, who just wrapped up his third season (2015-2017) with the Tigers. The 5-11, 175-pound defensive back tallied 110 tackles, 19 passed defended, four interceptions, four tackles for a loss, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery in his college career.

The stats show he’s a disruptive defensive back, but he’s trying to awe the scouts with his wheels. Jackson has his sights set on shattering the 40-yard dash record, which was broken at the 2017 Combine by John Ross with a time of 4.22.

On the NFL Network’s ‘Up to the Minute’ program, White was asked if Jackson has what it takes to top Ross’ record.

“I know he’s been training hard. I pretty much think he has a legitimate shot at it. If he’s training like the Donte Jackson that I know,” said White. “I’m all for it. I talk to him maybe three or four times a week, because that’s my guy. I groomed him coming in as a freshman. He sort of looked at me like that big brother type of guy. That’s a guy I talk to a lot. I’m rooting for him and I’m just hoping he goes in the first round like he deserves.”

For the record, White ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds at the 2017 Combine. He knows Jackson can best that by a few tenths-of-a-second, because he’s witnessed it firsthand.

“They call him flash back at school. He can run a 4.2,” said White. “When he first got to LSU he didn’t even have to warm up. He ran a 4.32, as an incoming freshman. He had a 4.24 hand time, so that guy’s legit. He has a legitimate shot at breaking that record.”

3 - Bills in no rush to fill VP of Player Personnel position
The Bills currently have a vacancy at the VP of Player Personnel position, but they’ll wait at least a couple months before they fill it. Former VP of Player Personnel Brian Gaine left to take the Houston general manager position.

For now the team is focused on the Combine, free agency and the draft to improve their roster for 2018.

“We’re just going to wait until after the draft and then look,” said General Manager Brandon Beane on the John Murphy Show. “Sometimes there’s movement after the draft. A lot of the coaching movement happens after the season. A lot of the personnel movement happens after draft.”

The dates to pay attention to are Apr. 26-28. That’s when the 2018 NFL Draft takes place. Once that concludes, a potential personnel move could be on the horizon.

“We’ll evaluate our whole personnel staff after the draft. Free agency will have ended obviously before the draft. We won’t do anything there until the draft’s over,” said Beane. “May is kind of a reflection month in personnel. Let’s look at what went well, what went wrong, what can we tweak, and sometimes guys get an opportunity. There might be another guy on our staff who gets an opportunity to go somewhere. We’ll evaluate where we are at that point and decide if we’re going to fill that.”