What’s the national opinion on the Bills this offseason

Posted Mar 9, 2018

Buffalo's playoff berth in 2017, coupled with the Beane-McDermott team at the top of the Bills hierarchy and plenty of draft options have put the club in a favorable light.

The Buffalo Bills hired Sean McDermott to be the 20th head coach in franchise history in January of 2017. Following McDermott’s first offseason, he went on to lead Buffalo to the playoffs, ending a 17-year absence.

It may’ve been a storied first season for McDermott and the Bills, but he’s focused on the future and finding a way to sustain success.

“Well, you know, we made a lot of progress in a short amount of time [and] made some big-time gains in that first year. It was a team effort, really,” said McDermott. “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. We’ve got a lot of work to do and at the same time, remain true to who we are as an organization and our core values.”

McDermott acknowledges that the Bills 9-7 mark in 2017 was a good stepping-stone. However, at 13-3 the New England Patriots claimed the AFC East title for the ninth-straight season. That’s where McDermott’s sights are set.

“Yeah, we’ve got a lot of work to do. You mentioned the Patriots, with the season they just had, congrats to them and their organization,” said McDermott. “I think we all work to get to where they are. That said, we had a good season, yet we have a lot of work to do. So hungry is a great word. We’ve got to stay humble and hungry and embrace that mindset.”

There’s little debate that McDermott’s first season in Buffalo left most outside observers impressed. Now paired with GM Brandon Beane, who is going through his first full offseason with the Bills and in position to dynamically change their roster, the national perception of the Bills is changing.

1. Gettleman high on Beane-McDermott tandem
New York Giants general manager, Dave Gettleman, is more than familiar with Beane and McDermott. The trio of Beane, Gettleman, and McDermott were together from 2013 to 2016 with the Carolina Panthers.

“I think it’s a great group,” Gettleman said. “Brandon really grew up and he’s ready. I think the fact that they have a personal relationship is helpful.”

Gettleman, the Panthers GM for four seasons (2013-2016), worked alongside Beane during those years. Beane served as the assistant GM in his final two seasons (2015-2016) in Carolina.

“Brandon is bright, tough, and thoughtful,” Gettleman said. “He went through the process with us of talking and collaborating and communication and he’s got that piece down well and I think they’re going to be a great team.”

2. Rapoport: Bills in good spot after strong 2017 draft and lots of assets in 2018
At this point, the Bills can head in a bunch of different directions in the 2018 NFL Draft. With the team possessing back-to-back picks in the first-round, NFL Network National Insider Ian Rapoport sees the Bills armed with plenty of options.

“They have a lot of different places they can go, but I think it’s obvious the quarterback position is a place of need,” said Rapoport. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take the two picks, package them together, and move up. It would be a time to do it. Certainly, it would be something where, this is why you acquire these assets.”

In 2017, the Bills traded back in the first-round and took Tre’Davious White. This year, they could utilize that draft capital and do the exact opposite.

“You look at the Bills draft last year, it’s kind of funny, they trade back, and ended up getting a Rookie of the Year candidate anyway,” said Rapoport. “And, you get a first-rounder this year to possibly move up again. They’re in a really, really good spot draft wise. The reason you get draft capital is to be able to move around and have that maneuverability.”

3. Jeremiah: Now is a good time for Bills to be aggressive
Like Rapoport, NFL Network Analyst Daniel Jeremiah thinks Buffalo can use their appealing early-round picks to make a move. However, he feels the team should firmly believe in a prospect to do so.

“Well, I think you get in your meetings and find out if you have conviction,” said Jeremiah. “If you’ve got a conviction on however many quarterbacks that is and one of them gets within striking distance, with all the draft capital you have, you have a chance to go get them.”

Jeremiah brought up a scenario from the 2016 NFL Draft when discussing the Bills favorable position. That year, the Los Angeles Rams traded for the number one overall pick and took QB Jared Goff. Also, the Philadelphia Eagles moved up and selected QB Carson Wentz with the second selection.

“Be aggressive, make that happen. We’ve seen the Rams obviously have some success with that. The Philadelphia Eagles coming off a Super Bowl,” he said. “If you have conviction on a guy don’t sit there and wait for him.”

4. Davis: Improve the front seven and Bills are playoff contenders
Last season, the Bills ranked 29th in the league with 27 sacks. NFL Network Analyst, Charles Davis, has a variety of prospects who could propel the team’s front seven.

“Well if you’re talking about front seven, Vita Vea from Washington. I have scouts tell me they think he might be the best player overall in the draft,” said Davis. “Bradley Chubb coming from North Carolina State, coming off the edge. He can flat out go out and get it done. A guy I think is a terrific player is Tremaine Edmunds from Virginia Tech. A linebacker that you can play outside, inside.”

Davis thinks Buffalo is currently in a position to continue contending for the playoffs. Nonetheless, he wouldn’t be opposed to the Bills going after one of the previously listed prospects.

“I think the Bills are right there on the edge of really contending to be on those playoff teams in the AFC East,” he said. “If there’s someone that they really like, you use that draft capital and go get them.”

5. Fred Taylor: Shady is still elite
Considering his 1,138 rushing yards from a season ago ranked fourth in the league, it’s no surprise LeSean McCoy will be a major part of Buffalo’s offense in 2018.

Former running back Fred Taylor, a fellow member of the 10,000-yard club, has nothing but respect for the soon-to-be 30-year-old RB.

“I absolutely love his game. I forgot to mention that he’s a guy that still demands respect as an older guy now, but he’s still dynamic,” said Taylor. “He does everything. He catches the ball well, has great vision, makes you miss, the jump cut, and still has good speed. A guy who just joined the 10,000-yard club. Definitely a special player, still one of the elite.”