It's been three months since the Buffalo Bills were on the field. And in those three months, there have been enough significant additions to the roster to get the attention of national observers.
The Bills beefed up lineup has some experts naming them as one of the most talented teams "on paper." And until teams line up and play in September, that's going to have to suffice when it comes to evaluating the Bills.
In a discussion on "NFL AM" Wednesday morning on the NFL Network, both former NFL CB Eric Davis and RB Terrell Davis agreed the Bills have the most talented roster in the AFC East.
"Every year we see a team that seems like they're the best on paper," Terrell Davis said on the show, "and this year it seems to be the Buffalo Bills. You look at some of the names on that list, and you say this team is clearly the best team maybe in all of football."
His NFL Network counterpart, former Pro Bowl DB Eric Davis, agrees.
"It is the most talented roster," Eric Davis said. "It doesn't necessarily make it the best team. Talented roster."
Former NFL QB Chris Simms, now a color commentator on the NFL on CBS and an NFL analyst for Bleacher Report, thinks the Bills have one of the most talented rosters in the league. And he says some of the free agent and trade additions the Bills have made are outstanding.
"First of all, the one I love the most, and this was one of my man-crushes throughout the year--Charles Clay," Simms said Tuesday night, in an appearance on The John Murphy Show. "I thought that was a phenomenal sign. He is a jack of all trades at the tight end position. A Delanie Walker type, down there at Tennessee tearing it up at tight end. Just guys who can play the traditional tight end, they can line up at slot receiver and be effective there. You can put him at fullback. I think versatility is key right now in the NFL and Charles Clay can do it all. "
Simms, who played eight seasons in the league at QB, says the Buffalo defense takes a back seat to no one in the league.
"You go through the positions, we know about the defensive line. It's not even argued by most people-- I think it's the best defensive line in football," Simms said on the radio show. "You've got some young, talented linebackers. I'd like to see them re-sign Brandon Spikes. And then the secondary. I know the Bills lost Da'Norris Searcy but they've got Duke Williams in the background and Leodis McKelvin coming off injury. Just a lot of talented players on both sides of the football. "
Of course, every analysis of the Bills roster eventually winds up with a long look at the quarterback spot, with untested players like EJ Manuel, Matt Cassel, Tyrod Taylor, and Jeff Tuel on the depth chart.
Terrell Davis on the NFL Network says the uncertainty at quarterback is a glaring problem.
"It's that position of quarterback they have to address," he said. "Because I don't care what you put around on that roster, if you don't solve the quarterback position it means nothing in the National Football League. And we've seen that in this decade with teams throughout this decade. They'll build an All-Star roster but they cannot solve the quarterback positon. Address the quarterback position and maybe that talent will translate into wins."
Chris Simms says the short term solution at quarterback is already on the Bills roster.
"I like the signing of Matt Cassel," Simms told host John Murphy. "Matt Cassel is a lot more talented that Kyle Orton. I don't think people realize how talented he is because he's been on some bad teams. Let's not forget, he went 11-5 with the New England Patriots, he brought Kansas City team to the playoffs one year. Now, he is the face of your franchise for the future? No, probably not. But he's big, he has a very strong arm. He's a lot more athletic than people realize. And he's been in some very pro-style, big time offenses. I think he knows how to take care of the ball. If they're not comfortable with EJ Manuel's development, you got a guy like Cassel who's played a lot of big football games and certainly he'll be able to run that offense. "
According to Simms, the talent on the roster equates to a likely playoff spot for the 2015 Bills.
"There's no doubt in my mind they can contend," Simms says. "I think the team will be better than last year when you guys were flirting with the playoffs. If you put a gun to my head, I actually might say the Buffalo Bills are going to the playoffs in 2015."