Here's the Bills news of note for June 7th.
**1 - Buffalo gets positive offseason grade
**The Bills completely revamped their coaching staff, front office and now are working on the roster. It's been a bounty of change at One Bills Drive, but the national perspective on most of the steps the club has taken has been favorable.
ESPN.com recently graded every NFL club's offseason and Buffalo received the second-highest grade of B-plus. Here was their assessment of the Bills offseason.
*Grade: B *
The Bills finally have a head coach (Sean McDermott) and general manager (Brandon Beane) who appear aligned philosophically. That greatly improves their chances for long-term success, a leading reason Buffalo gets a high grade here. The Bills also recommitted to quarterback Tyrod Taylor for at least another season after the team's previous leadership wavered on him. Why get worse at the most important position?
"The best decision they made was bringing back Tyrod," an exec said. "Losing [Mike] Gillislee does hurt a little bit. LeSean McCoy had a great year, but it would have been nice to give him more of a breather once in a while, and that becomes harder. Their draft was solid. [Tre'Davious] White, [Zay] Jones and [Dion] Dawkins, everyone agrees they will be pretty good players. Getting [Nathan] Peterman in the fifth was pretty good value. That made sense to me."
The Bills spent heavily for Micah Hyde heading into a draft that was packed with talent at the safety position. McDermott, a former defensive backs coach, must have really wanted a sure bet in the secondary after letting Gilmore walk out the door.
**2 - Shaq Lawson labeled Bills breakout candidate
Photos of Buffalo's defensive ends and defensive tackles from their photoshoot day.
**His 2016 season was cut in half due to spring shoulder surgery, but Bills DE Shaq Lawson is raring to go entering his second NFL campaign. Fully healthy and now in a more comfortable 4-3 defensive scheme, Lawson was labeled a breakout candidate for the Bills for 2017.
Lawson was a first-round talent hindered by an injury playing a position he wasn't accustomed to in 2016. That's on top of the substantial learning curve all pass-rushers face when making the jump to the NFL.
Now healthy, playing in a scheme that better suits his strengths, and lining up opposite a proven commodity in Jerry Hughes (who will attract plenty of attention from opposing blockers), Lawson's arrow is pointing up.
3 - Bills picked as biggest threat to Patriots in AFC EastThere were three choices from which to pick. Who will be the biggest threat to the New England Patriots in the AFC East this fall?
NFL Network posed the question to their analysts. Former NFL RB Michael Robinson picked the Bills and explained why.
"I'm going to go with the Buffalo Bills. I trust Tyrod Taylor. The guy does not turn the football over, just six interceptions last year," Robinson said. "Some of the additions including head coach Sean McDermott and the defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier because last year this defense left their cornerbacks on an island way too often. That can't happen.
"And they have LeSean McCoy and they run the football with authority. That's what's going to be important if you want to beat the New England Patriots. They've got to feel your will and know you mean business. If they get McCoy going and get him in space it doesn't matter who is on the defensive side because he'll make them miss."
Robinson also said if they find a way to add free agent Jeremy Maclin it would add another dimension to their offense in the passing game.