Here's the Bills news of note for May 12th.
**1 - ESPN reporters tab Bills divisional draft winners
**In reviewing the 2017 NFL draft by division the Bills were matched up against their AFC East counterparts by four ESPN reporters who cover each of the clubs. In taking stock of the prospects added to the rosters of the Bills, Dolphins, Jets and Patriots, three out of four reporters chose Buffalo as the team that helped themselves the most.
Here are a couple of excerpts from their assessments.
*Rich Cimini, New York Jets reporter: The Jets drafted the best player, safety Jamal Adams, but the Bills helped themselves the most -- from a long-term perspective. Acquiring a 2018 first-round pick from the Chiefs will be a valuable bargaining chip in next year's draft, which could enable them to get into position to pick a blue-chip quarterback. The Bills also managed to pick up three potential Day 1 starters, including exciting wide receiver Zay Jones. *
Mike Reiss, *New England Patriots reporter: I particularly liked the Bills' approach as they laid the foundation for longer-term sustainability (e.g., trading down and picking up a first-round pick in 2018) and establishing the type of culture coach Sean McDermott believes in with the type of hard-nosed, no-frills players they are targeting. It seems they have a defined plan, and that stood out as something different from the norm.*
*Mike Rodak, Buffalo Bills reporter: It's hard not to like the Bills' overall approach and execution in the draft. With McDermott serving as de facto general manager -- unless you actually think the Bills let Doug Whaley take the wheel for the draft before firing him the next morning -- the Bills balanced short-term needs with future considerations. *
**2 - Bills the favorite in all but two of their home games
**The odds makers at Cantor Technology have been busy putting together the early spreads on 2017 regular season games across the NFL from Weeks 1 through 16. The Bills are slight favorites in all but two of their home games this fall.
They're a six-point favorite in their home opener Week 1 against the Jets.
In Week 3 they're a one-point favorite against the Broncos.
When they host the Buccaneers in Week 7, they're a one and a half point favorite.
They a two-point favorite in Week 10 when the Saints come to New Era Field.
In Week 14 they're a one and a half point favorite against the Colts.
And that spread holds for the Week 15 matchup with the Dolphins (-1.5).
The only home games where the Bills are an underdog are Week 8 against the Raiders when the Bills are getting a point and a half and Week 13 when the Patriots are a seven-point favorite.
3 - PFF cites safety as biggest hole for BillsPro Football Focus went team by team across the AFC and tried to identify what they viewed as the biggest position hole that must still be filled by each club.
When it came to the Bills they saw safety as the biggest void among their starting positions on both sides of the ball. Here was their take.
*Buffalo Bills – Safety
Buffalo made several changes this offseason, including the entire front office and coaching staff. With a new coaching staff comes player cuts and adding players that fit the scheme the coach desires. A position that will look completely different for the Bills is safety, as the team cut veterans Corey Graham and Aaron Williams in favor of signing Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. Graham has had a fine career but considering his age, cutting him for youth makes sense. Hyde was inconsistent in Green Bay but has versatility to play every position in the secondary. Relying on Poyer, though, to lock down the free safety position is questionable. Poyer started six games for the Browns in 2016 before a devastating blindside hit placed him on the IR with a lacerated kidney. Poyer primarily played on special teams in Cleveland and has limited experience in the NFL at safety while grading at a below-average level. While Buffalo has multiple holes to fill and players needing to step up, shoring up the back end in a division with Tom Brady at the quarterback position is paramount.*