1. MMQB: The best Buffalo roster in years?
Jonathan Jones of Sports Illustrated’s MMQB believes the 2019 edition of the Bills represents their best roster in years.
Some NFL teams were destined to be interesting regardless of what happened in the draft like the Cardinals, Browns and Patriots, Jones says. Every team made themselves better with their draft selections but only a select few like the Bills got better and more intriguing.
GM Brandon Beane followed up a fantastic free agency period (John Brown, Cole Beasley, Mitch Morse, Ty Nsekhe, Tyler Kroft, Frank Gore and Kevin Johnson) with what seems like a great draft. Beane stayed at No. 9 and let the board come to him. He was rewarded with blue-chip talent Ed Oliver at an obvious position of need. Then he traded up in the second round to get guard Cody Ford, an Oklahoma player they had a first-round grade on.
The Bills already seemed set at running back but still got Devin Singletary in the third round. They also doubled-up at tight end in this year’s draft. No one’s saying they’re going to compete for the AFC East crown with the Patriots still kicking, but Beane has put together one of the best Bills’ rosters in recent memory.
Jones’ list also includes the Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings.
2. Jaquan Johnson is fearless
Jaquan Johnson is an aggressive safety that the Bills took with the 181st pick in the sixth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
While at Miami, his defensive coordinator Manny Diaz called Johnson the “heart and soul” of the Hurricanes defense as a junior.
Johnson is a bit undersized compared to traditional safeties but that doesn’t change his play style. CBS’ Chris Trapasso praised the Bills’ pick of Johnson after the draft.
If Johnson were a few inches taller and had more weight on his frame, he probably would've gone on Day 2. He's a stellar run stopper because of his football IQ, twitch and speed, and he's almost always in ideal position in coverage. Can match up in the slot. Grade: A-
NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah noted Johnson’s fearlessness.
“Johnson is fun to watch, playing in the middle of the field, he’s got tremendous burst,” Jeremiah said. “There’s no hesitation, no fear. For a guy who’s 186 pounds, he’ll throw his weight, throw his body into people.
Johnson agreed with what was said about him.
“I’m very physical,” Johnson said. “I never turn down contact. I’m excellent in zone coverage, man coverage, really whatever the team needs me to do. That’s going to be my mindset going up there to Buffalo.”
3. National analyst believes in Bills offseason
The Bills have had the busiest offseason of any team in the NFL. Head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane were active in free agency to address any needs the team might need heading into the 2019 NFL Draft.
Beane iterated over and over that Buffalo was going to take the best player available at No. 9, and they did with the selection of Ed Oliver. Then in the second round, drafted All-Big 12 selection offensive lineman Cody Ford from Oklahoma.
Just on the offensive line alone, the Bills have 14 players on their roster. McDermott heavily believes in competition to get the best out of his players and by bringing in a diverse group of linemen it should lead to the best grouping for the upcoming season.
The Cleveland Browns made the highlight addition of the offseason by trading for Odell Beckham Jr., but the Bills were busy building up depth at every position to build the best possible roster for the upcoming season.