1 – Why fans should be excited for the QB competitionBrandon Beane and Sean McDermott have spent the past two offseasons changing the identity of the Buffalo Bills. Last season, that included moving out a lot of players that some people considered the future of the team, and ending a drought that 17-years' worth of players and personnel could not end before that point.
With one seemingly endless cycle now broken, the Bills will look to end the list of short term relationships they have at the quarterback spot. When the Bills traded Tyrod Taylor in March, Beane made it clear that the Bills wanted a QB that would become a franchise player. For Bleacher Report, the competition at the QB spot is a great way for the Bills to pick out that player, and it is something fans should be excited about.
So kudos to the Bills for getting a third-round pick in exchange for Taylor in March before moving on to a pair of intriguing young passing options. They got good value later that month for AJ McCarron. And then they craftily moved up in the draft to add physical marvel Josh Allen with the No. 7 overall pick.
McCarron's making just $5 million a year, and Allen is considered a long-term project, so there isn't much pressure on either signal-caller right now. The Bills would surely love to get back to the playoffs, but this isn't a Super Bowl-caliber team at the moment. The silver lining is that the Bills and their fans will get to spend this season assessing two high-potential fresh faces at the game's most important position.
2 - Pro Football Focus considers fifth-round pick a stealHe's big, athletic and he comes out of Virginia Tech. With all the hype surrounding first-round pick Tremaine Edmunds, someone might forget those same words reflect the other Hokie picked up in this year's draft by the Bills, Wyatt Teller.
At 6-4 and 310 lbs., the Bills picked up an offensive guard that Pro Football Focus thought deserved to be picked much higher in this year's draft.
"We had him as more of a second-round type of player, out of Virginia Tech," said PFF analyst Steve Palazzolo. "Four outstanding years of grading, and pass blocking, run blocking, he does it all and brings that mean streak to the table."
"One of my favorite players to watch in this draft class, we think you they got a steal there in the fifth," said Renner.
PFF focuses heavily on the grades that correlate to player's on-field production. For Teller, his consistent high grades made him an attractive draft prospect.
3 - Two former Bills on all-time special teams unitSpecial teams are one of the main topics in the NFL right now with rule changes coming soon that will affect how the kickoff is played. Even though kickoffs have been, and likely will continue to be a large part of football, most players who make a career based only on special teams are considered star players. That is why the Talk of Fame Network's Rick Gosselin made his very own 53-man roster of all-time special teams players.
Earning first-team recognition on Gosselin's list is Bills legend and co-host of One Bills Live, Steve Tasker.
A seven-time Pro Bowl special-teams ace. Like Cromwell, Tasker was from the tiny Kansas town of Smith Center. He was the Swiss army knife of special teams. Marv Levy, one of the NFL's first special-teams coaches, brought Tasker to Buffalo in 1986 to be his special-teams ace. And that he was. Tasker covered kicks, blocked kicks, returned both punts and kickoffs and also had stretches when he was the holder on placements and the personal protector on punts. Tasker blocked a punt in the 1993 Super Bowl and a week later blocked a field goal in the Pro Bowl and returned it for a touchdown. He remains the only special-teams ace ever voted the MVP of a Pro Bowl. He finished his career with 186 career special-teams tackles.
Gosselin had also asked Tasker and another special teamer, Bill Bates, what the most difficult part of being a special teamer is, and this is what he learned.
Both gave me the same answer – convincing a new group of teammates each year that what they do on special teams is important.
The other former Bills special teamer to make the 53-man special team roster was Mark Pike.
*Special teams were pivotal in Buffalo's winning four AFC titles and playing in four consecutive Super Bowls in the 1990s. But everyone involved in the Buffalo kicking game was overshadowed by Steve Tasker. That's a shame, because one of the NFL's best special-teams players of the decade played alongside Tasker and never went to a Pro Bowl. Pike collected 255 tackles in the kicking game, leading the Bills in special-teams tackles in seven of his last eight seasons. He collected 36 tackles in 1990, 31 in 1994 and 32 in 1996. He added 34 more special-teams tackles in the post-season. Pike also blocked a field goal in his career. *
"On field production though, between 86 and 89.3 every single year," said Palazzolo. "We didn't really see that type of production from a year one to four, from a guard in the entire draft class. So, when you're talking about a fifth-round pick, certainly worth a shot. And given the Bills offensive line situation, he could be a starter right away. So, we really love that Wyatt Teller pick."
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