Skip to main content

What they're saying: National recognition for the Bills in 2015


Defensive Rookie of the Year: Ronald Darby, cornerback, Buffalo Bills. Darby immediately established himself as a quality corner for Rex Ryan. It was difficult to pick Darby over Marcus Peters of the Kansas City Chiefs, however. Peters had eight interceptions, but he also had 919 yards against him through the air. My sleeper pick is linebacker Kwon Alexander of the Buccaneers.

Surprise Comeback Player of the Year: Richie Incognito, guard, Buffalo Bills.After being out of the league in 2014, Incognito re-established himself as one of the best guards in the league. We'll see whether it leads to a big payday in free agency.

QB Tyrod Taylor

Tyrod Taylor was signed to compete in a three-headed quarterback competition that looked horrendous on paper before the season began in Buffalo. He won the job, and ended the year ranked as the ninth-best quarterback in the game at PFF for 2015, with an overall grade of 81.8. Few passers had as many jaw-dropping throws as Taylor did this season.

Left guard: Richie Incognito, Bills

A year away from the game proved ideal (in anything but ideal circumstances), as Incognito came back and played better than we'd ever seen from him before. (Maybe Anthony Davis made a wise decision in taking some time off?)

G: Richie Incognito, Buffalo; Marshal Yanda, Baltimore.

Cornerbacks: Ronald Darby, Bills; Marcus Peters, Chiefs

Darby was one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL -- not just the rookie class -- for the bulk of the season. Peters is going to be a star. There were a lot of big plays allowed, but he also made a ton of them himself. He tied for the league lead in interceptions (eight) as a rookie, and it's clear his instincts and ball skills are special. Elsewhere, Damarious Randall, Byron Jones, Kevin Johnson, Quinten Rollins, Quinton Dunbar and Quandre Diggs all deserve mention. Diggs is a guy I thought would be a star going back to his high school days. He didn't always show that at Texas, but here we are.


Pro Football Focus – Rookie of the year](

First runner-up -Ronald Darby, CB, Buffalo Bills

Although another rookie cornerback attracted more media attention, Ronald Darby was the most consistent first-year CB this season. His 87.1 PFF grade places him fourth-best among cornerbacks, while is 13 passes defended were tied for fifth-most. He allowed a low 54.3 percent catch rate and 11.6 yards per catch, which are both below the league average for cornerbacks. His 11.9 tackling efficiency was also good for the top 20 at the position. Teams tried to take advantage of him by targeting him 105 times, which was fifth-most, but they rarely were able to beat him. His 660 yards allowed were the fewest among the 10 most-targeted cornerbacks.

Running back: LeSean McCoy, Devonta Freeman, Todd Gurley, Doug Martin, Adrian Peterson, Jonathan Stewart

Pro Bowl voting is organically weighted toward early season heroics, which is great news for Freeman. After four 100-yard performances and nine touchdowns over his first seven starts, Freeman has just one touchdown and two 50-yard games since. Voters got it right with Gurley, a backfield revelation who did enough in his first campaign to be considered for rookie of the year honors. Peterson remains the finest runner on the planet, but Martin's outburst is especially impressive after he was a candidate for release last offseason. Stewart has been hyper-critical to Carolina's offense and McCoy had his moments despite only three 100-yard tilts. There isn't room for everyone, but Chris Ivory deserved more heat here, along with Latavius Murray and Thomas Rawls.

[ – Team MVP](

NFL Nation reporters give a 2015 MVP for every team.

G Richie Incognito

This wasn't an easy choice. Despite the fact that running back LeSean McCoy earned the Bills' only Pro Bowl nod, there wasn't a clear-cut choice as the best player on the team. Incognito deserves credit for re-emerging as one of the NFL's best guards -- he finished the season ranked second at his position by Pro Football Focus -- after more than a year away from the game. He made left tackle Cordy Glenn, center Eric Wood and the Bills' top-ranked running game better. -- Mike Rodak

OC Greg Roman

Though he didn't make the final five, Buffalo offensive coordinator Greg Roman got a great endorsement from Schatz that I thought we should include: "Buffalo finished with a top-10 offense in Football Outsiders ratings despite a quarterback who had never started an NFL game, a star running back who missed four games and was nicked up the rest of the time, and a questionable offensive line. The Buffalo defense collapsed and the Bills went 8-8 anyway. That's a hell of a coaching job by Greg Roman. Wade Phillips is a great defensive coordinator and the Broncos finished as one of the 10 best defenses of the last 25 years, but it sure seems like he had a lot more raw talent to work with than Greg Roman had this year."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.