Bills Add Defensive Depth, Address Offensive Line

Bills fan were left out on day one of the 2015 NFL Draft in Chicago. When the Bills acquired Sammy Watkins in the 2014 draft, they traded the 9th overall pick and their 2015 1st and 4th round picks. 2014 was a rich draft class for wide receivers. Watkins is a special talent and it’s scary to think what he can do with a competent quarterback. But looking back at it over the past year, the Bills could have kept their 1st round pick in this draft and had either Odell Beckham Jr. or Kelvin Benjamin on the roster. What’s done is done though and you have to take chances to win in this league.

Entering the draft, the Bills had an obvious glaring need at QB. However, if they do draft one, he’ll be for the future. So with that in mind, they are left filling in needs on offense and depth on the defensive side.

With a packed house in Chicago and patient waiting through the first 49 picks, it was finally Buffalo’s turn at number fifty. Roger Goodell approached the podium with a familiar face. It was a much healthier looking Jim Kelly since the last time we saw him. The crowd roared in Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University in Chicago. It was an amazing moment as you could see the tears form in Jim’s eyes.

Photo Courtesy: Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press Jim Kelly (right) hugs NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.  

Photo Courtesy: Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Jim Kelly (right) hugs NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.  

After thanking everyone for their continued support, Jim Kelly announced that the Bills would take Ronald Darby, cornerback out of Florida State University. Cornerback is not the Bills' biggest priority, but with Rex Ryan as the new Head Coach, we can’t be shocked with them taking a solid defensive player. Leodis McKelvin will be 30 years old at the beginning of the season and his cap hits in 2015 and 2016 are close to $5 million. If the Bills decide to pay young star corner, Stephon Gilmore, Leodis’ future with the team may not last much longer. The Bills have depth at corner with Nickell Robey, Ron Brooks and Corey Graham all able to contribute. Corey Graham will most likely see time at both safety and corner throughout the year. Darby can come in and help out in nickel packages and may even see time on the outside, covering #2 receivers opposite of Gilmore.

Photo Courtesy: Jeremy Brevard/USA Today 

Photo Courtesy: Jeremy Brevard/USA Today 

Darby is known for his speed, posting an impressive 4.38 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine. He fits well in Dennis Thurman and Rex Ryan’s defensive scheme in that he’s used to man coverage. He was typically in man coverage at Florida State, and this helps out a blitz-happy defense. The biggest problem scouts have with Darby is his physicality with receivers. He can hang with the speed, but needs to improve on his toughness.

The Bills' 3rd round selection addressed a need that made them miserable last season. They picked John Miller, a guard out of Louisville. It’s the second straight year the Bills have taken a Louisville player in the third round. Miller will join his former teammate, Preston Brown who turned out to be a great pick for the Bills thus far. Buffalo acquired LeSean McCoy in the offseason, trading Kiko Alonso to the Eagles. With Rex Ryan and Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman’s track record, the Bills will be running the ball very often. Between Erik Pears, Kraig Urbik and Chris Williams last season, the Guard position just couldn’t get it done. The Bills were ripped apart on the inside, which is a big concern, especially with the defensive lines in the AFC East. Sheldon Richardson of the Jets and newly acquired Ndamukong Suh of the Dolphins are both interior defenders to worry about, as both were in the Pro Bowl in 2014l. Having coached Richardson, Rex Ryan knows the Bills' offensive line better be prepared. John Miller is an old school guard who’s physical in the run game. With the additions of Richie Incognito in the offseason and John Miller through the draft, the Bills may be much better off on the inside. This has to be music to the ears of team captain Eric Wood, another Louisville product and Center for Buffalo.

Photo Courtesy: Mark Konezny/USA Today

Photo Courtesy: Mark Konezny/USA Today

It will look promising for the Bills' offensive line if Miller beats out Urbik and Williams. Cordy Glenn, Richie Incognito, Eric Wood and 2014 7th round pick, Seantrel Henderson will most likely round up the rest of the line. Cyrus Kouandjio will also look to show the coaching staff improvement since he was drafted last season and battle for a starting spot.

The Bills have picks remaining in the 5th, two in the 6th and a 7th in the 2015 draft. Perhaps they add more QB competition, but I would also expect them to add some depth to their pass rush.