Heading into the season the Bills offense is as big of a question mark as it was last season. The situation at tackle is a huge question mark and there is no clear cut starter at quarterback.
However, I feel the defense will remain a strong point. Even with the transition to the 3-4 defense.
Terrell Troup and Kyle Williams will certainly anchor the d-line at nose tackle. Williams will probably see the lions share of work with Troup spelling him as need be. The only question that could remain is Troup’s ability to transition to the pro game and the new scheme. Lonnie Harvey presents an interesting wrinkle as the third man in. I would think the practice squad would be a good spot for him as insurance in case one of the two starters goes down.
The prospects at defensive end excite me quite a bit. I am a big Marcus Stroud fan and I think he will excel playing a little farther outside the guards in the new defense. As for the other players brought in at DE, Dwan Edwards will be a good addition. He knows the scheme and should be a strong starter on the other side of Stroud and the NT. He is a little leaner than some of the other guys at his position, so we will see if he can add to the pass rush at all. John McCargo has been a career underachiever. I don’t think the new scheme will present him any solid opportunity to change that stigma. However, I could be wrong in my assumption. I think it is safe to say he steps in for Stroud on downs that big number 99 is fatigued. Alex Carrington will be good, I have good feeling about that kid, Spencer Johnson will step in as well.
Depth Chart: NT – Williams – Troup DE – Stroud – Edwards – Johnson – McCargo – Carrington
I see the transition to the 3-4 effecting the OLBs the most. Chris Kelsay and Aaron Schobel (if he reports) simply aren’t coverage guys. However, Aaron Maybin fits this scheme better than the 4-3 and Reggie Torbor is a solid coverage guy. Arthur Moats and Danny Batten will surely be in the mix as draftees who were picked because they translate to the 3-4 so well. I have no time for Chris Ellis, but, he may finally see the field.
Depth chart: Maybin – Kelsay – Torbor – Ellis – Moats – Batten
This is rather cut and dry in my opinion. Paul Posluszny, Andra Davis and Kawika Mitchell are the top three, no doubt. Who steps in as the fourth guy? I am gonna guess Keith Ellison since he has somehow managed to stick around this long.
Depth chart: Posluszny – Davis – Mitchell – Ellison
Since the Bills defense is so strong, in my opinion, there probably aren’t too many changes from last season. Terrence McGee, Leodis McKelvin, Drayton Florence and Reggie Corner will remain the top four. Ashton Youboty will stick around and Ellis Lankster will likely crack the 53-man roster.
Depth chart: McGee – McKelvin – Florence – Corner – Youboty – Lankster (PS-Dominique Harris)
I am a Donte Whitner fan. He didn’t merit the eighth overall selection. But, he is a solid player. I also am a huge George Wilson fan – Jarius Byrd’s play speaks for itself. As for Byron Scott, I’m not a huge fan but he is the best fit as the backup at strong safety. George Wilson is such a versatile threat that he can be the second man in at either free or strong safety, thus leaving Scott as the fourth man at the position. Jon Corto is a valuable special teams player which might secure him a spot, but he doesn’t offer a lot defensively which could cost him in the long run.
Depth chart: Whitner – Byrd – Wilson – Scott
The Bills special teams have been stout for quite some time under guru Bobby April. He has moved on and Bruce DeHaven is back with the team. Surely he will be able to provide a similar strength to a squad that has been among the best in the league for the past five+ years. Nothing will change on this front as Rian Lindell remains a capable kicker and Brian Moorman remains as a top-three punter in the league. Garrison Sanborn was outstanding last season and is back for another go-around in 2010.
“Depth chart” – Lindell – Moorman – Sanborn
Overall, I don’t think the Bills’ season is shaping up to be a successful one. They don’t have a favorable schedule and the question marks on offense are numerous. I have them finishing in the 5-11 neighborhood. However, looking forward, 4-12 or 3-13 would be better for finding a quarterback and left tackle in the draft.
If they finish among the five worst teams they surely will be able to find a quarterback, possibly Jake Locker with their first pick. The second round would provide them with a high second/low first round value pick that could be used on a tackle like Jason Pinkston or DeMarcus Love or traded for a first round pick that could also result in the selection of a tackle, perhaps Anthony Costanzo if he is available.
Either way, I don’t have high hopes for Sundays this fall. But, that is okay, if the team drafts properly the future could be bright – it could also remain very bleak.