Upgrades along the line set Bills up for offensive success

You might say that everything has been laid at EJ Manuel’s feet for the upcoming season, but that’s what everyone is saying. Mainly because it’s the truth.

The message was made pretty clear at the draft with the trade up to select Sammy Watkins and the additional investment in offensive players like Bryce Brown, Mike Williams and even Anthony Dixon. Albeit, Dixon is more of a special teams addition than anything else. Where Whaley really invested this offseason was along the line. While adding Watkins and Williams adds even more depth and talent to the receiving corps, the line could see major changes take hold. Since the Bills are boosting their offensive line-up, expect that oddsmakers will surely consider them as a contenders with official NFL betting lines moving in their favor this season, having fans and fantasy pickers taking notice.

Between the signing of Chris Williams, the expected return of a healthy Chris Hairston and draft picks Cyrus Kouandjio, Cyril Richardson and Seantrel Henderson, the Bills two-deep could undergo some serious changes. Continue reading

Whaley thought of his offense first with draft picks

Doug Whaley made sure that he put his stamp on the Buffalo Bills with this year’s draft. He made both pragmatic and radical moves over the weekend in what appears to be a clear attempt to end the Bills’ decade-and-a-half playoff drought.

With Sammy Watkins as the obvious crown jewel of the class (as any first round pick would be), Whaley committed to improving Buffalo’s offense with his selections that included three offensive linemen. The trade to get Watkins is a clear risk for a team with as many holes to plug as the Bills do. Whaley deserves credit for ensuring that he kept his 2014 selections intact while sacrificing his first round pick in 2015.

My feelings on trading up wavered on nearly a week-to-week basis as the draft slowly approached. Making a drastic move to secure a cornerstone talent like Jadeveon Clowney would have been interesting and quite entertaining. However the assets required to make a pick like that outweighed the benefits in many cases. Managing to only give up an additional mid-round selection along with the requisite first round pick was a coup for Whaley. Even if you have concerns over giving up that pick, Whaley still did well in maintaining the rest of his assets along the way.

The lone concern I had in giving up a first round pick in 2015 is that the Bills could be on the outside looking in if a quarterback is needed. This is a worst case scenario situation, of course, but should management or the coaching staff realize that EJ Manuel isn’t capable of carrying the team – or if Manuel’s knees don’t cooperate again – the Bills may be searching for a signal caller next year. With Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston expected to be the most sought after signal callers in 2015, the Bills would be left out of the party. Now, a number of factors would need to come together for the Bills to be in that situation, but it certainly could be a possibility come next May. Continue reading