Buffalo Bills: Offensive Line Needs to Be Main Focus Entering NFL Draft

Brandon Croce@@BrandonCroceAnalyst IApril 20, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 7:  Tight end Scott Chandler #84 waits for center Eric Wood #70 of the Buffalo Bills to snap the ball against the San Francisco 49ers in the second quarter on October 7, 2012 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.  The 49ers won 45-3.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

With the 2013 NFL draft less than a week away, the Buffalo Bills need to have their focus centered around the offensive line and adding depth to a depleted unit.

The Bills lost offensive guards Andy Levitre and Chad Rinehart in free agency, and with the Bills not having one starting lineman left who completed a full 16 games last season, depth is a major concern.

Picking a guard like Chance Warmack isn't a flashy move but could have the biggest impact on this team's upcoming season.

It has been no secret that general manager Buddy Nix is looking for that franchise quarterback. However, there is not a player this year who is a clear-cut, can't-miss prospect worthy of a top-10 pick.

By picking a quarterback at No. 8, he will most likely get at least three years to prove his value, and if he doesn't succeed, the team is three more years behind schedule. Whereas if they pick a quarterback in Round 2 or 3, they can bring him into a competition with Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson.

Then, if he isn't ready, there is no pressure to start him, and they can have him sit for a year or two behind whomever wins the competition.

Now, if the Bills select Warmack at the top, followed up with one or two offensive linemen in the later rounds of the draft, there would be numerous positive effects on this team. First, they would add depth to this unit and protect themselves from injuries that will most likely hit them at some point during the season.

Secondly, by having a strong starting unit, they can make an average quarterback like Kevin Kolb put up above-average performances.

By giving him more time, they can give wide receivers that extra second to get good separation and give Kolb better targets. 

Lastly, it will boost the running game, which will most likely be relied on heavily no matter who is under center.

C.J. Spiller made a reputation around the league last season as one of the most explosive runners, and with Fred Jackson backing him up, they form a dangerous tandem. By having a strong offensive line, it will make their running lanes that much better.

Offensive line may not be viewed by fans as much of a need as quarterback, cornerback or linebacker, but the Bills have adequate players at these positions who could step in for a year or even find quality players in later rounds in the draft.

The linebacker corps is a group that looks depleted at first glance, especially with the loss of Nick Barnett, but that is not entirely the case.

The Bills still have Kelvin Sheppard and Nigel Bradham, who expects to play a big role this coming season.

The team signed Manny Lawson, and with Mario Williams most likely moving to outside linebacker with the team switching back to a 3-4, this unit could be better than expected.

They then can add depth with veteran free agents like Bart Scott, who played under new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine in New York.

Cornerback is no different than linebacker, where at first glance it looks weak but could actually be effective with the new defensive plan.

Stephon Gilmore was the Bills' first-round pick last year and looks like he will be a very good player for this team. However, with Aaron Williams moving to safety, it seems like there is a hole opposite Gilmore.

The Bills did bring back Leodis McKelvin who finished strong enough last year that it would not be a surprise to see him start opposite Gilmore and actually play well. The Bills could pick someone in the later rounds for depth but picking another cornerback with their first pick seems like a waste by picking the same position first in back-to-back years.

This brings it back to the offensive line, specifically the guard position.

There isn't really a player currently on the roster who has potential to be a starting guard, and the free-agent market is pretty empty.

By adding a player like Jonathan Cooper or Chance Warmack, the Bills would have a strong offensive line that would put the other offensive players in the best situations to succeed.