As the Bills season came to a disappointing close just two weeks ago, we can now turn our attention towards the many decisions looming this offseason. As mere fans, we can only comment and speculate as to these potential moves, yet we must do so anyways in order to keep our sanity as responsible Bills fans.
Make sure to check out my latest mock draft, found here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/559347-2011-nfl-mock-draft-no-luck-no-problem
Paul Posluszny- Poz has played his way into becoming a fan favorite of Bills fans. He finished the 2010 season ranked 3rd in the NFL with 151 tackles, while also recording 2 sacks, both career highs. He made a fairly seamless transition to the 3-4 defense playing middle linebacker, and could easily become the centerpiece of this defense for the foreseeable future.
Donte Whitner- a first round pick for the Bills in 2006, Donte Whitner has never lived up to his hype coming out of Ohio State. Known as one of the dirtier players in the NFL, Whitner is never shy about expressing his thoughts, such as his desire for a contract worth $7 million per year. According to reports, the Bills are willing to pay $5 million, but that just doesn't suit Whitner, who holds himself as one of the top safeties in the NFL. He's seen as expendable by many, especially with Bryan Scott and George Wilson both capable of starting.
George Wilson- Wilson saw his most extensive playing time during the 2009 season under Dick Jauron and Perry Fewell, and played well enough to show that he belonged in the starting lineup. Chan Gailey on the other hand, decided to designate the ballhawking safety to a backup role, and inserted the oft-burned Whitner to help out against the run.
Drayton Florence- a two year starter for the Bills after coming off of a mediocre season on Jacksonville, Florence has displayed his desire to start through his play. He is a solid starter, but could be upgraded if two sides can't agree on a deal.
Akin Ayodele, Keith Ellison, John McCargo, Ashton Youboty, David Martin, Jonathan Stupar
Alex Smith (SF)- numerous changes in personell within the 49'ers organization have plagued Smith's career. Personally, I think Gailey could do wonders with him at the helm, but I'm sure most won't agree.
Bruce Gradkowski (Oak)- considering a new coach will be in place next year, Oakland will most likely let Gradkowski walk. He was a respectable starter in 2009 after Jamarcus Russell was relieved of his duties as starting quarterback, leading the Raiders to a couple upset wins before getting injured.
Tarvaris Jackson (Min)- we know exactly what he can do, seeing as he led the Vikings to a clearcut victory over the Bills this year. Jackson also has the mobility and arm strength that Gailey reportedly likes in his quarterbacks.
Wide Receivers - Tight Ends:
Vincent Jackson (SD)- coming from San Diego, Buddy Nix might like to sign a guy he is familiar with. Jackson has torn it up for the Chargers over the past few years, and has displayed his desire to leave the San Diego area all season.
Zach Miller (Oak)- with Tom Cable out in Oakland, expect the majority of their free agents to seek employment elsewhere, Miller is included with those expected to walk. He's a solid receiver and a great run blocking tight end, expect him to sign a big deal this off-season.
Owen Daniels (Hou)- he will most likely re-sign with the Texans, but it all depends on their confidence in Joel Dreessen, who played pretty well this year. Daniels is a great receiving threat, and was one of the best tight ends in the NFL until his season ending injury in 2009.
Jared Gaither (Bal)- a rumor of trade talks last off-season, Gaither's season ended early with a nagging back injury. While he was moved from the left side in favor of Michael Oher, if Gaither can recover from his injury he could become the most sought after offensive linemen this off-season.
Jammal Brown (Was)- after making the transition from left tackle, Brown compiled a decent first season for the Redskins on the right side. If the Skins let him walk, he'll be a hot commodity.
Matt Light (NE)- coming off of a pretty dismal season with New England, the Pats will most likely let Light walk after refusing to give him a long term deal. A good "screw you" to the Pats could be to sign with the Bills.
Defensive Ends - Tackles:
Cullen Jenkins (GB)- this talented 3-4 defensive end could be let go by the Packers this offseason to save some cash. The Packers just gave Tramon Williams an extension and will owe their upcoming 2011 first round pick a good amount of money as well, not to mention free agents they bring in. In the end, Jenkins could be seen as expendable.
Richard Seymour (Oak)- with Tom Cable done in Oakland, Seymour will probably look to play for a contender to finish his career. That is, if Oakland doesn't franchise him again. There were stories last year that Seymour had interest in signing with Buffalo, but the validity of those reports is something I might question.
Mathais Kiwanuka (NYG)- lost amongst the many talented pass-rushers on the Giants, Kiwanuka is coming off a season lost to a herniated disk. He will most likely look to leave New York because of their crowded line. Nonetheless, Kiwanuka is an extremely talented pass-rusher, and is scheme diverse, playing some linebacker in the Giants previous 3-4 packages.
David Harris (NYJ)- this guy has been an exceptional linebacker for the past couple seasons. Harris may not be the focal point of the Jets defense, but he plays an important role. It will be interesting to see whether or not he is re-signed by the Jets, because if he isn't, the Bills could use him to plug the hole next to Posluszny.
Barrett Ruud (TB)- Ruud has been the anchor in the middle of the Buccaneers defense for the past few years, yet had a slightly disappointing season. According to reports, he was displeased with the Bucs for not offering him a long-term deal, and seeing as though he has yet to get one, he could be on his way out of Tampa.
Stephen Cooper (SD)- he's been solid for the Chargers, especially in the absence of Shawne Merriman. Cooper is usually overlooked, but he can definitely get the job done on Sunday.
Kirk Morrison (Jax)- played decently in his first year away from Oakland, Morrison is a solid linebacker who could easily step in as a starting middle linebacker for the Bills.
Corners - Safeties:
Richard Marshall (Car)- looks like Marshall is on his way out of Carolina, according to the buzz going around the league. He could be a guy the Bills go after, seeing as though he isn't a big name, yet is still a solid cornerback (especially in run support).
Atari Bigby (GB)- a solid safety for the Packers, he was injured this season, which allowed rookie Morgan Burnett to showcase his talents... Bigby will likely be allowed to seek employment elsewhere in 2011.
Bernard Pollard (Hou)- Pollard is good in run support, yet poor in coverage (much like Donte Whitner). The only difference between Whitner and Pollard is that Pollard will come cheap.
Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas:
Many have written off Mallett as a potential pick for the Bills at No. 3 because of his "lack" of mobility. This may or may not be true in the eyes of Chan Gailey, but Mallett possesses the big arm needed to play in Buffalo, and the ability to read coverages (something that J.P. Losman didn't possess).
Jake Locker, QB, Washington:
Locker is coming off of a disappointing season after being mocked as the first overall pick in the 2010. His return to school might have cost him a few spots, but I think that Locker will impress doubters with his workouts.
A.J. Green, WR, Georgia:
Arguably the most talented wide receiver to enter the NFL since Randy Moss (and Calvin Johnson), Green has the size and the skills to become one of the top wide receivers in the NFL. This pick would make sense if the Bills let go of Lee Evans.
Nick Fairley, DE/DT, Auburn:
A scheme diverse lineman, Fairley possesses the pass-rush skills to make a difference on team running the 4-3, but I question his ability to stuff the run for a team running the 3-4 defense. Regardless, Fairley seems to be the sexy pick around Buffalo right now, yet people overlook the fact that he is a very dirty player.
Cam Newton, QB, Auburn:
Introducing the clone of Vince Young. He is talented, no doubt about that, but is he in it for the money? Or is Newton really ready to become the face of an NFL franchise?
Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson:
Bowers has played his way into becoming a top 10 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. A problem that most people don't know is that Bowers was never a dominant linemen until this year, and displays poor work ethic and laziness. Yet, these problems are overlooked by fans who only read mock drafts and view ESPN's top ranked players...
There are a few players on the Bills roster who have been rumored to be on the trading block, sought after by other teams, or anything of the sort. The following qualify:
Evans' season ended prematurely with an injury, but it didn't matter all that much, seeing as though Evans has been one of the most popular players talked about when it comes to trades. There was speculation at the beginning of the season that Evans would be traded to a team like St. Louis (who was in need of a receiving threat). With the emergence of David Nelson and Donald Jones (not to mention Naamen Roosevelt and Marcus Easley), and the re-emergence of Roscoe Parrish, Evans could be traded for a draft pick or two.
Like Evans, McGee has been through the thick of the Bills woes. It's yet to be known how much McGee has left in the tank because he is constantly on the injury report, and with a fairly hefty contract, the Bills could save some cash and grab a pick or two in exchange for the oft-injured McGee.
A fan favorite on the Bills defense, Marcus Stroud hasn't been able to make a noticeable adjustment to the Bills 3-4 alignment. His age and injuries are catching up with him, but Stroud is still a good reserve player, as well as a great guy to have in the locker room.