STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
A closer look at the Bills' six picks:
Round 2/50 Ronald Darby, CB, 5-11, 195, Florida State
In Rex Ryan's aggressive defense, it's imperative that he have lots of physical corners who can cover one-on-one and Darby has the size and speed to do that. General manager Doug Whaley acknowledged that Darby's production wasn't great in 2014, but he pointed out that he didn't get challenged much. The year before, he was part of a national championship defense that led the country in fewest passing yards allowed per game.
Round 3/81 John Miller, G, 6-2, 303, Louisville
Whaley called him a mauler, which is exactly the kind of blocker offensive coordinator Greg Roman likes for his ground-and-pound running game. Miller is a bit short for the position, and he will have to improve his technique as a pass protector. He was a four-year starter at Louisville who should be able to come in and instantly compete for the vacant left guard spot in Buffalo.
Round 5/155 Karlos Williams, RB, 6-1, 225, Florida State
This pick didn't make a lot of sense. Running back is a deep position for the Bills, even if Ryan ends up cutting Bryce Brown, who he doesn't seem enamored with. With LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, and Boobie Dixon on the roster, adding even more depth to a position where you rarely would have more than three active on game day was perplexing. Williams did have a knack for finding the end zone (22 touchdowns in two years), and he could contribute to special teams.
Round 6/188 Tony Steward, LB, 6-0, 235, Clemson
Many evaluators didn't even project Steward to get drafted, mainly because he battled injuries his entire career. He suffered two serious knee injuries, and also struggled with hamstring issues. The Bills lack depth at inside linebacker, but it would seem Steward is a long-shot to make the team unless he proves to be a special teams stud, which he was in college.
Round 6/194 Nick O'Leary, TE, 6-3, 247, Florida State
The grandson of golf legend Jack Nicklaus will have a chance to make the Bills because their tight end depth chart is thin behind free-agent signee Charles Clay. O'Leary was the 2014 John Mackey Award winner as the nation's best tight end. He set FSU tight end records for receptions (114), yards (1,591), and touchdowns (18). He has excellent hands, but his lack of speed will curtail some of that big-play ability.
Round 7/234 Dezmin Lewis, WR, 6-4, 212, Central Arkansas
An experienced player who saw action in 48 games with 36 starts. He will be the tallest receiver on Buffalo's depth chart, an attribute the Bills have lacked in their passing game. He made 197 receptions for 2,618 yards and 24 touchdowns at a lower level of competition, and he'll have to make the transition to the NFL. Given the Bills' depth, it seems unlikely Lewis can make the team.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
LB Stevenson Sylvester (not tendered as UFA).
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED
CB Ronald Darby (2/50): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
G John Miller (3/81): $3.055M/4 yrs, $680,120M SB.
RB Karlos Williams (5/155): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
LB Tony Steward (6/188): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
TE Nick O'Leary (6/194): $2.399M/4 yrs, $119,688 SB.
WR Dezmin Lewis (7/234): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
WR Justin Brown: ERFA; terms unknown.
DT Corbin Bryant: ERFA; terms unknown.
WR Marcus Easley: UFA; $7M/4 yrs, $1.7M SB/$2.2M guaranteed.
K Jordan Gay: Potential ERFA; terms unknown.
WR Chris Hogan: ERFA; terms unknown.
DE Jerry Hughes: Potential UFA; $45M/5 yrs, $7M SB/$22.15M guaranteed.
DE Jarius Wynn: UFA; $2.2M/2 yrs, $250,000 SB.
DE Alex Carrington: UFA Rams; terms unknown.
QB Matt Cassel (trade Vikings).
TE Charles Clay: Transition FA Dolphins; $38M/5 yrs, $10M SB/$24.5M guaranteed.
FB John Conner: Not tendered as UFA by Jets; terms unknown.
FB Jerome Felton: UFA Vikings; $9.2M/4 yrs, $2.6M SB/$4M guaranteed.
WR Percy Harvin: FA Jets; $24M/3 yrs (voids to $6M/1 yr); $3M SB.
G Richie Incognito: FA; $1M/1 yr, $100,000 SB.
RB LeSean McCoy (trade Eagles).
QB Tyrod Taylor: UFA Ravens; $3.35M/3 yrs, $400,000 SB/$1.15M guaranteed.
TE Scott Chandler (released).
LB Larry Dean: UFA Buccaneers; $745,000/1 yr.
T Chris Hairston: Not tendered as RFA/Chargers; $685,000/1 yr, $25,000 SB.
QB Kyle Orton (retired).
G Erik Pears: UFA 49ers; $4.7M/2 yrs, $500 SB/$1M guaranteed.
LB Keith Rivers (released).
S Da'Norris Searcy: UFA Titans; $23.75M/4 yrs, $4.5M SB/$10.5M guaranteed.
TE Lee Smith: UFA Raiders; $9.1M/3 yrs, $1.6M SB/$3.1M guaranteed.
LB Brandon Spikes: Not tendered as UFA/Patriots; $1.1M/1 yr, $25,000 SB/$25,000 RB.
RB C.J. Spiller: UFA Saints; $18M/4 yrs, $5M SB/$9M guaranteed.