After gutting the roster and struggling through the first half in 2018, the Buffalo Bills finished strong and have made big moves this offseason.
As a result, the Bills (6-10 last year) could be one of the most improved teams in 2019, provided second-year quarterback Josh Allen takes positive steps instead of falling into a sophomore slump.
Room for improvement: Allen did show potential once he returned to the field following an elbow injury, but he must correct a glaring flaw.
- Fantasy football owners who had him on their roster were very pleased due to his dual-threat abilities. He rushed for 476 yards and five touchdowns in the final six games — stats most running backs would be proud of.
- Accuracy remained a big problem, however, and quarterbacks are paid to pass. He completed just 52.8 percent of his attempts on the season.
- Allen also threw just 10 touchdowns compared to 12 interceptions. If that trend continues, the Bills have no chance of sporting a winning record.
There is help on the way: Buffalo had plenty of cap space heading into free agency and put it to very good use.
- Signing Mitch Morse to a record deal, then adding offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe, gives Buffalo a couple of rock-solid additions to the offensive line. They will help Allen have enough time in the passing game, and provide a boost in the run game next year.
- Signing John Brown and Cole Beasley gives Allen a couple of dynamic weapons. Beasley is a target magnet in the short and intermediate passing game, while Brown burns cornerbacks deep on a regular basis.
- Tight end Tyler Kroft should also be a big addition. He missed most of last year with a foot injury but caught seven touchdowns in 2017.
- Adding legendary running back Frank Gore was a savvy move, as well. He’s excellent in pass protection and one of the toughest runners in the game today, even at the age of 35.
Defense is already great: Last year, Buffalo ranked No. 2 in the NFL allowing just 294.1 yards per game. With a very strong young core group of playmakers, that trend should continue in 2019.
The draft is key: With the No. 9 overall pick in Round 1, the Bills have a chance to add another blue-chip player.
Here are some options, depending on how things shake out at the top:
- D.K. Metcalf, wide receiver
- Montez Sweat, EDGE
- Josh Allen, EDGE
- Christian Wilkins, defensive tackle
- Ed Oliver, defensive tackle
- Jonas Williams, offensive tackle
- Greedy Williams, cornerback
The bottom line: Given the additions on offense, not to mention whatever the Bills will do in the 2019 NFL Draft, this is a team that has a real chance to make a giant leap forward in overall development next season.
Josh Allen must cut down on turnovers, and if he does, the offense has the pieces in place to be very explosive. Given the way Buffalo’s defense plays, that’s a potent combination.