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QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick out. While you have to admire his attitude and effort, he simply lacked the talent level to get it done consistently in the NFL. A solid back-up for sure. Enter Erik James Manuel. EJ3 (a nickname that is being thrown around these parts that which I loathe as completely unoriginal) was the first QB taken off the board. The Bills had their choice of all college QBs in the draft with the 16th pick, and chose the 4 year starter out of FSU. Big, strong, fast, with a big arm, how could you not love him. Oh, and have you seen him in interviews? Professional, articulate, polite, respectful, just what you want the franchise QB to be. Also added Kevin Kolb who's past is littered with moderate success and injury struggles. He'll be sitting the bench in this reality, that's for sure.
HB - Yeah, CJ Spiller. Enough said.
WR - Stevie Johnson will be the man again, for this year at least. But if you haven't noticed what the Bills have been doing at the long ignored WR position, then you're missing out on one of the best young group of WRs in the league. Robert Woods was selected early in the 2nd round out of USC. Called the most NFL ready rookie by most draft experts, Woods looks to crack the starting lineup as the #2 guy. The rest of the WRs can be summed by one word, Speed. 2nd year man TJ Graham has been tearing it up in training camp and has a recorded 4.34 40 time. Add into the mix third round pick out of Texas Marquise Goodwin. While most new NFL players have trained constantly at football for their entire college careers, Goodwin was participating in the 2012 Olympic games in London as a long jumper. So he can jump? What about speed? Oh that, he just ran a 4.27 at the combine with "unofficial" accounts having him clocked at a 4.17, yes, a 4.17. Crazy. Just wait until he's training for football all season. Also added into the mix was undrafted FA Da'Rick Rogers. The much troubled former Tennessee WR was sought after by over 15 teams after the draft, but he chose the Bills. While at Tenn, he was the #1 guy ahead of both Cordarrelle Paterson and Justin Hunter, first and second round picks respectively. Marrone straight up told Rogers, "this is the NFL now, you get one shot here, one mess up and you're gone." He's been kept inline so far.
TE - A weak spot, but Scott Chandler is dependable at least and Rookie Chris Gragg has some speed but is very, very raw. We'll see what develops here.
OL - The FA loss of Levitre hurts for sure, but the Bills are confident that they can develop a strong line again. After all, coach Marrone was an OL himself.
DL - Put up for shut up for Marcell Dareus this year. Needs to step it up. Despite a lot of negative press, Mario Williams actually was pretty good last season. 10.5 sacks most coming after a wrist surgery mid season which was clearly effecting his play. Kyle Williams must stay on the field as he's an absolute beast. Alan Branch added to the mix as well for some thunder.
LB - Bills added 2nd round pick Kiko Alonso from Oregon as hopefully a mainstay to the struggling bills run support. He looks nasty. After watching some Dion Jordan highlight reels I noticed that Alonso was making more plays than he was, on his own highlight reel! Some off field drinking issues caused a slip in his draft stock, but who doesn't drink underage in college? Baller. Nigel Bradham and Manny Lawson (FA from Cincy) add to the mix what should be a very fast LB corps, hopefully they can tackle.
DB - Stephon Gilmore was one of the best CBs in the league in the second half of his Rookie campaign. Continually shutting down the opposing teams best WRs, look for a pro-bowl calliber season this year. Jairus Byrd is stuck in a contract dispute which hopefully gets resolved sooner rather than later, but he should be ready to go week 1. The rest of the DBs are a question mark. Leodis McKelvin has looked pretty bad as a CB throughout his career, but has been tabbed the #2 guy this season. Has all the physical tools, just is dumb as a box of rocks. Aaron Williams has been moved from CB to Safety where he will, hopefully, have more impact (especially since he was taken two spots ahead of Colin Kaepernick). Da'Norris Searcy will also battle for a starting spot at safety, while Ron Brooks looks to be the nickle man. Look for the Bills to target DBs in the first off-season.
New Coach, New philosophy, New attitude, New Hope. The Bills are re-charged for sure. Go Bills.
'13 AFC E Champs 12-4
'14 AFC E Champs 16-0
PB: Manuel (2-QB(2), OROY), Spiller (RB), Johnson (2-WR), Goodwin (2), Chandler, Glenn (OL), Urbik, Wood (2), Hairston, Sanders, M. Williams (DL), McCord, Dareus, D. Williams (2 DROY, DB)