Valuing Need as Buffalo Bills Pick a Draft Direction

Photo from buffalobills.com.

It’s not too early to start thinking about the draft. In 2021.  You don’t have to be in solitary confinement to assemble mock boards of promising eighth graders who could help the Buffalo Bills.

As for this year’s edition, we’ve entered panic time about who will be added in what is the equivalent of a few moments geologically.

Anticipating what will happen is the best way to get through the offseason.  It’s not like you’re going to talk to people.

Argue with voices in your head about whether the Bills should add a mediocre player at a thin area or talent to bury on the depth chart.  The eternal tension between what’s needed and who’s best will never be resolved.  It’s like arguing whether a shark with legs could beat a flying bear. 

Do they have enough of certain types?  The first instinct is to be wary of adding, say, another cornerback early unless Spider-Man is still available.  There’s no rule against spraying the ball with webs.

Yet the need to cover receivers remains insatiable.  This sport is renowned for both passes and careers that are finished as quickly as Rootie’s blue cheese jars. I never have to check the expiration date.

Returning to habits by selecting yet one more player to cover receivers is an understandable impulse in a league where the 4-2 defense is nearly the norm.  Fans could make the case this club has already hoarded enough.  But even your pandemic rubber glove reservoir will eventually be depleted.

Satisfying free agent moves mean the Bills can theoretically draft for value.  General managers are happiest when they don’t have to deviate from their rankings out of desperation.  As a result, fans don’t have to fret about whether a new player’s bobblehead is a good investment.

Photo of S Donte Whitner from sandiegouniontribune.com.

Avoiding habits which limit growth is the best way to use a sudden surfeit of free time.  The Bills have often returned to an unfortunate tendency of taking players they didn’t have room for who weren’t budding superstars, either.  Keep teasing Donte Whitner for me if he hasn’t blocked you yet. 

A refusal to learn enhances pain during desolate intervals.  Let’s never have throwbacks to drafting players with murky projections as pros when they’ve already stocked the position, anyway.

Adding the likes of Willis McGahee and C.J. Spiller is like watching Star Trek: The Next Generation again on Netflix instead of taking a few minutes to explore novel options.  The front office should engage with a new approach.  Otherwise, they might lose focus of who the characters are like Picard.

Franchises don’t want to add a mid-round talent during prime time only because he’d man a position of need.  The temptation to reach feels like an impulse buy.

At the same time, general managers could keep in mind where they most urgently require an upgrade.  The Bills could certainly find a highly-valued defensive end that pairs need with value.  There have to be a few graded as second-round picks.

Going for a spectacular choice often results in a failure both now and tomorrow.  Michael Scott still tragically thinks life is scripted.  Nothing embodies fizzling while gambling like the Sammy Watkins trade, which epitomized attempting to shock the league while only cutting their own power.

Photo of Doug Whaley from FingerLakes1.com.

It’s easy to say everything’s different now.  But there truly is a sense that this front office is as calm as Doug Whaley was panicky.  Don’t seat him in an exit row.

Spending too much time thinking ahead means missing the turn you’re supposed to take at this light.  Delaying gratification for half a decade may make life so dreary that everyone forgets to ever have it; we call that Sabres Syndrome.  Both Buffalo franchises have been historically proficient at putting off rewards indefinitely.

Spending the grocery budget on dehydrated food neglects how you need something for dinner tonight.  Treat yourself to a Blizzard, too, as you’ve earned blended-in candy.

Balancing today’s needs with tomorrow’s dreams brings to mind the eternal battle between offense and defense.  Everything is football.  There will be more seasons than this one according to current projections about how time works.

Buffalo should still want to build on a playoff cameo this season even as they’re planning for 2021.  Meanwhile, I wonder what jersey to buy of a player who might only have a year left in this town.

There are merely two items on the work checklist.  Unfortunately, those items conflict with each other, like putting all groceries in one bag that’s not heavy. Thrive today and tomorrow simultaneously.  The front office must make time itself irrelevant.

Franchises must think of the future but win now.  Also, don’t pay too much in salary.  You should invent a car that generates gasoline.

Having to live in the moment while planning ahead reflects a totally easy balance.  Maddening anxiety is part of predicting how college students will work in a profession that relies on applying nearly superhuman physical skills instantly against others trying to stop them.  Draft the guy we want or we’ll hate you, demand a dozen competing factions.  Other than that, there’s no stress.

Editor’s babble: This year’s draft will provide all sorts of extra stress. As with all things 2020, who knows what the future will bring? Thanks to Anthony Bialy for all his terrific contributions to our blog, You can find Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.

About Anthony Bialy

Anthony Bialy recently moved back to Buffalo from New York City and acts like he never left. He thinks "Buffalo 66" is biographical and considers it a crime against mankind that Steve Tasker is not in the Hall of Fame. He likes getting Tim Hortons on the way to get Labatt Blue. Follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyBialy.