During Free Agency and the NFL Draft, How did Beane and Company do in creating successors to their nine oldest Bills players?
- RT Nsehke (34) is still sooo good when healthy. See BuffRumblings’ fabulous article here. Free agent Daryl Williams is there if he isn’t. At 6-8, Trey Adams has Nsehke’s height challenge, and Nsehke would be a great mentor. Not picked in the draft, Adams’ challenge is clearly getting past his hyperextension, ACL, back, and hamstring injuries, and where better to do that than with one of the most-impressive and advanced training facilities in the league? Adams is not going to magically recover, so he’ll likely be a practice-squadder. Preferred free agent Brandon Walton has Nsehke’s long arms, and will get coached up. He’s used to blocking for Singletary, so that’ll help. Walton’s FAU runs zone blocking in the run game, and a quick, West-Coast-style passing game with short option routes to receivers. There’s a learning curve to get to power blocking, but you’ll likely see West Coast elements this year, too. Walton will likely start on the practice squad with Adams.
- Verdict: Still Need to Tackle Tackle.
- K Stephen Hauschka, FA 2022, (35)
Beane addressed it twice, once in FA with Kaare Vedvik and then again in RD6A, taking in tiny Tyler Bass. All 5 kickers on the DraftTek Kickers List went undrafted, btw, so I didn’t see the rush in the sixth round.
Verdict: When I Nod My Head, You Hit It With a Hammer.
- TE Lee Smith, (32)
FA Kroft, plus Dawson Knox and Tommy Sweeney all were added last year. “Move” TE Jason Croom was re-signed, so all was quiet on the draft front. Besides, it was a weak class. Lee Smith is tops in penalties since Jordan Phillips left. He had 8 False Start penalties last year. Take a moment… and say your goodbyes.
- KR Andre Roberts (32)
It’ll be business as usual with Isaiah McKenzie backing up Roberts. I suggested on Twitter that Roberts was old, and he told me he wasn’t. So there’s that.
Verdict: Nothing To See Here.
- CB Josh Norman (32) and CB E.J. Gaines (32) —>Both veterans are on 1-year deals.
The lack of concern shown by drafting Dane Jackson in RD7 shows the confidence Beane & Co. have in Levi Wallace, and a big payday happening for TrayDay. He’s been extended for a year, but I’d expect White to be re-signed before the snow flies –unless that happens this week. Wallace was 9th in Targets, 9th in Receptions Allowed. Pro Football Focus has Wallace as this year’s breakout player. From Week 10 on, Wallace ranked first in yards allowed per coverage snap (0.45), and second only to a guy named Stephon Gilmore in coverage grade (85.3).
Verdict: Pay The Man; Wallace Ain’t a Flash in the Pan, Use The Vets While You Can.
ED Jerry Hughes (31 until August 13) and ED Mario Addison (32 until September 6), A.J. Epenesa in RD2 is clearly the long-term future here. Free-agent Quinton Jefferson of the Seahawks is a versatile DL3T-EDGE on a 2-year deal, and he’s 27. All good, but five DL players’ contracts come due in 2022, so Beane will keep looking at his EDGE rushers. Trent Murphy improved in just about every defensive stat in 2019, so I’m not eager to kick him to the curb.
Verdict: High Priority Going Forward.
DT1T Star Lotulelei (30) is one of the 2022 FAs. He signed a five-year, $50M contract covering 2018 -2022. Vernon Butler, age 26 in June, is also a FA in 2022, but he and Vincent Taylor, age 26, (FA 2021) are the big placeholders here, and I bet the Bills won’t miss Jordan Phillips with those two widebodies.
Verdict: We Got This.
Editor’s babble: Thanks, as always, to our friend Dean Kindig for his contributions to our blog. You can find Dean on Twitter @TCBILLS_Astro.