The Buffalo Bills are in the process of transitioning their team. They have a second-year head coach, a first-year starting quarterback (regardless of who wins the training camp and preseason battle) and several other key changes to the roster of the last couple seasons.
On paper, the inexperience they have at quarterback is a big problem. They do not have the roster to overcome poor quarterback play. The will rely on several players listed below to lift all the players around them.
Here are the best players on the Bills roster and some predictions for this season.
Best Skilled Offensive Player
McCoy is by far the best-skilled player on the Bills roster. He is an elusive runner that is effective as a runner and receiver. He has rushed for at least 1,000 six of his nine NFL seasons and caught at least 50 passes five times. He has been named to the Pro Bowl six times, First Team All-Pro twice as well as named to the NFL Top 100 seven times, reaching as high as fifth overall. He ranks third in rushing yards and fifth in yards from scrimmage among all active players.
In recent days, allegations arose of him abusing his estranged girlfriend. If they are true, it is hard to image McCoy playing another game in the NFL. If not, the Bills will lean on McCoy to carry the team for several weeks, if not the whole season.
Best Offensive Lineman
Dawkins made former starting left tackle Cordy Glenn expendable this offseason with his play at both left and right tackle. The Bills traded Glenn to move up in the first round and position themselves to eventually take Allen. Dawkins is a thick, agile tackle that can move with speed rushers and outmuscle power rushers. He is still not a finished product but has proven through 16 games that he can be a franchise left tackle.
Best Pass Rusher
Hughes hasn’t reached double-digit sacks since 2014, but he still is a very dangerous pass rusher. He has good size for a pure edge rusher. He combines that with a very explosive first step off the line of scrimmage. He also has the ability to adjust to the run and can help in coverage. Consistency has always been a problem for him. He was named the 63rd best player in the NFL Top 100 list of 2015. He and Shaq Lawson should be a formidable combination on third down.
Best Pass Defender
White had a really good rookie season. He garnered All-Rookie Team and Second-Team All-Pro recognition last season. He proved to be one of the best cornerbacks in the draft class despite being the fifth one taken. He is a playmaker with four interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He also defended 18 passes and scored a touchdown. After just one season, the Bills can build their defense around him.
Jones’ life and future in the NFL were in danger in March when a video surfaced of him fighting to jump out the window of an apartment in Los Angeles. Although he was arrested, the charges were eventually dropped and the Bills said the team would not discipline him. He appears to be in the clear from the incident and, while general manager Brandon Beane said he will have to earn his roster spot, in line to be the No. 2 receiver. He has good size, athleticism and the talent to be a reliable receiver. He should make a huge jump after having just 27 catches for 316 yards as a rookie in 2017.
Best New Addition
Lotulelei entered the NFL with a lot of hype in 2013. He is a strong and stout defensive tackle that controls the line of scrimmage. He excels in run support but can impact the passing game by getting his hands in the passing lanes. He is not a three-down player but will have a huge impact on the Bills run defense.
Not So Out On A Limb Prediction
The Bills will not make the playoffs in 2018.
The Bills needed a miracle to get into the playoffs in 2017. Then they traded away their starting quarterback and drafted a prospect viewed as a long-term project. The Bills lack the talent to repeat and will face a tougher schedule this season. The Bills will struggle in 2018 and will likely be out of the playoff picture early in the season.
The Bills will have the worst offense.
With McCoy in the mix, they have a chance to get to 31st or 30th. However, if his domestic abuse claims are true, this is by far the least talented offense in the league. The Bills are going to struggle to score points and move the ball on offense.