On the Clock: Buffalo Bills

4/8/2007 - Buffalo Bills

Through April 20, "SportsCenter" will put every NFL team "On The Clock." Scouts Inc. will break down each team and look at what questions still need answering.

Even though the Bills have lost a lot of talented players this offseason, they've gotten younger and saved valuable cap space. Buffalo's primary focus is the draft, but look for the Bills to make a big splash in free agency next season if they feel they are on the verge of being a contender in the AFC. QB J.P. Losman really started to flourish last season. He and WR Lee Evans have grown together in this offense and will look to form one of the more lethal combinations in the NFL this season. The Bills traded No. 1 running back Willis McGahee and could move up in the first round and select Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson or stand pat and see if he falls to them. They would also consider Cal RB Marshawn Lynch with the No. 12 overall selection. The biggest questions for Buffalo are on defense, where they have had some key losses.

Key additions
The Bills' No. 1 offseason goal was to upgrade the offensive line. In fact, the Bills were the first team on the free-agency board with the addition of C Jason Whittle. Whittle is a versatile lineman who can play center or guard. Former Washington G Derrick Dockery and Oakland RT Langston Walker were the next dominoes to fall into place. Dockery and Walker are big and possess a ton of talent, but they also underachieved at times with their former teams. Offensive line coach Jim McNally has a history of getting the most out of his players, and should help Dockery and Walker to play with more consistency. The Bills also beefed up the other side of the line in trading for Philadelphia DT Darwin Walker. Walker can take reps at both nose tackle and three-technique spots. Walker is coming off one of his most productive seasons in Philadelphia and gives Buffalo a solid run stuffer who can also play on the edges and create pass-rush pressure.

Key losses
The Bills have had a number of losses this offseason. Some, such as offensive linemen Chris Villarrial (released), Mike Gandy (Arizona) and Tutan Reyes (released), were expected as this team needed to overhaul the entire offensive line. Others, such as Nate Clements (San Francisco), London Fletcher (Washington), Takeo Spikes (Philadelphia), were inevitable, but that doesn't mean they are not going to hurt. Make no mistake about it, Clements and Fletcher got more then they were worth on the open market. There is no way Buffalo would have invested that type of money to keep either player. The team also traded its only suitable starting running back when it dealt McGahee to Baltimore. That puts a lot more pressure on the Bills come draft day to find his replacement. The Bills' losses were understandable, but a little disappointing because they lost quality players on the field and some leadership within the locker room.

Remaining questions
The biggest question is running back. The Bills went out this offseason and invested a lot of money on the offensive line. Now they need to find someone who can take advantage of what should be newfound running room. The middle linebacker spot is also an issue. Mississippi's Patrick Willis would make fans quickly forget about the loss of Fletcher. Willis is a physical player who also shows very good sideline-to-sideline speed and range. The Bills also will look for a corner at some point to replace Clements, and tight end has been a sore spot in Buffalo for a number of years now. The Bills have a lot of holes to fill, and they showed last year that they are willing to be aggressive on draft day in moving up or down to get their goals accomplished.