1994: The Buffalo Bills have just played in four straight Super Bowls. This is the last year all of the Bills offensive skill players and team defense were really relevant. Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, Pete Metzelaars and Steve Christie. They might not strike fear into your opponent but they could all score points. 2010: These are definately not the same Bills. They haven't even been to the playoffs since 1999. They keep changing their front office and coaching staff but the results remain the same. Let's look at their off-season moves and consider what the Bills, Bills, Bills did.
The three losses the Bills incurred were all wide receivers. Of course, the biggest name was Terrell Owens. The Bills made a big splash signing TO last year. They thought it would lead to a breakout season for their passing game and a tidal wave of yards and TD's. It ended up being a small ripple, as TO had 55 receptions for 829 yards and 5 TD's. It wasn't all his fault because playing with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards as your quarterback would take a toll on most wide receivers statistics. You have to admit though that TO did not look like the same player that embarrassed cornerbacks while playing for the 49ers, Eagles and Cowboys. Replacing TO as the receiver across from Lee Evans will most likely be third year receiver James Hardy. He has potential but he has not showed us much of a glimmer of hope. Look for 30 receptions, 400 yards and 3 TD's. Along with TO, Buffalo let Josh Reed go to San Diego. He was a decent third receiver but never showed much for a former second round draft pick. Filling Reed's spot and like Hardy, Steve Johnson is entering his third year in the NFL. Another similarity to Hardy is that Johnson has shown nothing in the regular season. He caught 20 passes over the last two preseasons but that does us as fantasy owners no good. His totals will not be much better: 25 receptions, 300 yards and 2 TD's. The other receiver leaving is C.J. Hawthorne, enough said.
The Bills added TE Michael Matthews from the Lions in free agency. He might make the team on special teams. Most interesting was Buffalo's draft. In the first round, they took RB C.J. Spiller out of Clemson. The first running back taken in the draft, Spiller was a very good pick. The only downside is that the Bills already had Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson. It's hard not to see Spiller starting though. He brings balance, agility and strength. Spiller has also been compared to Chris Johnson which is a great comparison and shows his potential for explosiveness. If the Bills tap into that potential, he can reach 1000 yards and 6 TD's rushing and 300 yards and 2 TD's receiving. In the fourth round, Buffalo took WR Marcus Easley from the University of Connecticut. Likely a special teams player, Easley really turned it on his senior season but I think the Bills drafted him a little higher than they should have. Rounding out their offensive skill position picks, the Bills selected QB Levi Brown in the seventh round out of Troy. He was a steal at that point in the draft and has been compared to Matt Schaub. Not too shabby.
The Bills let go of TO and Evans, which wasn't the worst move but do they really think that Hardy and Johnson can equal them. I don't think so. Owens even at the tail end of his career is light years ahead of these guys. Buffalo had a great draft. Hopefully, they will let Spiller fly all over the field and use him in a number of ways. He should be a really special player and would be a excellent keeper or dynasty draft pick.
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