Super Bowl-or-bust season? No, the Buffalo Bills are looking ahead to the draft in the long run

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ORCHARD PARK, NY – The Buffalo Bills have used aggressively this offseason to win a championship, adding free-agent pass-rusher Von Miller and signing wide receiver Stefon Diggs to a $ 104 million extension.

But this is not a team that applies an all-in approach, as the Los Angeles Rams did last year. General manager Brandon Beane rejected the idea that this season is the Super Bowl or bust.

“It’s not. It’s not. I understand the question and I understand why people would believe it, but it’s not a year, ‘we have to get to the Super Bowl or not,'” Beane said. to the Super Bowl every year, but we can win the Super Bowl this year and we’ll fight hell to get back next year. No move we made this year was an all-in, you-better-do-it-now [approach]. We have a plan and we want to stay competitive. That’s the plan.”

The plan has got Bills here, and sits on one of the NFL’s best lists less than a week from the start of next week’s draft (Thursday to Saturday, ESPN). Expectations are now much higher, but the approach is the same. Signing Miller to a long-term deal was a big boost to help them get over the hump that has been the Kansas City Chiefs who have knocked them out of the playoffs the past two seasons. The goal is to get him to make a significant impact on the field over the next few seasons, not just this year, while 33-year-old Miller on Wednesday said he intends to play out his $ 120 million six-year contract.

“I can run with anyone and I’m healthy and I take care of my body,” Miller said. “This is a six-year deal, so I’m looking forward to playing it all. I’m trying to play it all out. Tom Brady has done it; Bruce Smith has done it. All the guys I look up to when it comes for a long career. “

Since coach Sean McDermott and Beane took over the team at various times in 2017, the core of the roster has been built through the draft. The Bills have signed several draft picks in recent years for the second deal, and they have rewarded top players like Diggs and quarterback Josh Allen with big extensions, aided by the number of rookie contracts on the list.

This year, the bills have eight drafts to work on. But the reality is that the place on the 53-man list is somewhat limited. That’s what happens with good teams. But because of the bill’s belief in developing and building through the draft, next week is crucial.

A position that is a need for the bills is outside the corner. Many mock drafts, including Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay’s latest, Buffalo has to pick a corner with the 25th overall pick. With Levi Wallace joining the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency, a rebuilding Tre’Davious White (who tore the ACL in his left knee at Thanksgiving) and 2020 seventh-round-selected Danish Jackson are set to launch.

However, Beane pointed out that there are a number of different positions on the list that he is not “comfortable with”, noting that quarterbacks are an exception. When asked about the position specifically, he said they had chosen to invest in advance by signing Miller and others when it was an opportunity to draw an expensive corner.

“If you’re strong up front, you can help your butt. That’s part of it, too. Where our purpose in free agency, we signed some D-tackles, of course, and we were able to sign Von. But it was focus there, “Beane said.” We could have gone less on the D-line and said ‘Hey, we want to stick to what we have here on the D-line, and maybe go for a higher corner as well.’ But it just felt like this was the best way, and hopefully it will turn out to be the right move. “

The Bills have spoken to free agent corners, where Miller involved himself by recruiting cornerback Joe Haden on the golf course, so it’s still an option to sign a free agent.

McDermott, a former secondary school coach, said he feels there is depth in this year’s corner class. Under Beane as general manager, the Bills have never invested a high draft pick in a corner.

Moving up or down from No. 25 are viable options, but taking a running back with the first-round pick is also an option. Beane said the front office has previously classified running backs as first-rounders. Buffalo used third-round picks in 2019 and 2020 to pick running backs – Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, respectively – but a top back like Iowa State’s Breece Hall will likely be available when they pick.

“If there’s a player who I think is dynamic enough as a running back who can add an element to our offense, this year, next year, anytime, we would still take him,” Bean said, “but it should be dynamic enough to be above another position that may be considered a higher position value. “

It’s the luxury of the place where Bills is located. They have eight draft picks to fill the few gaps they have and can afford to draft which player will ever make the most sense in the long run, not just to help win in 2022.

“We’re close, but we’re obviously not there,” Beane said of having a championship list. “So what are we going to do? But you still have to have a lot of basic draft picks to be able to do that. You can’t just buy players; it’s not going to work, I do not think.”

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