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MAJBobby

My Off-Season Primer: Position Group: LB

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***Disclaimer*** I will not put all Names not on the Bills in this thread as it would get to long, I will keep it to a couple names in each tier (as I see them).  Hope you enjoy the read.  All that is lft is DBs.  After the Franchise Tag Deadline will work my dream Ideal off-season (pre draft)

 

Past Writeups

Quarterback

Running Backs

Tight Ends

Wide Receivers

Offensive Line

Specialists

Defensive Ends

Defensive Tackle

 

Currently on Roster: (Positional Spending 6 players 5.504M Cap) (Ranked 31st in NFL)

Tremaine Edmunds (5th year option 2022) (UFA 2023)

Matt Milano (UFA 2021) - Saves 735K against cap if Cut

Corey Thompson (RFA 2021) – Saves 660K against cap if Cut

Vosean Joseph (UFA 2023) – Saves 350K against cap if Cut

Tyrel Dodson (signed Futures Deal)

Del’Shawn Phillips (signed Futures Deal)

 

Expiring Contracts

Lorenzo Alexander (37 yrd old) (2019 AAV 3.750M) *RETIRED*

Julian Stanford (29 yrs old) (2019 AAV 1.5K) (Market Value 1-2M AAV)

Maurice Alexander (30 yrs old) (2019 AAV 1.0M) (Market Value 1-2M AAV)

 

My Take:

Before I start, I just have to say thank you to Lorenzo Alexander, you are a true warrior and the embodiment of hard work and never give up.  Thank you for your time in Buffalo and I am proud to call you a Buffalo Bill.

 

The Other expiring contracts are just guys, there are similar to them all over the landscape of the NFL and neither should be re-signed until maybe post Draft UFA period on 1-year deals again, I really don’t what to spend to much time on them.

 

Also going to start with the other LBers (not named Edmunds and Milano).  I do like the potential of this group and does go in line with what I think is a vital trait in today’s NFL LBer which is speed from the limited time I seen from this group is they do have that and potential.  I think it is very telling how much the Bills like Dodson, if he didn’t spark their interest or show things Beane and McD liked on the field he would have been gone with the off-field issue.  Teams do not keep UDFAs that have an off-field problem unless there is really something there they like. With the potential in this group I could see the Bills logically staying away from this position group all together in the off-season, especially with how much we play in sub-packages with only 2 LBs on the field.   That will IMO really come down to how much McD likes Milano and or Edmunds as the Veteran in the room.  I don’t think he will and will get to how to fix that in a bit.

 

Edmunds – at only 21 years old, he is turning into a very good player and taking on the leadership role on would hope from what should be your QB of the defense.  Every aspect of his game has improved from his rookie year, however there are still times he gets confused, washed out of plays or lost in coverage, but looking at his rookie year those instances are far less than where he was.  I cannot wait to see him next year when I think he really arrives, and people are talking about him as arguably the best LBer in the game.   The biggest thing that jumped out at me, is how he is starting to trust what he is seeing, he made plays in the backfield because of his athleticism and finally his eyes are catching up to that as well.  His numbers:

 

115 tackles, 66 solo, 10 TFL, 4 QB Hits, 1.5 Sacks, 1 Safety, 0 FF, 0FR, 1 INT and 9 PD – 94.6% snaps

 

If you just go by the numbers, they are down from his Rookie year, But you have to remember that there are reason, Milano being healthy, better play from the DTs, Better play from Lawson and Murphy, with that Edmunds didn’t have to make every play.  But in terms of his overall play and command of the defense he improved with still room to grow.

 

Milano the first thing I wanted to see is if h came pack healthy and I think he did, although not 100% fully recovered I don’t think but still healthy, I think this offseason will be good for him.  I think (completely uneducated guess) injuries are always going to follow Milano.  He is small in terms of mass, and plays violently, which IMO will lend himself to getting dinged more than most.  I don’t think there will be many Major issues (can’t really predict them) but I do think he will end up missing games every year.  Not that that is a bad thing, I do like his play style a lot.  Milano is a very good rusher from LBer spot, good blitzer and an excellent cover LBer as well.  If I was the Bills I would sign him now, give him another year and it will be even more expensive, a Milano extension would be my Money expenditure in this group this off-season.   My Only negative is he doesn’t get off blocks very well, but as a smallish LBer that will be somewhat expected, however he doesn’t get blocked often either because of his speed he can avoid them. His Numbers

 

100 tackles, 64 Solo, 7 TFL, 7 QB Hits, 1.5 Sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR, 0 INT, 9 PD – 86.0% snaps

 

Possible Trade TGTs (hard to gauge until after SB)

Haven’t heard any LBers

 

UFAs Possible

Tier 1

Blake Martinez (ILB)

Cory Littleton (ILB)

Joe Schobert (ILB)

Kyle Van Noy (OLB)

Shaquil Barrett (OLB/DE)

Dante Fowler (OLB/DE)

Bud Dupree (OLB/DE)

De’Vondre Campbell (OLB)

 

Tier 2

Jon Bostic (ILB)

James Burgess (ILB)

Neville Hewitt (ILB)

Nick Vigil (OLB)

AJ Klein (OLB)

Jamie Collins (OLB)

Sean Lee (OLB)

Mychal Kendricks (OLB)

Markus Goldon (OLB)

 

Draft

Tier 1 (1st and 2nd round grades)

ILB

Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma)

Troy Dye (Oregon)

Jordyn Brooks (Texas Tech)

Malik Harrison (Ohio State)

 

OLB

Isaiah Simmons (Clemson) – Best LBer in the Class at both ILB and OLB

K’Lavon Chaisson (LCU)

Anfernee Jennings (Alabama)

 

Tier 2 (3rd-5th round)

ILB

Jacob Phillips (LSU)

Joe Bachie (Michigan State)

Evan Weaver (Cal)

Cam Brown (Penn St)

Shaquille Quarterman (Miami)

Jordan Mack (Virginia)

 

OLB

Chris Orr (Wisconsin)

Zach Baun (Wisconsin)

Dele Harding (Illinois)

Josh Uche (Michigan)

 

Tier 3 (6th – Priority UFA)

ILB

Rayshard Ashby (Virginia Tech)

David Woodward (Utah State)

Patrick Queen (LSU)

Kamal Martin (Minnesota)

 

OLB

Akeem Davis-Gaither (Appalachian St)

Michael Pinckney (Miami)

Keandre Jones (Maryland)

Jahad Woods (Washington St)

Carter Coughlin (Minnesota)

DeAngelo Malone (Western Kentucky)

 

Final thinking in this Position group for me would be:

 

I really like the organizational Depth we have at this position and I really could see bypassing this position group all together.  However, I don’t think the Bills will, they will likely draft into the position either like a true DE/OLB to help with pass rush or a pure OLB.  I think it is more likely addressed in UFA with a couple Vets (specially if they go big after one of the DEs but could also come back in here for the OLB/DE to help the pass rush.  The thing is I don’t think they need to be a three down LBer because of the amount of nickel we play, and we have what looks like 4 LBers on the roster that already are 2 that have arrived (Milano and Edmunds) and 2 with potential in Dodson and Joseph.

 

I think what I am going to do at this position is address Lorenzo Alexander retirement with McD and Beane veteran in each room.  And the on that just makes way too much sense to not connect the dots is AJ Klein.  He knows the system, reports McD wanted him when he was first hired, but chose NO.  A 3-year 15M with 5 gtd should be enough to get it done.  He would bring the knowledge of the system and is someone McD trusts.

Edited by MAJBobby
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You have done a really good job with these and getting us primed and ready to look at the FAs and players in the upcoming draft. Lots of good info here on the positions, players and very reasonable assumptions so far on your part!

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I like the idea of spending some money on mid-level FA's to round out our top level and build depth while freeing up the draft to get guys who are going to make a difference. 

 

A good FA period to me would look something like this: 

 

Vernon Butler, DT

AJ Klein, LB 

Vic Beasley, DE (one year prove it deal, or heavy incentives)

Depth at OL

Secondary Depth 

A playmaker (lower level, probably) 

 

Then we can go into the draft with freedom to build. I don't think we're likely to see any big splashes (maybe one at DE if Shaq walks) but rather, solid contributors who fit the scheme and the culture. 

 

 

3 minutes ago, Reed83HOF said:

You have done a really good job with these and getting us primed and ready to look at the FAs and players in the upcoming draft. Lots of good info here on the positions, players and very reasonable assumptions so far on your part!

 

Agreed! 

 

It's been a great primer to get the brain thinking. I for one am excited to see what happens. I think realistically, our FO improved our team by at least 50% just by added overall talent and depth on the roster during last years FA. I expect a similar offseason and similar rewards. 

Edited by whatdrought

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2 minutes ago, Reed83HOF said:

You have done a really good job with these and getting us primed and ready to look at the FAs and players in the upcoming draft. Lots of good info here on the positions, players and very reasonable assumptions so far on your part!


appreciate it. I figured it would be a nice transition from a good year with a disappointing loss to end it. Into the off-season. 

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2 minutes ago, whatdrought said:

I like the idea of spending some money on mid-level FA's to round out our top level and build depth while freeing up the draft to get guys who are going to make a difference. 

 

A good FA period to me would look something like this: 

 

Vernon Butler, DT

AJ Klein, LB 

Vic Beasley, DE (one year prove it deal, or heavy incentives)

Depth at OL

Secondary Depth 

A playmaker (lower level, probably) 

 

Then we can go into the draft with freedom to build. I don't think we're likely to see any big splashes (maybe one at DE if Shaq walks) but rather, solid contributors who fit the scheme and the culture. 

 

 

 

Agreed! 

 

It's been a great primer to get the brain thinking. I for one am excited to see what happens. I think realistically, our FO improved our team by at least 50% just by added overall talent and depth on the roster during last years FA. I expect a similar offseason and similar rewards. 

This is real roster building, you will be letting some good players go, but finding upgrades at the important schematic/impact positions and finding value in backups on other role players. the depth on the team is great and we will lose good players along the way, but we should be improving every year around the core guys. 

 

@MAJBobby I have been thinking about the Vet leadership at each position that McD loves - when do you think he feels these young core guys are ready to be that Vet Leader and we don't need to add the "old" player? Is Milano or Edmunds close enough to step into that role? and not distract from the focus of this, but would a TE like Hooper be considered enough of a vet to cast aside Lee Smith? Kinda of an over arching question regardless of position

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5 minutes ago, MAJBobby said:


appreciate it. I figured it would be a nice transition from a good year with a disappointing loss to end it. Into the off-season. 

Vernon Butler is like Jordan Phillips in a sense, not sure he hasn't had many sacks until this past season. I like adding someone if lose Jordan yet not sold on Butler. 

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1 minute ago, Reed83HOF said:

This is real roster building, you will be letting some good players go, but finding upgrades at the important schematic/impact positions and finding value in backups on other role players. the depth on the team is great and we will lose good players along the way, but we should be improving every year around the core guys. 

 

@MAJBobby I have been thinking about the Vet leadership at each position that McD loves - when do you think he feels these young core guys are ready to be that Vet Leader and we don't need to add the "old" player? Is Milano or Edmunds close enough to step into that role? and not distract from the focus of this, but would a TE like Hooper be considered enough of a vet to cast aside Lee Smith? Kinda of an over arching question regardless of position


that is the hard part to say right now because there is no metic out there as the team is young. And McD and Beane have yet to hand over a room to that young Corp. 

 

I do think Hooper would be fine to fill that role just because Micah Hyde and Poyer were about the same age as Hooper when McD signed them and didn’t really bring a guy to mentor them. 
 

I personally think the LBer group is probably the closest to hand over. But until it happens your guess is as good as mine as to McD trigger point for that. 

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3 minutes ago, MAJBobby said:


that is the hard part to say right now because there is no metic out there as the team is young. And McD and Beane have yet to hand over a room to that young Corp. 

 

I do think Hooper would be fine to fill that role just because Micah Hyde and Poyer were about the same age as Hooper when McD signed them and didn’t really bring a guy to mentor them. 
 

I personally think the LBer group is probably the closest to hand over. But until it happens your guess is as good as mine as to McD trigger point for that. 

 

I agree & I think we are just about there on LB. That is a very good point about Poyer & Hyde, they were right around the same age. Beane did say across the board they want to continue to get younger and this just naturally seems like where you take those steps - Gore, Smith, LorAx and in a couple years Jerry & Star.

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1 minute ago, Reed83HOF said:

 

I agree & I think we are just about there on LB. That is a very good point about Poyer & Hyde, they were right around the same age. Beane did say across the board they want to continue to get younger and this just naturally seems like where you take those steps - Gore, Smith, LorAx and in a couple years Jerry & Star.

 

Agree I dont think they have the thinking of a Vet meaning 29+  

Ideally I think they want that "young" Vet.  At this point all the young guys (except the rookies) have had multiple years in both Offense and Defensive system.

 

I think Veteran in their mind is more traits.  Look at Lorax, Gore, Smith, Kyle (before retired), Nsheke.  They are all Hard Workers, never took anything for granted, all overcame something in life or multiple things, know how to take care of their bodies, how to put the work in.  I Think that is what they mean by Vet in the room, but hard to really say one way or another until a room is turned over to the core.  Which will b another interesting thing to watch and break down and apply to other groups once it happens once.

Edited by MAJBobby
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Totally agree re: AJ Klein; seems like a pretty obvious target to me.

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24 minutes ago, MAJBobby said:


that is the hard part to say right now because there is no metic out there as the team is young. And McD and Beane have yet to hand over a room to that young Corp. 

 

I do think Hooper would be fine to fill that role just because Micah Hyde and Poyer were about the same age as Hooper when McD signed them and didn’t really bring a guy to mentor them
 

I personally think the LBer group is probably the closest to hand over. But until it happens your guess is as good as mine as to McD trigger point for that. 

I think part of that was Hyde’s playoff experience and the complexity of the defense he came from. Those are likely determining factors for McDs views on leadership. 

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Great write-up!

 

I'd agree.  I know some see Zo retiring and think we need to replace him, but we used him more as a pass rusher, and have been developing 3 young LB'ers in Thompson, Joseph and Dodson. 

 

I could see us signing a vet, given the youth at the position, but Edmunds and Milano are the only linebackers who play 3 downs, and if we upgrade our pressure from the EDGE, i'd expect to see a lot of Siran Neal or one of the other DB's in the box more often than not.

 

 

Edited by SCBills
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6 hours ago, MAJBobby said:

 Micah Hyde and Poyer were about the same age as Hooper when McD signed them and didn’t really bring a guy to mentor them. 

 

I suspect that McD's mentoring philosophy is geared toward draft choices coming into the league, not veterans who've already been productive and know the ropes.   

 

In that sense, both Edmunds and Milano are now vets who'll be expected to mentor any young draft picks or UDFAs...

 

Edited by Lurker
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Nice job! I will be banging the table all off season for Kyler Fackrell. I really liked him during draft time, and he is the perfect replacement for Zo. He can cover, rush the passer, and stop the run. He has been used in a variety of ways by Green Bay and needs to get a shot at being a full time player. He would be the starting SAM linebacker and move to Defensive end on passing downs. He can do a lot of different things well and is a true hybrid type player stuck behind the Smith brothers in GB. 

 

And in terms of process and such, he fits like a glove. This is what DC Mike Pettine said about him a couple of weeks ago: 

"He's the consummate professional. Unselfish. Knowing his playing time is limited, he's the same guy whether he knows he's featured in the plan and pressures are in for him, or he has the more thankless jobs. He just goes out and does his job and does it well. This year there were times he was winning, just not winning fast enough. He's had a lot of near misses. He's been one of our better droppers as well. Whatever we're asking him to do, he's just coach, tell me what to do and I'll do it. He's a team guy, and very quietly been a really big part of our success."

Edited by MrEpsYtown
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8 hours ago, MAJBobby said:


appreciate it. I figured it would be a nice transition from a good year with a disappointing loss to end it. Into the off-season. 

Nice to see your restraint and use of logic. Knowing McBeanes philosophy and comprehending value for what bills currently have as to how they will be used.
 The DE OLB who could be considered edge is where something needs to occur.

I consider Joseph and unknown commodity. Dodson a bit less so for me.
 all good points you make and certainly great talking points

 Thanks !

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Great write-up @MAJBobby.

 

I look forward to seeing what Vosean Joseph can do, and Tyrel Dodson.

 

Another player in the draft to keep an eye on is Khaleke Hudson from Michigan. You look at how he plays and his body type, and he looks like a player that McDermott loves.

 

Would it surprise you if Beane chose to make a trade up in the first round and pick Isaiah Simmons?

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10 minutes ago, Mark Vader said:

Great write-up @MAJBobby.

 

I look forward to seeing what Vosean Joseph can do, and Tyrel Dodson.

 

Another player in the draft to keep an eye on is Khaleke Hudson from Michigan. You look at how he plays and his body type, and he looks like a player that McDermott loves.

 

Would it surprise you if Beane chose to make a trade up in the first round and pick Isaiah Simmons?

It would a bit if he did seeing we already did that for one LBer. But IMO Simmons is a stud and the best player in the draft. Can play all over the field and impact 

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All your write positional write ups are very well done, thanks for your time and effort on these, good reads.

 

Go Bills!!!

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