Inside The Bills

Football Outsiders peg OT as top Bills need

Posted by Chris Brown on February 14, 2014 – 10:24 am

The Football Outsiders have put their number crunching to good use when it comes  to draft needs. And when considering what Buffalo could use most to help their team right away in 2014 they peg offensive tackle as the team’s top positional need.

I feel much the same way and knowing that a few of the teams in front of Buffalo in round one have a quarterback need there’s a very good chance that one of the top three offensive tackles in the draft reaches the Bills at ninth overall. Those are considered to be Auburn’s Greg Robinson, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews and Michigan’s Taylor Lewan.

Below is the analysis of Football Outsiders to justify OT as the team’s top positional need, which astutely points out that although the Bills were second in the league in rushing last season, their runs outside were considerably less productive than up the middle, to the point where Buffalo ran mostly inside. The 48 sacks surrendered were also tied for fourth-most in the league last season.

No one ran the ball more in 2013 than Buffalo with 546 runs, but the offense only ranked 14th in yards per carry (4.2) and 17th in DVOA. Run blocking was not a strength of the offensive line, especially to the outside, and right tackle Erik Pears in particular could be the player replaced in the draft by a top prospect like Greg Robinson (Auburn) or Jake Matthews (Texas A&M). Left tackle Cordy Glenn was a second-round pick in 2012 and his starting job should be safe, but he must play better. Buffalo had such little success when rushing outside last season that a league-high 71 percent of runs came up the middle or guard.

Not only does Manuel need some insulation from a consistent running game, but he could use better protection so he does not have to scramble as much and risk more injuries. Buffalo’s offensive line ranked 28th in adjusted sack rate (8.5 percent). Only 28 of the 48 sacks surrendered came with Manuel taking the snap, but if he’s going to stay on the field and get better, then the blocking must improve.


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