Tears of a Bills Fan: The New Era

Story by Kyle Graham 

First and foremost, I would like to apologize to my beloved Bills Mafia. During my last edition of TOBF, I made up various scenarios of how I thought the Bills would screw up the draft and boy, I’ll admit– I was completely wrong.

Draft Recap

The Bills ended up trading back with the Chiefs and selected Tre’Davious White out of LSU with the 27th overall pick. Not only did they use their first-round pick on a guy who may fit in the new McDermott-Leslie Frazier (DC) defensive system perfectly, but the trade also filled a glaring need in their secondary, while acquiring extra picks in this year’s draft (not including the Chiefs 2018 first round pick).

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These extra picks helped them pick up two valuable players in wide receiver Zay Jones and offensive lineman Dion Dawkins in the second round of the draft. The most important thing to note is that all three of these early draft selections can end up becoming a starter in week one for the Bills, which would be a huge accomplishment for the new McDermott regime in Buffalo.

Honestly, after three great selections I figured the magic would end there (I guess that was the typical Bills’ pessimism rearing its head). But the magic didn’t fade! McDermott and his crew drafted a possible fifth-round gem in QB Nathan Peterman that could one day lead the Bills to victory in Super Bowl LX (Hey, you never know).

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Like I previously mentioned, I was wrong when I predicted that the Bills would not draft well. But in my defense, my expectations were surrounded by Doug Whaley making all the decisions… which leads us to my second topic, the Bills brand-spanking new GM, Brandon Beane.

The New Age of Brandon Beane

One day after the 2017 NFL draft, the Buffalo Bills fired GM Doug Whaley and cleared out their entire scouting department. After the departure of Whaley, it only took the Bills about ten days to hire Beane, which goes to show how highly they think of him already to hire him that quickly.

Beane is coming off a 19-year stint with the Carolina Panthers organization where he literally started at the bottom of the organization as an intern and worked his way up to assistant general manager.

Beane is known to have a very keen eye for talent, as a scout, and played a big part in drafting superstars like Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly, who helped the Panthers win the NFC South division for three consecutive seasons, including one Super Bowl appearance.

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Here are my three major takeaways of our new hiring:

  • Beane will have immediate control of the 53-Man roster

Although it is too early to say that this is something beneficial, the thing that I take away from this is that we finally will have a GM and a head coach that will see eye-to-eye on things.

The documented history of Whaley and Rex Ryan for the last two seasons is brutal because they never seemed to be on the same page. This is probably the reason Whaley was fired in the first place.

But with McDermott and Beane already having a strong and established relationship together with the Panther’s organization, there’s a lot of hope that these two will be working side-by-side for many years to come.
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  • Beane places priority on drafting and development

With Beane in control now, there will be a lot more emphasis on “trusting the process”. He learned in Carolina that it’s not the best practice to use free agency alone as a tool to pad your roster with high-end free agents because that could lead to trouble down the road.

With a very talented draft class and an extra first round draft pick in next year’s draft, be prepared to see a lot of talented young players leading the team in the future and less of the Mario Williams-type free-agency splashes.

  • Beane stressed the importance of the run game in his opening press conference

With a team that has led the league in rushing in consecutive years, it’s probably a smart idea to continue to focus on the run game. Even with the departure of Gillislee, the Bills still have some RB depth behind LeSean McCoy. Factor in free-agency acquisitions FB Patrick Dimarco and FB/RB Mike Tolbert and one of the best running QB’s in the game (Tyrod Taylor) and you should expect more domination on the ground to come.

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We are now officially under the new age of Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane. With a very tough schedule, it would be unfair to expect the Bills to make the playoffs this year, but I have faith that the playoffs are in our near future. Then again, we do tend to play our best when everyone counts us out (Bleacher report had us going 4-12). Let’s circle the wagons Bills Mafia! And let the new age begin.

Featured image for this post courtesy of the Sporting News

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