Ranking Bills position groups from worst to best
As the Buffalo Bills head toward the 2023 offseason, training camp, and eventually the season, here’s how Bills Wire ranks the team’s position groups head-to-head:
James Cook #28 of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
A good place to start when ranking position groups is to ask one question: Who is the starter? We don’t even know that for running back.
James Cook, a 2022 second-round pick by the Bills, should get a good look at that job. His top competition appears to be Damien Harris, who signed a one-year deal in Buffalo this offseason.
Buffalo Bills center Mitch Morse (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Aside from Dion Dawkins at left tackle, the Bills don’t have any high-end offensive linemen.
Along with Dawkins, Mitch Morse and Spencer Brown return at center and right tackle, respectively. Some were curious if Brown could be replaced this offseason, meanwhile, Morse is consistently considered an average-to-below-average center by Pro Football Focus… but the Bills like him even if PFF graded him only the 24th best center in the NFL in 2022.
Hopefully Buffalo’s O-line will be helped by the training camp competition at guard. O’Cyrus Torrence (second-round rookie), Connor McGovern (free agent signee), and David Edwards (free agent signee) will battle the likes of returnees Ryan Bates and Ike Boettger to figure out who starts at those two spots.
Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Matt Milano (58) (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Similar to running back, who is starting at linebacker?
Well, Matt Milano is, one of the best in the NFL at his job. Next to him? The Bills still don’t have an answer at who is replacing Tremaine Edmunds and there’s no guarantee on how that’s going to turn out… so for now, here’s where linebacker falls.
Buffalo Bills’ Von Miller (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Von Miller makes the Bills’ defensive line top heavy. Behind him, both in the middle and among the team’s pass rushers, is an average group.
On the edge with Miller, Greg Rousseau has shown some promising signs. Behind him is a mix of Shaq Lawson, AJ Epenesa and Boogie Basham, a trio of top draft picks that haven’t panned out.
Similarly, in the middle it’s Ed Oliver leading the way. He flashed talent in 2021 only to not take another step forward last season. DaQuan Jones is a solid one-tech space-eater at tackle, at least.
In terms of depth, Buffalo could do a whole lot worse. Jordan Phillips, Tim Settle and Poona Ford, who recently signed to backup Jones, is a good combo down the middle.
Stefon Diggs #14 of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Stefon Diggs is the clear-cut man here. The All-Pro talent paces the Bills and that’s expected to continue in 2023–But can he get some help?
Buffalo drafted Justin Shorter in the fifth round and signed Deonte Harty during free agency. They join returnees Khalil Shakir and Gabe Davis.
Admittedly, Diggs carries this unit. But if competition can bring out the best in depth players… and truthfully if Gabe Davis steps up specifically, the Bills have a good receiver room.
Dalton Kincaid (86) Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
There is a lot of excitement for Dalton Kincaid. As a first-round rookie, we’re optimistic he’s going to be talented, too. But give him time. If Kincaid hits the ground running, the rookie and Dawson Knox will be a top-tier NFL pairing and would move up such a list.
Buffalo Bills’ Jordan Poyer (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
Can Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde remain one of the NFL’s top safety tandems? Most signs point to yes.
In the past the Bills’ secondary would be the team’s best position group. But cornerback questions are here.
Tre’Davious White was good, but not great, in 2022. Understandable.
Buffalo will hope he returns to his All-Pro levels after giving his injured knee a full offseasons worth of rest. Across from White it’s likely to be Kaiir Elam starting. Similar to White, improvement in 2023 is the hope.
The rest of the group is steady as well. Taron Johnson handles the nickel duties in good fashion. Dane Jackson and Christian Benford highlight solid depth options.
(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Josh Allen needs little introduction. He starts at the most important position in sports and is a star talent. But the Bills have some capable depth, too.
Kyle Allen signed a one-year deal to backup in 2023. While his 7-12 career record does have QB2 written all over it, a 26 to 21 to touchdown-to-interception ratio isn’t too bad.