(WKBW) - At the end of the July, the Buffalo Bills will embark upon something they haven’t gone for in quite some time — as they’ll attempt to make it to the playoffs for the second consecutive season. With head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane at the helm, the team is almost completely different than what it was two years ago.
As the Bills maneuver through the offseason workouts, 7ABC will take a look at the team on the field — and more specifically, the top talent that exists on the roster that can help the Bills get back to the postseason. You’ll be introduced to the Bills’ ‘Top 20 Talents’ for the upcoming season in 2018
It's a bit of a different 'most talented' list because it also takes other factors into consideration. The countdown criteria:
Projection based on film study over the past several years
Age, and improving/declining ability
With that written, on to the countdown:
No. 17 - K Stephen Hauschka
Age: 32 (DOB: 6/29/1985)
Why he’s here:
- You can’t rank a special teams player too highly on these lists because of their limited output, but Stephen Hauschka had to be placed on the list after a stellar first season with the Bills. He was as dependable as it gets during the 2017 season, consistently hitting clutch field goals from long distances. He also carries the perfect personality as a kicker. The moment never gets too big for him because he comes across as incredibly relaxed — and didn’t let his few misses in 2017 get to him. At age 33 for the upcoming season, there isn’t much concern about if he’ll start to decline in ability because the great kickers usually can go into their mid-to-late 30s.
- While the Bills did sign a kicker to bring to spring workouts and maybe even training camp, Hauschka is in no danger of being released from the team — barring a complete collapse in the preseason. Even then, he’s likely to be safe based on how well he performed in 2017 — and will be given the benefit of the doubt to get it turned around. He’s as steady a player on the roster as you’ll find, which is why he deserved a spot on this countdown.