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:
- Overall skill-level
- On-the-field performance
- Projection based on film study over the past several years
- Age, and improving/declining ability
With that written, on to the countdown:
No. 20 - LB Lorenzo Alexander
Age: 34 (DOB: 5/31/1983)
Why he’s here:
- Although he’s the oldest player on the team, Alexander’s ability level will be depended on in a couple of key areas for the Bills. He’s still quite a proficient pass rusher, and when he lined up on the left side of the defensive line near the end of the season in 2017, he actually provided a spark that was missing for much of the year from that side in putting heat on the passer. Turning 35 later this month and on the final year of his deal, that’s why he lands so far down the list. However, still a dependable starter for the team that provides something that can make an impact, he deserves a place on the list for his work on defense. He’s also a noted special teams contributor throughout his career, which is mostly what got him to Buffalo in the first place.
- For Alexander, he’ll resume his role as the starting strongside linebacker — and most importantly, they know what role best suits his game at this point in his career. It wasn’t until the second half of the season, and the rise of Matt Milano as a starter, that the Bills began to limit Alexander’s snaps on defense to help out the efficiency of their defense. Alexander would play in base sets of the 4-3 defense and come off the field in most nickel situations. At the same time, they also carved out a role for him as a situational pass rusher, all the while keeping him fresh. He’ll likely continue in a similar role this season, but now with a full understanding of the coaching staff on how to best utilize him at this stage of his career, it can help maximize his production on a defensive front seven that has much more talent than it did a season ago.