NFL Draft Preview: Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills have been in search of two things over the past 15 years: relevance and a franchise quarterback. Neither is likely to arrive in Western New York via the 2011 NFL draft.

But the team does have a number of ways to make strides toward a better on-field product. Two such possibilities in the first-round: OLB Von Miller and DT Marcell Dareus.

Miller’s athletic ability would immediately add to the Bills struggling 3-4 scheme and bottom-of-the-league pass rush. Dareus could instantly aid the worst rush defense in the league.

Trading down and picking up tackle Anthony Castonzo is plausible. A beast by any measure, he would help address the Bills’ one consistency over the last decade: a terrible offensive line.

But if you listen to “the experts,” a franchise quarterback is necessary. Maybe, but that player is not Blaine Gabbert or possible second rounder Christian Ponder.

The team must address the lack of depth on both sides of the line in the second and third rounds. New assistant head coach Dave Wannstedt could vouch for OT Jason Pinkston, whom he recruited as head coach at Pitt. For a steal in later rounds, they should consider Julius Thomas, the newest basketball player turned TE.

Rolling the dice on a quarterback in the first or second round would ignore the multitude of holes throughout the team. Besides, Ryan Fitzpatrick is a capable signal caller that gives the team a chance to win. The team cannot afford to take on another long-term project. They need relevancy now: The uncertain future of team ownership and the siren song of a move to California are the real story for this team. Unless the Bills make smart choices in this draft, they could become the Los Angeles Dollar Bills sooner than any Western New Yorker wants to acknowledge.

— Harrison Moar is the Cato Institute’s media-relations manager.

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