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49ers opponents 2016: Bills complacent on defense in free agency

The Bills made some smart moves by retaining their top offensive linemen, but with serious needs in the front seven they've signed zero players at those positions.

The Buffalo Bills were bad in the areas they were supposed to be good and good in the areas they were supposed to be bad in last season. In his first season as head coach, Rex Ryan coached the Bills to an over-achieving offense with surprising success from the quarterback position and a lethargic defense that was completely inept at causing havoc behind the line of scrimmage.

Mario Williams, one of the best pass rushers in the league and recipient of a nice, fat contract extension in recent years, went from having double digit sacks to being a complete afterthought. And the number of people who actually believe this is Williams' own fault is very, very small.

Buffalo went from having 54 sacks in 2014 to just 21 sacks in their first season under Ryan. Williams had three consecutive double-digit sack seasons but managed to get to the opposing passer just five times last season. But they also saw a quarterback battle that included Matt Cassel actually lead to a productive passer in Tyrod Taylor.

If I'm being honest, and I am despite the fact that I have no reason to be, I'm pretty envious of the Bills for finding Taylor. They knew what they wanted, they got him, and he's worked out. I expect him to take a big step next season and really develop, but it also depends on several factors.

Coming into the offseason, the Bills needed quite a few things to find success: two starting defensive linemen, two offensive tackles, two offensive guards, a wide receiver and an outside linebacker. Fortunately, counted among the tackles and guards were played that were eventually re-signed. Either way, here's a list of their biggest free agents this offseason:

OT Cordy Glenn

OG Richie Incognito

DE Mario Williams

S Bacarri Rambo

DT Corbin Bryant

WR Percy Harvin

WR Leonard Hankerson

Free agency recap

Again, the Bills needed a couple tackles and a couple guards, and they managed to fill one of each by using the franchise tag on Glenn, a very capable franchise left tackle, and by re-signing Incognito. Now you can say what you want about Incognito generally being a turd of a person, but he was an excellent guard last season and the Bills got him signed to a three-year contract.

They also managed to re-sign Hankerson and offensive tackle Jordan Mills. They also brought in safety Robert Blanton, which was needed given the fact that they also needed to add some depth to the safety position. That's especially true given Aaron Williams' serious neck injury last season. They signed Jim Dray and in addition to releasing Williams, they cut Kraig Urbik and Leodis McKelvin.

Their strongest moves were in retaining their top offensive linemen, but it's a little concerning that they parted ways with Williams and have yet to bring in a defensive lineman at all. Kyle Williams is 33 years old and is coming off a down year as well, so that was surprising. It's been a little slow-going for the Bills.

Needs heading into the NFL Draft

Ryan will certainly evaluate his scheme to try and help the pass rush and get his under-performing defensive front seven up to par. But realistically, they need at least one starting defensive end and, if possible, a starting defensive tackle. On the defensive side of the ball, they could stand to get some help at outside linebacker, where Nigel Bradham struggled last year.

On offense, they still need another receiver. Sammy Watkins is great and will be Taylor's best friend for years to come, but the Bills need more on the other side of the field and Hankerson isn't the answer. They also lost Chris Hogan to the New England Patriots and I think that will end up hurting them. But I suspect they are going to invest a high draft pick in a receiver.

Other than those, the Bills have a need at kicker given Dan Carpenter's atrocious six missed extra points and they need a backup for Taylor. EJ Manuel is not a good quarterback and I wouldn't want my team in his hands if ... oh lord, I forgot Blaine Gabbert is the starter for the 49ers. For just a moment.