Success for any NFL team likely means making the playoffs and potentially making a deep run with a chance at winning the Super Bowl. However, while the term of success is used loosely in this statement, it still rings true when we are talking about the Buffalo Bills, especially with the team not having seen a playoff game since the turn of the 21st century.
With a new head coach and general manager for the 2017 season, many believe that it will be extremely difficult for the Buffalo Bills to quench their thirst and make the playoffs this season. That said, if the Bills were to upset the odds and make a run at the postseason this year, it will be down to the success of the following three players.
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Ronald Darby — Cornerback
The veteran of the Buffalo Bills secondary, Ronald Darby will be counted on to make big plays for the team this season. Moving into the number one cornerback slot following the loss of Stephon Gilmore in free agency, Darby will need to be a force for the team if they are succeed in 2017.
Making Darby’s role even more important is due to Buffalo’s three new starters at it’s four secondary positions. Welcoming free agent signing Micah Hyde as well as new cornerbacks Leonard Johnson and Tre’Davious White, the Bills have a lot of change taking place in it’s secondary this season.
With all of this change and influx of relative youth and inexperience, Darby will be leaned upon in order to help make the defensive play an overall success in 2017.
Sammy Watkins — Wide Receiver
The number one receiver for the Buffalo Bills, Watkins may have seen his fifth-year option be declined by the team this offseason but will remain as the Bills number one receiving option. Making Watkins’ performance even more important to the Bills overall success in 2017 is the loss of Robert Woods and the uncertainty in the rest of the receiving corps.
With quarterback Tyrod Taylor playing for his life with the team — the Bills have an easy out at the end of this year — Watkins will be counted on to help deliver results in the passing game. Like I said earlier, the loss of Robert Woods will also play a major role with the team likely to have a battle for both the number two and three receiver spots this season.
With the inexperience and uncertainty at the other receiver spots, Watkins needs to step up and be the star that many believed he would be when he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 2014.
LeSean McCoy — Running Back
Arguably the Buffalo Bills most important player since his arrival in 2015, LeSean McCoy has been someone that singlehandedly transformed the Bills offense. Moving the team towards a run based offense, McCoy helped Buffalo become a top five rush offense in both of his two-years with the team.
Remaining as the Buffalo Bills feature back in 2017, McCoy will once again be counted on to help pound the rock. Making McCoy even more important this season is the fact that Buffalo is lacking that top level backup back that the team had over the last two seasons. With Mike Gillislee signing with the rival Patriots, McCoy will be forced into a heavier workload this season.
With the offense likely to remain dependent on the success of the run game, LeSean McCoy’s performance in 2017 will likely serve as a direct correlation to the success of the Buffalo Bills as a whole this season.