As we enter the very slow time of the year - that time between the NFL Draft and the beginning of training camp - us AFC East bloggers have decided to start up one of the more popular things we have come up with. Every Friday for the next few weeks, we will go "Around the AFC East" and focus in on one particular aspect of our division rivals. If nothing else, it should spark some debate as well as educate us on our divisional foes.
Up first this week is Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings - SBN's great Buffalo Bills blog.
Matty I: Are you surprised at all that the Bills did not address their need at left tackle in the draft? And how confident are you that Langston Walker can successfully man the LT spot and protect the blind side of Trent Edwards?
Brian G: I wasn't surprised in the least - but that's probably only because I was told roughly three hours prior to the draft that the Bills would be taking Aaron Maybin in the first round. It definitely helps to dull the surprise when you know what's coming. I'm not upset about the decision, either - I was, and clearly remain, a big Maybin supporter. I think he's the real deal.
Even with that first-hand knowledge, I can unequivocally claim - without the slightest amount of doubt that I could, in fact, be wrong - that had Alabama OT Andre Smith been available when the Bills picked, he would have been the selection. I'm 100% confident on that. Beyond Smith, however, my sense was that Buffalo didn't see a lot of elite talent at the position, and with so many other needs (particularly at DE), they weren't about to reach for a player they were iffy on when they could get a contributor at another position. Once they got past the first round, the Bills were going to take the best player on their board in need areas, and after the fourth, it was simply BPA. It worked out well, even without a LT.
I am far more confident that Walker will be fine at LT than most Bills fans simply because the Bills won't be asking Walker to do what Jason Peters did here. Peters was routinely left on an island by himself, with no chip help or anything like that. They'd be insane to afford Walker the same level of confidence; they'll have tight ends and backs chipping the life out of players rushing on Walker's side. The blocking schemes will be altered slightly, but that shouldn't hinder an offense that is suddenly deep at every skill position. Walker is a smart guy and, at the very least, is consistent. For now, that should help the offense function - but it's becoming clearer at this point that the "LT of the future" in Buffalo is 2008 seventh-round pick Demetrius Bell.
My Take: It's always risky when you have a questionable left tackle protecting the quarterback's blind side. Walker is a massive guy - at 6'8, 365 - and can certainly run block. But from what I've seen of Langston, which isn't particularly much, I don't see how he'll be able to protect against the speed rushers he'll face - even with the help he'll receive.
Be sure to head over to BR and check out my response to Brian's Dolphins question - which he'll be posting sometime on Friday.
Back with part 2 of this week's edition in a bit.