There is a common thread running through various offseason NFL Power Rankings put together by national media members when it comes to the Buffalo Bills.
That being, a lot of the right pieces are in place ... except the biggest one. The Bills' unsettled situation at quarterback was mentioned prominently in five of the seven recently published power rankings.
Here they are, with explanations:
ESPN: 18. “The Bills' first pick in the draft was 50th overall, and they took a cornerback. The Bills have the most interceptions the past two seasons. Safe to say they had more pressing needs.” Previous: 17.
USA Today: 9. "They appear legitimately poised to finally snap a 15-season playoff drought ... assuming Rex gets at least average QB play.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: 20. “I know everybody is excited about Rex Ryan and this defense. But it’s all about the quarterback spot. It’s hard to scheme around it.” Previous: 23.
Dan Schneier, FOX Sports: 12. "The Bills will enter 2015 with more talent at the skill positions, similar talent on defense, and arguably the best defensive mind in football. What they won’t enter 2015 with is certainty at the quarterback position."
Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated: 17. “In an effort to crank up their middling offense, the Bills this offseason added Percy Harvin, Charles Clay, LeSean McCoy and Matt Cassel … uh … and one of these things is not like the others. The acquisition of Cassel reiterates how the location of Buffalo’s Achilles heel: quarterback. Just about everywhere else on this roster, Rex Ryan has a playoff-caliber team.
Elliot Harrison, nfl.com: 20. "OK, so some folks -- including many Bills fans, apparently -- weren't quite pleased as punch with the draft. In fact, one member of my favorite organized mafia reached out on social media to say briskly, 'they blew there draft.' You know a true post when 'their' is replaced with 'there.' That's how you know it's for real. Truthfully, though, the overall feel with these Bills should be one of optimism, as this group is the most likely to climb these rankings quickly. So much depends on the EJ Manuel-Matt Cassel conundrum. (Hint: Cassel will start.)"
Brian Manzullo, Detroit Free Press: 18. "A winning record last season’s great and all, but have they really improved much this off-season?" Previous: 17.
Averaged out, the Bills have a mean ranking of 16 -- smack in the middle of the 32-team league.