SI's staff ranked the top 10 most vital players to the Bills' success.
1. RB LeSean McCoy (45 votes)
2. WR Sammy Watkins (44)
3. CB Ronald Darby (25)
4. LB Jerry Hughes (19)
T-5. DT Marcell Dareus (18)
T-5. G Richie Incognito (18)
7. DE Shaq Lawson (17)
T-8. T Cordy Glenn (15)
T-8. CB Tre’Davious White (15)
T-10. LB Lorenzo Alexander (10)
T-10. S Micah Hyde (10)
T-10. TE Charles Clay (10)
Very little dissension when it came time to pick the Bills’ most important players. McCoy took three first-place votes (Burke, Baskin, Single), while Watkins had one of his own (Klemko). The Marston ballot was the lone spot where both McCoy and Watkins did not rank top three, and that’s because Watkins came in fourth there.
The board grew quite a bit more unsettled beyond spots 1 and 2, though, with Darby clocking in third and then nine players finishing between 10 and 19 points. The players most all over the map were Incognito and Dareus, both of whom landed No. 3 once (Baskin for Incognito, Burke for Dareus), but also off two other boards.
That’s nothing compared to Alexander. He failed to crack the top 10 on four of five ballots, yet ranked No. 1 on the fifth.
Vetting the Votes: Bette Marston defends her first-place vote for Lorenzo Alexander — Alexander earns the No. 1 spot for the Bills because of the way he unexpectedly stepped up to lead the team in sacks in 2016—finishing third in the NFL behind Vic Beasley and Von Miller—an unexpected positive from Rex Ryan’s rocky tenure as the Bills’ head coach. He may see a drop-off in stats when the team shifts defensive schemes, but Alexander remains vital to Buffalo’s defensive success no matter where he plays.
Other Bills receiving votes: DT Kyle Williams (nine votes); LB Reggie Ragland (eight); WR Zay Jones, LB Preston Brown (four); S Jordan Poyer (three); CB Shareece Wright (one).