It should not have come as any surprise when the Bills went heavy on offense early in this year's NFL draft. History shows that when the Bills hire a new head coach, they lean toward the new coach's specialty in his first draft. That's been the case with every new coach since Marv Levy retired:
Wade Phillips took over for Levy in 1998 and the Bills nabbed linebacker Sam Cowart in the first round. Gregg Williams, another defensive guy, came aboard in 2001 and went for Nate Clements and Aaron Schobel with his first two picks. Mike Mularkey, an offensive specialist, arrived in '04. The Bills took Lee Evans with the first overall pick and moved up to grab J.P. Losman later in the first.
Two years later, it was back to Dick Jauron, a conservative defensive coach. Their first five picks, starting with Donte Whiter at No. 8 overall, went to defense in Jauron's first draft. Chan Gailey succeeded Jauron in 2010, determined to fix a sputtering offense. His welcoming gift was a dynamic new running back named C.J. Spiller.
Marrone is an offensive guy who wants to play fast and attack defenses with playmakers. His first pick was EJ Manuel, a quarterback with huge athletic upside. In the second and third rounds, he took speedy wide receivers, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin.
Marrone doesn't like being pigeonholed as an offensive-minded head coach. But it's clear that he wanted to see immediate upgrades in his passing grade when he got his first NFL head job.