1) Last year the Bills drafted with their first three picks: C.J. Spiller, Torelle Troupe, and Alex Carrington. This year they went Marcell Dareus, Aaron Williams, and Kelvin Sheppard? Does there seem to be a philosophy to the way Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey approach the draft?
- Absolutely. Last year Buffalo went with talented but raw athletes, especially with non-BCS level players in Troupe and Carrington. The Bills clearly wanted a certain type of player: tough, smart, physical guys who produced against top-level competition in college. Buffalo desperately needed some guys who could help right away to fix their league-worst run defense…and they got it.
2) The Bills have probably drafted the most busts in the first round in the last decade, which of those picks was the worst?
- The Bills have certainly had some bad picks over the years (Mike Williams, J.P. Losman, John McCargo, etc.), but all at least they all did SOMETHING productive occasionally for Buffalo.
And then there’s Aaron Maybin. Maybin isn’t just the worst first round pick Buffalo’s made in the past decade, he’s one of the worst picks ever by any team. (Not as bad as JaMarcus Russell, but close.) He’s literally done NOTHING for the Bills. His career stats: 24 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 0 sacks. He was actually inactive for five games this year. He couldn’t get on the field for the league’s worst defense. Maybin couldn’t even get on the special teams squads. He’ll need to show a lot in training camp to even make the team in 2011.
3) Was taking Marcel Dareus over an elite talent like a.J. Green, or Patrick Peterson the right call? What about over a QB like Blaine Gabbert?
- Bills GM Buddy Nix simply couldn’t afford to blow this pick, and Dareus is about as close to a sure thing as you can see in a draft. I don’t blame him one bit. The Bills had too many needs to go with a receiver (probably their strongest position), and fixing the run defense was simply too important not get a guy like Dareus.
As far as QB goes, I wasn’t wild about Gabbert, and neither was the Buffalo front office. There’s really no harm in giving Ryan Fitzpatrick a year at the helm. Worst case scenario, the Bills are awful again and they get a shot to draft Andrew Luck next spring.
4) What was the Bills best value pick?
- I loved the (North Carolina RB) Johnny White pick in the 5th round. This guy plays HARD. He’s going to find his way onto the field somehow. White will immediately get time on special teams (he’s a great gunner on punts), and is pretty fantastic insurance if Bills RBs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller get hurt or struggle. I also think he could become a third-down back.
5) What was the Bills worst pick?
- I’m not sure if 6th-round pick (Miss. St. LB) Chris White makes the team. He’ll have to impress in camp. I didn’t really dislike a single pick though. I do think the Bills could have done a bit better than (North Carolina S) Da’Norris Searcy in the 4th round, but I’m not going to really complain.
6) Based on the roster right now how many wins can we ballpark the Bills for this year?
- The talent level still isn’t quite at the level of the Jets or Patriots, but if the Bills can grab 8 wins and finish ahead of the Dolphins, I think that’d be a pretty decent season at this point.
7) Overall do the Bills fans feel about this draft?
- In our fan poll at BLD, 92% of voters gave the Bills an A or B for this draft, so I’d say the fanbase is pretty pleased. Almost everyone liked getting Dareus, so that helped.
8) Are there any undrafted free agents out there the Bills should target?
- The Bills only have 2 quarterbacks on the roster – and one is Levi Brown, who they’ve cut once already – so I think they’ll sign at least one undrafted QB. Delaware’s Pat Devlin, USC’s Mitch Mustain and Jerrod Johnson of Texas A&M are all possibilities. Buffalo also seems to have 3000 linebackers get hurt a year, so a few more bodies there couldn’t hurt. Mark Herzlick of Boston College and Josh Bynes of Auburn are possibilities. I’m also a homer for Upstate New York, so I’d like to see Syracuse C Ryan Bartholomew get a shot.
9) After the draft, what are the Bills biggest needs?
- Offensive tackle is still a rough spot. Left tackle Demetrius Bell is a great story (and really good value from a seventh-round pick), but I just don’t know if he’ll ever be much better than he is now. Right tackle is a mess.
Pass rush is also a big problem. Will Shawne Merriman capture some of his old form? Is late-season surprise Arthur Moats for real? If the answer to both of those is “no” the Bills might not record a sack in 2011.
10) Tell us a little bit about the site and why our readers should come visit.
I very recently took over BLD and we’re trying to take an entertaining lok at North America’s team. We’re just bringing on some new writers now, and I’m very excited about what they’re going to bring to the table. We’ve also started a few regular features at BLD. I personally write “Bills Failure Chronicles” – a look at some of the more brutal and heartbreaking losses in Bills history.
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