Buffalo Bills Recent Draft History and Analysis


The Buffalo Bills are a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in more than 10 years and the biggest reason for that is their poor track record. From 2000 through 2011 the list of perennial pro-bowl caliber players is non-existent. And prior to Buddy Nix taking over their two best first round picks ended up doing their best work for other teams.

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The list of 1st round picks since 2000:

DE Erik Flowers, CB Nate Clements, Mike Williams, Willis McGahee, Lee Evans, J.P. Losman, Donte Whitner, John McCargo, Marshawn Lynch, Leodis McKelvin, Aaron Maybin, Eric Wood, C.J. Spiller, Marcell Dareus.

As you can see it’s a long list of  never-quite-weres, spot starters, and utter failures.

The bright side is that arguably the two best players drafted since 200 are recent picks C Eric Wood and DL Marcell Dareus. Wood has struggled to stay healthy, but when he’s healthy is one of the better centers in the game. And Dareus finally gives the team a player who could make pro-bowl appearances every single year. Things are looking up for the Bills. Let’s look back over the last three years of their draft and see what young players might step up to make an impact in 2012.


I’ll be using Ourlads constantly updated depth chart to keep track of which players are on the team. “No longer with the team” could potentially mean they are still on practice squad, but they are not currently slated for the active roster and you can only be practice squad for a limited time so it’s not likely any 2009 players are on the practice squad.

1st round-DE Aaron Maybin (no longer with team)

1st round-C Eric Wood

2nd round-G Andy Levitre

2nd round-S Jarius Byrd

4th round-TE Shawn Nelson  (no longer with team)

5th round- LB Nic Harris (no longer with team)

6th Round-DB Cary Harris (no longer with team)

7th Round-DB Ellis Lankster (no longer with team)

If they stay it takes three years for a player to break out it’s very discouraging that out of 8 players are five no longer on the team. The three that remain have flashed brilliance however. Jarius Byrd had an amazing rookie year in which he intercepted 9 passes in Perry Fewell’s defensive system. Fewell went onto become defensive coordinator of the New York Giants in 2010 and Byrd has not had the same kind of success–he has 4 INT combined the last two years, but Byrd I would still peg as a slightly above average starting safety in the N.F.L. A pick I was not a fan of when it happened, but it turned out to be a pretty good one.

Eric Wood when healthy and Andy Levitre are two of the best young guards in the entire N.F.L. The Bills don’t have the tackles to match the talent of these two excellent guards, but these guys are maulers in the run game despite their size and also are valuable on pulls and traps. They can pass block as well. Wood can make Probowls if he can stay healthy and Levitre might just be a step below pro bowl players. Good picks.


The three players they got look like pieces for their future, but they whiffed on their first round pick when they chose Aaron Maybin—what makes this pick worse is that it was at the expense of Brian Orakpo, who was still available at the time. This is an okay draft, but not particularly a successful draft because of how little use most of the players in the draft were. There are no breakout candidates in this class because no one is really left on the team who hasn’t already showed their stuff.


1st round-RB C.J. Spiller

2nd Round-DL Torrel Troupe

3rd round-DL Alex Carrington

4th round-WR Marcus Easley

5th round-T Ed Wang (no longer on on roster)

6th round-LB Arthur Moats

6th round-LB Danny Batten

7th round-QB Levi Brown (no longer on roster)

7th round-G Kyle Calloway (no longer on roster)

I have a feeling this draft is not going to pan out that well. The Bills drafted Troupe and Carrington with the idea of the two players being lynchpins along in their 34 defense where they fit well. However, with the transition to a 43 Defense now they could end up being expendable.  I predict one of the two will make the team as a 43 rotation DT behind Williams, Dwan Edwards and Marcell Dareus. The real breakout candidate in this draft class is Marcus Easley. Easley is a talented WR with good size listed at 6’2 220 pounds, but has battled injuries. The Bills WR corps is not among the league’s best so Easley has a real chance of standing out in pre-season and being a significant part of the Wide receiver rotation this year. Arthur Moats has flashed ability as a pass rusher, and if the Bills don’t address SAM linebacker in the draft Moats has an outside shot of winning the SAM LB starting position (if he can beat out Kirk Morrison). Danny Batten seems like he’s destined to get lost in the shuffle from the transition from a 34 to a 43 defense.

C.J. Spiller quietly averaged 5.2 yards per carry last year and hauled in 39 passes. Spiller seemed to find his groove towards the end of the season when he was getting the lion’s share of the reps. Spiller has the potential to be a very dangerous weapon this year and while maybe not the most prudent pick at the time for the Bills is paying dividends.


1st round-DL Marcell Dareus

2nd round-DB Aaron Williams

3rd round-LB Kelvin Sheppard

4th round-S Da’Norris Searcy

4th round-T Chris Hairston

5th round-RB Johnny White

6th round-LB Chris White

7th round-CB Justin Rogers

7th round-DL Michael Jasper

We’ve already discussed Dareus earlier.  Dareus is easily the best pick the Bills have made in a very, very long time. It’s probably not a coincidence that it’s because they were picking third. The players they were considering at 3 were Patrick Peterson, Von Miller, Cameron Newtwon, and Marcell Dareus. It’s hard to mess that up. Nonetheless, Dareus and the addition of Mario Williams give the Bills a feared front seven for the first time in a very long time.

Aaron Williams battled through an injury last year and the lack of an off-season training camp but played well when given the opportunity. In his second year he’ll challenge for a starting spot. Kelvin Sheppard is tentatively plugged into starting in the 43 MLB spot. I thought he was best suited for a 34 defense and thought he was a good fit for the Bills last year. He played pretty well in his 9 starts. Sheppard has a great year to prove he can play in this league and to the envy of every 43 MLB he gets to do it playing behind Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus. Da’Norris Searcy was a surprise pick to draftniks. A guy that didn’t get much publicity, but he played well in spot-starts and sub-packages. Searcy is good insurance if George Wilson gets hurt.  Chris Hairston could end up being the key to the Bills success this year. The Bills have no great LT or RT and unless they find a couple in the draft it’s possible that Hairston will be started next year at one of these two positions. He looked okay in spot starting duty, but not necessarily  a long term solution.

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