FanPost

Grading the Bills' 1999 Draft

I've seen a lot of draft grades for the 2009 Draft already, and they're so different that I couldn't even read the explanations since I was so frustrated.  It's all meaningless anyways, since nobody has the slightest idea how good these kids will be in the NFL.  However, now does seem an appropriate time to go back a few years (say, ten) and see how the '99 Draft panned out for the Bills.

Bills' Grade - How they did for the Bills
Player Grade - How they did in the NFL

Perspective

1st Overall Pick - Tim Couch, QB, Kentucy - Cleveland
1st Round Pro-Bowlers - 14/31
Total Pro Bowlers - 27+2 Undrafted
Number of Saints Draft Picks - 1

The Picks

1(23) Antoine Winfield, CB, Ohio State
While we only got five years out of him, and he didn't make a Pro Bowl until he was long gone, there was a time when he was the best player on the Bills defense, and possibly the best hitting defensive back in all of football.  His ball skills have always been suspect, but he never allowed an opposing receiver to take the game over.  Two cornerbacks picked later, Dré Bly and Jerry Azumah, played in Pro Bowls, but I'd take Winfield over both of them.
Bills' Grade - B
Player Grade - B+

2(53) Peerless Price, WR, Tennessee
I remember Kiper raving about this pick when it happened, and for one shining moment this pick was absolutely brilliant.  Unfortunately, 2002 was but a mirage for Price.  While he was a serviceable player for the Falcons, he was worth neither the first-round pick they gave up for him nor the $49 million deal they signed him to.  After two years in Atlanta and one go-round in Dallas, he returned to the Bills where he finished his slide into obscurity.
Bills' Grade - B+ (A for his first stint)
Player Grade - C+

3(86) Shawn Bryson, RB, Tennessee
An undistinguished yet solid player, Bryson spent four years in Buffalo.  He was always ready for spot action, and started ten games in his time here.  His most memorable play was in two games at the end of the 2001 season where he rushed for 130 yards in a loss to Atlanta and followed that up with 107 in a win over the Jets.  After that season, he shipped off to Detroit, where he was given the starting job for a season but never made anything of it.
Bills' Grade - B-
Player Grade - C+

4(119) Keith Newman, OLB, UNC
Any time you find a starter in the second day, it's generally a good pick.  Newman started every game for two and half years in Buffalo, and had some good moments.  He was never dominant, and never had more than 83 tackles in a season, but did manage to rack up eight sacks in 2000.  After leaving the Bills in 2002, he bounced between the Falcons, Vikings, and Dolphins, starting 35 games over four years but never making a major impact.
Bills' Grade - B-
Player Grade - B-

4(122) - Bobby Collins, TE, North Alabama
At first glance, I could not remember this guy for the life of me.  After looking up his file on Pro Football Reference, I still could not remember him for the life of me.  He totalled fifteen catches for 196 yards and two touchdowns over two years behind Riemersma, then moved on to Green Bay for one catch in four games.  He was out of football by 2001.
Bills' Grade - F
Player Grade - F

5(156) Jay Foreman, ILB, Nebraska
Here's a guy I remember, especially since I loved those Nebraska NCAA championship teams of the mid-90's.  At one point I thought he was the second coming of Shane Conlan, especially after a 97-tackle season in 2001.  Needless to say, I was upset when we failed to resign him and he shipped off to houston, where he turned in a couple of 100+ tackle seasons.  An injury derailed his career in 2004, and he was out of football a few years later.  He could have been a great linebacker for the Bills, but it just wasn't in the cards.
Bills' Grade - B-
Player Grade - B+

6(194) - Armon Hatcher, S, Oregon State
Another faceless player, which is the norm in this position.  he played four games in the NFL, he didn't contribute in any of them, and none of them were with the Bills.  That's all there is to be said.
Bills' Grade - F
Player Grade - F

7(230) - Sheldon Jackson, TE, Nebraska
Another former Husker, and a somewhat serviceable player in his three years here.  He only started thirteen games, and only caught ten passes, but he was never a liability and was a quality blocker from what I vaguely remember.  He left football after his rookie contract expired.
Bills' Grade - C

7(248) Bryce Fisher, DE, Air Force
We let him walk after one season and three sacks.  Given the mediocre defensive end play that followed here, we would have been better off holding on to him.  It took a few years, but he eventually turned into a force (or as much of a force as a supplemental seventh-rounder can be), notching 17.5 sacks in a two-year stretch with the Rams and Seahawks.  After starting 31 games for Seattle over two years, he was sent off to Tennessee, where he appeared in nine games and did nothing before giving up on football for good in 2007.
Bills' Grade - D
Player Grade - B+

Summation

All in all, this was an okay draft for the Bills.  They hit on their first pick and got some good work out of their second one.  The later rounds saw them grab a few players that had a few productive seasons for other teams, along with the usual cast of nobodies.  For my final grade, I'm going to give them a C+ for this draft, mostly because they couldn't hold on to anybody for a long enough time, since aside from Price's second stint here everybody had moved on by 2003.

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.

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