First I would like to say that drafting players is an art form, it's not based on science. Yes I know they run the 40, bench press, sit in a giant eggs that tells them their exact body fat percent on their left pinky, but Coaches, GMs, Scouts watch the players (most of us do too on tv) game tapes, live, at a practice or at private sessions. They listen to how they talk, who they hangout with, what kind of grades they had, if they lived with both parents or just one, maybe neither. They want to know how they went from a child playing sports to a Heisman candidate. Was it easy for them or did they fight challenges the entire way? The staffs take all that information and then they look at their numbers, their speed, all the good stuff we get to read about or watch on the NFL network. Then they make a decision that will affect the team, their job, and their fans. This has to be one of the greatest art forms ever to figure this out, there is so many different things the coaching staff and front office needs to take in before it makes a good judgment on a guy. So when a guy like Nix chooses a player there is a reason and purpose for him doing so. I believe he wants guys that will add great value to the team maybe right away or down the road. He likes hard nosed guys that love to play. He will have a great head on his shoulders and understands that nothing comes easily. All of those things help make a good player, obviously natural talent helps a great deal too. These players should payoff in the end for the team, his job, and to us as fans.
This is a little late and probably written about enough times, but I haven't had enough time the last few days to give this a shot (curse you Alcohol and Sabres). There has been a pretty large debate on what Nix did this past weekend. Why on earth would the man not draft the 3rd best tackle in the draft at 9, why wouldn't he take Clausen or Tebow at 9 or even 41?!?! Why would he draft Troup in the second and not Mount Cody or Dan Williams in the first? Can he already be skating on thin ice with Bills Nation?? Here is my attempt to explain his logic through my eyes. And apologies in advance for not being an eloquent writer.
Now does Nix care if we understand his player selection, absolutely not, he looks out for this team. He wants a Super Bowl champion team in Buffalo NY. He knows the importance of having a solid team whether the News rips him or fans put up a billboard. So this being his first year as a GM and have a recently hired Head Coach in Gailey, Nix began searching for the best possible way to fix our problems the fastest way and also maintain a long term solution. So obviously not a lot going on in Free Agency. While building the teams plan of attack for the draft Gailey decided to throw out our 4-3 cover 2 with a Miami style 3-4. Prior to this we had major issues at QB, OT, DT, OLB, DE, WR, TE in no particular order. With the switch we still have the offensive problems, but on defense there is an issue of NT, DE, OLB, ILB, plus depth at all those positions. Most of our team has never played in a 3-4 and some may fit and other just don't play the part.
Weeks before the draft the Bills staff have probably created hundreds of mockups, trade scenarios, undrafted free agent prospects, potential free agents cut post draft, etc. This is where I think Gailey wanted something from Nix. He wanted his play maker that can go day 1, he wanted a face for this franchise that will resemble our past success. Gailey wanted a guy that leads by example on and off the field. There are probably 2 players that fit this description and really only one that will be a sure fit. Bradford who went #1 and CJ Spiller. Sammy B in my opinion was good, but still will needs a season of learning. Spiller is lighting, a game changer great hands and a guy that will come to play every down. DT/NT, LT, DE, OLB, and QB are all needs, but I think Nix gave Gailey his player of choice. Yes we have 2 pretty good runningbacks, but neither have the super star ability. Fred Jackson, who i love, will never get that opportunity to be a feature back, Lynch ruined his moment the day he had a loaded gun in his car. That doesn't mean he's a bad back, just a clown outside of football and Nix nor Gailey and especially Ralph Wilson will never have a guy like that as your player who represents the organization. I will not say Evans is that person either, due to performance on the field. Again, I truly believe no other QB was an option for this team and Buffalo does not have a true super star already on the team. So right away this makes a few decisions for the draft order and players on our team. 1- we will more than likely not draft a QB early. 2- Edwards or Brohm will be the starter. Also note we have 3 guys all have some NFL game experience.
Why not DT or LT at 9 then... Simple, Gailey wanted an offensive star first and Dan Williams was the only guy going in the first that fits for NT. If we did try to move up later in the first I think Williams was the man Buffalo was going for. Now Left Tackle, this is where most fans get lost. So hear me out and think about it before you start ripping me. The top 2 Tackles are off the board. they are also probably the best to play Left Tackle that was drafted in the first round. There was a third tackled moving up the Fan boards and he fit the description of a lunch pale Buffalo Bills blue collar player. Bulaga, a tough guy with similar attributes of Eric Wood. Could it be true we could have one of the meanest lines in the NFL right? Not so fast guys. Like I said before we want a superstar from day one. Bulaga is a hard worker, but is not a perfect LT and I think that's all it took in the decision, that simple. Nix and Staff didn't grade Bulaga like most couch GMs. He was also going to be the third off the board which makes me a little nervous if i am paying him top 10 money. will this guy live up to expectations at 9?
Now it really takes a turn for the wost in most fans eyes. We took an Runningback in round 1, Tebow is already off the boards, but our prayers we answered with Clausen and McCoy falling to 41, not to mention every other big name that fell out of the first. We didn't even need to trade up!!! POW!!!! right in your face, Torrell Troup Nose Tackle. WTF?!?! :) I think people were throwing up, crying, screaming, hitting, or all of the above. What just happened, how could Buddy do this to us. Again Nix wanted Day 1 starters early on. But this is where 90% of the fans don't get it, Nix made the executive decision to go Defensive line in the draft rather than offense. I personally loved this idea. Simple logic from Nix again. Buffalo has 2 tackles on the team that can start from day one. Are they the next Orlando Pace or Tony Boseli, no, but none the less Buffalo has two starters. Nose Tackle is the most important position in a 3-4, the Bills do not have one. Kyle Williams though similar in weight to Troup is not suited to be a full time starter. So why Troup and not Cody then? Troup was the only one that would come in and be able to play for at least 20 plays. He is all muscle, in great condition and most importantly wants to be a nose tackle. Cody is just overweight. Yes he is good, yes he could be dominant at times, but the man cannot play half a game in his current shape. Cody fell probably into a perfect place, a rotation with Nagata in Baltimore. Nix once again kept it simple and straight forward, a starter right away and a guy he feels will not need motivation to perform. This is where the fork in the road continues.
Round 3, while people still in shock of Troup, Mr. McCoy was sitting in front of us at 74. Without question the Bills and Nix did the correct thing, Alex Carrington DE. What no OT in the first or second, no QB in the Second or third, how can we pass on Clausen and Colt? Fire NIX!!! haha. Well Nix saw a perfect 3-4 DE that will be a rotational starter day 1. Great Character guy that fills a tremendous need. I don't think many disliked this pick, except for the Colt McCoy fans. sorry.
The rest of the draft. This is where I feel Nix knows there are no true starters anymore so Buffalo needs to get the best player available for depth and Special Teams. Every guy taken fourth down will fill critical needed positions. WR, ILB, OLB, QB, T, and G are all places that this site has talked about.I think most of you just wanted a different order taken.
Nix however took the logical simplistic approach with a slight hitch, fill the needs Buffalo needs most to improve as quickly as possible and take the greatest playmaker in the 1st. I would say mission accomplished. Was there some guys we may have missed out on of course, but I would say he did as much as possible without performing a Belicheck like draft with 5 trades along the way.
So people please think about what I believe Nix and Gailey were trying to do, Keep it simple and get each pick spot on with minimal risk. Could Clausen or McCoy or even Bulaga become franchise players, of course, but not for Buffalo. not in this draft. Overall Buffalo had too many holes to fill, but Nix made the smart decision to get the right defensive linemen for Buffalo, smart, strong, hard working guys. I'd say that sounds like a Buffalo blue collar kind of guy, and oh by the way Spiller is the most electric player in the draft. Not bad for a 70 year old first time GM.