About a four months ago MattRichWarren presented us with his Buffalo Bills 2000s All-Decade Team series. And for about a month we voted on a series of poles to determine who was worthy of being on that team. But more often than not we also ended up complaining over
the limited sometimes horrible talent that we had to pick from for any given position. So it was about at the TE position that I thought "hey why don't we also vote on the worst players that played for this team over the last decade?" And so here we are.
Now just like MattRichWarren's series I have a few criteria for players to be eligible for this team. They had to have played in at least a full season's worth of games in this decade to be eligible. Starting is not requirement, but you do have to have played significant amounts of snaps in those games. That means that, for example, the Bills 3rd receiver might make the list, but a 4th or 5th stringer wont be considered. That means that we wont end up voting for 7th rounders that ended up playing 2 snaps. These are going to be real players that played real roles on this team over the last ten years. And just because a player ended up on the All-Decade team does not mean that you can't also be on the worst-decade team.
Before I get started with this article I'd like to thank Buffalo Rumblings reader Paul E. for being a huge help with the research and rankings of the draft classes and the players included in them. Paul may not participate actively in the Rumblings, but he reminds us how readers of the Blog are just as important as its participants. Thanks again for all the help Paul!
You want to know how we got this bad? It all starts with drafting. Over the decade we have had more bad (see horrible) drafts than we have had average ones. Good was few and far in between. Great is an unknown to us. Now because you can't expect to have every player be a hit and can't expect every round to contribute, I'm simply going to be looking at the first 4 rounds of every draft year to establish this list. So without farther delay, here are the worst 4 draft classes of the last decade.
RD 1: DE Erik Flowers (26th overall)
RD 2: S Travares Tillman (58th overall)
RD 3: OLB Corey Moore (89th overall)
RD 4: WR Avion Black (121st overall)
This is as horrible of a draft class that you can find in the NFL over the last 25 years. None of these players, I repeat, none, lasted more than 2 seasons with the Bills. Flowers, Tillman and Black last until the end of 2001 while Moore was cut immediately after the end of his rookie season. To give you even more perspective on how truly horrible these guys were Flowers lasted in the league until 2004, after being cut by the EXPANSION Texans and spending 2 seasons as the Ram's 5th string DE; Tillman bounced around the league until 2007, but only started 29 games in his entire career; Moore was signed, and the quickly released by the Dolphins in 2001, never to play in the NFL again; while Black also spent 1 season with the expansion Texans before being cut and never being seen again. To put farther humiliation on this draft class, the only other player to have had any type of significant play in the NFL (while also being this classes best player) was 5th round draft pick Sammy Morris who is currently with the New England Patriots.
Not nearly as bad as 2000, this draft class may however have the worst Bills pick EVER (or a close runner up to 1979 first overall pick Tom Cousineau). Josh Reed and Ryan Denny had decent careers as backups/borderline starters for the Bills this decade, while Coy Wire was a special teams ace that just didn't pan out in the D (which is unacceptable for a 3rd round pick in my book). But Mike Williams Really set this team back for a LONG time this decade. We'd still be feeling its effects if it wasn't for Jason Peters. But that's a whole other issue.
There's a lesson to be learned from this draft class: one great pick does not save an entire class. As good as Evans has been for us, Losman, Anderson and Euhus were all horrible. And the fact that I actually had to look up who Euhus was did nothing to help their cause. And they don't even have a late round pick to save them as the only other pick that the Bills had that year was 7th round WR Fast Freddy Smith. A truly horrible class.
Let's see, no first round pick (thank you JP Losman), an incredibly unproductive (outside of special teams) second round pick, a third round pick that never showed much promise before his career ending injury, and Duke Preston. Yeah this class is pretty bad. And there's not even a late round pick to save face with, none of the late rounder lasted more than 2 season with the Bills.
Ok this class isn't all that bad, as Whitner has been good for us over the years. I just braught this class out to show that occasinally the laste round picks can save a whole class. This class also brought us OG Brad Butler (5th round), DT Kyle Williams (5th round) and OLB Keith Ellisson (6th round). If it wasn't for those 3, I would have included this class.
Alright, there you have it folks, the main reasons why this team sucks! If you can't draft, then you can't build a winner. Unfortunately we are a shinning example of that.
Well that's it, go vote!