Nix's first draft with the Bills was a draft where he had very little time to prepare and had a new head coach in Gailey. The philosophy was the Bills would be a run-first offense and 3-4 defense. Now, with two full seasons under our belt, let's take a look at the 2010 draft and see how the prospects are falling into the vision (and future) of the team.
Here is a breakdown of the 9 draft picks we had:
QB - 1, RB - 1, WR - 1, OT - 2, NT - 1, DE - 1, OLB - 2
Of the 9 draft picks, three are no longer Bills (Ed Wang, Levi Brown and Kyle Calloway) and three of the six remaining players (Marcus Easley, Arthur Moats, Danny Battan) will be borderline 2012 Bills. Overall, our top three picks still have questions but Spiller appears to be turning the corner and is an elite player. Let's revisit the draft, pick by pick.
Round 1: 9th overall pick, RB - CJ Spiller
Initial Analysis: Said to be the best player available in 2010 draft, Spiller was projected to be a Chris Johnson type of home-run hitter after running a 4.24 40 yard dash at the combine. Bills already had two talented RB's in Jackson and Lynch. Bills fans knew this meant the end of either Jackson or Lynch. This pick clearly added speed to the Bills that they didn't have on the roster (only Evans was the other speedster).
Buffalo Rumblings Approval: 56% Approved, 28% disapproved, 15% undecided
Notable Players Still Available: QB Jimmy Clausen, OT Brian Bulaga, NT Dan Williams, DE Jason Pierre-Paul, WR Dez Bryant, QB Tim Tebow,
2012 Analysis: After a quiet rookie season and after Fred's amazing 2011 start, Spiller finally took the reins in as starting RB (due to injury). He hasn't disappointed. Spiller found a niche as a WR when Jackson was tearing up the NFL and was (arguably) the best RB in 2011. The versatilty provided by Spiller was invaluable: here are some of his contributions: kick and punt returner in the return game, moving to WR when injuries mounted, and ultimately moving back to his natural RB position when injuries hit Fred. CJ has found the patience and burst expected from him with the 9th overall pick. While fans were screaming "BUST!" in early 2011, it is clear we have one of the best RB tandems in the NFL with Fred and CJ. Both are ELITE talent.
Round 2: 41st overall pick, NT - Torell Troup
Initial Analysis: Big run stuffing NT from a smaller school than other run stuffers still available. He was considered to be amazingly strong and powerful but is strictly a run stuffing and hole clogging NT. Many questioned how Kyle Williams could fill in as a traditional 2-gap NT and this pick addressed that issue in case Kyle couldn't fulfill that role. Nix says that Troup would have been the #1 NT in the 2011 draft.
Buffalo Rumblings Approval: 46% approved, 38% disapproved, 14% undecided
Notable Players Still Available: QB Jimmy Clausen, QB Colt McCoy, NT Terrence Cody, TE Ron Gronkowski, LB Sergio Kindle, S Taylor Mays, LB Brandon Spikes
2012 Analysis: Jury is still out on Troup. He had some issues with his stance in his rookie year that he appeared to have figured out by 2011. Uneventful 2011 pre-season didn't ease any of our concerns either. His 2011 season ended early as he had back surgery. If (and this is a big IF) Troup can come back and recover, he has the strength and size to be a solid DT / NT contributor for this team. Unfortunately, his injury raises the IF question.
Round 3: 72nd overall pick, DE - Alex Carrington
Initial Analysis: Bills continued to address their DL with more 3-4 picks. Carrington projected to be a solid five-technique DE in a traditional 3-4. Big and strong prospect at 6'5" and 285 lbs. Mocking the Draft REALLY like Carrington.
Buffalo Rumblings Approval: 65% approved, 20% disapproved, 13% undecided
Notable Players Still Available: QB Colt McCoy, OT Bruce Campbell, DE Everson Griffen, TE Tony Moeaki, NO Jimmy Graham, WR Mardy Gilyard, LB Eric Norwood
2012 Analysis: He had a solid rookie season and started our 2011 as the rotational starter with Dwan Edwards. He continued to improve in 2011 but then it appears his abilities have peaked and even Gailey addressed Carrington's lack of progress in the end of 2011. There are times Carrington has looked like he should replace Edwards and there are times he looks lost. He can be a solid backup contributor and currently adds great depth for Buffalo but he has shown the talent to be able to be a solid starter as well. 2012 will be a turning point for Carrington.
Round 4: 107th overall pick, WR - Marcus Easley
Initial Analysis: Surprise pick by Nix because he liked to stay away from one year wonder. Easley was a one year wonder at UCONN but has amazing physical attributes at 6'3", 210 lbs and a 4.46 40 yard dash. He's a raw prospect but offers the ability to stretch the field deep. Projected to compete with James Hardy, Stevie Johnson and Chad Jackson for a roster spot. There were still holes in the OL and LB positions but Nix continued to go with BPA.
Buffalo Rumblings Approval: 44% approval, 38% disapproval, 17% undecided
Notable Picks Still Available: LB Norwood, WR Jacoby Ford, TE Aaron Hernandez, DE Ricky Sapp,
2012 Analysis: Knee injury ended his rookie year and after a solid pre-season, Easley experienced a cardiac condition that caused him to go on IR and rumors swirled that his career was at risk. Easley has shown speed and strength in the 2011 pre-season that would make him a possible #2 WR across Stevie. After going on IR, he stayed in Buffalo to work on his mental aspects of the game and continued to go to WR meetings. With the Bills missing a true deep threat, Easley's chance to make the team is real but he has an upward battle ahead of him. 2012 (particularly training camp and pre-season) is a make or break year for Easley.
Round 5 - 140th overall pick, LT - Ed Wang
Initial Analysis: Raw prospect with the measurables (yes, pun) and athletic ability to possibly become a starting LT. Bills OL becomes a possible joke with Wang, Wood, Levitre and Hangartner... Considered to be an average LT but has a possible upside. Jokes like "Penatly: Holding on Wang", "Wang will open holes", and others persist on the internet.
Buffalo Rumblings Approval: 83% approved, 8% disapproved, 7% undecided
Notable Players Still Available: QB John Skeleton, TE Fendi Onobun,
2012 Analysis: Not in NFL. Miss.
Round 6 - 178th overall pick, OLB - Arthur Moats
Initial Analysis: 3-4 OLB with 4.66 40 yard dash numbers. Has the athletic ability to be a good pass rusher but questionable size at only 6'1" and 240 lbs but is a project player with lots of potential.
Buffalo Rumblings Approval: 77% approve, 11% disappove, 10% undecided.
2012 Analysis: Noted as the "Favre Killer". Had a solid rookie season with good pass rushing pressure but a disappointing 2011 season. Nix and Gailey want Moats to move to ILB but he has been moved from ILB to OLB and back. That raises the question of "where does he really fit?". He didn't perform very well as OLB but did get some pass rush. If he moved inside, he could potential replace Barnett because he has the athletic ability to go from sideline to sideline.
Round 6 - 192nd overall pick (from Eagles), OLB - Danny Battan
Initial Analysis: Another pass rushing prospect drafted by the Bills and drafted back to back. Much bigger at 6'3" and nearly 250 lbs he is also quick with a 4.6 40 yard dash and displayed amazing strength with 30 bench reps! Again, another project player but clearly a pass rusher. Keywords like "never ending motor", "tries hard" are used to describe Battan.
Buffalo Rumblings Approval: 76% approved, 12% disapproved, 11% undecided.
2012 Analysis: Battan hasn't played much but has contributed on special teams. Not sure if he has a place on the 2012 roster as he hasn't performed on the defense as a pass rusher that the Bills needed him to be. Possibly won't be a Bill in 2012.
Round 7 - 209th overall pick (from Lions), QB - Levi Brown
Initial Analysis: Big QB at 6'3", 230 lbs but worked out of the spread offense. Scouts really liked his accuracy (63% in college) and arm strength but question his ability to read defenses and play under center. Will compete with Brian Brohm for a roster spot.
Buffalo Rumblings Approval: 71% approved, 17% disapproved, 11% undecided
2012 Analysis: Not in NFL. Interestingly, the Bills are now running a spread offense that Levi Brown thrived in college. However, his ability to read defenses caused him to be released.
Round 7 - 216th overall pick, OT - Kyle Calloway
Buffalo Rumblings Approval: 88% approved, 4% disapproved, 6% undecided
2012 Analysis: Not in NFL - draft miss.
RB Joique Bell (I REALLY liked him...)
WR David Nelson
WR Naaman Roosevelt
WR Donald Jones
OLB Antonio Coleman
OT/OG Cordoro Howard