The Buffalo Bills haven't been to the playoffs in 12 straight years, playing their last post-season game on the tail end of the 1999 regular season. Think about that, folks: the last time the Bills were a playoff team, Y2K was a thing.
The reasons for said drought are plenty and varied, but if "poor drafting" isn't at or near the top of your own list of reasons for the dry spell, this post is for you. I wanted to put up a poll asking readers to vote for the Bills' best draft pick during the playoff drought, and that's exactly what I'm going to do.
If you had any doubts whatsoever about the Bills' drafting abilities over the past decade, I challenge you to find a more worthy name than any of my five hand-selected nominees that I've listed (along with the poll) after the jump. There are arguments to be made, but you'll have to be really convincing (or just vote the write-in option on the poll). It's possible that after this off-season is concluded, zero of the players on this poll will be with the team. Whoops.
2001, Round 1, Pick 21: Nate Clements, CB, Ohio State. In six seasons with the Bills, Clements racked up 23 interceptions - a total that is currently good for the No. 8 ranking in the team record books - and made the 2004 Pro Bowl before leaving for a then-record contract with San Francisco. Clements is also one of only four players in team history with multiple punt return touchdowns in his career.
2001, Round 2, Pick 46: Aaron Schobel, DE, TCU. A two-time Pro Bowl performer (2006 and 2007, in which he recorded a combined 20.5 sacks), Schobel ranks second in team record books with 78 career sacks. He played nine seasons in Buffalo - one cut short by a foot injury - before retiring just prior to the 2010 season.
2003, Round 4, Pick 111: Terrence McGee, CB, Northwestern State. McGee is the most prolific kick returner in team history with 5,450 yards, five touchdowns and a 2004 Pro Bowl berth in that field. He also has 17 career interceptions.
2004, Round 1, Pick 13: Lee Evans, WR, Wisconsin. Despite revolving doors at head coach, offensive coordinator and especially quarterback, Evans ranks No. 4 in team record books in receptions (377), No. 3 in yards (5,934) and No. 3 in touchdowns (43). He trails the venerable Eric Moulds by only five in that final category.
2008, Round 7, Pick 224: Stevie Johnson, WR, Kentucky. By far the most recently-picked player on the list, Johnson in 2011 became the first player in franchise history to record back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons. He has 158 receptions, 2,077 yards and 17 touchdowns in the last two years.
Who has been the Buffalo Bills' best draft pick during their 12-year playoff drought?
CB Nate Clements (Rd 1, 2001) (134 votes)
DE Aaron Schobel (Rd 2, 2001) (834 votes)
CB Terrence McGee (Rd 4, 2003) (73 votes)
WR Lee Evans (Rd 1, 2004) (54 votes)
WR Stevie Johnson (Rd 7, 2008) (373 votes)
Other (write in your vote) (103 votes)
1571 total votes