You know that knee in the groin, punch in the stomach, why-don’t-you-kick-my-dog-while-you’re-here feeling that Bills fans have felt four times already this season and almost did a fifth had it not been for A.J. Feely donking a tap-in off the upright? Well this week, thanks to the timely mercy bestowed on us by the NFL schedule makers, we don’t have to have that feeling! But as a Bills fan it just doesn’t feel right to sit back and enjoy a painless football Sunday. Football was designed not to distract us from our humdrum lives but rather to destroy perfectly good weekends. So let’s take this opportunity to look back on the past six NFL drafts and explore the marvelous world of what might have been.
Before we begin I want to acknowledge that every NFL team could perform this same exercise, hindsight being 20/20, and easily manipulate the information to show that they should have rosters chock full of players who would put them at dynasty status. If we had this information ahead of time we’d all be Biff Tannen lording over Hill Valley and cruisin’ for chicks in our DeLorean. But the life of a Bills fan is not meant to be a fantasy joyride. In fact, if you’re anything like me, even your fantasy teams make you so sick of football by the time the Sunday night game rolls around that you’d rather have your eyelids pried open in front of a Honey Boo Boo marathon. So let’s be sure to scratch our collective itch and shake our heads in disbelief as we look back on where we’ve gone wrong in the past few NFL drafts!
This is not an indictment of Buddy Nix; he has only overseen the last three drafts and is only fractionally responsible for the debacle that is the current 2012 season. 2007 is a particularly fun place to begin this journey to joylessness because each of the team’s first three draft picks, Marshawn Lynch
, Paul Posluszny
, and Trent Edwards
, is now currently employed with another franchise. Lynch was a solid pick who continues to go "Beast Mode" in the upper echelon of NFL running backs and Poz was a tackling machine if only because our defensive line was so porous. The next linebacker taken in the 2007 draft, however, was David Harris
, an absolute ironman who has started every game for the New York Jets
since 2008. Alas, Trent Edwards is but another dead end road in the elusive quest to replace #12.
The 2008 draft has to go down as one of the most maddening drafts in Buffalo’s sordid history. After passing on Darrelle Revis
the year earlier (he was taken two picks after Lynch), the Bills drafted Leodis McKelvin
with the 11th overall pick. While McKelvin hangs onto a role as a Nickel corner for dear life, Ryan Clady
, the offensive tackle who was drafted immediately after Leodis, has been to two Pro Bowls. At least McKelvin is still on the team! Our second round draft pick was wide receiver project James Hardy
who has played his way out of the league. In the third round we drafted defensive end Chris Ellis
. Who?! Though the Bills are currently solid at running back, it is worth noting that Matt Forte
was taken three picks after Hardy and Jamaal Charles
was taken immediately after Ellis.
You can still hear the collective shriek of horror from Bills Nation from the 2009 draft when the Bills drafted Aaron Maybin
two picks ahead of uber-beast Brian Orakpo
. It is arguably the most ridiculous draft gaffe in the history of western civilization. If that weren’t enough, Brian Cushing
was taken two picks later. The Bills redeemed themselves somewhat by taking Jairus Byrd
and Andy Levitre
in the second round. But neither player has a bust awaiting him in Canton and each was taken ahead of Vikings
bookend tackle Phil Loadholt
and game breakers LeSean McCoy
and Mike Wallace
Buddy Nix was hired after the end of the 2009 season and shocked the NFL draft by taking C.J. Spiller
with the 9th overall pick. The next running back taken was Ryan Mathews
; I’d say we got the better of that deal. However, the next two picks are utterly hideous. Torell Troup
, the human PUP list, was taken exactly one spot before freak of nature and Buffalo’s own Rob Gronkowski
. In round three (the Bills and virtually the rest of the NFL should be slapped for this as well) Alex Carrington
was drafted an astounding 19 spots ahead of Navorro Bowman, part of the fiercest linebacker tandem in the league, and 23 spots ahead of Jimmy Graham
tight end. Holy moley.
In 2011 Nix took the no-brainer route (thank heavens) and drafted Marcell Dareus
. The next defensive tackle taken was Nick Fairley
who has scraped with the law and frankly underperformed Dareus. But, in round two the Bills selected Aaron Williams
, cornerback out of Texas. Not sure why. He had four interceptions in his entire three year college career and currently gets abused on a weekly basis by each opponent’s second option. Cornerbacks were light at this point in the 2011 draft but Andy Dalton
was taken one pick after Williams. Think we could use him? Kelvin Sheppard
, who was taken in the third round of 2011 continues to underwhelm.
This brings us to our most recent draft class. Stephon Gilmore
seems to be a hit rather than a miss and Cordy Glenn
, our second round pick, has seemed to hold his own as well. The third round is particularly infuriating though. The Bills selected T.J. Graham
, another project wide receiver in the mold of James Hardy, while passing on stud rookie quarterback Russell Wilson
who was drafted by Seattle six picks later. In too deep with Ryan Fitzpatrick
, the Bills sought for him a weapon rather than a replacement to their own peril.
So this week maybe you’ll enjoy football with no heart strings attached. Maybe you’ll turn your attention to Saturday football to see if you can find the next Pro-Bowler the Bills won’t draft. Maybe you’ll even leave your recliner upright and get out and rake leaves or something! But whatever you do, remember that you’re a Bills fan, and that no autumn Sunday should pass without you wanting to inflict physical harm on an inanimate object like I did to the seat in front of me at last week’s Titans
game. So when you see Brian Orakpo wreaking havoc or Russell Wilson running roughshod this weekend it’s ok to cringe. You’re a Bills fan; it’s what you were born to do.
Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.