When Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey were hired by the Buffalo Bills, one of my family members commented to me that the two were all wrong for Buffalo. He hypothesized that since both were from the Southeast, they didn't fit in here in the Northeast. Entering his third year as GM, Nix has acquired players predominantly from the South - and recent free agent activity has just added to the trend.
Nix's major impact on the franchise as a scout for the Bills during the '90s was his scouting of future Pro Bowl receiver Eric Moulds - a Mississippi State product who was Buffalo's first round pick in 1996. Nix has continued going back to the South in the NFL draft as GM.
The entire 2011 draft class featured players that were from that area of the country. Marcell Dareus (Alabama), Aaron Williams (Texas), Kelvin Sheppard (LSU), Da'Norris Searcy (North Carolina), Chris Hairston (Clemson), Johnny White (North Carolina), Chris White (Mississippi State), Justin Rogers (Richmond) and Michael Jasper (Bethel College) all from the South.
In 2010, Nix's record wasn't much different. C.J. Spiller (Clemson), Torell Troup (Central Florida), Alex Carrington (Arkansas State), Ed Wang (Virginia Tech), Arthur Moats (James Madison) and Levi Brown (Troy) all played their college football in the Southern United States. Only Marcus Easley (Connecticut), Danny Batten (South Dakota State) and Kyle Calloway (Iowa) were from other parts of the country.
When Mark Anderson (Alabama) and Mario Williams (North Carolina State) joined the Bills defense this off-season, two more Southern defenders found their way onto Buffalo's roster. Nix has also signed or re-signed Tashard Choice (Georgia Tech), David Clowney (Virginia Tech), Drayton Florence (Tuskegee), Stevie Johnson (Kentucky), Terrence McGee (Northwestern State), Corey McIntyre (West Virginia), Shawne Merriman (Maryland), David Nelson (Florida), Garrison Sanborn (Florida State), Brad Smith (Missouri), Tyler Thigpen (Coastal Carolina), Kyle Williams (LSU) and George Wilson (Arkansas).
When looking at one side of the coin, it's important to also note the other. The (much shorter) list of non-Southern folks is Nick Barnett (Oregon State), Scott Chandler (Iowa), Dwan Edwards (Oregon State), Ryan Fitzpatrick (Harvard), Derek Hagan (Arizona State), Chris Kelsay (Nebraska), Rian Lindell (Washington State), Ruvell Martin (Saginaw Valley State), Kirk Morrison (San Diego State), Erik Pears (Colorado State) and Bryan Scott (Penn State).
This trend shouldn't be overlooked when it comes to the 2012 NFL Draft or future free agent signings. Nix likes players from the Southeastern Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference, and other Southeastern schools.