I just looked at Brian's yearly Pre Combine Depth Chart and wanted to kind of throw up a little bit. I know that those depth charts always look awful so I had to take a second glance to see if my first impressions were accurate. I'm not sure they were.
*Disclaimer: This post will probably be all over the place. Think of it as a somewhat Buddy Nix themed article with J2 Mind Dump thrown in.
I counted 22 players from that article that I like on our team (excluding the FA (Byrd, Levitre)). Of those I actually counted 7 players that I think will be or ether are elite players (Glenn, Stevie, Spiller, Dareus, Williams, Gilmore and Williams). That's actually not bad. If you think about super bowl contending teams they typically have a core group of players that they can count on year in and year out. I really think we have a good core of elite level players. I'm not saying that 7 guys makes a team but I think any 7 of those guys on any other team we would drool over because they are good core players. When we franchise or resign Byrd that'll be 8 full time starters that are what I could consider elite level players.
So we need 22 players for a starting unit on O and D and I (that's me, not you) see 8 that are elite level talent or will be elite level talent but we have to wait a year or 2 because of youth with capable players like Urbik or Chandler etc... sprinkled in between as serviceable to above average players. Pretty much the mix you're looking for on any team.
When Buddy took over the GM job he had just stepped on a pile of dog crap. Buddy looked at his shoe and wanted to get the dog crap off of it. So he walked over to a nearby hose and started to spray off the dog crap. The only problem with that is some poop is going to fling all over the place and possibly get on his pants but he knew that was the best way to get the poop off of his shoe. Which is essentially where we are in his tenure in Buffalo. He's getting poop flung on him from all directions at this point because of the lack of winning and the lack of a young groomable QB. But Buddy doesn't care, all he wants to do is get the poop off his shoe. So he's going to keep spraying that hose until all the poop is off his shoe.
So what does that mean? I'll try to break it down:
When Buddy took over the GM job he had just stepped on a pile of dog crap.
Our roster sucked.
Buddy looked at his shoe and wanted to get the dog crap off of it. So he walked over to a nearby hose and started to spray off the dog crap.
Buddy knows how to build a successful team. So he went to work.
The only problem with that is some poop is going to fling all over the place and possibly even on his pants but he knew that was the best way to get the poop off of his shoe.
Buddy tried to warn us that this was going to take a while. Joe P will cry for a baby and I'll preach that the Nix/Gailey regime was given 5 years to build a contender. But he knew that this was going to be a slow painful rebuild and he was going to get crap for that for years and tried to warn us.
But Buddy doesn't care, all he wants to do is get the poop off his shoe. So he's going to keep spraying that hose until all the poop is off his shoe.
Buddy is going to stay the course and keep doing what he's doing regardless of what anyone thinks and i'm a fan.
So am I giving Buddy a pass? Am I glossing over the issues that this team still has 3 years after Buddy has taken GM responsibilities? I'm sure some will rip me apart and say obviously. It's pretty obvious that I don't feel that way and probably never will. Well maybe I will but it won't be for a bit. What that bit is I don't know but ask me in the future if you care/remember/i'm still around and we'll talk then. I don't have a timetable for a bit but some statistician might be able to calculate a bit for us. Continuing on...
I think this is the portion of the post where I try to make a point, so here goes: Buddy Nix is going to be the guy that gets hated on. He's probably going to get hated on until the day he retires but he doesn't care. His job is to make the Bills perennial playoff contenders. That's why he hasn't valued QB higher than other positions because he wants to build the team. That's why you get a Spiller and not a Clausen (Kaiser, I had this half written before I replied to your post, i'm just following through here) for example because Buddy is simply not going to reach for a position that early in the draft to take a QB that isn't as highly graded as a player at another position. Why? Because this team needed tons of talent. Core elite level talent and that means taking guys early in the draft that you're more convinced on than any other time int he draft.
But J2: QB is the fastest way to a winner. That I agree with but those RG3, Luck, Newton type players haven't been available when the Bills have picked. Please don't start with Wilson or Kaep crap because if the rest of the NFL knew they were going to be good they wouldn't have lasted until the 2nd or 3rd rounds. The best QBs that Buffalo would have looked at taking early were mocked and graded pretty much identically to the majority of NFL franchises, fan bases and draft guru's. So while you may have wanted those guys they went in the later rounds for a reason.
So in summation: Buddy has always simply tried to take the best football players almost irregardless of position. I say almost because there are caveats like not taking a guard too high etc... However Buddy has always had need factored into his picking but not overwhelmingly so. As evidence by Graham. That's why I still feel that we'll continue to crap on him even after he retires but I do feel there will be a point where we kind of all go "ahhh, Buddy was right". That's because he's taking what he thinks are rock solid players early in the draft.
I don't know how to pick for the Bills this year other than the Bills probably won't take a QB at 8. I think we'll take the BPA like Gilmore was and then try to move back into the 1st for a QB. If we do pick QB at 8 I think it's Glennon or nobody. Glennon has Nix's attributes (height, arm strength) with good accuracy which Marrone and Hackett will like in their possession based passing offense. It's a good marriage. Just don't ask me to predict who we'll take because I think position based drafting is almost out the window with Buddy. Especially in the first couple rounds.
We're still going to suck. I'm kind of thinking 6-10 or 7-9 but that's about it and honestly it doesn't bother me one bit. Don't say I don't care about winning because I do but i'll be more interested in the development of the team. That means their mentality and the maturation of our younger players and young QB.
New coaching staff with a young QB isn't a recipe for success. Does anyone honestly think we'll be competing for a super bowl anyways? For me the real value will be in the development of the schemes and the players. We're not super bowl contenders regardless.
So where do I think we are right now? I think we're at a point where QB is probably the main focus. We have our elite level core group of players that I mentioned before. We have good offensive and defensive lines which is traditionally where games are won or lost. So while we do need another play maker on offense this team is about ready for that QB.
To me that means in the next 1-2 drafts we'll get one and then it'll be a year from there. So yes, i'm essentially advocating and am completely fine with waiting another 2-3 years for this team to be a serious super bowl contender. And I'm completely fine with it. Is it apathy? Is it blind hope? Is it drinking the kool aid? I'm certain plenty will think so but i'm looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm pretty sure I do see that there is light there and we will be consistent playoff attendees with a super bowl appearance or 2 sprinkled in that QBs life time.
At that point Buddy will be retired and will only be referred to as the moron that didn't get us a QB early enough and hired Chan Gailey. I think his team will speak for him long after he's the GM of the Bills.