Now that free agency has gone a couple rounds and as the draft approaches, hope springs eternal for most NFL fans and cities. I am always reminded at this time of year about how important talent evaluation is for every NFL team, and generally how poor Buffalo has been in this department during the current playoff drought. Thinking of this, I had a look back at the yearly rosters of the Bills since that heartbreaking play that started this seemingly endless streak of futility.
While looking at the rosters i started looking at some of the names of players that actually started games for Buffalo. Every team has some bad players on the back end of the roster most years, but rarely are they forced into action. Below I listed some of the worst of the worst during the streak that actually started games at some point. My question for you, is Buffalo truly getting better and deeper rosters under Nix and they are not being utilized, or are the current batch of roster fillers just more in a long line of marginal players we have seen over the course of this century bereft of playoff participation. So on with the list of gems that have started. Feel free to include or exclude people I have missed / listed in the comment section below.
RB - Shawn Bryson, Jonathan Linton, Joe Burns, Anthony Thomas.........Thankfully none of these were long term options. RB has been a well stocked position for Buffalo for a long time, though it has yet to translate to wins or a strong offense in general.
WR - James Hardy, Andre Davis, Reggie Germany, Bobby Shaw, Paul Hubbard.........It seems that Buffalo can not get two highly productive receivers on the field in the same year since trading Peerless Price.
RG - Jamie Nails, Corey Hulsey, Mike Pucillo........Im wondering how many people have click on the Jamie Nails link at pro-football-reference.com. Im guessing 3. Jamie Nails, the guy would created the link, and myself.
RT - Mike Williams, Marcus Spriggs, Mansfield Wrotto.......Some things don't get better with age. Many of these guys played multiple spots along the line, but none played any of them well.
Defense - The Defense is more condensed because of schematic inconsistency.
DT / NT - John Mcargo, Larry Triplett, Torell Troupe.......Triplett is a stretch, but he was just such a low impact player as I recall.
LBs - Corey Moore, Brandon Spoon, Chris Draft, Ashlee Palmer, Dashon Polk.........There were many more I wanted to include, but most were from the recent attempts to run a 3-4 with 4-3 personnel, so it's hard to put it all on the player, hence their exclusion.
S - Izell Reese, Ko Simpson, Raion Hill.......I badly wanted to put Whitner on the list but he did rack up a lot of tackles while over-pursuing plays so its a tough one.
KR - Chris Watson..........WORST RETURNER EVER! Sorry punt catcher to wade Phillips.
PR - Chris Watson..........WORST RETURNER EVER! Sorry punt catcher to wade Phillips. I thought it was worth saying twice.
K - Jake Arians, Dave Rayner.........Little used short term guys, and with good reason.
There you have it. So once again, how does the current roster stack up to these gems from the past 14 years, and who else should be on here, and who should be off. Keep in mind all the above players started at least one game, so there are a LOT of terrible players that were not included for that reason alone.