Dougieg posted a nice write-up on Nix's tenure, with an optimistic viewpoint that Buddy will prove to be the hero in the Bills tragedy, the man who has set them up for future success.
I don't think it's that simple. In fact, the trouble with Buddy, is that it is almost impossible to ultimately land on a definitive positive or negative judgment on his tenure as the Bills GM. For those of you who praise him, I think you're wrong. For those of you who bury him, I also think you're wrong.
For Buddy Nix, I think the only true evaluation is "I don't know". Confound it, Buddy!
B.B. (Before Buddy)
If we start with what Buddy inherited in 2010, the previous three years of the Brandon-Jauron regime (with one year from Levy) had let go of quality veterans like London Fletcher, Takeo Spikes, Jabari Greer, London Fletcher, Nate Clements, Willis McGahee, Jason Peters and Jim Leonhard.
Unfortunately, their decisions on incoming free agents to supplement the roster were disastrous- Langston Walker, Derrick Dockery, Terrell Owens, Geoff Hangartner, Kawika Mitchell and Marcus Stroud added up to a large amount of money spent, with very little results. They also saddled Nix with the QB duo of Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
While many Nix haters will accurately point out that the win-loss record in the Jauron years was better than Nix's tenure, an objective observer would likely agree that the roster was shedding talent from 2007-2009, which would have a major impact on Nix's first year, a 4-12 record.
So with that as the background, how do Buddy's moves stack up?
Darn it, Buddy! His first effort at assembling a coaching staff with Gailey and Wannstedt was a dismal failure. While Gailey may have made a solid choice as an offensive coordinator, he was over his head as a HC, and his focus on calling plays led him to repeatedly make poor in game management decisions. Wannstedt had embarrassingly fallen behind the curve in NFL defensive scheme evolution.
Al-right, Buddy! His second effort at assembling a coaching staff appears- with no games yet to be played- to be extremely promising. Bills fans haven't seen a coaching staff this energetic, aggressive and modern in a decade.
Darn it, Buddy! His attempts at upgrading the roster with veteran free agent talent have generated mediocre results at best, poor results at worse. Brad Smith, Dwan Edwards, Spencer Johnson, Shawn Merriman, Mark Anderson, Andra Davis, Reggie Torbor- none will see the Bills Ring of Honor. Nick Barnett was solid if unspectacular, and the jury is still out on Super Mario, but Buddy's first few years dipping into the free agent pool were misguided.
Beyond that, however, Buddy deserves major kudos for being outstanding at spotting and scooping up low cost talent- undrafted rookies, practice squad players, and players cut from stronger team's rosters- David Nelson, Donald Jones, Scott Chandler, Chad Rinehart, Kraig Urbik, Erik Pears, Kyle Moore, Colin Brown, Sam Young- all obtained for little investment.
It's still early, but this group of UDFA- Rogers, Tuel, Kauffman, Robey, Pough- appear to be another great crop of young talent at league minimum salaries.
Darn it, Buddy! Torrell Troup, Marcus Easley, Aaron Williams, Ed Wang, Johnny White, TJ Graham. Buddy's draft record in the first 5 rounds is highly spotty, and every Buffalo area fan can name the could of, should of's: Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, etc. In addition, while he has shown a great eye for UDFAs, for some reason that has not carried over to the 6th and 7th rounds, where only 3 of his 11 picks in those rounds are still on the team.
Al-right, Buddy! The core is potentially there- Spiller, Dareus, Gilmore, Glenn, Bradham, Hairston, and this year's selections such as Manuel, Woods and Alonso. Buddy's drafts have progressively gotten better, to his credit.
Darn it, Buddy! He inherited Edwards-Fitzpatrick, and then did nothing about it for three years. While Fitz had a nice streak going at the end of 2010, beginning of 2011, the reality was that he was a 7th round draft pick and journeyman with mediocre career stats.
Al-right, Buddy! He leaves of course, with the Bills having their franchise QB in hand. For many people, this one pick will shape his legacy.
Confound it, Buddy- I just don't know what to make of you! But it seems- maybe, just maybe- that as a rookie GM over 70 years old that you learned from your mistakes and improved a little as you went along...