clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Year 2 of Levy: Top-heavy on offense?

New, comments
RB Thurman Thomas was Levy's first pick in the 1988 draft.

Throughout his first stint with the Bills - obviously as the team's head coach - Marv Levy has been known to draft heavily on the defensive side of the ball. It is part of the reason that many Bills fans, as well as Draft experts, believe that LB, CB or possibly even DT could be the Bills' first-round selection this season. Combine that with the losses of Nate Clements, London Fletcher-Baker and Takeo Spikes, there is further reason to believe that Defense will be our top priority.

However, recent activity out of One Bills Drive may indicate that the Bills are focusing on offense. The team has brought in RFA Michael Turner for a visit, and also has escorted top-flight WR prospect Robert Meachem through team headquarters. Many people believe that the offensive activity may be a smokescreen for a defense-heavy draft, but Levy's history may indicate otherwise.

Let's compare Levy's first draft as head coach (1987) with his first as GM (2006). In '87, Levy went very heavy on defense - his first four picks were Shane Conlan (LB), Nate Odomes (CB), Roland Mitchell (DB) and Dave Brandon (LB). In all, Levy added 7 defenders in that draft, with just 4 offensive players brought in. Of course, a similar pattern was followed in 2006, where the first 5 picks were all defenders (Donte Whitner, John McCargo, Ashton Youboty, Ko Simpson and Kyle Williams). 6 of last year's 9 rookies were defensive players.

Now, let's examine Levy's second draft, in 1988. The majority of this draft was defensive as well - Levy brought in 8 defenders and 1 specialist out of 14 picks (including Jeff Wright and Carlton Bailey). However, it was the top of that draft that could be significant come the end of this April.

Levy's first two picks in the 1988 draft were offensive skill position players. Thurman Thomas was added in the 2nd round (40th overall) and Bernard Fored was the team's second choice that season. With a young QB on that team (Jim Kelly), Levy used his top two picks to bring in more young weapons for Kelly to utilize.

The similarities are actually pretty close. The team has invested its stock in young QB J.P. Losman, and it has a rising star offensively in Lee Evans (just as Andre Reed was Kelly's top target back then). However, the team lacks a starting running back and playmakers on the offensive side of the ball.

This, of course, does not mean that the Bills will use their top pick on a RB or a WR. But history does indicate that the possibility is much greater than any of us may anticipate.

In my mind, Levy's past is a big indication of what may occur this April. My hope is that the team will draft Patrick Willis, but it would not surprise me in the least if 2 or 3 of the team's first-day picks were used to bolster Losman's ammo.

What do you think, Bills fans? Legitimate theory, or am I grasping at straws?