Day one of the 2009 NFL Draft featured a dozen trades and plenty of surprises - including several eyebrow-raisers made by your Buffalo Bills. In the end, four players are now the newest members of the Buffalo Bills: DE Aaron Maybin, OG Eric Wood, DB Jairus Byrd and OG Andy Levitre.
Obviously, a lot went on today - and if any Bills fan tells you that they saw this result coming, laugh loudly in their face, folks. We'll break down everything that we know happened today below - and then turn it over to you guys for your thoughts on day one, our new players, and of course, a day one grade.
1-11: Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State (Coverage)
We knew going in that Alabama OT Andre Smith sat at the top of Buffalo's board. I got a phone call early this afternoon, however, that I didn't expect - I was informed earlier today that if Smith wasn't available (and he wasn't, going No. 6 overall to Cincinnati), that Maybin would be the pick for the Bills.
Here's the scoop - the Bills liked Tennessee's Robert Ayers (who eventually became a Denver Bronco). But they realized he wasn't a playmaker. They needed a defensive playmaker more than any other position in this draft, and they think they have that player in the speedy, athletic and long Maybin. They are certainly taking a risk with this pick - but it's a risk worth taking for a franchise that hasn't been to the playoffs in nearly a decade. He'll be counted on as a situational pass-rusher as a rookie - and the team was keenly aware that their woeful pass rush needed to be addressed first and foremost.
SB Nation had representatives at Radio City Music Hall today covering the draft as credentialed NFL media. I was sent this statement from JasonB, who was on a call with Maybin. This was Maybin's reaction after the Bills made him their top selection...
Just very overwhelmed. I'm very happy to just be able to have a chance to play in such a great city for such an amazing franchise. It's a great opportunity for me and I'm coming into a situation where I'm going to get a chance to play with some Penn State guys out there. They've got Paul Posluszny and Bryan Scott on the team right now. I'm really anxious to just get out there and just to start putting in work, just to start building the foundation out there for myself.
Trying to trade back up...
From this point, the Bills got on the phone and tried to move up to select Oklahoma State TE Brandon Pettigrew. The consensus top TE in the draft went a bit earlier than anticipated, however, when the Detroit Lions took him at No. 20 overall. USC LB Clay Matthews III nearly fell to them at No. 28, but the Packers traded up to No. 26 to steal him (and I don't think they tried to trade up, preferring to keep their picks after Pettigrew was selected). When those two guys were gone, the Bills stuck to their board and took a guy they didn't think would fall to them at No. 42 in the second round...
1-28: Eric Wood, G/C, Louisville (Coverage)
Simply put, the Bills were focused on adding a quality interior lineman today (a point that they would emphatically underscore later in the second round). Wood was their highest-rated interior lineman; they view him as an immediate starter at guard. I am speculating that he'll play left guard, but based on the Bills' fourth (yes, fourth) pick of the day, that might change. But Wood will play guard in Buffalo, and he will very likely start right away.
With no prospects to trade up for at that point and seven more picks, the Bills chose to stay put... for a while. Head on in beyond the jump to see how the second round unfolded for Buffalo.
2-42: Jairus Byrd, DB, Oregon (Coverage)
I don't think I've ever seen a Bills draft pick as immediately despised as this selection of Byrd. DB was clearly a spot that was going to be addressed, as three cornerbacks and five safeties are within the final two years of their respective contracts in Buffalo. As mentioned ad nauseam, the Bills were also focused on adding playmakers defensively - and Byrd is decidedly that, having picked off 17 passes in just three seasons at Oregon.
Byrd tested poorly in pre-draft workouts, running a 4.68-second 40, but he's a good athlete with great instincts that fits well in a zone scheme. He has the ability to play either corner or free safety, and might get a look at both spots in Buffalo. He also averaged 12.3 yards per punt return in his career at Oregon. This pick may have been completely left-field and certainly not a need-centric selection, but there is undeniably some value here. Still... it was a weird pick. We'll admit it.
At that point, the Bills had exercised all of their day one picks. Then, one trade later, they hadn't.
Bills trade up with Dallas
In a very surprising move, the Bills sent their third-round pick (No. 75 overall) and their first fourth-round pick (No. 110) to the Dallas Cowboys for the No. 51 overall pick. The trade gave the Bills four first-day picks, but it also takes them completely out of the third round.
The Bills currently have four picks tomorrow: Round 4 (No. 121), Round 5 (No. 147), Round 6 (No. 183) and Round 7 (No. 220). Who'd they move up for?
2-51: Andy Levitre, OG, Oregon State (Coverage)
A college left tackle, Levitre is widely considered to be a guard prospect at the NFL level - and, ironically, Levitre was second to Wood on the Bills' board of interior offensive linemen.
Levitre is a versatile player that can play four spots on the line. He is similar to Wood in many respects, including demeanor, athleticism and intelligence. He'll make a very good pro, and the fact that the Bills focused so heavily on their lines on day one (three picks) is an encouraging sign. But the Levitre selection absolutely creates some question marks surrounding the Bills' re-tooled offensive line.
LT: Langston Walker has the early edge at this position as the most experienced OT on the roster.
LG: I had penciled Wood in here, but it could easily be Levitre or even current RG Brad Butler at this position.
C: This one's settled - Geoff Hangartner will be the Bills' starting center.
RG: Butler is here for now, but having played OT in college, there's a chance they could move him to RT. If that's the case, Wood and Levitre become contenders here.
RT: Kirk Chambers will likely open camp as the starter here, but Demetrius Bell and perhaps even Brad Butler (depending on the speed of assimilation from our two new guards) could challenge.
A lot is changing on the line, clearly, but there's certainly no shortage of quality depth at this point. There are options - and with only two spots locked down (Walker and Hangartner), there will be some interesting decisions to make. If you're asking me now, the line will look like this:
L. Walker - E. Wood - G. Hangartner - A. Levitre - B. Butler
K. Chambers - D. Bell - S. McKinney
That does it for Buffalo Rumblings' coverage of day one of the NFL Draft. It was a surprising day, but I had fun chilling with y'all. Thanks for making Rumblings your one-stop shop for NFL Draft and Buffalo Bills news. We hope to see y'all tomorrow!