The 2009 NFL Draft is officially in the books!
Entering the weekend, the Buffalo Bills had three areas that needed immediate attention: their woeful pass rush; their porous offensive line; and a defensive playmaker. The Bills addressed those needs on day one, and coupled with one tremendous value selection on day two, the Bills made out like bandits this draft weekend - whether you're a fan of their late-round picks or not.
Without further ado, here are your eight newest Buffalo Bills...
1-11: Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State (Coverage)
We asked for a speed rusher and the Bills obliged. Maybin, by a country mile, is Buffalo's most athletic pass rushing threat since the days of Bryce Paup. He is undoubtedly a gamble, and won't be an every-down player right out of the gate. But with quarterbacks Tom Brady, Chad Pennington and now Mark Sanchez in the division, the Bills needed a guy to put heat on those signal-callers. This is a smart risk for the Bills to take - and Maybin's potential is elite.
1-28: Eric Wood, OG, Louisville (Coverage)
They tried to move up for TE Brandon Pettigrew but weren't prepared to pay out the nose to do it. Instead, they stay put and take a smart, athletic, tough-nosed kid who steps in and immediately fills the right guard position vacated by Brad Butler, who will move to right tackle.
2-42: Jairus Byrd, FS, Oregon (Coverage)
Buffalo went into the draft keenly aware that they needed a playmaker defensively, and particularly at the safety position. This is a risky pick in that they're asking Byrd to make a position switch, but he enters Buffalo as the best DB on the team in terms of pure ball skills. Ko Simpson, beware: you are officially on the roster bubble.
2-51: Andy Levitre, OG, Oregon State (Coverage)
Buffalo traded third- and fourth-round picks to move back into the second round and draft another instant starter in the versatile Levitre. He is a Wood clone - tough, smart, and durable. He has the inside track at starting immediately at left guard; the Bills will move Brad Butler to right tackle and flip Langston Walker to left tackle to replace the departed Jason Peters. And just like that, Buffalo's in-flux offensive line is once again settled - and perhaps better.
4-121: Shawn Nelson, TE, Southern Miss (Coverage)
This was by leaps and bounds Buffalo's best selection, if you're asking me. Nelson is one of the finer athletes available at any position in this draft class, and he's also got an incredibly soft pair of hands. He's an immediate upgrade at the tight end position and complements Derek Fine and Derek Schouman perfectly. Even better - unlike some of his "receiving TE" counterparts, he's got upside as a blocker. Buffalo now has themselves a legitimate tight end threat for the first time since Jay Riemersma ran routes at The Ralph, though whether or not he'll contribute as a rookie is another question.
5-147: Nic Harris, OLB, Oklahoma (Coverage)
He played safety in college, but the Bills will move the 230-pound athlete to outside linebacker. This is where Buffalo's draft class crossed the realm from "contributor" to "depth", but Harris was very productive at a high-quality program. He's worth a shot, and he'll compete directly with Keith Ellison for a future roster spot.
6-183: Cary Harris, CB, USC (Coverage)
Zone-based, physical cornerback that provides depth and special teams potential. May have a tough time making the roster considering Buffalo's envious depth in the defensive backfield, particularly at cornerback.
7-220: Ellis Lankster, CB, West Virginia (Coverage)
... Zone-based, physical cornerback that provides depth and special teams potential. May have a tough time making the roster considering Buffalo's envious depth in the defensive backfield, particularly at cornerback.
That's it, folks. Draft weekend at Buffalo Rumblings has officially concluded. Thanks for dropping by this weekend; I know that personally, I had a blast hanging with y'all. Cheers!