Despite Florida State University annually putting out high quality talent for years, the Buffalo Bills don't have a long history of selecting those players in the draft. While I think the program a player comes from is pretty insignificant when judging a player, it's still noteworthy. On Christian Ponder day here at Buffalo Rumblings, let's look at the Seminoles' draft history with the Bills.
In 1970, Buffalo drafted their first Florida State player in kicker Grant Guthrie. Guthrie appeared in 20 games for the Bills, going 13 of 29 on field goals and 32 of 34 on extra points.
As the program gained steam under head coach Bobby Bowden, the Bills began to notice. In 1988, the Bills took CB Martin Mayhew in the tenth round, but he never played a snap for Buffalo, instead latching on for a very successful career with the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (He is now the Detroit Lions' General Manager.)
In 1994, the Bills selected tight end Lonnie Johnson in the second round and receiver Kevin Knox in the sixth. Knox never played for Buffalo and appeared in only two NFL games with the Arizona Cardinals. Johnson spent five years in Buffalo as the hopeful heir to Pete Metzelaars, starting all but one game in the four years following his rookie season. He averaged over 40 catches in his first three seasons as a starter, but when Doug Flutie and Rob Johnson manned the quarterback position in 1998, he fell to 14 receptions and was gone that off-season.
The most successful Seminole the Bills drafted was LB Saw Cowart in the 1998 NFL Draft. Cowart made a Pro Bowl and was named to the All-Pro second team with the Bills in 2000, but a leg injury during that season doomed his career in Buffalo. He only played one more game in the red, white, and blue, then continued an effective career with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings.
Buffalo has taken seven Jackson State players through the years, but only five Florida State Seminoles.