Whatever your opinion is regarding Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix (right now, things are fairly lukewarm), one belief seems to be universally held amongst Bills fans: Nix has done a nice job of acquiring players from the proverbial bargain bin.
In two full off-seasons running the Bills' football operation, Nix has scraped the bottom of the barrel to find plenty of contributors and even a few starters (albeit on teams that finished a combined 10-22, mind you). In doing so, he's even occasionally been quick to point out where that player was drafted, with 2009 Pittsburgh third-round pick Kraig Urbik being the first. (Nix said that in 2009, when he was a national scout with the Bills, the team had Eric Wood, Andy Levitre and Urbik rated as the three highest interior linemen on their draft board.)
That got us thinking: out of all of the players Nix has acquired, where were they drafted? After the jump, you can find that list. Players that Nix inherited from previous regimes were not counted, nor were players that Nix has drafted or signed as undrafted free agents.
- Round 1 Picks: OLB Shawne Merriman, ILB Nick Barnett
- Round 2 Picks: DE Dwan Edwards
- Round 3 Picks: WR Derek Hagan, OG Kraig Urbik, OG Chad Rinehart, DE Jarron Gilbert, ILB Kirk Morrison
- Round 4 Picks: RB Tashard Choice, WR Brad Smith, TE Scott Chandler, DE Kyle Moore, ILB Reggie Torbor
- Round 5 Picks: WR David Clowney, TE Lee Smith, OG Colin Brown, ILB Andra Davis, ILB Scott McKillop
- Round 6 Picks: TE Fendi Onobun, OT Sam Young, OG Keith Williams, K Dave Rayner
- Round 7 Picks: QB Tyler Thigpen, DT Lionel Dotson, K Brandon Coutu
- Undrafted Free Agents: WR Ruvell Martin, OT Erik Pears, DT Kellen Heard, DT Jay Ross
All told, that list includes 29 veteran acquisitions over two years. That number will soon be dwindling - players like Morrison, Choice, Torbor, Davis and the two kickers may not be back - but it sure still seems like the Bills rely heavily on their own scouting reports when looking for new player acquisitions, whether via free agency, the waiver wire or practice squad additions.
In short: Nix's reputation is well-earned, but it's probably not completely unique, either. (The Jets, for example, could list Aaron Maybin on a chart like this; every team is constantly looking for talent.) As long as Nix is around, this will be a staple of his player-acquisition philosophy - and that's not a bad thing at all.