Every team has players who fly under the radar. When those players happen to play for your favorite team, they may be a bit more noteworthy to you than they are to the viewing public at-large. In a recent list compiled by Bleacher Report’s Mike Tanier, four former Buffalo Bills were named among the twenty-five most underrated players in NFL history.
Former center Kent Hull, who started 169 games for the Bills from 1986-1996, was named the fourteenth-most underrated player in league history. The former Mississippi State Bulldog played in the USFL as a member of the New Jersey Generals before signing with the Bills in 1986. He was a Pro Bowl player for three consecutive seasons (1988-1990). He passed away in 2011 due to intestinal bleeding.
Tenth on the list is former defensive end Ron McDole. A mainstay on the defense that won consecutive AFL championships in 1964 and 1965, McDole helped the Bills dominate against the run (allowing only 3.1 yards per carry over three consecutive seasons, according to Tanier). He made loads of big plays himself, accumulating 12 interceptions, 14 fumble recoveries, 2 touchdowns, and 3 safeties over his 18-year career. His interception total remains a record for defensive linemen to this day.
London Fletcher ranked seventh on the list. A stalwart defender on some bad Bills teams, Fletcher did not make his first Pro Bowl until his age-34 season (2009 with the Washington Redskins). He had 23 interceptions, 12 fumble recoveries, 39 sacks, and 1380 tackles in his 16-year career. As a Bill, he averaged 99 tackles and 3 sacks per season from 2002-2006.
Isiah Robertson is the highest-ranked member of the Bills on the list, coming in at number five overall. He played for the Bills from 1979-1982, and although Tanier accurately refers to those Bills teams as “also-rans,” Robertson has something on his Buffalo resume that Flecther does not—two trips to the playoffs, along with a playoff victory (1981 Wild Card against the New York Jets). He started 57 games for the Bills, snagging 7 interceptions and 4 fumble recoveries in that time frame.
Reading the list made me think about some criminally underrated Bills who Tanier did not mention. If I were to add one Buffalo Bill to the list, I would suggest former guard Jim Ritcher. The 14-year member of the Bills made two Pro Bowls (1991 and 1992), and did not miss a start from 1985 until 1993. As Tanier says in his article when discussing former Los Angeles/Oakland Raider Steve Wisniewski, “no one plays guard expecting fame and accolades.”
What other Buffalo Bills may warrant a “most underrated” designation?