A lot has been said about Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane’s attempts to establish a winning culture for the Buffalo Bills. Players such as Trent Murphy relating stories about wrestling cattle and discussing “blue-collar mentality” suggest they’re looking for players who want to outwork the competition. Put another way, they seem to be looking for players that lead by example through their relentless pursuit of “better.” Did the Bills stay true to this model during the 2019 NFL Draft? We’ll take a quick look at six of the eight draftees to confirm that: “Yes, of course they stuck with this model.”
Ed Oliver made waves when he was named to the first-string defense after just three days in college. Feeling “disrespected” having to work with the second string, Oliver related during an interview “I broke through the line. I tried to smash (running back) Mulbah Car,” Oliver said. “I made him fumble and everything. I tried to end his life. I was like, ‘Man, ya’ll going to get me away from these 2s.’ I tried everything to get with the 1s.” After a debut game where he tallied two sacks, Oliver came away angry and disappointed that he wasn’t dominant enough.
Oliver was a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT trophy, which celebrates the best defender in terms of character and performance. He can also relate to Trent Murphy wrestling with steer calves. Oliver’s father credits his ability to change direction during a play to growing up riding Oreo, their horse known for being stubborn and rearing when he pleased.
Cody Ford has a similar makeup. Breaking his leg in just his third game with Oklahoma, Ford expressed disappointment at being unable to show the world how well he played. The injury was more about lost opportunity. While creating a nice resume on the field, Ford took extra classes to complete a criminal justice degree with a minor in African-American studies in just 3.5 years.
What sort of person is Devin Singletary? Just take a look at his statement to confirm he was declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft. Singletary runs through a long list of parties he is grateful to for helping shape who he has become. An emphasis on loyalty and personal growth is prevalent in his words.
A walk on at Ole Miss, Dawson Knox made his way up through outworking everyone else. Battling several four-star recruits, Knox came out on top of the tight end depth chart. Knox credits his lack of scholarship (initially) and tough competition for giving him the edge he needed to succeed.
When asked about Vosean Joseph, former teammate Jeremiah Moon characterized Joseph as a headhunter. “[He’s] always trying to hit somebody hard,” Moon said. “He’s just made to hit.” Joseph has all too often faced tragedy in his life. With several friends killed, Joseph cites the chaos and violence of his Miami hometown as motivation to be the best he can be to avoid a violent end.
JaQuan Johnson practically oozes process. With his team facing a hated rival and down at the half, Johnson delivered a speech to the defensive side of the ball that is widely credited as sparking the comeback victory. Johnson’s speech, which you can read many details of here, focused on loyalty to each other and the team playing to “our standard.”