That’s because, in the history of the draft, the Bills have never picked at No. 25, though the team did hold the 25th selection in the 1961, 1964, and 1966 AFL Drafts.
In fact, their drafting of defensive back Butch Byrd at pick No. 25 in 1964 certainly panned out well for the team, as Byrd played seven seasons in Buffalo’s secondary, appearing in 98 games (97 starts) with five AFL All-Star nods. Byrd still holds the franchise record for career interceptions (40), returning five of those for touchdowns, and he took a punt 74 yards for a score to help the Bills win the 1965 AFL championship, the Bills’ last league title. Byrd deserves to be on the Bills Wall of Fame, but that’s an article for another time...
Buffalo’s only other selections at pick No. 25 were:
- Tackle/center/linebacker Stew Barber, 1961 AFL Draft (125 career games, three interceptions for 30 yards and one TD, five-time All-AFL)
- Tackle Randy Jackson, 1966 AFL Draft (105 career games, 97 starts)
In more recent history, cornerback, a position of need for the Bills heading into the 2022 NFL draft, has been the most popular position at No. 25. The good news for Bills fans? If the team takes a cornerback, that has been both the most popular position (seven) and the most productive.
Four cornerbacks have earned Pro Bowl honors after being drafted 25th overall. Jason Verrett (2014 by the San Diego Chargers), Xavier Rhodes (2013 by the Minnesota Vikings), Vontae Davis (2009 by the Miami Dolphins), and Mike Jenkins (2008 by the Dallas Cowboys).
In terms of other selections, cornerbacks are followed by wide receiver (four), linebacker (three), defensive end (two), defensive tackle (two), quarterback (two), safety (two), offensive lineman (one), running back (one), and tight end (one).
Here is the full list of players selected with pick No. 25 over the last 25 years:
- 2021: RB Travis Ettienne (Jacksonville Jaguars)
- 2020: WR Brandon Aiyuk (San Francisco 49ers)
- 2019: WR Marquise Brown (Baltimore Ravens)
- 2018: TE Hayden Hurst (Baltimore Ravens)
- 2017: S Jabril Peppers (Cleveland Browns)
- 2016: CB Artie Burns (Pittsburgh Steelers)
- 2015: LB Shaq Thompson (Carolina Panthers)
- 2014: CB Jason Verrett (San Diego Chargers)
- 2013: CB Xavier Rhodes (Minnesota Vikings)
- 2012: LB Dont’a Hightower (New England Patriots)
- 2011: OL James Carpenter (Seattle Seahawks)
- 2010: QB Tim Tebow (Denver Broncos)
- 2009: CB Vontae Davis (Miami Dolphins)
- 2008: CB Mike Jenkins (Dallas Cowboys)
- 2007: LB Jon Beason (Carolina Panthers)
- 2006: WR Santonio Holmes (Pittsburgh Steelers)
- 2005: QB Jason Campbell (Washington Commanders)
- 2004: CB Ahmad Carroll (Green Bay Packers)
- 2003: DT Willam Joseph (New York Giants)
- 2002: DE Charles Grant (New Orleans Saints)
- 2001: WR Freddie Mitchell (Philadelphia Eagles)
- 2000: DT Chris Hovan (Minnesota Vikings)
- 1999: S Antuan Edwards (Green Bay Packers)
- 1998: CB Donovin Darius (Jacksonville Jaguars)
- 1997: DE Jon Harris (Philadelphia Eagles)
Among the notable accomplishments from players drafted No. 25 overall: Six of the players were named to at least one Pro Bowl (Verrett, Rhodes, Hightower, Davis, Jenkins, and Beason), while Santonio Holmes captured Super Bowl XLIII MVP honors after catching nine passes for 131 yards and one toe-tapping, game-winning touchdown grab in Pittsburgh’s 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
Perhaps the most famous No. 25 selection of the last 25 years is someone who played not one but two sports: Tim Tebow, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback out of the University of Florida who guided the Broncos to an overtime playoff win against the Steelers in the Wild Card round thanks to an 80-yard touchdown toss to Demaryius Thomas. Tebow would start 16 games at quarterback for the Broncos and New York Jets during his three-year NFL career before playing minor league baseball for five seasons.