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Buffalo Bills adopting "Best Williams Available" strategy in NFL Draft

Drafting Williamses is just good science, Bills fans.

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

ONE BILLS DRIVE – Three weeks ahead of the start of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills front office is entering into the second phase of its pre-draft plan after what GM Doug Whaley considers to be a successful free agency period.

"We addressed some key needs over the past few weeks," Whaley told reporters recently. "Now, we're free to take the best Williams available (in the draft)."

According to Whaley, the draft philosophy aims to add to the team’s corps of current players surnamed Williams, including defensive captains Mario and Kyle, top safety Aaron, and potential starters Chris and Duke - a strategy he says is strongly supported by analytics.

"Take out weighting by round, and a good ‘hit’ rate for any given player is about 39 percent," he said. "We’ve got five Williamses and five starters. You do the math."

The 2015 draft class projects to be the deepest Williams draft in years, featuring projected Top-10 defensive lineman Leonard, first-round tight end Maxx, and mid-to-late round prospects P.J., Daryl, Xavier, Karlos, Ishaq, Kasen, and Terry. Whaley will build his big board accordingly.

"We consider having the last name Williams a skill. You're either born with it, or you're not," he said. "Well, unless you go down to the courthouse and get your name changed. But if a player did that, we'd see it as a sign of a strong work ethic."

The Bills are no stranger to name-centric roster-building approaches; Whaley's predecessor, Buddy Nix, was the first to instill it as an organizational staple.

"Buddy got the ball rolling with the whole C.J., EJ, F.J., S.J., T.J. thing," Whaley explained. "We didn’t reach our goals with those guys, but the way we see it, the methodology was correct — we just had the wrong names."

Whaley added that with a consistent annual influx of Williamses, he sees ‘Williamsball,’ a term coined by his scouting department, as a sustainable draft strategy moving forward.

"You can never have too many Williamses," he said. "Ideally, you’d like to add one or two per year."