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What if the Bills operated differently after last Playoff loss in 1999? Part 1

What if the Bills operated differently after last Playoff loss in 1999

With free agency about to begin, i thought this would be a good time to shift our focus to a little ‘what if?’. This year the Bills have yet another new coaching regime installed, the 7th since 2000 (counting Perry Fewell as interim Head Coach) and they will now look to fill holes in the roster by signing free agents and drafting players they hope can be a crucial part of the team.Now I look at the Bills from last season and see that they were 9-7 with shaky QB play and a below average running game (Fred Jackson had a broken hand, and Boobie Dixon had a partially torn meniscus). There was also a head coach who seems to have had an ulterior motive that didn’t include the team and by extension… its players, what we are left with is a playoff drought spanning 15 years. I can’t help but think back to past drafts and free agent signings the Bills had since the last time this team made the playoffs. We all notice the players who didn’t pan out, like the Derrick Dockery’s or the Aaron Maybin’s and definately notice the ones that were a hit like Jairus Byrd and Mario Williams.

Now I imagine what it would be like if the Bills maybe listened to pundits, took the fans opinion into account, drafted differently and signed or not signed different free agents (or if Tom Donahoe wasn’t calling the shots). Not every player would be different, but I asked the question and now you shall receive an answer, What if the Bills throughout the years made different player acquisitions starting in the 2000 season?

Now I’ll break this down by free agency signings, releases, and trades first then the draft (most notable players).

In 2000 the Bills started their redemption season off of the Music City Miracle and the 2000 offseason for the Bills looked like this:

(Point values based on scale of -5 – +5, by importance and impact of player)

SIGNED SIGNING VALUE RELEASED RELEASED VALUE TRADE TRADE VALUE OVERALL VALUE W/L
Jay Riemersma +1 Bruce Smith -1 -1 8-8
Ruben Brown +1 Andre Reed -1
Thurman Thomas -1

Nothing genuinely eye-popping here, releasing 3 future Hall of Famers is huge of course but they were all nearing the end of their careers so it was time to move on.

2001:

SIGNED SIGNING VALUE RELEASED RELEASED VALUE TRADE TRADE VALUE OVERALL VALUE W/L
Alex Van Pelt +1 Chris Mohr 0 +1 3-13
Keion Carpenter +1 Ted Washington -2
Bryce Fisher +1 Doug Flutie -3
Brian Moorman +3

Doug Flutie lost the power struggle with Rob Johnson and Ralph Wilson. Bryce Fisher wasn’t a factor until he showed up in Seattle for their 2005 Superbowl run. Brian Moorman was one of the better punters in the league but his presence didn’t translate to wins.

2002:

SIGNED SIGNING VALUE RELEASED RELEASED VALUE TRADE TRADE VALUE OVERALL VALUE W/L
London Fletcher +5 Rob Johnson +4 Drew Bledsoe +4 +13 8-8
Chidi Ahanotu 0

Rob Johnson was addition by subtraction; I think we can all agree to that. By acquiring Drew Bledsoe and London Fletcher 2002 is one of the best free agency periods the Bills had in recent memory, even though it’s been 3 years since a playoff berth.

2003:

SIGNED SIGNING VALUE RELEASED RELEASED VALUE TRADE TRADE VALUE OVERALL VALUE W/L
Izell Reese 0 Jay Riemersma 0 Mark Campbell +1 +19 6-10
Sam Adams +3 Peerless Price +3
Takeo Spikes +5
Jeff Posey +1
Rian Lindell +4
Lawyer Milloy +2

Takeo Spikes was the big fish in the pond in 2003 and the Bills added a great linebacker and the defense responded in accordingly, the offense wasn’t as dynamic as the year prior but this was one of the best free agent crops the Bills have really ever harvested. Also trading Peerless Price for a 1st round pick was the highlight of Tom Donahoe’s tenure as Bills GM…that’s it though.

2004:

SIGNED SIGNING VALUE RELEASED RELEASED VALUE TRADE TRADE VALUE OVERALL VALUE W/L
Troy Vincent +2 Ruben Brown -1 +9 9-7
Chris Villarrial +1
Jabari Greer +3
Jason Peters +4

Jason Peters came out of nowhere to become an “elite” left tackle only to get upset about his contract and was traded in 2009. Jabari Greer was a good corner but whose value wasn’t seen until he left Buffalo and won a Superbowl with New Orleans. Playoff Drought: Year 5.

2005:

SIGNED SIGNING VALUE RELEASED RELEASED VALUE TRADE TRADE VALUE OVERALL VALUE W/L
Kelly Holcomb 0 Drew Bledsoe -2 -2 5-11

Nobody won here, nobody.

2006:

SIGNED SIGNING VALUE RELEASED RELEASED VALUE TRADE TRADE VALUE OVERALL VALUE W/L
Fred Jackson +1 Mike Williams +1 +2 7-9
George Wilson +1 Sam Adams -2
Melvin Fowler 0 Lawyer Milloy -2
Larry Tripplett 0 Mark Campbell 0
Robert Royal 0
Peerless Price 0
Jim Leonhard +1
Anthony Hargrove +1

Mike Williams was an absolute bust, another addition by subtraction, Fred Jackson and George Wilson were a positive gain for Buffalo. They didn’t have an immediate impact but proved more valuable as time went on. Losing Sam Adams and Lawyer Milloy hurt the defense, and adding Larry Tripplett, Melvin Fowler, Robert Royal, and Peerless Price (again) didn’t necessarily help the team greatly but didn’t do enough to hurt the team either. Anthony Hargrove wasn’t used to his potential here, but helped New Orleans win a Superbowl, and Jim Leonhard helped but is more useful in a Rex Ryan type of system. Mark Campbell was just a waste of space here, never capitalized on the opportunity to be the number 1 TE in Buffalo.

2007:

SIGNED SIGNING VALUE RELEASED RELEASED VALUE TRADE TRADE VALUE OVERALL VALUE W/L
Bryan Scott +2 Chris Villarrial -2 Takeo Spikes
Kelly Holcomb
-3
0

-3

7-9

Kiwaukee Thomas 0
Langston Walker +1 Darwin Walker*
Derrick Dockery +1 Willis McGahee -2
Michael Gaines 0

*Darwin Walker never reported to Buffalo

Trading Spikes was probably a smart move considering he was frequently getting injured but he was still productive after being traded to Philly and Bills could have hung on to him to keep some veteran presence on defense. Bryan Scott wasn’t bad, he was just asked to do way more than he needed to and most of the times he looked out of position and got burned. Langston Walker and Derrick Dockery was a case of too much money for too little production. They were an upgrade over what was there before but they never played like the players their paychecks indicated. Michael Gaines caught Trent Edwards first ever TD pass, I feel had Gaines been used more in the passing game his role would have been a safety blanket for the young QB’s the Bills had but unfortunately he was never used right.

2008:

SIGNED SIGNING VALUE RELEASED RELEASED VALUE TRADE TRADE VALUE OVERALL VALUE W/L
Kawika Mitchell +1 Anthony Hargrove -2 Marcus Stroud +3

+2

7-9

Kiwaukee Thomas 0
Coy Wire 0
Peerless Price 0

Kawika Mitchell came over from the Superbowl winning Giants and was a good acquisition but he wasn’t going to transform the whole defense by himself. Hargrove didn’t reach his potential here, Wire, Price, and Thomas all were non-factors by now and could only help the team by leaving. Marcus Stroud had a stellar reputation as a beast in the middle of the D-Line and he filled an important role but with the lack of defensive playmakers at other levels and no other help around him on the line he was over-matched.

2009:

SIGNED SIGNING VALUE RELEASED RELEASED VALUE TRADE TRADE VALUE OVERALL VALUE W/L
Ryan Fitzpatrick +3 Derrick Dockery -1 Jason Peters* 0

+11

6-10

Terrell Owens +3 Robert Royal 0
Drayton Florence +3
Kirk Chambers +1
Geoff Hangartner +1
Richie Incognito (DEC) +1

*Traded to Philadelphia

Ryan Fitzpatrick was a journeyman when he got here but really filled in great at QB when Trent Edwards faltered, he threw down the field, mostly to Terrell Owens. T.O. was here to show he can behave and play nice, promote a reality show and ignite a stagnant offense. While Dick Jauron never opened it up offensively T.O. was still a big signing that didn’t pan out because of coaching. Drayton Florence proved to be a value at corner, Hangartner and Chambers were better than the Langston Walker and Dockery signings but Dockery and Walker exiting the team showed that it didn’t matter who was brought in at O-line. Richie Incognito had off the field problems and was claimed off waivers in December but the Bills missed a golden opportunity to keep him around long term to add grit to a team that desperately needed it. Trading Jason Peters was a better move than it looked, Peters was unhappy with his contract and held out all preseason and it greatly affected his play, the first round pick in exchange for Peters gave the Bills Eric Wood. Playoff Drought: Year 10.

2010:

SIGNED SIGNING VALUE RELEASED RELEASED VALUE TRADE TRADE VALUE OVERALL VALUE W/L
Scott Chandler +3 Marshawn Lynch -5

0

4-12

David Nelson +2
Shawne Merriman 0

While Scott Chandler has filled in well at tight end, he hasn’t been a part of a great passing attack, and David Nelson effectively replaced James Hardy. Shawne Merriman couldn’t stay healthy, Marshawn Lynch having legal and other off the field troubles along with him gaining weight made it necessary for the Bills to make an example out of him. problem was they got nothing back in return for him and he’s been responsible for revitalizing a Seahawks franchise with his play since being traded.

2011:

SIGNED SIGNING VALUE RELEASED RELEASED VALUE TRADE TRADE VALUE OVERALL VALUE W/L
Nick Barnett +2 Marcus Stroud -1

+1

6-10

Brad Smith 0
Tyler Thigpen 0

Nick Barnett provided depth at a thin linebacking core but Chan Gailey’s 3-4 defense wasn’t doing much for Marcus Stroud. Brad Smith was an overpriced gadget player who was never utilized to be a standard WR. Tyler Thigpen was just a backup QB who knew Chan Gailey.

2012:

SIGNED SIGNING VALUE RELEASED RELEASED VALUE TRADE TRADE VALUE OVERALL VALUE W/L
Mario Williams +5 Shawne Merriman 0

+7

6-10

Mark Anderson 0
Tashard Choice +2

Tashard Choice knew Chan Gailey from Georgia Tech, Shawne Merriman again couldn’t stay healthy, Mark Anderson got hurt and saw his job get taken by other players. Mario Williams is now earning his big pay day, and has gone to the Pro Bowl 2 out of the last 3 seasons.

2013:

SIGNED SIGNING VALUE RELEASED RELEASED VALUE TRADE TRADE VALUE OVERALL VALUE W/L
Thad Lewis +1 Nick Barnett -1 Jerry Hughes +3

+9

6-10

Manny Lawson +2 Terrence McGee 0
Kevin Kolb 0 George Wilson -1
Alan Branch +1 Kevin Kolb 0
Dan Carpenter +4 Mark Anderson 0

Thad Lewis won a couple games for the Bills in the place of an injured EJ Manuel, Manny Lawson and Alan Branch filled in great with a Mike Pettine defense. Kevin Kolb never saw the field after getting hurt in the preseason which threw a monkey wrench in the Bills QB plans in the beginning of the season. Dan Carpenter has been almost automatic since the Bills brought him in. losing George Wilson affected the secondary but it didn’t hurt it after Aaron Williams converted to safety. Nick Barnett was replaced by Manny Lawson, and the Jerry Hughes trade has been the missing piece to the defense. Hughes has had 20 sacks in 2 seasons with the Bills, revitalizing his career and making everyone forget who we traded to get him (Kelvin Shepherd).

The Bills have had some very positive signings, and have had some pretty big impact players but with coaching and management decisions it has all lead to no playoff appearances and interchangeable head coaches. Gregg Williams, Mike Mularkey, Dick Jauron, Perry Fewell, Chan Gailey, and Doug Marrone have tried to repair the image of the team and make the playoffs.

The second part of this that will make you sick to your stomach is not the draft picks the Bills had, but the draft picks the Bills could have had, had there been a better plan for long term success, if there wasn’t internal power struggles and stubbornness, while gradually improving each year the Bills could have had some really solid players in past drafts. Some of those players could be playing for them today. (I only list the notable players the Bills selected)

2000:

BILLS DRAFT PICKS NOTABLE DRAFT PICKS
ROUND PICK PLAYER POS YRS W/ BILLS ROUND PICK PLAYER POS TEAM
1 26 Erik Flowers DE 2 1 30 Keith Bulluck LB Titans
2 58 Travares Tillman S 2 2 39 Mike Brown S Bears
5 156 Sammy Morris RB 4 6 168 Marc Bulger QB Saints
6 199 Tom Brady QB Patriots

Sammy Morris was a good change of pace back but after 4 years went to the Patriots and was used in more creative ways, but the Bills missed a chance to have Morris be a great compliment to a starter. Travares Tillman wasn’t the greatest but for a second round pick he should have been much more impactful than he was. Erik Flowers was just a swing and a miss, and after Wade Phillips not even an aggressive Gregg Williams defense could cover up his deficiencies.

2001:

BILLS DRAFT PICKS NOTABLE DRAFT PICKS
ROUND PICK PLAYER POS YRS W/ BILLS ROUND PICK PLAYER POS TEAM
1 21 Nate Clements CB 7 2 32 Drew Brees QB Chargers
2 46 Aaron Schobel DE 9 2 44 Kris Jenkins DT Panthers
2 58 Travis Henry RB 4 2 48 Matt Light T Patriots
3 76 Ron Edwards DE 5 3 64 Ardian Wilson S Cardinals
3 95 Jonas Jennings T 4 4 100 Rudi Johnson RB Bengals

Nate Clements and Aaron Schobel were cornerstones of the Bills defense for their times here. Clements cashed in with the 49ers, and Schobel retired when Chan Gailey changed to a 3-4 defense. Travis Henry was solid but when the team drafted Willis McGahee it put a time limit on Henry’s time in Buffalo and ultimately an alienated Travis Henry was traded at the peak of his career. Ron Edwards was seemingly on the team forever, but he proved to be a guy always able to be plugged into the lineup. Jonas Jennings name itself sounded better than his play on the field looked.

2002:

BILLS DRAFT PICKS NOTABLE DRAFT PICKS
ROUND PICK PLAYER POS YRS W/ BILLS ROUND PICK PLAYER POS TEAM
1 4 Mike Williams T 4 1 7 Bryant McKinney T Vikings
2 36 Josh Reed WR 8 2 45 Tank Williams S Titans
2 61 Ryan Denney DE 8 2 51 Clinton Portis RB Broncos
3 97 Coy Wire S 6 2 62 Antwaan Randle-El WR Steelers
2 63 Antonio Bryant WR Cowboys

Mike Williams is the biggest bust this side of Ryan Leaf, Josh Reed dropped a lot of balls but managed to catch the ones near the end of his 8 years in Buffalo. Ryan Denney wasn’t bad, just wasn’t Aaron Schobel. Coy Wire was a little undersized but fit into Gregg Williams scheme, but later found his way out of Buffalo shortly after Gregg Williams did.

2003:

BILLS DRAFT PICKS NOTABLE DRAFT PICKS
ROUND PICK PLAYER POS YRS W/ BILLS ROUND PICK PLAYER POS TEAM
1 23 Willis McGahee RB 4 1 16 Troy Polamalu S Steelers
2 48 Chris Kelsay DE 10 1 31 Nnamdi Asomugha CB Raiders
3 94 Angelo Crowell LB 6 2 35 Charles Tillman CB Bears
4 111 Terrence McGee CB 10 2 40 E.J. Henderson LB Vikings
2 54 Anquan Bolden WR Cardinals
3 68 Lance Briggs LB Bears
3 69 Jason Witten TE Cowboys
4 120 Asante Samuel CB Patriots

Willis McGahee was a surprise pick considering Travis Henry was coming into his own as the Bills starting back, but after sitting out all of 2003, and when Travis Henry refused to take a backup role, McGahee became the starter after Henry was traded to Tennessee. McGahee was the work horse but after making disparaging remarks about the city of Buffalo McGahee earned himself a trade out of town. Chris Kelsay was always a solid player and was dependable on defense up until his last day as a Bill in 2012. Angelo Crowell was made from nothing really, he was productive but not productive enough but coaching changes hampered his production and he was released. Terrence McGee came out of nowhere and proved to be a valuable asset on special teams. He was a good corner but nagging knee injuries forced him to miss more time each season and his final season was 2012. The Drew Bledsoe trade caused the Bills to not have a first round pick in this draft, but trading Peerless Price got the Bills the 23rd overall pick. (Original draft spot: 14thoverall)

2004:

BILLS DRAFT PICKS NOTABLE DRAFT PICKS
ROUND PICK PLAYER POS YRS W/ BILLS ROUND PICK PLAYER POS TEAM
1 13 Lee Evans WR 7 3 64 Darnell Dockett DT Cardinals
1 22 J.P. Losman QB 5 3 90 Matt Schaub QB Falcons
3 74 Tim Anderson DT 4 4 98 Shaun Phillips DE Chargers
4 126 Jared Allen DE Chiefs

Honestly can’t tell you what contributions, if any, Tim Anderson had for Buffalo, unknown that stayed on the team a lot longer than he should have. Lee Evans was the big play threat for 7 years; all he knew was deep routes, which was his problem. Chan Gailey came in and Lee Evans wasn’t good enough for the experienced offensive eyes of Gailey and he was off the team. J.P. Losman…what’s there to say? Desperate for a QB the Bills traded a future 1st round pick to Dallas for the 22nd overall pick to take Losman. He sat behind Drew Bledsoe and Kelly Holcomb, none of that time helped. He wasn’t good at staying in the pocket and delivering the ball, Losman ended up being released after 5 very disappointing years with only the stigma of being another QB bust to show for it.

2005:

BILLS DRAFT PICKS NOTABLE DRAFT PICKS
ROUND PICK PLAYER POS YRS W/ BILLS ROUND PICK PLAYER POS TEAM
2 55 Roscoe Parrish WR 7 1 24 Aaron Rodgers QB Packers
3 86 Kevin Everett TE 3 1 30 Heath Miller TE Steelers
4 122 Duke Preston C 4 1 32 Login Mankins G Patriots
2 61 Vincent Jackson WR Chargers
3 65 Frank Gore RB 49ers
3 74 Justin Tuck DE Giants

Had the Bills not traded up in 2004 for JP Losman the Bills would have held the 20th overall pick. Roscoe Parrish was a good punt return man for the Bills, scored a few touchdowns too. Didn’t make too much impact as a receiver and with the emergence of slot receivers Roscoe Parrish could have been one of the best in the league. Duke Preston made some spot starts at center and guard, wasn’t much to write home about. Kevin Everett wasn’t used much at tight end and he was forced out of football because of a career ending neck injury on kickoff coverage.

2006:

BILLS DRAFT PICKS NOTABLE DRAFT PICKS
ROUND PICK PLAYER POS YRS W/ BILLS ROUND PICK PLAYER POS TEAM
1 8 Donte Whitner S 5 1 11 Jay Cutler QB Broncos
1 26 John McCargo DT 5 1 12 Haloti Ngata DT Ravens
3 70 Ashton Youboty CB 5 1 19 Antonio Cromartie CB Chargers
4 105 Ko Simpson S 3 1 20 Tamba Hali DE Chiefs
5 134 Kyle Williams DT 9 1 23 Davin Joseph G Bucs
1 29 Nick Mangold C Jets
2 33 Demeco Ryans LB Texans
2 43 Roman Harper S Saints
2 50 Marcus McNeil T Chargers

Donte Whitner was a hard hitting safety, when he hit someone that is. Because of a porous run defense Whitner was left as the last line of defense and he wasn’t a great open field tackler and wasn’t the best at pass coverage either. John McCargo…dear god was he a complete waste of space. Dick Jauron must have assumed Mario Williams was coming with McCargo from NC State too, Bills tried to trade him but he failed his physical and returned to the team then was eventually released. Ashton Youboty was never going to challenge for a top corner spot but he never challenged for the slot corner spot either. Ko Simpson was serviceable but after only 3 short years a trade to the Lions ended his Bills tenure. Kyle Williams has been the best DT for the Bills since 2000. He is still with the team, high motor, and survived the switch to a 3-4 and 4-3.

2007:

BILLS DRAFT PICKS NOTABLE DRAFT PICKS
ROUND PICK PLAYER POS YRS W/ BILLS ROUND PICK PLAYER POS TEAM
1 12 Marshawn Lynch RB 4 1 14 Darrelle Revis CB Jets
2 34 Paul Posluszny LB 4 1 15 Lawrence Timmons LB Steelers
3 92 Trent Edwards QB 4 2 46 LaMarr Woodley LB Steelers
2 59 Ryan Kalil C Panthers

Marshawn Lynch was one of the better running backs to come through Buffalo, wanted to be here, but mounting issues off the field, and weight gain, coupled with declining production he was traded in 2010 for just a 4th round pick, one of the worst trades in team history. Had the Bills been more dedicated to getting him the support he needed like Seattle did, the Bills would have GREATLY benefitted from “Beast Mode”. Paul Posluszny was a tackling machine, but because of a defensive line that got no push upfront and couldn’t stop the run, he was left to make a lot of the tackles, his pass defense needed some work too but after his rookie deal was up, he was gone. Trent Edwards was the answer to JP Losman; until Adrian Wilson hit him so hard he knocked all the confidence out of him. He never recovered from that and was timid to throw downfield and always checked down, once that got to be enough Ryan Fitzpatrick came on in relief.

2008:

BILLS DRAFT PICKS NOTABLE DRAFT PICKS
ROUND PICK PLAYER POS YRS W/ BILLS ROUND PICK PLAYER POS TEAM
1 11 Leodis McKelvin CB 7 1 12 Ryan Clady T Broncos
2 41 James Hardy WR 3 1 15 Branden Albert T Chiefs
4 114 Reggie Corner CB 4 1 16 DominiqueRodgers-Cromartie CB Cardinals
7 219 Demetrius Bell T 4 1 18 Joe Flacco QB Ravens
7 224 Stevie Johnson WR 6 1 20 Aqib Talib CB Bucs
2 42 Eddie Royal WR Broncos
2 44 Matt Forte RB Bears
2 49 DeSean Jackson WR Eagles
2 50 Calais Campbell DE Cardinals
2 61 Martellus Bennett TE Cowboys

Leodis McKelvin has gotten better in coverage over the years and is a good number 2 corner. His return skills are pretty good but because of fumbles at key moments he gets a bad reputation, but still presently on the team which is very positive. James Hardy just couldn’t get off press coverage and his height couldn’t bail him out. Very high expectations falling short from this 2ndround pick. Reggie Corner was OK in the secondary, could hold his own against the 3rd and 4threceivers on other teams, but didn’t contribute all that much. Demetrius Bell filled in after Jason Peters held out, and was eventually traded and the O-Line didn’t miss a beat, after Bell left Cordy Glenn was drafted and he’s been solid since. Stevie Johnson was a project but ended up being worth the wait in the long run. Only receiver in Bills history to post three straight 1000 yard seasons, but drafting Sammy Watkins in 2014 made Johnson tradable, and he was.

2009:

BILLS DRAFT PICKS NOTABLE DRAFT PICKS
ROUND PICK PLAYER POS YRS W/ BILLS ROUND PICK PLAYER POS TEAM
1 11 Aaron Maybin DE 2 1 13 Brian Orakpo DE Redskins
1 28 Eric Wood C 6 1 15 Brian Cushing LB Texans
2 42 Jairus Byrd S 5 1 19 Jeremy Maclin WR Eagles
2 51 Andy Levitre G 4 2 38 Rey Maualuga LB Bengals
4 121 Shawn Nelson TE 2 2 49 Max Unger C Seattle
2 53 LeSean McCoy RB Eagles

Aaron Maybin was the biggest bust this side of Mike Williams. Couldn’t get on the field on special teams and was a non-factor on defense, because he was faster than others at his position, on paper, he fit into Dick Jauron’s defense…Jauron was fired in November 2009. Eric Wood is still on the team, but injuries and playing out of position almost derailed his career but now playing center and staying healthy he’s anchoring the O-line. Jairus Byrd was runner up for rookie of the year but played safety as good as any other in the league. His last season in Buffalo had injuries but he finished out the season a Pro Bowler until he left for New Orleans. Andy Levitre was a better guard than he was given credit for, upon his departure the Bills offensive line hasn’t recovered. Shawn Nelson was athletic enough to be a real difference maker but substance abuse violations cut his career short after only 2 seasons.

2010:

BILLS DRAFT PICKS NOTABLE DRAFT PICKS
ROUND PICK PLAYER POS YRS W/ BILLS ROUND PICK PLAYER POS TEAM
1 9 CJ Spiller RB 5 1 14 Earl Thomas S Seattle
2 41 Torell Troup DT 3 1 15 Jason Pierre-Paul DE Giants
3 72 Alex Carrington DE 4 1 24 Dez Bryant WR Cowboys
4 107 Marcus Easley WR 5 2 42 Rob Gronkowski TE Patriots
5 140 Ed Wang T 2 2 62 Brandon Spikes LB Patriots
6 178 Arthur Moats LB 4 3 91 NaVarro Bowman LB 49ers
3 95 Jimmy Graham TE Saints
5 133 Kam Chancellor S Seattle

CJ Spiller was a spark plug from the start, Chan Gailey knew how to use him and get him into space. His production drastically slipped after Doug Marrone took over but now he’s a potential free agent with tremendous upside but the Bills have a new offense going forward this season too. Torell Troup didn’t even have film on him when he was drafted, and he wasn’t a difference maker when he saw the field. Alex Carrington was an ok DE, got on the field played alright, wasn’t vital enough to stay any longer than he did. Marcus Easley I had high hopes for out of UCONN. Injuries early hampered him, Easley missed a lot of time, never able to crack into the receiving core but has found life as a great special teamer, making big hits on kick and punt coverage. Ed Wang was a developmental project that was left incomplete. Arthur Moats wasn’t the greatest linebacker but he was solid to be around the ball, he also ended Brett Favre’s consecutive start streak!

2011:

BILLS DRAFT PICKS NOTABLE DRAFT PICKS
ROUND PICK PLAYER POS YRS W/ BILLS ROUND PICK PLAYER POS TEAM
1 3 Marcell Dareus DT 4 1 4 AJ Green WR Bengals
2 34 Aaron Williams CB 4 1 5 Patrick Peterson CB Cardinals
3 68 Kelvin Sheppard LB 2 1 6 Julio Jones WR Falcons
4 100 Da’Norris Searcy CB 4 1 11 JJ Watt DE Texans
4 122 Chris Hairston T 4 2 35 Andy Dalton QB Bengals
2 64 Randall Cobb WR Packers
3 70 Justin Houston DE Chiefs
4 102 Jordan Cameron TE Browns
4 129 Julius Thomas TE Broncos
5 154 Richard Sherman CB Seattle

Marcell Dareus has been a beast since settling into his role as prominent D-lineman, and he has been a force the past 2 seasons with Pro Bowl selections each year. Aaron Williams was struggling at corner and he needed to bulk up, after moving to safety and really adding some weight in muscle you have seen the creation of a ball hawk in the secondary and with Williams success with Mike Pettine’s defense, Rex Ryan will make Williams tough to pass on. Kelvin Sheppard never got into the swing of the defense and didn’t develop like you need a linebacker to, so he was traded for Jerry Hughes…a move that worked out very well for Buffalo. Da’Norris Searcy has filled in better at safety and nickel corner and has been pretty solid and has made some big plays. Chris Hairston may not be the best O-lineman around, but he was the pick the Bills got for Marshawn Lynch, so he needs to be on the team off principle alone.

2012:

BILLS DRAFT PICKS NOTABLE DRAFT PICKS
ROUND PICK PLAYER POS YRS W/ BILLS ROUND PICK PLAYER POS TEAM
1 10 Stephon Gilmore CB 3 1 21 Chandler Jones DE Patriots
2 41 Cordy Glenn T 3 2 45 Alshon Jeffery WR Bears
3 69 TJ Graham WR 2 3 75 Russell Wilson QB Seattle
4 105 Nigel Bradham LB 3 3 88 Nick Foles QB Eagles
4 124 Ron Brooks CB 3 4 102 Kirk Cousins QB Redskins

Stephon Gilmore will be a good shutdown corner, he has shown flashes of it and now with Rex Ryan in town he will realize his full potential. Cordy Glenn has filled in at left tackle great, he has taken a small step back recently but the upgrade of offensive coaches will get him back on track this season. TJ Graham wasn’t much of a factor in the passing game; he only lasted 2 seasons after being released. Nigel Bradham had a monster year, developed a killer instinct and has that swagger you want from a linebacker, he’s just beginning to scratch the surface of what he will be worth to the team. Ron Brooks has been a great find, he contributes on special teams, been good in coverage and has made some plays.

2013:

BILLS DRAFT PICKS NOTABLE DRAFT PICKS
ROUND PICK PLAYER POS YRS W/ BILLS ROUND PICK PLAYER POS TEAM
1 16 EJ Manuel QB 2 1 8 Tavon Austin WR Rams
2 41 Robert Woods WR 2 1 10 Chance Warmack G Titans
2 46 Kiko Alonso LB 2 1 17 Jarvis Jones LB Steelers
3 78 Marquise Goodwin WR 2 1 20 Kyle Long G Bears
4 105 Duke Williams S/CB 2 2 48 Le’Veon Bell RB Steelers
5 143 Jonathan Meeks S/CB 2 2 61 Eddie Lacy RB Packers
7 222 Chris Gragg TE 2 3 85 Jordan Reed TE Redskins
6 181 Latavius Murray RB Raiders
CJ Anderson* RB Broncos

*Undrafted

EJ Manuel showed flashes of brilliance in year one, year 2 he regressed and was benched after 4 games, year 3 needs to be his coming out party and he has to be the catalyst for an offensive explosion to keep his job. Robert Woods has been nothing but solid. He has great hands, runs crisp routes and now with Sammy Watkins opposite him can be a deadly number 2 option in the passing game. Kiko Alonso, the legend was started in year 1, an offseason knee injury cost him year 2, now he gets to be a part of the same defensive scheme that made his rookie year so…legendary. Marquise Goodwin has speed for days, he wasn’t used much at all this season but if given the chance he can stretch the field and be a nightmare in 4 receiver sets. Duke Williams needs more work in pass coverage but can fill in where he’s needed, Jonathan Meeks is more of a special teamer but injuries may cost him a roster spot if he can’t stay healthy. Chris Gragg is the 3rd TE on the roster, has more of a run-blocking acumen but it is still unclear how much of a role he’ll have going forward.

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