In case you haven’t noticed we’ve been going back over the 2008, 2009, and 2010 draft classes of each franchise and assigning each pick a grade. Up next? Well that’s the Buffalo Bills.
Each pick between the 2008 and 2010 draft classes has earned a grade between +2.0 and -2.0 (in 0.5 increments) that depends upon:
• Where they were drafted
• Their performance
• Their contribution (how many snaps their team got out of them)
• Other factors such as unforeseen injuries and conditions that could not have been accounted for
Let’s take a look at how Buffalo drafted.
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
They didn’t, but they do at least get to watch Tom Brady twice a year. Oh right, that’s a bad thing.
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
Stevie Johnson, WR (224th overall pick in 2008): 2010 was the breakout year for the former seventh-round pick, who broke the 1,000-yard receiving mark (a feat he would repeat in 2011 and 2012). There have been some low moments, but Johnson has done a great job of bouncing back to become one of the league’s better receivers, and one of the few to get the better of Darrelle Revis. A +22.6 grade over the past three years for his receiving represents tremendous value.
Jairus Byrd, S (42nd overall pick in 2009): One of those strange careers, where Byrd was somewhat overrated as a rookie on the back of his interceptions, but has gone onto become one of the best safeties in the league. Recently slapped with the franchise tag, Byrd warranted the highest grade of all safeties in coverage in 2012. An elite player at his position.
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
C.J. Spiller, RB (9th overall pick in 2010): I questioned last year whether Spiller could handle being a feature back. Well, when Fred Jackson went down, Spiller showed he could be with some mesmerizing play. Only Adrian Peterson finished higher in our running back rankings, and nobody was more elusive than the former first-round pick. A true playmaker.
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Demetress Bell, T (219th overall pick in 2008): Buffalo stuck with Bell through early struggles, and looked to be rewarded with a talented left tackle on the back of his start to 2011. That makes him a hit as a seventh-round pick, even if he would leave the team and go on to struggle with the Eagles.
Andy Levitre, G (51st overall pick in 2009): One of the league’s better young guards, the Bills got good usage out of Levitre before he bolted for Tennessee this offseason. Capable of playing every spot on the line, he holds his own likes few others in the passing game but struggles to consistently get push like the top guards in the league.
Arthur Moats, DE (178th overall pick in 2010): Moats has seen a decent amount of time as a specialist pass rusher (338 pass rushes over the past two years), and produced in that time a very healthy 43 combined sacks, hits, and hurries. Still with the team and well worth the sixth-round pick he cost.
0.0: Nothing ventured, nothing gained (It could have been worse)
Leodis McKelvin, CB (11th overall pick in 2008): After a tough rookie year, Bills fans must have been looking forward to seeing McKelvin in Year 2… only for injury to limit him to 135 snaps. Since then, the former first-rounder hasn’t been terrible when on the field, but you expect more out of a cornerback drafted where he was. Salvages a neutral grade with his difference-making ability on special teams.
Reggie Corner, CB (114th overall pick in 2008): A below average corner, the former fourth-round pick has at least provided the Bills with a dime back who doesn’t look completely out of his depth on the field for four years.
Derek Fine, TE (132nd overall pick in 2008): Injury played it’s part, but in two seasons, Fine didn’t turn his 589 snaps into the kind of reasoning for the Bills to stick with him.
Alvin Bowen, LB (147th overall pick in 2008): Would Bowen have been able to make an impact if not for tearing a knee ligament as a rookie? We’ll never know.
Xavier Omon, RB (179th overall pick in 2008): It was always going to be hard for Omon to crack a deep backfield, and the 20 career snaps he managed prove that.
Eric Wood, C (28th overall pick in 2009): A solid player for sure but being a former first round pick you need to do a little more (and be a little luckier with injuries) to earn a positive grade. A good player we’d like to see more from.
Shawn Nelson, TE (121st overall pick in 2009): Nelson saw considerable time as a rookie, but his Bill’s career was derailed by a suspension and some lingering concussion effects that had him missing plenty of time. A change in schemes later and he was surplus to requirements.
Nic Harris, LB (147th overall pick in 2009): The college safety come NFL linebacker had a knack for making tackles, but after recovering slowly from a knee injury that ended his rookie year, the Bills waived him.
Cary Harris, CB (183rd overall pick in 2009): Lasted over a year with the team without seeing the field on defense, though he did record four special teams tackles.
Ellis Lankster, CB (220th overall pick in 2009): Lankster saw some snaps (27) as a rookie while adding two tackles on special teams.
Alex Carrington, DE (72nd overall pick in 2010): Carrington did flash some talent as a rookie, but his sophomore year was hugely disappointing where he struggled to have an impact in either the run or pass game. Things changed a year later to the point you actually wanted to see him on the field more, as he registered a not too shabby 18 quarterback disruptions on 180 pass rushes.
Marcus Easley, WR (107th overall pick in 2010): Impossible to evaluate, Easley missed his rookie year with a knee injury and then his sophomore season with a heart ailment that could jeopardize his career.
Ed Wang, T (140th overall pick in 2010): Something of a developmental project that didn’t work out, Wang got on the field for eight snaps, spending more time in the trainers room with various injuries.
Danny Batten, LB (192nd overall pick in 2010): Got on the field in 2011 for 226 plays, but struggled to make an impact when the Bills got him rushing the passer.
Levi Brown, QB (209th overall pick in 2010): Actually got on the field for five snaps as a rookie, after initially being cut and not offered a spot on the practice squad.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Kennard Cox, CB (251st overall pick in 2008): An experiment of a pick, Cox was cut and not re-signed to the practice squad after four months with the team.
Kyle Calloway, T (216th overall pick in 2010): A waste of a pick, even in the seventh, Calloway was among the first wave of cuts in his rookie year.
-1.0: What a waste!
Chris Ellis, DE (72nd overall pick in 2008): 128 snaps spread out over three years, with just five combined sacks, hits and hurries. Yep, that’s a waste.
Torell Troup, DT (41st overall pick in 2010): Viewed as a reach at the time, Troup hasn’t exactly disproven that theory. It’s not just a lack of playing time (397 snaps), but a lack of production (-10.8 grade) that leaves him needing to take a huge step forward to justify his drafting. After missing all of 2012 really needs to step it up in 2013.
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
James Hardy, WR (41st overall pick in 2008): Someone who just couldn’t translate his physical skill set to the NFL, Hardy looked atrocious in the 308 NFL snaps he managed. His -6.5 grade in that time was earned by catching just 10 balls with the Bills for 96 yards.
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of Jamarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
Aaron Maybin, DE (11th overall pick in 2009): Maybin may not have been the Russell/Leaf hybrid, but given what the Bills got out of him he may well have been. 332 snaps, 201 spent rushing the passer which yielded just two QB hits and nine QB hurries. Yuck.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled