Draft Grader: Buffalo Bills

Khaled Elsayed runs Buffalo's 2008-2010 drafts through the PFF Draft Grader.

| 4 years ago

Draft Grader: Buffalo Bills

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


  • tommy

    the Buffalo Bills SUCK!

  • tommy

    When you look at the Bills drafting history you wonder how any of the people in the front office still have a job. They all should have been fired. A monkey throwing darts at a draft board would have been more successful than those clowns. (Wilson, Brandon, Buddy).
    You couldn’t find a bunch of more inept dog s,h,i,t, in the NFL. If you put all three of these morons brains together you couldn’t create enough energy to power a pea ant go kart around a cheerio!

    • Mike

      What’s funny about that is that Wilson’s the owner, so the only person that can fire him is himself, Brandon has never been in charge of draft, and Buddy was only in charge of one of the mentioned drafts (2010) which netted a +1, a +0.5, 5 0.0’s, a -0.5 7th rounder, and a -1.0 dealing with a back injury that he had no history of in college. With a net 0.0, Nix’s 2010 draft may have been the most successful draft of the ’00s for the Bills.

    • http://www.facebook.com/matt.ryan.568847 Matt Ryan

      The bottom line is they are cheat when it comes to the most important positions on a football team and those are quarterback and coaches.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.calandra1 Tom Calandra

    THE FRONT OFFICE IS A DISGRACE .For the last 4 years I have drafted players out of magazines & read player reports with results that are far superior for the first 3 rounds of the draft than Buffalo ‘s high paid inept scouting department.Ex.Need a Q B how could you possibly pass on Colin Kaepernik in second round ? Sign Fitz [NOODLE ARM] to a long term contract ?

    • http://www.facebook.com/matt.ryan.568847 Matt Ryan

      You are right. I feel I know the Bills needs better than they do. They go out and reach for a qb while nobody else does after picking up Kevin Kolb and having a somewhat descent backup in Tavaris Jackson. I actually thought that 9 million was a lot for an average qb but it’s not although they could have gotten Alex Smith (the third winningest qb in the past 2-3 year) for possibly close to the same amount. Picking a qb that has potential is stupid when we could have picked up one of the better linebackers in the draft after trading down from 16 to 31 and getting another 3rd rounder in a exceptionally deep draft. Teo is a quality linebacker and although his play wasn’t spectacular against Alabma it is the closest thing to the NFL and he did a descent job. Chance Warmack and maybe another offensive lineman might be future probowlers. Eddie Lacey is probably the best running back in the draft and i read that the Alabama’s qb even might be drafted next year. After Fred Jackson’s horrible year last year and him saying he was only 80 percent for the whole year and averaging just 3.8 yards after over 5 the previous year (and missing the last 6 games two years ago) Eddie Lacey would seem to be a no brainer after picking of a much needed receiver in Woods. Why would cheap Buddy Nix pay 16 million for Mario Williams instead of a quarterback or linebacker? Why did Nix say he wants to get people in the draft instead of bid for them in undrafted free agency and then not pick up Da’ Rick Rogers with him there in the 5th round and later when they had a 2nd round grade on him? Maybe EJ Manuel will be a good quarterback but after looking at tapes on all the qbs it is very unlikely he will outperform them and even more unlikely he is the number one qb years after the draft.
      Here is my “perfect” draft
      1. Mante Teo
      2. Robert Woods
      2. Eddie Lacey
      3.. Marquise Goodwin
      3. J.J. Wilcox
      4. Matt Scott
      5. Ryan Swope
      6. Da’ Rick Rogers
      7. Chris Gragg