Draft Grader: Buffalo Bills
Draft season is upon us as free agency quiets down and prospect watch goes into overdrive. But the reality for us is that we’re not that involved in the College side of things, but that doesn’t mean we’re not fans of the draft.
For me though that means reflecting back on drafts gone by to tell you which teams made the best picks and which ones the worst. So as I do every year I’m grading every draft pick from 2009 through to 2011 on the PFF rating scale (-2 to +2), factoring in where they were drafted, injuries and a host of other things.
Now we’re moving in draft order so it’s the Buffalo Bills
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
Not here …
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
Jairus Byrd, S (42nd overall pick in 2009): Anytime you can find an elite player in the second round you’ve caught the attention of the plus one point five category. Byrd has proven that, with his great instincts and feel for the game, he has become one of the premier deep safeties in the league. The +56.1 career grade is an extremely healthy one.
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Andy Levitre, OG (51st overall pick in 2009): Would chase the money elsewhere, but the versatile Levitre handled a number of spots along the offensive line. His run blocking prevented this grade being higher, but he more than held up in pass protection and was asset during his 4,023 snaps with the team.
Marcell Dareus, DT (3rd overall pick in 2011): After a slow start Dareus has really found his stride the past two years, really flourishing in 2013 as an every down nose tackle who could work along the line. A fine every down player he’s capable of shedding blocks at the line to make plays against the run and rushing the passer.
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
C.J. Spiller, HB (9th overall pick in 2010): If only every one of his years were like his marvelous 2012. Unfortunately that isn’t the case and so I can’t go higher here. Injury slowed him down in 2013, while he didn’t get enough playing time in his first two years to justify his selection. But that 2012, where he was our second ranked running back despite managing just 207 carries, was something special.
Arthur Moats, LB (179th overall pick in 2010): A solid two down linebacker, this former sixth rounder would outdo what was expected of him with 1,077 snaps for the team that resulted in a +3.8 grade.
0.0: It could have been worse
Eric Wood, C (28th overall pick in 2009): If you’re picking a center in round one you might like to see a little more out of them after the snap. Still he has become a solid starter but you’d like for him to have a bigger impact in the run game.
Nic Harris, S (147th overall pick in 2009): This fifth rounder would manage 176 snaps as a rookie that seemed to indicate a bigger future. Unfortunately, he was injured and waived after failing a physical with the team before the start of his sophomore preseason.
Cary Harris, CB (183rd overall pick in 2009): Spent rookie year on the practice squad before being released during his 2nd year.
Ellis Lankster, CB (220th overall pick in 2009): Would feature for 27 snaps as a rookie and contribute two tackles on special teams before being released before his second year with the team.
Alex Carrington, DL (73rd overall pick in 2010): One that could have gone either way, he was destined to start throughout 2013 before injury cut it short. A shame because after a quiet start to his career he really came to life in 2012 demonstrating an ability to generate pressure in the Bills’ sub package defense. Some return just not as much as there might have been.
Danny Batten, LB (192nd overall pick in 2010): Would play 227 snaps in his sophomore season, used largely as a situational pass rusher where he failed to make much impact. About what you’d expect from a sixth rounder.
Aaron Williams, DB (34th overall pick in 2011): The versatile defensive back Williams finally justified his selection in 2013 where he had a fine season, whether asked to play at cornerback or safety. If he can carry that on then the memory of his first two years will be banished for good and he’ll be moving up.
Da’Norris Searcy, S (100th overall pick in 2011): Has managed 1,265 snaps for the team but his inconsistent play has ensured that he hasn’t been able to lock down a starting job. A big year ahead that will likely decide whether his selection was a win or loss for the team.
Chris Hairston, OT (122nd overall pick in 2011): Has played reasonably well in his 1,055 snaps for the team, but a tad more is needed if this is to move into the positive sphere.
Chris White, LB (169th overall pick in 2011): Never got on the field for defense but did contribute 16 special teams tackles before he was traded away for Thaddeus Lewis.
Justin Rogers, CB (206th overall pick in 2011): Let’s not kid ourselves. It did not go well when the team asked Rogers to start. Indeed the 1,080 snaps Rogers managed were so bad on defense they scored a -18.5 grade. Ouch. Even so, for a late sixth rounder it could have been worse.
Levi Brown, QB (210th overall pick in 2011): A developmental project taken early in the seventh that never materialized? Well it was worth a risk.
Michael Jasper, OG (247th overall pick in 2011): Would fail to manage a snap on offense , he would last one year with the team.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Shawn Nelson, TE (121st overall pick in 2009): The team was not exactly deep at tight end so a return of 555 snaps didn’t represent a good return.
Marcus Easley, WR (108th overall pick in 2010): May have turned into a special teams tackling machine but was expected to be so much more. Injuries haven’t helped for 65 snaps on offense just isn’t enough.
Ed Wang, OT (141st overall pick in 2010): Lasted just eight snaps on offense before being dismissed. A lot more was expected.
Kyle Calloway, OT (217th overall pick in 2010): Released before the start of his first season. Never good.
Kelvin Sheppard, LB (68th overall pick in 2011): Traded away after he flopped off a strong rookie year. Sheppard looked a long term starter with an impressive 441 rookie snaps but was found to be out of his depth in a sophomore season that saw him pick up a -5.0 grade. That was all she wrote for him in Buffalo.
Johnny White, HB (133rd overall pick in 2011): Was always going to struggle for playing time and with just 41 snaps so it proved. The former fourth rounder was released early into the 2012 season.
-1.0: What a waste!
They’d rather be here then what is to follow …
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
Torell Troup, DT (41st overall pick in 2010): Was seen as a reach at the time and his 397 career snaps that turned into a -10.5 grade did nothing to disprove that. Injuries didn’t help him but it would be unfair to let the team escape criticism for his selection.
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
Aaron Maybin, LB (11th overall pick in 2009): Still, Troup wasn’t the worst pick this team made. That honor goes to Maybin who rivals Vernon Gholston and JaMarcus Russell as one of the worst draft picks in recent memory. He would manage just 330 snaps in his time with the team and was practically useless in each of them. The only credit the team deserves here is that they were quick to cut their ties and move on.
Here are links to the teams that have been through the Draft Grader to date:
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