I have two two-word sentences to whoever the Buffalo Bills select tonight. ‘Good luck. Prove it’. Other than that I don’t care who it is they select, what position he plays (unless it’s a running back) and whether he is a one-year wonder or college production machine. The truth of the matter is that there are probably 5-15 players you could argue that the Bills could end up with that many fans would be happy with and would on paper help this team. None of that matters unless that player actually ends up helping the team and based on recent first round experiences I will reserve the majority of my judgment until it is time to see them on the football field.
Here’s a list of players that depending whether or not the Bills trade out of the third spot they could end up with any of the likes of Cam Newton, Marcell Dareus, Von Miller, Blaine Gabbert, Patrick Peterson, AJ Green,Nick Fairley, JJ Watt, Cameron Jordan and on and on. There’s arguments that Buddy Nix will not take a player who could be classified as a one-year wonder (Fairley or Newton) and will look for a player who had multiple seasons of production (Green, Peterson, Miller). Looking at the last two drafts you can see an example of each. In 2009 the Bills selected Aaron Maybin who was riding the production of 1 year and possessing an edge speed rush that had Bills fans salivating. Now he can’t even get on the field and hasn’t registered one sack or made any significant contribution to the team. In 2010, the Buffalo Bills selected what could be argued as the antithesis of Maybin in CJ Spiller. Although it was seen as a luxury pick that the Bills could not waste CJ Spiller was one of the most productive college football players in history with 4,324 career total yards. He was seen as explosive and dynamic and would open up the Bills playbook with his versatility. After one season, it is my opinion that it is impossible to truly judge Spiller’s affect however it is easy to say that he did not necessarily burst onto the NFL scene.
The point here is that whenever the Buffalo Bills make the selection on Thursday night, it will be praised and ridiculed from people all over the country when in fact none of it even matters until he produces (or doesn’t) on the field. Tim Graham of ESPN.com had an article where Buddy Nix that goes onto to show how important parts of the process are AFTER the draft into the development of a player. I truly am of the belief that the Bills are not as far as some may be from being a playoff team, however as successful as they have been in rounds after the first, the first round and especially top 10 picks present an opportunity to obtain impact players. The Bills need to make sure they get someone that can produce on the field for the next decade, regardless of position.
For the record, the only player I really don’t want the Bills to pick is Nick Fairley and even that could end up being moot. I think that the Bills football operations have had a significant overhaul in the culture of how they approach the draft. Nix is a disciple of John Butler and AJ Smith and Bill Polian who many people praise for their handling of the football departments. So regardless of who they pick my words to them are, ‘Good luck. Prove it.’