screengrabs from NFL.com
I don’t root for men to lose jobs unless they do something extremely nefarious, so understand that this post is several weeks — if not longer — in the making. I’m worried far more about the man giving the coaches ingredients than the chefs themselves. Let’s take a look at Buddy Nix’s draft record so far.
With the exception of Spiller, I hated this draft from the jump. It was just one of those groups that screams, “I know better than the rest of the league” and it’s now clear that Nix is nowhere near an elite drafter. Consider that at a minimum four of these picks were disasters. Calloway didn’t make it through his first camp, Batten and Brown weren’t much of anything and Wang struggled to be anything other than a young man who swore on Twitter a ton. Further than that, Easley and Troup have fought injuries, Carrington has been little more than depth on a bad defense and Moats now appears to be nothing more than a one-year curiosity. Spiller’s great, but he’s the ninth pick in the draft; You aren’t supposed to miss there.
Forget that the Bills whiffed on multiple Pro Bowl tight ends (Gronkowski, Hernandez, Graham) and wide receivers (Mariani, Antonio Brown). What kills me is how cute they got at positions where the next best available was a more proven commodity. Nix chose Troup over a proven ‘Bama monster like Terrence Cody, who may not be all-world but is still giving valuable reps to the Ravens at defensive tackle. Carrington went ahead of Geno Atkins, who is now a Pro Bowl DT for the Bengals. Guys like Moats and Batten may have lasted into the undrafted free agent period while an SEC killer middle linebacker in Jamar Chaney went in the seventh round.
I know hindsight is 20/20 and all the other general managers passed on these players until they were selected, but they had different needs than the Bills. Nix took a ton of risks, including Spiller when he had Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch in his stable of backs. Revisionist or not, how many worked?
I’ll admit that I loved the first two days of this draft, but I’m also not an NFL general manager. I firmly believe Dareus is one of a few Bills defenders who are not disappointing this year, but the rest of this draft looks worse every single day. Kelvin Sheppard has been invisible in his first year as a true starting middle backer, but that’s miles better than Aaron Williams. In Williams defense, the rest of the league was looking at him as a safety prospect while Nix viewed him a No. 2 corner.
It’s easy to rip on Nix for taking Williams one pick ahead of Andy Dalton, but to be fair the crop of corners in 2011 wasn’t exactly breaking down doors to start in the NFL: Chris Culliver (SF) and Marcus Gilchrist (SD) are the best of the bunch and are not playing Top Two snaps for their Californian teams. Sheppard was a guy that Gailey got a ton of time with at the Senior Bowl. Certainly it’s too soon to rule both out as contributors for the Bills, but your Day Two guys are ideally bigger factors by Week Seven of Year Two, right?
Da’Norris Searcy was next, selected over Colin McCarthy and Sam Acho. Then there’s on-again, off-again back Johnny White over Quizz Rodgers and Dion Lewis. Forget those names, however, why did they take a back at all there? I don’t want to be too nitpicky because I have the advantage of seeing how careers play out, but it appears the only certainly right now is the No. 3 overall pick. And it’s foolhardy not to say — again and again — that the defensive players have failed to make an impact on a unit that’s been flat-out awful.
I like Glenn, Graham and Bradham. I also liked Brooks before he was hurt and Gilmore is certainly intriguing. But they’ve already cut Carder and Asper, while Potter’s dismissal doesn’t feel too far away. Taking a kickoff specialist over Chandler Harnish bothered me. Heck, taking a kicker bothers me. Character concern Vontaze Burfict of Arizona State went undrafted despite previously have been forecasted as a Day One or Two pick. Yes, everyone else passed on him, but not everyone else selected a kicker or a linebacker in the fifth round they’d later cut.
Ultimately, it’s too early to do this dance on the last two drafts, but of Nix’s 27 picks only seven start and nine have already been cut (Chris White was re-signed and is back on the roster).
Judge for yourself, but it doesn’t feel good right now, that’s for sure.