Today's Guest Post is provided by Mike Bovenzi from Syracuse, NY. Mike is an avid Bills fan and can also be followed on Twitter @The_Bunk.
April is quickly approaching (not really, but, hey, I'm a Bills fan), which means the NFL Draft is right around the corner. For Bills fans like myself, this is a time filled with excitement, wonder and fear. Why fear, you ask? Well, just take a gander at our recent draft history and you'd quickly answer your own question. Buffalo GM Buddy Nix proudly proclaimed after this past draft that, "There's only one Spiller(CJ), and we got him."
Buddy was right, there is only one, and the other 31 NFL teams are probably happy about this, considering backs who average 3.8 yards per carry don't register a single 100 yard game in a season and fumble the ball like it's on fire are usually not desired. The worst part is, Buffalo already had two quality backs on it's roster (Fred Jackson, Marshawn Lynch) prior to drafting the speedy Spiller from Clemson. Keep in mind Lynch was a former first round pick himself (12th overall in 2007). After trading Lynch for a bag of footballs and a $25 gift card to Target, Spiller was expected to take off, he might as well have, considering his impact on the field was very minimal. A team as bad as Buffalo shouldn't be shelving top 10 picks for any reason other than injury. I'm not closing the door on CJ, but, considering running back is supposed to be an easy transition from college to the pros, he's not off to a good start.
Speaking of first round picks who don't produce, we'd like to intruce you to LB/DE Aaron Maybin, the 11th overall pick in 2009 out of Penn State. In two full seasons Maybin has as many sacks as I do, zero. And has only collected 24 tackles. He was also inactive for almost half the season despite being healthy, think about that. The 11th overall pick of 2009 wasn't even considered good enough to dress for a defense ranked near the bottom of the league in every category and doesn't have a legitimate pass rusher on the roster. This stings, especially knowing rushing the passer was supposed to be Maybin's forte. Meanwhile, the other two players Buffalo had considered taking with the 11th pick, Brian Orakpo (106 tackles, 19.5 sacks) and Brian Cushing (199 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 4 INT) have enjoyed pro bowl careers already. Bills coach Chan Gailey described Maybin's future with the team as "tenuous", while Orakpo and Cushing will terrorize offenses for the next 8-10 seasons. Aaron Maybin may not even be in the league. Despite being only 22 years old. Spiller and Maybin are just two of the most recent flops, go down the list of recent high round picks:
RB CJ Spiller 9th overall - We touched on him, less than 300 yards rushing with 0 TD's. A glorified return man at the moment.
DT Torell Troupe 41st overall - Inactive for most of year, didn't make impact when on the field.
DE Alex Carrington 72nd overall - Like Troupe, was inactive a handful of games, wasn't overly effective. Showed some flashes late in the season.
LB/DE Aaron Maybin 11th overall - A bust in every sense of the word. 24 tackles 0 sacks. Career in Buffalo already likely done.
OG Eric Wood 28th overall - Despite being injured often, has been a solid player when healthy.
FS Jarius Byrd 42nd overall - Had pro bowl rookie year (9 INT's), but came back down to earth in 2010, collecting just 1 in the final game of the season.
OG Andy LeVitre - Best player out of the 09' class, consistent, solid player.
CB Leodis McKelvin 11th overall - Mediocre at best CB, mostly known for key fumble against New England on MNF which cost Buffalo the game. Then hurt leg, missed rest of season.
WR James Hardy 41st overall - Out of the league, taken ahead of DeSean Jackson
DE Chris Ellis 72nd overall - Out of the league
RB Marshawn Lynch 12th overall - Had two 1,000 yard seasons, got into off field trouble, and then watched on field production dwindle.Traded to SEA for 4th round pick
QB Trent Edwards 92nd overall - Started 2 seasons, showed flashes,but regressed. Released, claimed by JAX.
*LB Paul Posluszny (2nd rd-34th overall) - is the only player from the 2007 draft class still with the team.
SS Donte Whitner 8th overall - 5 INT's in 5 years, chosen ahead of DT Haloti Ngata, QB Jay Cutler. Whitner never became even a top 15 safety, let alone an all pro.
DT John McCargo 26th overall - Tried to trade him, failed physical. Dead weight.
CB Ashton Youboty 70th overall - Has never earned solid playing time.
No first round pick, took WR Roscoe Parrish in 2nd round-55th overall. Roscoe has been a solid return man, if anything else.
WR Lee Evans 13th overall - Good player, one trick pony deep threat. Not worth contract.
*QB JP Losman 22nd overall - Had one decent year(3000+ yds, 19 TD). Released. Third stringer with Seattle.
DT Tim Anderson 74th overall - Out of league. Probably one of the least talented linemen you'd ever see.
*Buffalo gave a 1st and 5th round pick, and swapped 2nd's with Dallas to move up to get Losman.
I've briefly shown our previous seven years of drafts, profiling 22 players total drafted in the first three rounds. Out of those 22, you can make a case 5 of them (Evans, Poz, LeVitre,Wood,Byrd) are starting NFL caliber players, 3 are fringe starters, solid, nothing more (McKelvin, Lynch, Whitner), and the remaining 11 are complete washouts (Not counting Spiller/Troupe/Carrington) who despite only having at the MOST 6 years of NFL service, are either out of the league or barely hanging on. Buffalo is easily the worst drafting team in the NFL. For a team who states they don't like building through free agency, you'd think they'd take every precaution to draft well. I titled this piece, ' Start getting excited?', reason being, picking 3rd overall in the first round, and picking in the top four of the second, and third rounds, you would expect Buffalo can find three good players who can help us right away. However, history indicates something else. Buffalo has found some good players late in drafts (Stevie Johnson 7th round 224th overall 2008, Kyle Williams (2010 Pro bowler) 5th round 134th overall), but you can't continue to miss on high round picks and expect to compete with teams like New England, who stockpile picks and always find good players. Will this April be any different? Probably not, but I've already taken April 28th off from work, so here's to hoping Ralph Wilson either dies, or falls asleep prior to the draft and Buddy Nix can find us a high round pick who lives up to the billing.
Follow Mike Bovenzi on twitter @The_Bunk