As the 2012 Buffalo Bills training camp is under way, there are plenty of new faces to get excited about. There is the proven Mario Williams, who is expected to be a major factor. There is the electric Vince Young in Buffalo. Plenty of rookies are figured to make an impact as well.
With all of the new faces in town, the optimism and excitement is the highest it has been in years. But training camp hasn't always been as energetic in recent years.
This list is intended to show how far Buffalo has come under Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey's guidance. The players on this list are out of town, and absolutely not missed.
So bravo Nix and Gailey, the Bills are making great strides under your command. And with that, here are five former Bills that will never be missed.
The Bills liked the 6'6'' frame that James Hardy had to offer in the 2008 NFL Draft. That is why they drafted him 41st overall.
In fact, Hardy was the fourth receiver taken in that draft behind Donnie Avery, Devin Thomas and Jordy Nelson. Unfortunately, 10 career catches wasn't exactly what the Bills intended Hardy to contribute.
This pick hurt for two reasons.
One, the Bills could have selected a smaller but far better receiver. After Hardy's selection, there was an abundance of talent at the position. After Hardy's name was called, there was still Eddie Royal, Jerome Simpson, DeSean Jackson, Mario Manningham, Josh Morgan, Pierre Garcon and Chaz Schilens. That is a pretty impressive group of receivers Buffalo whiffed on.
Second, Hardy just stunk up the joint in a Bills uniform. The early second round pick lasted two seasons in Buffalo. He recorded nine receptions for 87 yards and two scores as a rookie. And he hit a sophomore slump with one catch for nine yards. And that was his career.
Trent Edwards was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft. And while Edwards looked decent early on in his career, it was simply because J.P. Losman was worse.
Edwards was never a game-changer, he was simply a game-manager. He was scared to make a throw in traffic. His arm strength wasn't all that impressive, either. The more he got hit, the more timid he became. This led to Edwards being named "Captain Checkdown," due to his very conservative play.
Edwards was more than OK with dumping the ball off for a one-yard gain then letting plays develop. He had deep-play threats in Lee Evans and Terrell Owens, yet just couldn't pull the trigger. At least Losman would attempt to air it out every once in awhile.
In 2012, the Bills have a quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick who doesn't hesitate to make a play. And I don't hear many Bills fans wishing No. 5 was back under center.
Derrick Dockery was an absolute thug as a Buffalo Bill. He signed a seven-year $49 million contract with an $18 million signing bonus, good enough for the third richest contract ever for a guard. That deal he inked in 2007 would turn out to be a mistake.
However, Dockery lasted a mere two seasons in Buffalo.
In the 2008 season, he was part of a line that allowed 38 sacks and an offense that ranked 25th in the league. The Bills opened their wallet to bring in a premier player, and Dockery was a complete waste of money.
In fact, an undrafted tight end turned lineman named Jason Peters was tens of millions cheaper and 10 times better than Dockery every was in Buffalo.
And the sad thing was, Dockery was only 28 when he was released. Not exactly the prime of his career.
John McCargo is a prime example of a Buffalo Bill draft bust. The Bills trading up to snag McCargo with the 26th pick of the 2006 NFL Draft was nothing short of a reach.
McCargo wasn't a first round caliber player, but was now equipped the responsibility of a first round draft pick. His rookie campaign was wasted on the injured reserve. He was a backup in 2007. He was even traded in 2008 to the Indianapolis Colts before his failed physical voided the deal.
The 2008 attempted trade should have been an indicator that McCargo must step up his play. Not surprisingly, McCargo didn't do that and finished his career with 2.5 sacks. He only started one of his 40 games in a Bills uniform.
Not exactly a first round gem, not exactly a fan favorite.
The Bills drafted Paul Posluszny with the 34th pick of the 2007 NFL Draft. The linebacker actually had a pretty stellar career in Buffalo.
Though he was often injured, he was a tackling machine. In 2009, the team captain recorded 151 tackles in 14 games. And while Poslusnzy vowed to stay with Buffalo when he hit the free-agent market, he quickly inked a six-year $42 million contract with $15 million guaranteed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
And while Buffalo lost a solid player who wanted to stay in Buffalo, losing the often injured player opened the door for Nick Barnett to come to Buffalo.
And most Bills fans will take Barnett over Posluszny any day.
With limited time to learn Buffalo's system, Barnett still started all 16 games and finished 2011 with 130 tackles, three sacks and three interceptions.
Barnett is the more complete player and actually wants to be in Buffalo. He can spark the team with his physical play or with emotional leadership. He is cheaper than Poz would have been and more durable.
So in a matter of giving and taking, at the end of the day, Bills fans should be happy with Barnett, not Posluszny, in Buffalo.