With Day One of the 2009 NFL Draft in the books, some questions have been answered about what the Buffalo Bills needed to do and some new questions have been asked as well. So let's look back on the first day of the draft and see what happened.
With the 11th overall pick, the Bills drafted defensive end Aaron Maybin out of Penn State. Maybin has the potential to be an elite pass rusher, but it remains to be seen if he can become a three-down defensive end.
However, the Bills' need at end was a pass rusher, and Maybin provides that in spades.
He is fast, tenacious, and incredibly productive. He did add weight prior to the combine so he is closer in size to a 4-3 defensive end than when he was playing, but it will be interesting to see if the extra weight will affect his play.
I expect that it will be beneficial, making it harder for tackles to push him out of the way. A good pick that addressed one of the biggest needs.
With the 28th pick, the Bills took interior offensive lineman Eric Wood from Louisville. He brings an element of physicality and a mean streak to an offensive line that was the biggest in the NFL, yet rarely played like it. He will certainly be a factor in getting the ground game going again.
He is physically gifted and a very smart player who finishes plays well, driving his block into the ground often. Over the last two seasons of his college career, unofficial count has him with 164 knockdown blocks.
That is a man who plays a physical game and can certainly get a ground game going. Maybe he can be a catalyst for returning the Bills offensive line to the glory years of the 90's or the Electric Company.
With the forty-second pick of the draft, the Bills selected cornerback/safety Jairus Byrd from Oregon. At first, I was displeased with the pick until I took the time to do some research and read about what scouts had to say.
The Bills are shifting him to free safety with the ability to sub into corner positions. This masks his lack of elite speed and allows him to use his football intelligence to continue producing.
In college with Oregon, he picked off 17 passes, including one in the 2009 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl against Oklahoma State. To watch the tape on him shows a very intelligent defensive back with a knack for finding the football in the air and making a play on it.
17 interceptions in college is definitely a stat that will get attention. Hopefully he will continue to produce at that level with the Bills, we could certainly use more defensive playmakers.
In a surprising move, the Bills traded their third round pick and their first of two fourth round picks to move back into the second at the 51st overall pick. With this pick, the Bills took offensive lineman Andy Levitre from Oregon State.
A tackle in college, scouts predict that due to his physical stature he will translate into a guard in the pros. He further bolsters the interior of the line which had little to no depth after the season.
He brings more physical play and good footwork from manning the tackle position. He and Wood will provide a sorely lacking physical presence on the interior of the offensive line.
So on the first day of the 2009 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills spread four picks evenly between the offense and defense, picking up two defensive playmakers and two physical interior offensive lineman.
A good start to the draft, and on Day Two, they should be looking at strong-side linebacker and tight end to start with more offensive and defensive line depth as well. Let's go Buffalo!
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