The Buffalo Bills have been their worst enemy over the past few years because of their inability to hit on the early round draft picks, especially in the first round. It seems as if the scouts are too busy searching for the "diamond in the rough" instead of going with the gem that everyone knows about.
Most fans have a specific player that they would like to see their team draft each year. I thought it would be fun to make a list showing each player that I planned on drafting as well as well as the player that the Bills would take if the draft could be done over knowing the general talent level of each player.
Here is that list...
With the Bills' first pick in the 2006 NFL Draft...the Bills select Haloti Ngata from the University of Oregon!
This is a pick where the player that I personally wanted is the same player that the Bills should have taken based on what we know today. Whitner was a real reach in this draft; the Bills probably could have taken him instead of McCargo with the 26th pick overall.
Ngata is one of the most dominant players at his position, while Whitner is relatively unknown outside of Buffalo, where most people do not like him. Donte Whitner was actually quite valuable to the Bills defense this year, but he has never lived up to his draft spot.
The offseason leading up to this draft saw the Bills part ways with Sam Adams. There was a gigantic hole in the defensive line, and Haloti Ngata should have been the guy to fill it up.
My Pick: Haloti Ngata
As of Today Pick: Haloti Ngata
NOTE: I was not prepared for much more than the Bills' first round pick this year, and I certainly was not prepared for them to trade back into the first round.
The Bills took Marshawn Lynch, and at the time, I would have panicked and done the same thing. Personally, I was set on us taking Patrick Willis in the first round, but the 49ers beat us to it. Who knows if the Bills were actually targeting him, but it makes me feel a little better to believe that the Willis was on the Bills radar. Lynch seemed like he was a great pick during his first two seasons as a Bill, but then he had his misdemeanor charge, and well, the rest is history.
Based on what we know today, it would have been pretty difficult to pass on Darelle Revis. While I do think that he is a bit overrated, he is still one of the best CBs in the league. Once again, this pick would have satisfied a recently developed need for the team because Clements had just left during free agency. It is difficult to remember, but maybe the Bills felt that Greer and McGee would be enough. Well, if only somebody could tell them that Greer would be leaving soon and McGee was made of glass.
My Pick: Marshawn Lynch
As of Today Pick: Darelle Revis
This was really the first year that I did research for the later rounds instead of just the first. Most people were positive that the Bills would be going CB in the first round, and I believed that too. The Bills ended up taking Leodis McKelvin, who has really underwhelmed everyone, especially this past year. He has shown some promise, and his career is definitely not over yet. Hopefully, he can take a step in the right direction next year.
As for the player I was targeting, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (DRC) was taken a few picks later by the Arizona Cardinals. He has had a pretty solid career thus far, but his game still needs some work. DRC's speed is rare, and it has allowed him to make up for his mediocre ability to read the offense. Rodgers-Cromartie has played much better than McKelvin, but neither player would have been the best addition to our team.
The player that the Bills would most likely take today is actually a toss-up. If they wanted to stick with the defensive pick, they would have gone with DRC, but their options open up more if they had chosen to go offense in the first round. Flacco and CJ2K were both first round picks this year, but the Bills would not know that Lynch would eventually be shipped out of town. The Bills would have to take Flacco considering the QB situation that we have been dealing with for the last decade or so. Essentially, picking CJ would have been oddly similar to what they actually did in the 2010 Draft when they added a speedy home-run hitter to a crowded backfield.
My Pick: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
As of Today Pick: Joe Flacco, DRC, or Chris Johnson
But he's too small to be an effective NFL receiver...
The Bills should have taken DeSean Jackson with their second round pick. I know I wanted him. When we drafted Hardy, I tried to get excited, but he just did not do it for me. I definitely did not expect Jackson to be as good as he is, but when I saw that Jackson was entering the NFL draft, I wanted him badly. He is a one of a kind game changer, but he just wasn't the kind of player the Bills were targeting. They wanted a big red zone threat to play second fiddle to Lee Evans. I think they would change their minds if they had another chance.
My Pick: DeSean Jackson
As of Today Pick: DeSean Jackson
The Bills needed some help at the LB position, and I really liked the idea of pairing Dan Connor with Paul Posluszny. Connor's career has been somewhat of a disappointment thus far because of injuries and the Panthers strong LBs when Connor was drafted. I believe that Connor still has time to become an effective LB in the NFL, but as of now, it's probably okay that the Bills passed on him.
My Pick: Dan Connor
This is, by far, the best example of an NFL GM trying to find a diamond in the rough while ignoring the quality player that everyone knows about.
Aaron Maybin had one good year, and it was not even as good as Orakpo's. Now, Orakpo makes the Pro Bowl while Maybin struggles to make the starting lineup. How could this mistake be made? It was already known that he was an undersized lineman who lacked any real power. This pick set the Bills back a few years, and it's that much worse because of how obvious it was the Orakpo was the better player.
I tried to be happy when Maybin was drafted and I was able to accept him as a valuable asset to the team. Its been almost two years since that happened, and Maybin has shown himself to be one of the worst players in the league.
What's even worse is that Orakpo was not the only player that the Bills could have used. Alex Mack (Browns, C), Josh Freeman (Bucs, QB), and Michael Oher (Ravens, T) are just a few of the big names that were left in the draft. To be fair, the Bills did manage to find Levitre, Wood, and Byrd later on in this draft.
My Pick and 95 percent of other Bills Fans' Pick: Brian Orakpo
As of Today Pick: Brian Orakpo
Spiller's rookie season was extremely disappointing considering the Bills picked him since he was the best player available instead of picking a player based on need. He only has one season under his belt, so I'm not willing to call the pick a bust. Spiller did show some flashes of brilliance, and hopefully, we will see more of him next year.
I personally hated this pick; nothing against Spiller, but we did have Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch. A third RB was not needed. A few of the players I was hoping for were: Brandon Graham, Anthony Davis, and Derrick Morgan.
My Pick: Brandon Graham
As of Today Pick: Too early to tell, but Pouncey would have been nice
At this point, I was really hoping the Bills would address the defense, considering that the plan was to switch to the 3-4. They decided that Torell Troup was the best player to help the Bills make this transition.
I disagreed. Sergio Kindle was the highest rated 3-4 LB in the draft, and he was still on the board. It's difficult to know if he will be a decent NFL player because he had an offseason accident that caused him to miss the entire season. Also, there have been rumors about his career being over. Unless the Bills somehow saw this coming, Kindle should have been their pick.
My Pick: Sergio Kindle
As of Today Pick: Torell Troup played more than Kindle did...
In the third round, the Browns may have got the steal of the entire draft in Colt McCoy. It seems like scouts were trying to find reasons to not draft him, and if McCoy continues to develop, teams in need of a QB really missed out. The Bills took Alex Carrington, and it did not seem like Gailey and the other coaches liked what they were seeing out of him, because he rarely got on the field despite all of the injuries.
Marcus Easley (fourth round) and Ed Wang (fifth Round) did not get much time for various reasons. Easley looked great before his injury, and it's understandable that Wang needs more than one year to develop.
Arthur Moats was a steal in the sixth round.