Boom or bust? Blue chipper since signing day or late round gem? As far as many are concerned the NFL Draft should be held at the Bellagio. Fore it is an event that is a bigger crap shoot than any table on the floor. Millions of dollars are spent on the likes of a Manning or a Ryan Leaf, all in hopes that such a player can turn/keep a franchise into a contender.
However, the grading of such athletes seems to have become a more demanding, with an overwhelming sense of instant gratification. The Buffalo Bills stand with a 4-0 record for the first time in over a decade and a half, yet you can not discuss the team without mention of our rookies being "busts." Athletes whose collegiate numbers are unprecedented in respective areas. Leodis McKelvin (I for one have been the mans' biggest critic by far) came into the draft as a dual threat. A cover corner as well as historical return man, along with James Hardy who in three seasons at Indiana produced 36 touchdown grabs.
Needless to say, because these two men in particular have not light it up so to speak they are wasted picks? Meanwhile, back at the ranch what has Buffalo's record been when they had to depend on their rookies to carry them? My point exactly. Not every rookie will produce a Marshawn Lynch type of season. So does this mean you write them off? Look close at the players in front of McKelvin and Hardy. Josh Reed (a second round player who many wrote off and figured would have been cut a year or two ago) and Jabari Greer (an undrafted free agent) who by those standards should be nothing more than a ST guy... Just so happens those two guys were key components in the Bills recent escape from the Rams.
Of course there are players who do better than others as rookies, yet to compare those players is to steep of a slope. The variables that go into an NFL game, system, philosophy, etc combined are what makes or breaks a player in this league. Talent is rarely the case, it is how that talent is applied. Thus players will find their stride when they find it, if at all depending on their situation and how they fit into what a coach is trying to accomplish.
For the first time in 4 seasons, the Buffalo Bills have a unit that is young and not patch worked with declining Free Agent vets. They are utilizing their fermented draft classes from years past. Classes that offer the Bills to handle rookies the old fashioned way. By bringing them along and by allowing them to come into their own at their own pace.
So, how about after reading this rant over (more of a venting type piece than an actual article), pop open a beer, watch highlights over and over, and go to your friends and BRAG about the talent this 4-0 team has waiting in the wings!