Every first round pick in the National Football League draft is a chance to make a definitive statement about the direction of the team, whether it be a vote of confidence for a player already on the roster or signal the death knell for another.
When talking about a top five pick in the draft, that is particularly true. If a team selects a quarterback, it sends a message to the quarterbacks already on the roster that the front office doesn't see them as the future of that franchise.
If a team pursues a different avenue, such as a top-flight offensive playmaker, it sends a positive message to the team’s starting quarterback, suggesting that “we think you can do great things here, and we want to help you by giving you another weapon.”
When a team drafts a defensive player in the top five picks, it sends yet another message of trying to take pressure off their offense and putting it onto the opposing offenses.
So what message will the Buffalo Bills be sending during the 2011 NFL Draft? Will it be a vote of confidence in current quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, or will the front office be selecting the guy they believe is the future of the franchise?
It depends on how they view what makes a championship football team. Does an elite quarterback trump an elite defense or vice versa?
If the Bills draft either Cam Newton from the University of Auburn or Blaine Gabbert from the University of Missouri, their view is that whomever they select will be the future of this franchise and lead them back to the Super Bowl.
If they select Marcell Dareus out of the University of Alabama, Von Miller from Texas A&M, or Patrick Peterson from Louisiana State University, they send the message to Fitzpatrick that they think the missing piece is a dominant defense. Dareus, Miller, or Peterson could very well be cornerstones on defense for whatever team selects them.
The Bills’ first pick of the 2011 NFL draft will make a clear statement to the current players, the fan base, the rest of the NFL, and to whomever is chosen with the third overall pick.
All I hope for is that the statement is that the Bills are committed to becoming a championship contender and whoever is selected third overall becomes a very important part of that.