Drayton Florence has been nothing short of opportunistic this season. While starting all 12 games this season, “Flo” has tallied 40 tackles, 3 interceptions, 12 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble, and 2 TDs (one fumble, one pick). At age 29, this has been arguably Florence’s best season as a pro. In 2006, he started 16 games for the Chargers, taking away 3 passes and defending 13 others. He snagged 4 picks in ’04, but he only started 5 games. While it’ll be tough to get some national love on a 2-10 squad, Florence has been having a very respectable season.
It has been an up-and-down ride for Florence since being drafted 46th overall by the Chargers in 2003. The Tuskegee-product started 43 games in San Diego from ’03-’07. He had 14 picks over that span, but with Quentin Jammer and Antonio Cromartie on the roster (and later CB Antoine Cason with their 1st round pick in ’08), the Chargers viewed him as expendable. They let him walk and Drayton went on to sign a lucrative free agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars in March 2008 (6 years, $36 million with $13 million guaranteed).
To say that his stay in Jacksonville was disappointing would be an understatement. Florence started only 8 games before being stripped of that role in favor of Brian Williams, who moved over from safety. He had no interceptions, 3 passes defended, and was let go after one forgettable season.
In March 2009, the Bills signed Drayton to a 2-year, $6.6 million contract. He was slated to play the nickel back role, with McKelvin and McGee manning the outside. In the season’s 3rd game, McKelvin broke his leg against the Saints and Florence found himself starting again. So far, he has given the Bills no reason to change their minds on that decision. Not only has he been productive on the field, but he has been active off it with his Drayton Florence Foundation.
Assuming a new CBA can get done, Florence will be a free agent at the end of the season. I’m not sure how much it will take to keep one of the team’s more consistent players in the fold, but it is definitely a gamble to entrust the secondary to a dangerously inconsistent Leodis McKelvin (still can’t handle double moves) and the oft-injured Terrence McGee.
What are some of the Bills faithful’s thoughts? How much would you be willing to shell out to keep Drayton in a Bills uniform? Would you let him walk and want to try and develop a much younger McKelvin?