They say it takes 3 years to evaluate a draft class. Between the physical and mental development, it’s rare to see a college player enter the NFL and have immediate success. Grading players requires a body of work, as well as determining if a player has peaked, or has room to grow.
When it comes to the 2007 draft, experts will have no trouble grading the Bills. I once got a 42% on a college exam in my Tax Accounting II class, and I thought that was bottom of the barrel. (Side note, I still ended up as an accountant somehow. Please don’t ask me to do your taxes. You WILL get audited.)
So let’s take a look back at this stellar world class group of athletes and see what the hell went wrong. Try not to get sick reading this.
The Men in Charge: As good as Marv Levy was at coach, I think we all have to consider his tenure as GM as a huge failure. How much say he had in the decisions is up for debate, as Dick Jauron, Russ Brandon, Tom Modrak, and John Guy probably had a lot to do with these picks as well.
First Round (12th overall) – Marshawn Lynch, RB: 2,151 yards and 15 TDs in his first two seasons, “Beast Mode” was a fan favorite, at least on the field. While he might possibly be one of the ugliest players in NFL history, he was a monster on the field. Constantly moving piles and blowing guys up, he never wanted to be taken down by only one tackler. But his off-season problems became too much for the Bills, and rumors of his childish behavior in Buffalo pushed the Bills over the edge. After a suspension, Fred Jackson’s rise as a quality running back, and the drafting of C.J. Spiller, Lynch was traded to Seattle for a 4th round pick in the 2011 draft. He helped the 7-9 Seahawks win their division and had one of the most memorable plays in the 2011 playoffs that set off seismic sensors inSeattle. He will probably have plenty of good years with the Seahawks, as long as he stays out of trouble off the field.
Second Round (34th overall) – Paul Posluszny, LB: I think the word “Solid” is the best way to describe Poz. Also, “Glass”. He twice broke his forearm, in 2007 and 2009, and got two knee injuries last year. Even with the lost games, he had close to 400 tackles and was one of the bright spots of some terrible defenses, especially with no help in front of him. He was laughable in pass coverage, and the change to a 3-4 defense didn’t suit his skill set. Signing for 6 years and $7 million a season withJacksonville was a smart move on his behalf. When he inevitably breaks more bones in his body, he’s gonna be glad he has some long-term security. He was a great leader and locker room guy, as well as a team captain. He will be missed, but just how much, only time will tell.
Third Round (92nd overall) – Trent Edwards, QB: The next Steve Young, according to the late Bill Walsh. I think he’d like to take that one back. Edwards showed promise, and gave Bills fans hope that they had found our franchise quarterback, after he led the Bills to a 4-0 start in 2008. We all know what happened next. Adrian Wilson drives his head into the turf, concussion, and Captain Checkdown is born. Unceremoniously dumped 3 weeks in to the 2011 season after 2 games as starter, he was picked up byJacksonville and saw the field as a backup a few times. Chan Gailey admitted one of his biggest mistakes was giving Edwards so many reps in camp and naming him the starter. Edwards will most likely float around the NFL as camp fodder and clipboard holder for the foreseeable future.
Fourth Round (111th overall) – Dwayne Wright, RB: Really? Another Running back? 24 carries, 94 yards. Great value for a fourth round pick. Recently latched on to the Steelers. Not much else to say about the guy.
Fifth Round (184th overall) – John Wendling, S: Three years, one tackle, one interception. Played on Special Teams. Currently with the Lions. Big upgrade there John…
Sixth Round (222nd overall) – Derek Shouman, TE: Another tight end lost in the shuffle of the most insignificant position on the Bills roster the past decade. Shouman showed some promise, but lasted only 3 years to be replaced by another group of untalented clowns with no receiving skills. Was with the Rams for a spell last year.
Seventh Round (239th overall) – C.J. Ah You, DE: While he might have one of the coolest names in the NFL, he didn’t even make the roster after the preseason. He’s been with the Rams ever since, low on the depth chart, but hanging on to a roster spot.
So there you have it. If you’re wondering why the Bills don’t make the playoffs again this year, just look back to our draft from FOUR years ago, and the big fat “F” stamped on every evaluation of every player in it.