So as you know, yesterday the Bills sent wide receiver Lee Evans to Baltimore for a future fourth-round draft pick. And thus ends the tenure of yet another recent first-round draft pick in Buffalo.
We all know the Bills have struggled just a bit in the draft in the past decade, especially in the early rounds. First-round pick after first-round pick has been a disaster, dramatically damaging any chance the Bills have had of getting back to the playoffs.
But now that Evans is done in Buffalo, does he count as one of these first-round failures? Just to be clear, there’s no way Evans was a “bust” anywhere near the level of Mike Williams or Erik Flowers or John McCargo or whatever. But it’s fair to examine if Evans was a poor first-round choice or not.
Points Against Evans:
- In seven seasons as a Bill, Evans only topped 1,000 yards receiving twice.
- Evans averaged just over six touchdowns a season, never reaching double-digit touchdowns.
- In the past two seasons combined, Evans had only 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns.
- Evans had the #1 WR spot taken from him in Buffalo by former seventh-round pick Stevie Johnson.
- Evans had some big games, but often completely disappeared.
- Evans never made a Pro Bowl.
- The Bills appeared in exactly zero playoff games during Evans’s tenure in Buffalo.
Points for Evans:
- Let’s be real…Evans endured a terrible quarterback situation for pretty much his entire time in Buffalo. Kelly Holcomb, Trent Edwards, J.P. Losman – it’s gonna be tough to put up big stats with that group throwing to you.
- Evans did have some big years, with his best season coming in 2006 (1,292 yards, 8 TD).
- Evans never missed a game due to injury until last season.
- Evans was Buffalo’s only legitimate deep threat for most of his time in Buffalo, and was subject to constant double teams.
- The Bills were pretty freaking poorly coached while he was in Buffalo. You’d think a semi-competent offensive coordinator could figure out a few more ways to get Evans the ball.
To me, Evans is always going to be one of those “What if?” cases. What if Evans had been drafted by a better team? What if the Bills had somehow acquired a decent quarterback? How good could have Evans been?
I’m going to say the Evans era wasn’t bad, but it was a bit disappointing. He is a good player, but not a star. And you need to draft some stars in the first round.
The sad thing? Evans might be Buffalo’s best first round pick since 2002. Here’s the list:
|2003||Willis McGahee||Miami (FL)||Running Back|
|2004||Lee Evans||Wisconsin||Wide Receiver|
|2005||No 1st Round Pick, Roscoe Parrish (2nd Round)||Miami (FL)||Wide Receiver|
|2006||Donte Whitner||Ohio State||Safety|
|2006||John McCargo||North Carolina State||Defensive Tackle|
|2007||Marshawn Lynch||California||Running Back|
|2008||Leodis McKelvin||Troy||Defensive Back|
|2009||Aaron Maybin||Penn State||Defensive End/Outside Linebacker|
|2010||C.J. Spiller||Clemson||Running Back|
|2011||Marcell Dareus||Alabama||Defensive Tackle|
Obviously, the jury is still out on Spiller and Dareus. And Eric Wood is a very good player. Other than that? What a freaking mess.