What the Buffalo Bills Missed in the Draft

How short the human memory is.  Sometimes I wonder if politicians think the public is really that stupid and in this case does Doug Whaley think the same way?

Heading into this draft, the Buffalo Bills allowed Jairus Byrd to walk without any compensation in return.  This is still a HUGE hole.  The Bills did not address this in free agency and ignored the position in the draft.  They actually showed the exact opposite in that it looks like the team is trying to outscore opponents.  I said it before and I will say it again, the team is going to regret letting Byrd walk.

The Bills also missed the opportunity to get a quarterback.  This is the most important position on any football team. The odds of EJ Manuel starting and finishing 16 games are slim at best.  I was screaming at my Ipad on day three as AJ McCarron and Zach Mettenberger were still on the board!  But my pleas were ignored; maybe they couldn’t hear me across the vast expanse of ocean that separated us.

In any event, I hope the General Manager doesn’t think these decisions are easily forgotten. These holes don’t just disappear; they get bigger when September rolls around.  What do you think Buffalo?

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Tags: Buffalo Bills EJ Manuel NFL Draft

  • NWBill

    I disagree with you in everything except for one point; losing Byrd was huge. BUT, I think the Bills started prepping for that possibility with last years’ draft, and even though they didn’t really reinforce that this year, my feeling is that they either think that they have Byrd’s replacement already on the roster, or can find him between now and the start of the season. It’s happened before, and that’s a part of the job of the GM and scouts.

    I strongly agree with Buffalo’s decision not to pay Byrd what he was asking for (and it seemed to me that their offer wasn’t too far away from the Saints). Byrd gave off strong impressions that he didn’t want to play in Buffalo anymore; what was the team supposed to do, hold a gun to his head? They also had a salary cap to deal with; speaking of which, CJ’s contract is up after this year. Do you really think Buffalo should have thrown money Byrd’s way, and make it more difficult to resign Spiller? Sure they’re going to regret Byrd leaving – someone of his talent doesn’t come along often. But, he’s GONE; players do that sometimes. Get over it; Buffalo looks like they have. Is it going to be rough until the FS position gets settled? Sure. Just like it’s unsettled at OT, OG, LB, and special teams. But there’s only so much money to go around, so that’s why they hire people like GMs.

    The Bills already have plenty of QBs on the roster, and you CANNOT call EJ “injury-prone” after only LESS THAN ONE SEASON in the league. I’m not the biggest Jeff Tuel fan, but I think the other guys they have are serviceable backups. You draft an AJ McCarren, and what do you have? Another guy who has to sit and learn the system – from SCRATCH. Most of the guys Buffalo has have been in the system for a while, which is ALWAYS better than throwing a rookie out there. Face it; this is EJ’s team, whether you like it or not.

    Move on from Byrd, cut EJ some slack, and let’s see what the draft picks (especially Watkins) and FAs fill in for us ….before we start crying in our beers.

  • Zachary Alexander

    Agreed, Byrd wanted too much money. But Whaley seemed to draft in a way that supports EJ with his offensive lineman picks and Watkins. To grab a QB in this draft is crazy, no one proved themselves worth the pick. The offense has a lot of versatile and EFFECTIVE weapons.

    btw the defense is by far the best we’ve had on paper since the year 2000. Idk about you guys, but im not complaining.

  • Greg Geddes

    I 100% agree with NWBill, couldn’t have said it better myself!

  • NWBill

    Hey, Andrew – are these really your opinions, or is this more of Fansided’s constant tendency to print off-the-wall stuff and opinions, in order to get people riled up and posting on your site?

  • Andrew

    Hey Bill, thanks for the reply. I think I should be a bit clearer. I am an EJ Manuel fan, but any good team really needs two good quarterbacks. I don’t think the Bills have that. I do believe McCarron or Mettenberger would have been an upgrade over Lewis.
    As far as Byrd goes, you just don’t replace a top tier safety. The way the Bills handled that was not good. Byrd may not have wanted to be in Buffalo, but why not franchise the guy to give yourself time to trade him? If not, you have a professional guy that is playing one more year on your team. To just let him walk was not right.
    FS is very unsettled. Other areas are a bit unsettled, but Whaley addressed them in the draft. Mainly the offensive line.
    Overall, I like Doug Whaley. Whatever has been tried the last 14 years has not worked, so for him to mix it up a bit is refreshing. Some think he gave too much away, I do not. You are the Buffalo Bills, you have to pay more.
    Again, thanks for the reply. It is refreshing to talk football once in a while. I am surrounded by rugby and Gaelic Football all the time here.

  • NWBill

    Hi, Andrew ….appreciate the respectful reply (and, sorry for all of the rugby; never quite understood that game)!

    I don’t believe that the team could get by with EJ alone, but at the same time QBs who are NOT their team starters WANT to be the starter; so, they either do all they can to supplant the starter, or they leave to go to another opportunity as soon as possible. To me, that’s a recipe for instability if you keep bringing in starter-level QBs all the time; the position is unstable, where you really need an established starter – with CLEAR support from the coaches – and decent backup QBs who can play, and have a chance to win, if needed. I think Lewis is that kind of QB. I liked what I saw from him last year, and I think he’s a great fit as EJ’s backup. If they can find another QB who also fits that mold, then great! Is Tuel that guy? I kinda doubt it. He’s got skills, for sure …. but he needs more development and playing time – which presents a problem. When your 3rd string QB is getting significant playing time, you’re in trouble.

    The Bills DID franchise Byrd during his last year here; and I think his reaction to that, while a necessary step for the club, contributed to his feelings of not wanting to be here anymore. So, no, they didn’t want him to just walk – but, getting an effective trade that benefits everyone with a player that all parties KNOW doesn’t want to play for you anymore is kinda hard to do. It wasn’t a good place to be in for all concerned, and when the Bills decided not to franchise him again, I knew it was over. The other kicker was that the contract Buffalo offered him wasn’t all that less than what he got from the Saints, so … it was another sign that this guy just didn’t want to be here anymore. If I’m the GM at that point, with a guy who won’t sign a decent offer, and gets angry when you franchise him – you dust off your shoes, tell the guy good luck …and move on. I really believe they did all that they could, and who knows what kind of trade offers they got for him? Would YOU accept a Jairus Byrd for less than a 1st rounder in return? I’m not sure that I would; and I couldn’t see anyone offering that to Buffalo with a straight face, knowing the guy was going to be on the market soon enough anyway.

    Sometimes, you really do have to let a guy walk, for the good of all concerned. I think the Byrd situation was one like that.

    Yeah, FS is unsettled; but, honestly, Andrew, with the great DL we have, and with the attack Schwartz is going to come up with, I don’t think teams are going to get enough time to exploit our weaknesses at FS a lot. If the LB corps develops like I think it will, that’s even more of a cover for the FS spot until we find a real starter there. Could be someone already on the roster; could be a guy they pick up on waivers between now and September. We’ll just have to see how that plays out. ALL teams have weaknesses, though, so I don’t see the Bills really behind the 8 ball here – as opposed to three years ago, when they had SO many holes it wasn’t even funny.

    I agree with you about Whaley; I think he’s a sharp guy, has his own way of doing things (definitely different than Nix!) ….but he’s NOT a “gambler” in the sense of taking shots just to take them. I think he weighed the Watkins thing, looked at the overall talent level on his team, and felt that the 1st round choice next year was worth it to get someone like Watkins. I happen to agree with him. And it’s time we threw the dice a little more, anyway ….as you say, we’ve done things differently for 15 years – and what has that got us? This is a former Pittsburgh guy, which means he knows talent …and has a real head on his shoulders. I say we give him the benefit of the doubt, and pray that Watkins and Manuel have many wonderful plays together!

    Take care of yourself, and GO BILLS!