With the ninth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills have selected Clemson running back C.J. Spiller.
For many Bills fans, the pick will likely come as a shock and perhaps even a disappointment. I have to say I’m definitely shocked – and maybe even a bit disappointed myself.
The Buffalo Bills come into this draft with many needs. Chief among them: a quarterback, an offensive lineman (or five), and a defensive tackle. With that in mind, grabbing a running back with their top pick – a position at which the Bills are already deep (Buffalo deep – not Saints deep) – was unexpected to say the least. While there has been talk of Marshawn Lynch being traded and the fact that Fred Jackson isn’t a household name, taking a back who is anything short of Adrian Peterson seems nearsighted. Okay, now that I have the classic Buffalo pessimism out of my system, let me be fair: C.J.Spiller is an incredible athlete, and he may just be able to help this team.
What Reggie Bush was to the USC Trojans, C.J. Spiller was for the Clemson Tigers. “He’s a playmaker,” first-time general manager Buddy Nix said. “He’s exciting. We need some excitement.” There’s no denying that. While in our mock draft with CBSSports.com I argued that the Bills should have taken an offensive tackle in the first round (I chose Bryan Bulaga, Iowa), the logic behind my second pick – Tim Tebow – was nearly on par with what Nix is saying here. Here’s my rationale for that pick, which you can also find here on CBSSports.com:
"Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Tim Tebow has heart. While his physical skills as an NFL-level quarterback have been scrutinized to death, his intangibles — pride, responsibility, and the will to win — are unmatched in this draft. More than any individual talent, the Bills need a spark, a change in attitude, a leader. Tebow may just be the man for the job. In this decade of shame, the Bills have gone through quarterbacks like Bruce Smith went through offensive linemen in their decade of glory. Sure, Tebow might be considered a “risk” by some. But for me, I’ll take even the longest of odds that he could be the Bills’ Tom Brady. Let’s put it this way — who else going in the second round of this year’s draft has the potential Tim Tebow has to single-handedly change a franchise? That’s what I thought. The last thing this team needs with this pick is another role player; we need a game-changer."
The only elite running back in the draft, Spiller holds over thirty records at Clemson, including all-purpose running. His 7,588 all-purpose rushing yards are second in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision history. They might as well put Spiller’s name on the record books in Clemson. But beyond the numbers, as a four-year starter, Spiller became a leader at Clemson – in addition to being their spark-plug. The ACC player of the year, Spiller was regarded as “a dynamite athlete with blazing speed” in the NFL scouting report. At 5’11” and 196 pounds, the comparisons made of him to the Saints’ Reggie Bush aren’t made casually.
Only time will tell what he means for Buffalo. I don’t think anyone will criticize Spiller’s talent, or the fact that he was a very logical pick to go in the top ten. The question for Bills fans, however, was he the right pick for us at the right time. It’s not what I would have done. Actually, it’s not what I did. But hey, I’m not a General Manager – for better or worse.
Stay tuned tomorrow for more action from day two.