Oct 30, 2011; Toronto, ON, Canada; Buffalo Bills defensive end Marcell Dareus (99) celebrates after sacking Washington Redskins quarterback John Beck (12) during the third quarter at the Rogers Centre. The Bills defeated the Redskins 23-0. Mandatory Credit: Luc Leclerc-US PRESSWIRE
The Most Important Draft we have EVER had.
With the free agency period now done for every team, I am making an attempt to put this year’s Bills offseason into historic perspective. I cannot remember a time when the window for success for this team was so wide open, and at the same time, closing slowly.
By now you have read every mock draft, every player bio, McShay/Kiper/Pauline and King are practically on your speed dial. I know this because you love football and the Bills as much as I do. If you didn’t, you would not be on this site. It is a certain tortured breed of fans that obsess over the draft as much as I (and you most likely) do. When you boil everything down, it’s a bit of an exercise in futility, like trying to predict poker hands.
By my count, Buffalo has 5 Blue Chip players, guys that are one of the five best at their position. Three of them are on the defensive line; one of them is a running back, and one on the offensive line. All but one of them was drafted by the Bills and one of them just signed a $100M contract. Only Marcell Dareus and Healthy-Eric Wood were taken in the first round. Kyle Williams in the third, and Fred Jackson, well you know that he was never drafted. I want to put Andy Levitre on that list, and CJ Spiller and Stevie Johnson have the ceiling to get there, but they are not there yet. Still, they are good. All three of them were drafted by the Bills. Never in my memory have we had the perfect storm of free agent signings, and an immensely successful draft from the year’s previous draft. Everyone important is back. Everyone is healthy and we are all ready for football back in our lives. Expectations are sky high as usual. That is why this is the most important Draft we have EVER had.
A year from now I want to be adding a player or two to that Blue Chip list, but to do that, this weekend has to run its course. I’m excited, I’m dreading it, and I’m prepared for neither success nor failure, that’s for sure. Some people mock the spectacle of the Draft; I treat it with emotions akin to meeting your spouse from an arranged marriage. After all, we head into this as fans blindly, and in some sense we have to live with these people. We have to watch and hope as we become a part of their success and failures both. We consummate the union by buying the jerseys, the tickets, the attempt at finding the elusive $10 parking on some stranger’s lawn at the game, and the 20oz Coke bottles with their tops removed when you get there.
You and I both know the Bills are close. We have heard every Fitzpatrick “can he or can’t he” argument, we know our secondary and wide receiving corps fluctuate between passable and cringe-worthy. We also know our Running Back duo might be the best in the league. We have a suddenly fierce pass rush and a mostly solid (albeit thin) linebacking unit. Can you find 3 teams that have better safeties than Buffalo?
The best news is that the pressure is NOT on Buffalo to have a draft with the same impact as last years. It would be very improbable that we get five new starters after this weekend like we did last year. A lot of that was due to what was already a dearth of talent on the roster, but if they somehow do manage another draft like that (a bit more on the offensive side of the ball this time, please!) then I must admit it looks like a playoff team. The window is wide open for Buffalo to succeed. Miami and the Jets look like they are moving backwards, New England is going to be tough as long as Brady is healthy, Cincinnati and Houston also look like they are moving in the right direction as well. Can a wild card be a reasonable expectation for this team, all things being equal? You bet. If Buffalo hits on a receiver, corner and left tackle who are all immediate impact guys, unless we are ravaged with injuries I do not see how this team cannot play with the big boys. Last year restored my faith that the current regime is taking this team in the right direction. We are really just one draft away, and it could be this weekend when we make the Leap.
I think I just talked myself into getting excited.
Hey friends, do me a favor. There will be a lot of updates this week, and I’d love it if you would check back later today, tomorrow and the next. This will be an update-heavy week (I promise!) and we here at BLD are working hard to churn out as much intriguing, and thought provoking, material. Tell a friend about us. Comment on the articles. We’ll see you soon.
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