Buffalo Bills NFL Draft History: Re-Drafting the first round picks since 2010

Greg Rousseau, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Greg Rousseau, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Buffalo Bills
Marcell Dareus, Buffalo Bills (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

Buffalo Bills 2011 First Round Pick:  Marcell Dareus

When Dareus was on, there weren’t many defensive tackles like him in the game. Even at 6-foot-3, 331-pounds, the Alabama product brought a skill set for getting after QBs, in addition to his prowess as a run stuffer.

In each of his first four seasons in Buffalo, Dareus recorded 5.5 or more sacks, a very respectable number for a player playing interior d-line. But 2013 and 2014 were his finest hours, as he earned two Pro Bowl selections and was named a first-team All-Pro in 2014.

Dareus totaled 7.5 sacks and a career-best 71 tackles in 2013, before going for 10 sacks in 2014. That ’14 defense led the league in sacks and they were led by Kyle Williams, Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes, and Dareus, as he was the sack leader for DTs that season.

Things got shaky for Dareus from there, though. He’d only play in parts of three more seasons for the Bills from there, as he struggled with injuries and was suspended for the NFL’s substance abuse policy. And although he had one deep playoff run with the Jacksonville Jaguars, as they went to the AFC Championship Game during the 2017 season, Dareus would be out of the league just two seasons later.

At his peak, Dareus was a difference-maker. But his short-lived career makes you wonder what he could have been overall.

Was this the right pick? 

Again, at his peak, Dareus was one of the best DTs in the game. He generated pressure on QBs even for a guy who would traditionally be brought in to plug holes in the run game.

But he only played in parts of seven seasons in Buffalo, which also tapered off over the last three seasons. The former Crimson Tide was not a bad pick, but seeing who went after him in the draft will make you cringe a bit.

Who could the Buffalo Bills have taken?

Quite simply put, the 2011 NFL Draft class is one of the greatest ever. I’m not even going to list their accomplishments because we’d be here all day, but just look at some of the guys Dareus went ahead of; A.J. Green, Patrick Peterson, Julio Jones, Tyron Smith, J.J. Watt, Aldon Smith, Robert Quinn, Mike Pouncey, Ryan Kerrigan, Nate Solder, Cameron Jordan, Mark Ingram, and Cameron Heyward.

And that’s just the first-round picks. Some names after that include Rodney Hudson, Justin Houston, DeMarco Murray, Jurrell Casey, Jason Kelce, K.J. Wright, and Richard Sherman. There were even stand-out undrafted players like Chris Harris Jr. and Doug Baldwin.

Taking Dareus was not the biggest issue here; it was the fact that, in arguably the best draft class in recent memory, the Bills selected a player who struck hot and fizzled out quicker than most.