How Badly did Bills Blow the First Round Pick?

By anello1960  |   Thursday, December 31, 2009  |  Comments( 8 )

Buffalo Bills
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Aaron Maybin, the Buffalo Bills first pick (11th overall) in the 2009 draft has (by any reasonable measure) not been a valuable contributor to the Bills defense in his rookie season. To his credit, he was a redshirt his first year at Penn State and therefore technically was drafted after his sophomore year. His inexperience during his college career must weigh against his capability to play at an NFL level in his first year. Although he may become a budding superstar as he matures physically and mentally at the NFL game, his contributions for the Bills during his rookie year are what they are and can be used as a comparison.

Aaron Maybin, through (15) games:
0 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 10 solo tackles.

For the sake of argument, we will assume that the best position pick for the Bills in the 2009 draft was either a defensive end or linebacker. There was a consensus among fans and media that this tended to be the case. In addition, certain names were mentioned as the best pick for the team. This study will be limited to consensus named popular choices of defensive ends and linebackers that were available to the Bills at the number 11 pick. We will be rating the blown opportunity on a (3) tiered scale:
1) "BLEW IT". A major league blown opportunity to get a great player with immediate impact.
2) "SEMI CHOKE". Lost a decent player with good first year contribution.
3) "GOOD CALL". The Bills made a good decision not to select this player.

Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB no. 13 pick, Washington Redskins.
11 sk, 36 tkl, 1ff
It would be fair to say a majority of Bills fans wished the team had selected Orakpo. He's having a year with the Skins that is on track to eclipse Bruce Smith's rookie season. Rated among the top (10) rookies.
Rating: BLEW IT.

Brian Cushing, OLB, no. 15 pick, Houston Texans.
4 sk, 4 int, 82 tkl, 2 ff
It's safe to say Cushing is having a monster first year with the Texans. He is currently regarded in the top (10) of this year's rookie class.
Rating: BLEW IT

Clay Matthews, OLB no. 26 pick Green Bay Packers.
10 sk 36 tkl, 1ff
The 3-4 scheme and his strong supporting cast may have helped Matthews do so well in his first year with the Pack, but his numbers are what they are. Rated among the top (10) rookies.
Rating: BLEW IT

Robert Ayers, DE, no. 18 pick, Denver Broncos.
0 sk, 14 tkl, 0ff. 2 fumble recoveries and a TD.
Regarded as a disappointment in the Broncos community.
Rating: GOOD CALL

Evander Hood, DT, no. 32 pick, Pittsburgh Steelers.
(6 games) 1 sk, 5 tkl, 1 fumble recovery.
Playing as a situational and back-up in his rookie year with the Steelers. Seems to be off to a good start, the Steelers are happy with his progress for the level of his selection.
Rating: SEMI CHOKE

Everette Brown, DE/OLB no. 11 pick, second round, Carolina Panthers.
(13 games) 2.5 sk 14 tkl, 2ff
Shaping up as a decent pick and solid contributor for the Panther's for a mid second round selection.
Rating: SEMI CHOKE

Reference:
Bruce Smith, 1985 rookie year, no. 1 pick Buffalo Bills.
6.5 sk, 48 tkl, 0 ff.

Maybin could very well have a break-out second year with the Bills. He was hampered by a poor coaching staff that did not develop his capabilities or use his natural talents and quickness in an effective productive way. His physical and mental maturity are not yet developed based on his limited college career. He also does not have strong support from his defensive line mates and as such gets solid coverage from the opposing offensive tackle. However many players available at the time of the Bills first pick have turned out to be extremely high level contributors for their teams in their rookie season. While it is highly speculative as to what would have / could have happened, it appears at this point that the Bills could have easily selected a player or players that would have made a much greater first year contribution to the team.
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