The Buffalo Bills were set up to make it worth waiting until the next day to draft. They already got almost 1,000 yards out of 2015’s top pick through wormhole magic, so picking for the first time in the second round wasn’t exactly a crisis. The roster remains in promising shape even though they started late in Chicago. It feels weird to not invest so many expectations in present undergraduates. Like their new players, the club is poised to mature.
No glut was going to change executives’ take on wanted players. While exercising patience is not as fun as picking during the first 32 chances, it’s good to know this club stuck to their program. Fans can still look forward to seeing Buffalo’s brand-new cornerback Ronald Darby get molded by a coaching staff which treats every defensive play without a touchdown off a turnover as a letdown. He can look forward to playing aggressively even if he starts as a reserve.
Thanks to previous moves, Darby can watch without having to immediately replace anyone. The former Seminole doesn’t need to be rushed thanks to the presence of Corey Graham and recently-optioned Stephon Gilmore, as he can learn from pros in place. What the selection means for Leodis McKelvin’s time in Buffalo remains to be seen. For now, Whaley reinforced what was already strong. There can never be too many buttresses against offenses.
Adding a player with Darby’s lightning-strike capacity is intriguing even though, ahem, some of us called for addressing the offensive line’s interior with their first shot. Waiting one more round for a grinding guard didn’t feel interminable. General manager Doug Whaley stuck to the “best available” mentality even if it meant adding more talent to an already-stocked position. Obtaining a player they thought was useful and talented is always a respectable approach, especially if the maxim about never having enough good cornerbacks is true.
It’s also important to note who they didn’t add, as the front office avoided excessively risky picks. There are no acquired rookies who seemed wildly out of place for their respective slots. The front office wasn’t guided by desperation, either, as developing around whoever’s quarterback beats banking on a shaky prospect fulfilling the most fantastical projection. Bills fans should feel relieved about not having to think how Bryce Petty could be a good fit. The Jets can worry about that if you need a giggle.
Go ahead and get carried away, as long as you recognize you’re daydreaming. Just look how Texans fans reacted when Houston took now All-World defensive lineman, JJ Watt. Imagine any draftee getting his Hall of Fame blazer or resent him for not being your preferred pick. Exaggerated outlooks are fine if tempered with perspective, as such musings remind us this is all speculation for now. Any draft grade should be framed by remembering that 256 new players have done precisely nothing for their pro teams yet.
The lack of drama was almost as notable as the lack of dealing. We’ve recently become accustomed to this franchise being willing to trade anything but bolted-down furniture. They’re refraining from dealing for the sake of it, though. The Bills are engaged in prudent boldness. Their audacious moves have not been for the juvenile sake of shock but to take risks in order to amass talent. Holding their spots turned out to be the best move, as there was no player they truly wanted while stuck in the queue.
Management chose to surprise us with the choices themselves. An affinity for players with certain tendencies has led to them picking favorite programs, if not positions. Count Clemson as a school they like, while Florida State is to today’s Bills what Ohio State’s secondary was last decade. Whaley’s top choice was a speedily solid potential nickel option from a school where he obviously respects the way student-athletes are handled.
At the least, we have new scenarios to contemplate for months now that drafting’s in the past. Today’s possibilities are particularly hypothetical while we wait for those involved to take snaps as pros. The excitement over those chosen reminds us how much waiting there is for football fans. The draft is like opening presents for Christmas and not being able to use them until Easter. I want to play with my G.I. Joe guys now. Still, we get to enjoy contemplating the contributions these half a dozen rookies will make over their careers. Projecting futures will have to do until games start.
We can wonder about potential impact from these youngsters while embracing what blessings the Bills know they already have. It’s crucial to never forget how remarkable it is that Terry Pegula’s team had a cancer-free Jim Kelly read a pick for Rex Ryan to coach. Draftees are joining a club where amazing things are happening. The chance to climb aboard for a remarkable transformation should serve as extra motivation for those starting their first post-college jobs.