The Buffalo Bills went on to make the playoffs in 2018, but they were expected not to go far. They are set up for a repeat of their first-round draft mistakes as they try and find players that won’t bust.
The “bucky brooks mock draft 2022” is a prediction of what the Buffalo Bills will do in the upcoming NFL draft. Daniel Jeremiah, who has been covering the NFL for ESPN since 2006, predicts that they will repeat their old first-round mistakes and select a quarterback with their top pick.
Wade Phillips’ Buffalo Bills were startled after losing a Wild Card Game in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1999. The game’s last scoring play would go down in history. The Titans knocked the Bills out of the playoffs with (what Bills supporters feel) an illegal forward throw on a kick return from tight end Frank Wycheck to wide receiver Kevin Dyson, and Buffalo did not return for 18 years.
Following the game, the Bills had a difficult time during the first almost two decades of the twenty-first century. Terrible choices, poor performances, and bad luck branded the team as one of the league’s worst. Making NFL draft blunders was a huge part of this long-term funk.
The Bills are in a very different position in 2022 than they were in the first half of the century. Still, if NFL Network draft expert Daniel Jeremiah is correct, they’re going to make a mistake that they’ve done before.
For years, the Buffalo Bills committed the same NFL draft blunders.
The Buffalo Bills picked C.J. Spiller with the 9th overall choice in the 2010 NFL Draft. http://ow.ly/1BZuY
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) April 23, 2010
The Bills brass grew concerned with finding successors for quarterback Jim Kelly, wide receiver Andre Reed, and running back Thurman Thomas after a decade of tremendous success with them. They utilized their first-round choices to do so. The issue is that they overdrafted players, misjudged talent, selected the incorrect individual, or sometimes chose a skill position player and didn’t set them up for success because of the team surrounding them.
From 2000 through 2014, the Bills selected a quarterback, wide receiver, or running back in the first round of half of those selections.
The quarterbacks (J.P. Losman, EJ Manuel) were duds, but the wide receivers (Lee Evans, Sammy Watkins) performed well. The first-round running backs, on the other hand, were the genuine sinners.
Willis McGahee of Miami was selected No. 23 overall in the 2003 NFL Draft, coming off a devastating knee injury in the national championship game against Ohio State. McGahee had three fruitful seasons with Buffalo, including two seasons in which he rushed for over 1,000 yards. After leaving Buffalo, he had two Pro Bowl seasons with the Baltimore Ravens (2007) and Denver Broncos (2008). (2011).
Four years later, the Bills selected Cal’s Marshawn Lynch at No. 12 overall. In his three and a half seasons in the AFC East, Lynch carried for over 1,000 yards twice and even made the Pro Bowl in 2008. However, it wasn’t until the Bills moved him to the Seattle Seahawks that he became the All-Pro “Beast Mode.”
Finally, in 2010, the Bills selected an even better running back, with even poorer outcomes. Clemson’s C.J. Spiller was selected ninth overall by the Bills. Spiller had the most time in Buffalo of all these highly-drafted running backs, five seasons. In his lone Pro Bowl season of 2012, he also produced the least, topping 1,000 yards just once.
The lesson of the tale is that running backs should only be drafted in the first round of the NFL draft under exceptional circumstances. It’s a lesson that many NFL teams, including the Bills, have learned over the previous two decades, but one that clubs continue to break.
The Buffalo Bills of 2022 are not the same team as the Bills of the 2000s and 2010. However, if NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah’s latest mock draft is correct, the team is poised to commit a very common error.
The Bills are expected to choose another first-round running back in the 2022 NFL Draft, according to Daniel Jeremiah.
NFL clubs are well aware that running backs should not be selected in the first round. Even yet, pro football general managers, like the rest of us, tell ourselves tiny falsehoods to rationalize doing things they know they shouldn’t.
They’ll persuade themselves that this RB is exceptional or that an outstanding RB is the missing piece to their championship team’s puzzle.
The difficulty is that these two falsehoods almost never hold up. If a club drafts a genuinely outstanding college back in the first round, they don’t have the system in place to help the player thrive (see Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott). Another reality is that outstanding NFL running backs may be found in the later rounds.
This second issue has been brought up several times. Take a look at the top rushers in 2021. Two first-round choices (Rookie Najee Harris and Elliott), four second-round picks (Jonathan Taylor, Joe Mixon, Nick Chubb, and Derrick Henry), and three third-round picks (Jonathan Taylor, Joe Mixon, Nick Chubb, and Derrick Henry) rounded out the top ten (Antonio Gibson, Alvin Kamara, David Montgomery). Elijah Mitchell (sixth round) and Austin Eckler (fifth round) were also in the top 15. (undrafted).
Many draft gurus do not believe a running back will be selected in the first round in 2022. In his NFL Network mock draft, Daniel Jeremiah has the Buffalo Bills selecting Iowa State running back Breece Hall at No. 25.
That would be a miscalculation.
Why should Buffalo pass on Hall in the first round?
Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Breece Hall
If the Buffalo Bills’ general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott are contemplating Breece Hall in the first round, it’s because they think he’s exceptional and that a real bell-cow back is the missing piece to a championship.
Neither of these claims seems to be correct.
Iowa State’s Breece Hall is a large, speedy running back. Hall, who stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 217 pounds, ran a 4.39-second 40-yard run at the combine. His collegiate measurements didn’t quite match his 6-foot-1, 220-pound billing, but he’s certainly large and muscular enough to play in the NFL as a high-volume back.
Hall was also a very productive student in college. According to Cyclones.com, he ran the ball 718 times in three seasons in Ames, racking up 3,941 running yards and 56 total touchdowns.
According to NFL.com’s scouting report, he is comparable to former NFL standout Matt Forte. That’s a fair comparison, but it’s worth noting that Forte was selected in the second round, which was an excellent bargain.
Devin Singletary, Zach Moss, and Duke Johnson (after losing out on J.D. McKissic) are the Bills’ top three running backs. QB Josh Allen is also the team’s best and most significant runner.
It’s not a terrible idea to choose a running back in the NFL draft this year. It just should not occur in the first round. The Bills would be better served by selecting a cornerback, who is their most pressing defensive need. It will also work if a super-talented receiver, linebacker, or interior offensive or defensive lineman falls to the late first round.
Fans of the Bills can only hope that Beane and McDermott learn from their errors rather than repeating them.
Pro Football Reference provided all stats.
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