While the Bills have been competitive in recent weeks, they are still going to miss the playoffs for the 10th consecutive season, tied with the Lions for the longest drought in the league. There are plenty of reasons for this, but the greatest is the team's failure to hit on first-round draft picks in the recent decade. Buffalo has continuously swung and missed on top draft picks, failing to develop a star player for the franchise.
"They got into the predicament of a team that has a hard time winning games because they missed on too many draft picks," said Steve Tasker, the Bills' special-teams ace from 1986-97 and current CBS color commentator, in a conversation with PFW. "If you look around the NFL, there are so many players on other rosters that didn't stay with Buffalo when they became free agents for one reason or another. For the most part the Bills are a team that's getting better, but they need more good players like everybody else, and they also need some depth."
Top picks from the past five drafts should be the core of the team, but the Bills have seen minimal impact from the players drafted in Round One since 2006. Rookie C.J. Spiller has been hurt recently, but when he was 100 percent, the RB was gaining just 18 yards rushing and nine yards receiving per game, not the impact the team expected with the ninth overall pick. Leodis McKelvin, the top pick in 2008, is the team's nickel corner and kickoff returner, but far from a star defensive back. OLB Aaron Maybin and DT John McCargo, first-rounders in 2009 and '06 respectively, have been inactive much of the season, with Maybin sitting out five games and McCargo a healthy scratch for the entire year. Only SS Donte Whitner, the eighth pick in the '06 draft, is a starter among the group, while 2007 top pick Marshawn Lynch was traded to the Seahawks earlier in the season for a fourth-round choice.
With another early selection on the horizon, the Bills need to be sure they find a building-block player to maintain the progress the team has made in 2010. Tasker has some ideas on positions the team should focus on.
"The offensive line and their defensive front seven is where they need upgraded or where they're going to look to bolster."