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2008 Draft Preview
Here’s Your Weekend and the Newest Bills
by Tony Bogyo
April 22, 2008

Some things never change. Sure as each national media outlet will be projecting the New England Patriots to be the Super Bowl champs every April, the Bills draft never seems to change. I suppose its comforting to know the Bills’ M.O. so you aren’t shocked when the Bills make their draft selections, but it always feels like a surprise.

Is there any doubt the Bills first round draft pick will be a surprise this year? You can prepare yourself now for the draft in a few weeks. Every morning when you look in the mirror, shout, “Who??!!??!! Really??!!??!!”. Feel impassioned. Feel stunned. Feel confused. By the time draft day hits and the pick is announced from the podium, you’ll know exactly how to react.

I am not saying that the Bills have had bad first picks – I like Marshawn Lynch and Donte Whitner – but you have to admit the Bills’ first pick is usually a guy few expected. Considering the Bills typically have all sorts of needs to fill, there are usually plenty of names being thrown around as good candidates for the Bills’ top selection and the Bills usually end up NOT choosing one of those players. Later in the draft the Bills usually make a trade to get them back into round one or into early round 2, so when that happens be prepared for it. The Bills will probably pick the same players they’ve picked in the past, only this year they’ll have different names (but trust me – these are the same guys – “Buffalo Guys”).

So this is how I see the Bills draft going:

3pm: Draft starts from NYC. Although the first pick has been signed by Miami, it still takes forever for Roger Goodell to make it to the podium and announce it. Jets fans boo.

3:30pm: Although the round is now cut to 10 minutes per pick, you still wonder why the Rams haven’t made their pick, especially since the morning paper had a picture of the top pick holding up his new Dolphins jersey. It’s not that hard, people.

4pm: 3 teams have made picks. You have seen highlights for ever single top player selected and who could be selected. Jets fans continue to boo. You wonder how much more pompous Mel Kiper can be.

4pm-6:30pm: You watch as ever top 5 player you hoped would fall all the way to the Bills at #11 are selected by other teams. According to YOUR mock draft, Vernon Gholston and Glenn Dorsey should have both been available to the Bills, but sadly they are not. Oh well, Branden Albert is still there so you fully expect a number of teams to trade their first, second and third round choices this year as well as a second round next year just to get into that coveted #11 spot.

6:30pm: The Bills make their first selection. TV coverage has just finished airing a 30 minute package wrapping up the draft’s top 10 picks even though you’ve seen so much of them over the last 3+ hours you know their favorite pizza toppings. The network has gone to commercial and as you are being pitched Metamucil the selection is made. Coverage resumes with the anchor saying, “Welcome back. While we were in a break the Buffalo Bills made their first selection”. They cut to tape of the podium at the exact same time V-Coach sends an update to your phone. You simultaneously see and read the Bills’ first pick and say, “Who??!!??!! Really??!!??!!”. You’ve practiced for the moment and you pull it off terrifically – have a beer, you’ve earned it, champ.

6:31pm: Mel Kiper starts talking about the Bills pick and saying that while he likes the kid, he considers it a reach for Buffalo. You desperately want to jump through the TV and set his hair on fire but you are too busy scouring the Internet for information on the guy the Bills drafted – you hadn’t heard anyone talking about him.

6:40pm: The guy you believe the Bills should have drafted goes to the Denver Broncos at #12. Kiper and the other analysts rave about the value Denver got and how the guy was really a top 5 pick so he was a steal at #12. The praise given Denver coupled with the lack of any information on the Bills’ pick makes you want to vomit.

6:42pm: You read up on the Bills pick and tell yourself that the guys has lots of positives and is an excellent fit for the Bills system. You convince yourself that the analysts were wrong about this kid and the Bills were smart enough to see it. You allow that it is possible that they Bills could have traded down and still been able to make the same pick, but you figure if he becomes the player you believe he will does it really matter if he was taken at #11 or #22? Who cares what Kiper thinks, anyway? You start to feel better.

6:50pm: The other guy you thought the Bills should have drafted is selected by Carolina at #13. You realize you do care about what Kiper thinks. Your stomach hurts.

9:40pm: The Bills have made a trade and are back in the first round! Exciting! Some of the guys you wanted are still on the board – Buffalo picks one of them. You are thrilled. You went from giving the Bills a draft grade of C to a draft grade of A – excellent work (and the second pick makes up for the first pick you say you like but secretly think sucks).

3:10am: Despite limiting Day 1 to 2 rounds and cutting the times given to make picks, somehow the Bills do not make their second round selection until the wee hours of the morning. The only people up at your house are you and the raccoon going through your trash. Even Denny’s is closed. The Bills pick another guy you don’t know much about – he plays a position that’s not a huge need for the Bills but you figure he must be far and away the best player available if the Bills spent their second round pick on him. You debate whether to go to bed or wait another 45 minutes and be the first guy in line at Dunkin’ Donuts when it opens.

3:30am: Bedtime. You lie awake happy that the Bills got one of the players you wanted and convincing yourself that the other picks were very solid – the Bills had a very good first day. Now if only your stomach felt better…

OK, so who are the Bills going to take in the draft? Here’s a preview of the candidates I can see in a Bills uniform:

Derik Powers, DE, Southern Arizona State – The Bills can’t believe this talent was there at #11, even though few had heard of him and nobody had him projected him as a first day pick. The fans are stunned and the guys at ESPN are ticked because they didn’t even put together a highlight reel for this player. Will be the biggest reach of the draft and probably never materialize as a quality NFL player. (OK, this guy is fake – don’t go look him up. But somewhere there IS a guy like this and I fear the Bills will draft him)

DeSean Jackson, WR, California – The Bills need a receiver and this guy fits the Bills mold. At 5’ 10” he’s small but quick. Explosive. A game breaker.Will be a great return guy and should be in the mix when the Bills put their “smurf” package in (4 WRs, all under 6 feet tall).

Brian Johnston, DE, Gardner-Webb – This guy is the complete package for the Bills: a white guy with a high motor from a small school. He’s raw and will be a project, but the folks at Gardner-Webb can’t say enough about him (and the touchdown he scored as a TE against Savannah State). Even his name is good – it really fits the same mold as Ryan Denney, Chris Kelsay, Kyle Williams (and Justin Bannan and Tim Anderson before them). I don’t see how the Bills pass on this guy.

Jacob Tamme, TE, Kentucky - Smart. Hard worker. Plays special teams as a holder/long snapper. A mid round pick who will join a growing cast of Bills TEs that aren’t the answer.

Peyton Hills, FB, Arkansas – Considered by some to be the top fullback in the draft. Another “high motor” player. Sort of a FB/RB “tweener”. Buffalo loves high motor tweeners who won’t effectively solve the problem at hand.

Kyle Wright, QB, Miami – You can never have too many quarterbacks on the roster. When the guy you have at starter isn’t making his claim to greatness you can sell the fans that the quarterback of the future is already part of the organization. The Bills need another Todd Collins, Gayle Gilbert, Craig Nall guy, and Wright is perfect for the role – he’s also the ghost of Rob Johnson – great athlete who makes bad decisions, holds onto the ball too long and has durability questions – a perfect fit.

So there you have it, how your weekend is going to play out and the guys who seem perfectly tailored to be the next Buffalo Bills. Remember to start practicing your look of shock and surprise for the Bills first pick and you’ll be the hit of all your friends at the draft party!

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