Ranking the Buffalo Bills' first round draft picks since 2003

2013-04-11T21:43:00Z Ranking the Buffalo Bills' first round draft picks since 2003Robert Harding Auburn Citizen
April 11, 2013 9:43 pm  • 

With the draft only two weeks away, I started looking at the Buffalo Bills' past first round draft picks. Let's just say it's quite a list. 

There is the good (Marshawn Lynch, Willis McGahee and C.J. Spiller), bad (Aaron Maybin and John McCargo) and the ugly (J.P. Losman). 

Going back to 2003, the Bills have drafted 12 players in the first round. Here's how I ranked each of the picks:

(1) Marshawn Lynch (12th overall, 2007) - running back

Lynch rushed for 1,000 yards twice as a Bill before being traded to Seattle. He has become one of the NFL's best running backs with the Seahawks. Funny how having a good offensive line blocking for you helps your production. In 45 games with Buffalo, Lynch rushed for 2,765 yards. In 43 games with the Seahawks, Lynch has gained 3,367 yards. He also has 29 touchdowns with Seattle. With the Bills, he scored 17 rushing touchdowns. 

(2) Willis McGahee (23rd overall, 2003) - running back

McGahee, like Lynch, rushed for 1,000 yards twice with Buffalo before he left town for Baltimore. He almost rushed for 1,000 yards three times, but came 10 yards short in 2006. His rookie year with Buffalo -- 2004 -- was one of the best years of his career. He rushed for 1,128 yards and 13 touchdowns. 

(3) C.J. Spiller (9th overall, 2010) - running back

Spiller is the latest running back drafted by the Bills to enjoy success early on in his NFL career. He was a solid kick returner in his rookie season, returning one kick for a score. In 2011, he played a bigger role on offense and in 2012, he had his breakout season. Spiller rushed for 1,244 yards last season and scored six rushing touchdowns. He was also a good receiver, catching 43 passes for 459 yards and two touchdowns. He will likely be the lead running back in 2013 for the Bills. As long as he stays healthy, he should have another big year. 

(4) Lee Evans (13th overall, 2004) - wide receiver

Evans was a solid deep threat for the Bills, but could have been better if the Bills had a decent quarterback throwing him the ball. Evans' best season came in 2006, when he caught 82 passes for 1,292 yards and eight touchdowns. He had nearly 6,000 yards receiving with the Bills and grabbed 43 touchdowns. 

(5) Marcell Dareus (3rd overall, 2011) - defensive tackle

As an interior defensive lineman, Dareus has recorded back-to-back 5.5-sack seasons. This might seem like a high ranking for some, but Dareus has proven himself. Hopefully he can have a bigger impact in 2013. 

(6) Eric Wood (28th overall, 2009) - offensive lineman

The offensive line has been better in recent years and one of the reasons for the improvement is Wood. He is a versatile lineman, but his play at center has been key for the Bills. As long as he's healthy, he's a key asset on offense for Buffalo.

(7) Donte Whitner (8th overall, 2006) - safety

This was a tough one. When I first drew up my list, Whitner was higher. Whitner wasn't known for being a playmaker during his time in Buffalo, but he was a good tackler and was steady in the secondary. 

(8) Leodis McKelvin (11th overall, 2008) - defensive back/returner

McKelvin hasn't been the best corner for Buffalo, but he has established himself as one of the game's top kick returners. As a punt returner last season, he scored two touchdowns. He also averaged 28.3 yards per kick return -- a career best. Special teams is a key part of the game and with McKelvin as a returner, he's a threat to score any time he touches the ball. 

(9) Stephon Gilmore (10th overall, 2012) - defensive back

Gilmore needs another year or two under his belt before he moves up (or down) this list. He showed flashes of greatness in his rookie season. He had 51 tackles, 16 passes defensed, one interception and two forced fumbles in his rookie year. Not bad when you consider he didn't have a lot of help on defense in 2012.

(10) J.P. Losman (22nd overall, 2004) - quarterback

Losman wasn't the greatest quarterback, but in his best year with the Bills, he threw for more than 3,000 yards and 19 touchdowns. Unfortunately for him (and the Bills), he didn't have any more years like that one. His record with the Bills: 10-23.

(11) John McCargo (26th overall, 2006) - defensive tackle

McCargo wasn't much better than Maybin, but at least he had 2.5 sacks as a Bill. He only started one game in Buffalo. If it wasn't for Maybin, McCargo would be the biggest bust. 

(12) Aaron Maybin (11th overall, 2009) - defensive end

Maybin played 26 games with the Bills. He had zero sacks. Clearly the biggest first round bust of the past decade.

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(1) Comments

  1. kpotter33
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    kpotter33 - April 12, 2013 8:27 am
    Good article about Jim Kelly. Will the Bills stay in Buffalo when Ralph is gone?
    http://www.footballnation.com/content/where-are-they-now-nfl-good-guys-former-bills-great-jim-kelly/22161/
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