The NFL draft, like opening day and the Super Bowl, should be a national holiday. Perhaps three days are too much for the NFL, but we can punt Presidents, Labor and Columbus Day, and I love me some veterans but combine Veterans with Memorial Day, and yes, I know the difference. This is Draft Day, dammit!
I hate to even call it "Draft Day" after that awful movie that should have been made in Buffalo, and would have been 10 times better; yet still lousy and impossible to believe. And the three-day NFL "writeupalooza" is exciting, especially since they made it a road show. It still pales next to the NFL draft weekend back in the day.
The draft is also a fascinating sociology study of fans vs. draftniks vs. pundits vs. general managers. The first three are often wildly in disagreement with the last, and for good reason.
Interviews mean a lot. It is tough to measure football IQ just from tape. Character on and off the field means more to the Bills than others. How players practice is something scouts might know, but draftniks/bloggers/fans don't. What coaches, teammates and opponents say about players can make them skyrocket or plummet on draft boards.
Speaking of draft boards, fans often have a misconception about Best Player Available. Brandon Beane's definition is likely different from yours. In reality, every team in every round every year in every sport picks exactly the same, the “Best Player Available” compared to the BPA at your team’s position of need, with a consideration of who is left at these positions later in the draft.
Exact same procedure. Everybody. Every time.
The difference is the meaning of BPA. Beane’s “board” already takes into account positions of need and what the Bills want. So when he says he took the top guy on our board or BPA there might be 10 players he knows are better players but not for us right here, right now. We were not going to draft a quarterback, center, linebacker or running back with the first couple of picks if he were the best actual player. We are not taking a defensive tackle in the second round after selecting one in the first round.
Draft grades are both stupid and awesome. As fans, we invariably love them when they rate the Bills good and dismiss them when they are bad. And most “grades” about only what these mags/blogs/pundits/draftniks determined beforehand, versus if it matched what happened after.
If a guy they rated No. 47 is chosen No. 41 it was a reach and bad pick; if a press corner isn’t taken by a zone team it is a bad pick, team needs and schemes be damned.
Many fans spend insane amounts of time “watching film.” OK, that’s a lie. No one watches film. Ninety-nine percent watch video off YouTube or the like. It is not the same.
Plus, situations often matter as much as tape. Stats out of context are worthless. Ole Miss barely knows tight ends are eligible receivers. If Dawson Knox were on Iowa and Noah Fant on Ole Miss, it's conceivable if not likely their numbers would reverse. Fant went in Round 1 and Knox in Round 4.
Like most Bills fans, I am quite pleased with our haul. Beane has a plan that includes the short, mid, and long term, and he filled many sinkholes in FA and the draft.
Ed Oliver is a joy to watch on and off the field. He has a true love for the game. He is a defensive player who could be a major boost to Josh Allen, as field position is one of the best ways to help a young QB. Our bend but don’t break D put us in a lot of first-and-80 to go for a TD last year.
Cody Ford is a massive man, need and talent. “Huge, fast and nasty” is not a good description for virtually anything except certain positions in sports, and offensive line is one. He should be a plug and play starter. Offensive line went from catastrophe to possible strength or even powerhouse in one offseason, no small feat.
Devin Singletary is ridiculous to watch. Dude’s a witch. If the antiquated run game is three yards and a cloud of dust, “Motor” is more like five yards and a cloud of pixie dust. Knox is all arms, legs and potential, but we need his skill set at the position badly, and if he is George Kittle Little we’ll take it.
Vosean Joseph is a human highlight reel at another position of need. What luck all these BPAs were positions of need, huh? Jaquan Johnson is a kid-sized killer. Tommy Sweeney is a seventh rounder that could crack the 53 and was amazing in Pinky Blinders.
The UDFA crop, as far as we know it thus far, was also a nice haul. Most fans don’t realize about 17 percent of all NFL players are undrafted. According to Adam Schefter, on Sept 5, 2016, there were 481 undrafted players on NFL rosters and 480 combined first and second rounders. Great to see Tyree Jackson get a chance close to home; watch for West Virginia product David Sills and Texas A&M linebacker Tyrel Dodson.
All told, the team no longer has a clear giant hole to fill. And Draft Day, while we honestly won’t know for three years whether it was a success, was a huge success. Lousy movie, great day for Bills fans.
Pete Rosen is a screenwriter in Los Angeles, lifetime Buffalo fan, and may be found blathering daily at twobillsdrive.com.