According to Michael Lombardi, the relationship between former Buffalo Bills general manager and new head coach Sean McDermott was doomed from the start. Two great football minds who had different perspectives on how to build an organization. The struggles from the start of the union proved to be too much as Whaley was fired just a day after the team completed its NFL Draft class for 2017. Whaley wanted to build for the future, namely 2018 but stockpiling picks. McDermott wanted to win now, and change the culture of an organization inched toward respectability, but stumbled along with the way with Rex Ryan at the helm.
“Whaley was all about scouting players; McDermott is about building a team. Scouts don’t always know how to build teams. They know only how to pick players. And a scout focused primarily on scouting players can succeed only in a fantasy draft,” Josh Rowdin of buffalorumblings.com explained.
Lombardi argues that there was a philosophical difference between Whaley and McDermott, and it was an irreconcilable one. A head coach and a GM that do not agree cannot work because, as Lombardi puts it earlier, “the best thing a GM can do is work behind the scenes to help the coach win.”
So now, the team is in the process of finding a new general manager while McDermott will take the six players selected last week and add them to a roster that has promise but has grossly underachieved under the Ryan regime.
Buffalo traded the No. 10 pick to the Kansas City Chiefs, a deal the two teams had been working on for a week prior to the Draft. Kansas City selected Patrick Mahomes, who could be their franchise quarterback of the future. The Bills still have Tyrod Taylor, but could have used another signal caller in the first three rounds.
Here’s a look at what the Buffalo Bills did do last week in the NFL Draft and analysis on each player.
Round 1, No. 27 overall: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
White lasting this long surprised me. LSU has a history of producing solid defensive backs. White moves into a good position here with the team losing Stephon Gilmore to New England. I love his size at 5-foot-11 and 187 pounds. He is a physical player who can cover a lot of ground in the open field. He could also help this team in the return game.
Round 2, No. 37: Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina
This kid is going to be a star. A nice compliment to Sammy Watkins and could be “the guy” by the middle of this season. He is tall at 6-foot-2 and can create matchup problems in the red zone. Mike Mayock of NFL.com said, “Along with Haason Reddick, he handled the process better than anybody in college football. He’s got hands and toughness.”
Round 2, No. 63: Dion Dawkins, OL, Temple
I love Dawkins and wanted the Jaguars to take a long hard look at him. There is a spot for him at right tackle. At 6-foot-4 and 314 pounds, he will be asked to help open holes in the Bills running attack. I like that he has a solid center of gravity and isn’t moved off the line. He was a converted defensive tackle, so his best football is ahead of him on the offensive side of the ball. Powerful point-of-attack player. He can kick inside or play right tackle.
Round 5, No. 163: Matt Milano, LB, Boston College
Another linebacker from Boston College who is a throwback-type player. At 6-foot and 223 pounds, he flies to the ball and the running back. He brings much-needed speed at the position and could play either side on the outside. Of course, at his size, he will all help in kick coverages. Because there are age concerns on the current roster, there is a chance he will play early and often.
Round 5, No. 171: Nathan Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh
I have a man crush on Peterman. Also, his selection was lower than we all thought. Is he the arm of the future for the Buffalo Bills? Possibly. Played in a pro-style offense at Pittsburgh after he could not beat out Josh Dobbs at Tennessee. Strong arm and intelligent. He is a born leader. His only knock may be his size as he needs to put on weight to take the punishment of the NFL.
Round 6, No. 195: Tanner Vallejo, OLB, Boise State
A 6-foot-1, 228-pound player who adds depth at linebacker and is destined for special teams action. He could find his way into the rotation if injuries creep up. He could also start his career on the practice squad. Furthermore, he was a four-year starter for Boise State. Nevertheless, he is an aggressive-type player.
Analysis – No quarterback early. Seeing that, makes you wonder what the team would have done with the 10th pick this year. If so, would Mahomes or Deshaun Watson have been the pick?
The Buffalo Bills did a good job of addressing defensive needs and the pick of Dawkins was solid. It like this draft class, but it wasn’t enough for Whaley to save his job.
Grade – B+