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Buffalo Bills - AFC East
Louisville C Eric Wood
Louisville C Eric Wood
Posted Apr 25, 2009

Buffalo Bills - AFC East, 2009 Draft Selections & Prospects

Buffalo Bills

The Draft Was ... Short on impact. Aaron Maybin only did it for one year at Penn State and needs to be special, while Eric Wood should be a good starter, even though he's just a center. Jairus Byrd is slow, but he's the top defensive back in draft of three taken with fliers late on Cary Harris and Ellis Lankster.
Best Value Pick: Andrew Levitre, OG, 2nd round, 51st overall. Guards never go off the board early, but Levitre is the type of pick who could turn out to be a lot stronger looking in about five years. He'll be a steady starter for the Bill line.
Biggest Reach: Jairus Byrd, CB, 2nd round, 42nd overall. It's not that awful a pick, the Bills stayed within the right slots, but Byrd in the high second round might be a push if they're hoping for a No. 1 pick.
They Should've ... Addressed offensive tackle after losing Jason Peters. Levitre isn't a tackle and it would've been nice if there were some young ones brought in to groom for down the road.


11 11 1st Round
Aaron Maybin, DE Penn State  6-3, 250 (3rd year Soph.)

A true-tweener, he’s a defensive end who’ll likely be morphed into a hybrid player and likely an outside linebacker. Lightning fast off the ball, at least during the season, he blows around a corner effortlessly and with a burst that most tackles won’t be able to handle. Extremely tough, he’s able to take on big blockers and come back for more even when he doesn’t win a battle. However, he needs to get stronger and there’s a huge, glaring concern that he might slow down with the added bulk. He put on weight too quickly after the season and was far slower than expected in workouts. If you’re going by how he played at around 230 pounds, he’s stunning. If you’re going by what he might become once he learns to play bigger, there’s a potential problem. He needs time before he becomes the player he should be, but there is a big-time upside. But he’s not a sure-thing, safe pick and there’s told-you-so bust potential.
CFN Value Rank: First Round
   CFN Position Rank: 2
28 28 1st Round (from Carolina through Philadelphia)
Eric Wood, Louisville 6-3, 310

Any and all problems are with his technique, and they can all be easily fixed with a little bit of work and the right coaching. He has the size, the bulk, and strength, and as he showed at the Combine, the agility. With the great set of tools, to go along with a good work ethic and a toughness to be an anchor of the Cardinal line for four years, there’s no down side. He’ll be a rock in the middle of a line for a long time.
CFN Value Rank: Second Round
   CFN Position Rank: 3  
10 42 2nd Round 
Jairus Byrd, CB Oregon  5-10, 205 (Jr.)

Slowwwwwwww. He’s a good all-around football player with tremendous ball skills and a nose for always making the big plays. The son of Gill Byrd, a former Pro Bowl defensive back, he has been coached and taught well and will work his tail off to be the best he can be. He won’t back down from a challenge and he’s hardly soft when it comes to getting his nose dirty to make a tackle. And then there’s the speed. To be generous, he’s around a 4.6, and he didn’t get a chance to run at the Combine with a groin problem. He’s not the best athlete and is better at playing football than he is in workouts. Because of his all-around ability, and his versatility, he’ll stick around the league for a long time as a good cog in a secondary, but he’ll never be a No. 1 corner.
CFN Value Rank: Third Round     CFN Position Rank: 6
19 51 2nd Round (from Dallas) 
Andrew Levitre, OG Oregon State 6-3, 305

Where will he play? A college left tackle, he’s not quick enough start on the outside and he’s not powerful enough to be a star on the inside. Even so, he’s an athletic, versatile blocker who’s very smart, doesn’t make mistakes, and is ultra-reliable. He can move to tackle if absolutely needed, but he’ll end up spending his career likely at left guard. More of a technician than a road grater, he’ll have to get a bit stronger.
CFN Value Rank: Second Round
   CFN Position Rank: 2
21 121 4th Round (from Philadelphia)
Shawn Nelson, TE Southern Miss 6-5, 240
Very productive and very good for the Southern Miss passing game, Nelson is a pure H-Back at the next level with great receiving skills and nice hands. He’s not bulky and will never be much bigger. While he’s a willing harder and will do what he can to improve, he’s never going to be a bruiser in any way. His money will be made as a field stretching target who might not be a Pro Bowler, but will be in the league for a decade.
CFN Value Rank: Third Round
   CFN Position Rank: 7
11 147 5th Round
Nic Harris, LB/S Oklahoma 6-2, 235
Too slow to be a defensive back and not quite big enough to be a linebacker, Harris is a true tweener who’ll have to create a niche for himself right away. Even so, with his toughness, build, ad pass rushing ability, he should be able to hold up well on the outside. Now he has to become a linebacker. He has to get a lot stronger, evidenced by the mere 15 reps on the bench at the Combine, and he’ll have to play a lot faster in an NFL camp than he timed after running a glacier-slow 4.86. He’s a good football player who’ll be nice in space and will struggle when run at, he should be a good producer with nice upside. Hardly a sure thing, he’s still a good flier to take a chance on.
CFN Value Rank:
Fifth Round    CFN Position Rank: 11 (as a LB)
10 183 6th Round
Cary Harris, CB USC  6-0, 190

With decent size and good tackling ability, Harris is a good football player who had a decent career for the loaded Trojans. He has two big issues: durability and speed. He was always dinged up and pulled up lame at the Combine trying to run the 40. Quicker than fast, he runs around a 4.6 when he’s right and isn’t the best athlete around. He provides enough of a pop to be a decent nickel or dime back, but he doesn’t have the feet to be a starter.
CFN Value Rank:
Sixth Round    CFN Position Rank: 22
11 220 7th Round
Ellis Lankster, CB West Virginia 5-9, 180
Worth a flier, he'll never be steady if lined up in man coverage, but he has the range and the quick burst to be decent in a zone. With decent run support skills and enough toughness to get by, he could show some worth as a nickel or dime back and as a special teamer. Just good enough at Senior Bowl week to pique interest, he looks just good enough to be a cog in the secondary, but nothing special.
CFN Value Rank:
Free Agent    CFN Position Rank: 33


The Draft Was ... Fine, but hardly special. Leodis McKelvin needs to come through from day one or else the draft will likely be a total waste. Not enough weapons were taken for the offense and the need picks, like Chris Ellis and Reggie Corner, are reaches. Getting Derek Fine and Alvin Bowen in the mid-rounds should provide some nice bulk, but the overall group is short on sure-thing starters.
Best Value Pick: James Hardy, WR Indiana. 2nd round. He went around where he was supposed to, but it was still a nice pickup considering his upside.
Biggest Reach: Reggie Corner, CB, Akron. 4th round. A seventh rounder taken in the fourth. Considering the Bills took the smallish McKelvin, they should've gone with a bigger second corner option.
They Should've ... Done more to trade down in the first round. This was a corner-heavy draft and a great one could've been had late in the first round.


11 11 1st Round   Leodis McKelvin, CB Troy
He wasn't even the best defensive back on his own team last year; Elbert Mack had the better season. McKelvin has the speed, clocking in a 4.39 40, and he's big and strong enough to make plenty of big hits and not be pushed around by the bigger receivers. Not afraid to step up against the run, he's hardly a prima donna when it comes time to get dirty. He got banged up a bit and he needs to prove he can be consistent against the better receivers, but everything else is there, including the return skills, to be a starter for a long time.
CFN Value Rank: First Round   CFN Position Rank: 3
10 41 2nd Round   James Hardy, WR Indiana
The receiver call of the draft. A total mellonhead at times in his Indiana career, he had a variety of off-the-field issues early in his career, and while he's supposedly a changed man, there will always be that question mark. However, most star NFL receivers haven't exactly been choir boys. Hardy isn't going to blaze past anyone and will have problems when matched up against a physical lock-down corner, but at 6-6 and 215 pounds with tremendous leaping skills and a nose for the end zone, he could be a killer goal line option on jump ball. More than anything else, he made plays. There's no projecting on what his could do, like a Limas Sweed; Hardy produced.
CFN Value Rank: Second Round   CFN Position Rank: 2
9 72 3rd Round   Chris Ellis, DE Virginia Tech
Potentially a good No. 3 end who shines in a rotation, Ellis has good strength against the run and nice speed. However, he has major character issues and he'll need to be taken under the wing of a mentor right away. He has the potential to grow into a creative pass rusher who can fit into any system, but he'll have to fight through what seems to be an ongoing shoulder issue and he has to have the right attitude from day one.
CFN Value Rank: Third Round  CFN Position Rank:
15 114 4th Round   Reggie Corner, CB Akron
A small, feisty corner, he has just enough speed and quickness to make up for his 5-9, 175-pound size. He did a good job against the better receivers and he played bigger than he appears as his career went on. A four-year starter who picked off seven interceptions as a senior, he always found his way to the ball. He'll find a role somewhere in a secondary, but there's a rock-hard ceiling on what he can become.
CFN Value Rank: Seventh Round   CFN Position Rank: 2
33 132 4th Round Derek Fine, TE Kansas
While he's not all that big, he's one of the better blocking tight ends in the draft and is a decent receiver. Tough as nails and not afraid to get dirty, he stands out in a class full of mostly receiving TEs. However, he's only 6-2 and 250 pounds and he isn't all that fast. He'll have to make a name for himself on special teams to stick.
CFN Value Rank: Seventh Round   CFN Position Rank:
12 147 5th Round  Alvin Bowen, OLB Iowa State
"Ace" was a tremendously productive all-around playmaker for the Cyclones for the last two seasons making 254 stops, and while he has excellent athleticism and is a great tackler, he times really, really slow. Like 4.89 slow. Considering he's 6-0 and 223 pounds, that's not good. He can get pushed round too much and he needs to get a lot stronger to make a team.
CFN Value Rank: Seventh Round to Free Agent     
CFN Position Rank: 33
13 179 6th Round  Xavier Oman, RB NW Missouri State
A short, stocky back with a good base and tremendous quickness, Oman ran for over 7,000 yards at the D-II level and did a little of everything. He can block, catch, and run inside well. The problem is his lack of speed. He's not going to get to the outside on a regular basis and doesn't have special skills.

CFN Value Rank: Free Agent 
CFN Position Rank: NR
12 219 7th Round  Demetrius Bell, OT Northwestern State
Karl Malone's son (yes, that Karl Malone) delivers (sorry about that) well for the passing game with good quickness in a 6-5, 300-pound frame. He's not a physical enough blocker to plug in right away and will need to be in a zone-blocking scheme to have any chance of getting on the field in the next few years. He needs to get bigger and stronger, but he doesn't have the room to do it.
CFN Value Rank: Sixth Round to Seventh Round 
 CFN Position Rank: 23
17 224 7th Round  Steve Johnson, WR Kentucky
With nice size and just enough speed to get by, he could be a good third or fourth receiver in a rotation. He's still extremely raw as he's still learning the ins and outs of how to be a receiver, but he had some big moments in big SEC games. The upside is there to become a steal with a little bit of patience.
CFN Value Rank: Free Agent   CFN Position Rank: 45
44 251 7th Round  Kennard Cox, FS/CB Pitt
A corner turned into a safety, Cox doesn't have the bulk, at just 5-11 and 190 pounds, and he doesn't have the speed, running a 4.52, to be anything more than a reserve on the outside. However, he's not afraid to get his nose dirty and is great on special teams. If allowed time to figure out what he's doing, he could become a valuable third safety and an emergency corner/nickelback.
CFN Value Rank: Fifth Round to Sixth Round 
CFN Position Rank: 12