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Armchair Scout 2009

It looks like the so called draft experts are pretty mixed on what the Bills were able to accomplish on draft weekend in terms of their eight draft selections. Below is our annual rundown of draft reviews from some of the more prominent national media outlets on how they feel Buffalo fared in the 2009 draft.

CBS – Pete Prisco
Best pick – First-round pick Aaron Maybin has great burst off the corner, and this is a team that badly needs it.
Questionable move – Taking center/guard Eric Wood in the first round. He's a good player, but what about tackle?
Second-day gem - Fourth-round pick Shawn Nelson is a pass-catching tight end who will be involved early since the Bills lack a real threat at his position.
Grade: I like what they did. Maybin will really help, but they still have to find somebody to replace Jason Peters. B-

Dallas Morning News – Rick Gosselin
The Bills needed to retool their offensive line to give QB Trent Edwards and RB Marshawn Lynch a chance, and they did so with Wood and Levitre. Maybin also brings speed to a pass rush that sorely needs it. Grade: B – Todd McShay
Best pick: DE/OLB Aaron Maybin, Penn State (First round, No. 11 overall)
Worst pick: C Eric Wood, Louisville (First round, No.28 overall)
Bottom line: On paper, this is one of the best drafts of 2009. I would have liked to see them take an OT with one of their two first-round picks. Wood was a bit of a reach late in the first, but he and G Andrew Levitre will ultimately become starters and boost what was the weakest area of the team entering the draft. Buffalo's second-biggest priority was to upgrade its pass rush, and that goal was accomplished by selecting Maybin, who is the best pure edge rusher in this class. Maybin will play in a rotation with Chris Kelsay and Aaron Schobel early on and will have time to get bigger and stronger. And watch out for TE Shawn Nelson, who could turn into a late-round steal.

FOX – John Czarnecki
The Bills are being praised for addressing most of their needs except for offensive tackle while getting value with their first five selections. Pass rusher Aaron Maybin was the 20th Penn State player taken by the Bills and he has a great first step off the ball. Louisville center Eric Wood will work at guard with the offseason signing of Geoff Hangartner from Carolina. Oregon State guard Andrew Levitre is one mean son of a gun and had an awesome game against USC. Cornerback Jairus Byrd has a chance to be the nickel back. Coach Dick Jauron is hoping holdover Brad Butler can slide from guard to tackle. Southern Miss tight end Shawn Nelson has a chance to stick; he's a big target. Grade: B

Miami Herald – David J. Neal
Buffalo Bills – Too many quarterbacks had too many easy days against the Bills last year, so they picked Penn State defensive end Aaron Maybin in round one and Oregon defensive back Jairus Byrd in round two. Grade A.

New York Post – Steve Serby
BILLS: DE Aaron Maybin is a Robert Mathis-type pass rusher, but the Jets could bludgeon him. Nasty Eric Wood starts at LG. Love TE Shawn Nelson. Grade: B – Peter King
Buffalo. Strange, I thought. Needing a tackle with the loss of Jason Peters in trade to Philly, the Bills really liked Eben Britton (who, from the sound of things, really likes himself, as you'll see in Quote of the Week a few notes south of here), yet put a guard/tackle from Louisville, Eric Wood, over him in an upset ... I like Aaron Maybin, but he didn't have a long apprenticeship at Penn State, starting only a year ... Mystified they didn't take a tackle in eight picks over the weekend.

Sporting News – Clifton Brown
Buffalo Bills
They needed a home run in this draft after trading Peters. This was more like a long double. Defensive end Aaron Maybin could be an elite pass rusher if he gets stronger. Center Eric Wood and guard Andrew Levitre should help the offensive line, and tight end Shawn Nelson is a sleeper prospect. Grade: C

USA Today – Larry WeismanBuffalo Bills: May have found four eventual starters in first two rounds. Had only 24 sacks last year so DE Aaron Maybin becomes an immediate savior. Lacks bulk at 236 pounds but quick off the edge. Traded back into first round for C Eric Wood, a position of need. CB Jairus Byrd lacks speed but knows how to play. G Andy Levitre is versatile, has played T, but figures more inside as the Bills rebuild their line. How much immediate help any of these players supplies is the open question. GRADE: A- – Jason Cole
Buffalo Bills
Picks: LB Aaron Maybin, C Eric Wood, CB Jairus Byrd, OL Andy Levitre, TE Shawn Nelson, S Nic Harris, CB Cary Harris, DB Ellis Lankster.
Positives: Maybin, Byrd.
Negative: Wood.
Bottom line: Considering the recent trade of Jason Peters, this is a pretty mediocre draft. Maybin is a dynamic, pass-rushing athlete the Bills haven't had at linebacker since the days of Bryce Paup. The downside with Maybin is he hasn't played that much and spent only one year as a starter at Penn State. If the Bills can keep defensive end Aaron Schobel healthy, Maybin could team with him and fellow defensive end Chris Kelsay to give the team a dynamic pass rush. Byrd is an interception machine, finishing his career at Oregon with 17, and gives the Bills some much-needed depth in the secondary. However, neither Wood nor Levitre are great athletes, even by offensive line standards, and appear to be reaches. Grade: C-.

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