For teams sitting among the top ten picks of the NFL draft each year there are generally two schools of thought when it comes to deciding who to select when the pressure is on and your team is on the clock. Do you take the player who best fits your team’s needs, or do you take the best available player?
While a case can be made for both strategies, I tend to find myself leaning more toward the side of the greatest team need. The notion that certain players are “too good to pass up,” even if you don’t need them, just seems foolish to me. That is like using your rent money to instead pay for a trip to Vegas just because “the deal was too good to pass up.”
Sure, you MIGHT get lucky and win enough to buy a house in the Hamptons, but odds are that by the time the trip is over you will have just wasted a lot of your time and money on flash that brought no real substance to your life.
More often than not, it is better to pay the rent first, THEN think about luxuries like a trip to Vegas. But when the Buffalo Bills selected running back C.J. Spiller as the ninth overall pick in the 2010 draft, it appeared that Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix just could not resist the impulse buy of a perceived “great steal.”
And a luxury is all that Spiller will be for the Bills. With Fred Jackson (over 1,000 yards on the ground last season) and Marshawn Lynch (who WOULD be amazing if he could stay out of trouble) already in the backfield, the Bills now have a very serious logjam at the running back position. Granted, that would be a high-class problem for some teams to have, but when you consider the fact that the Bills essentially have no quarterback and their offensive line couldn’t protect the guy in the pocket even if he WAS Jim Kelly reborn, depth at the running back position should be the LEAST of their concerns. Heck, it’s not even a concern, and THAT’S the concern.
Instead of addressing one of their VERY SERIOUS needs coming out of a disappointing six-win season, the Bills essentially decided that they were okay living in a run-down trailer park, as long as they had three Cadillacs sitting out in the front yard.
Is C.J. Spiller a tremendous athlete with great potential in the NFL? Sure.
While the Bills sit back and wait for Spiller to hopefully develop into LaDanian Tomlinson, their unimproved 30th-ranked rushing defense will continue to give up more points than their anemic, one-dimensional offense can match.
This creates a no-win situation for the Bills. Failure on the field will speak for itself, but his success will also detract from the team more than it can help it, because it will only come at the expense of an already successful running back (possibly two, if Lynch can keep his head on straight).
Even if Spiller develops into a Pro-Bowl caliber athlete for the Bills, he is ALREADY a draft bust. Not necessarily because he will fail on the field, but instead because he was the wrong choice for a team that will be unable to FULLY maximize his potential. He was not what the Bills needed, nor should he have been what they wanted. He is an unnecessary accessory that will simply distract from the real problems facing the Bills, rather than help to turn them into a legitimate contender in a division that features the Jets, Patriots, AND the Dolphins. He will be unable to solve any of the problems for the Bills, and will therefore ultimately fail to be a real contributor for the team.
I hope C.J. Spiller likes a part-time job on a last place team, because that is exactly who drafted him.