Bills 2013 Draft Reanalysis
By Dustin Wende
For a more accurate analysis, I’d like to look at the 2013 Bills draft picks after their rookie season. The Bills had yet another tough year, finishing the season with a 6-10 record, missing the playoffs for the 14th season. However, the season wasn’t a total loss, as many of the rookies contributed in their first year, including linebacker Kiko Alonso competing for Rookie of the Year honors and cracking the NFL top 100 list (No. 84). Here is a more in-depth look player by player.
In the 1st round the Bills had their pick of QBs and went with Florida State’s E.J. Manuel. E.J. had his ups and downs, like most rookie QB’s, but only played in ten games due to injuries and never really got a chance to show consistency game to game. He finished the season with 1,972 passing yards, a 58.8% completion rating, 11 TDs to 9 INTs, and 186 yards and 2 TDs rushing. Not the best start to a career, but with the addition of Sammy Watkins and a year of experience, 2014 has the potential to be a better year for the young QB.
In the 2nd round the Bills took USC WR Robert Woods. Woods had a quiet year with Stevie Johnson getting the majority of the looks and multiple QBs trying to get him the ball. Woods finished the season with 40 catches out of 86 targets, 587 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Going into this season Woods should be the number 2 receiver behind rookie Sammy Watkins. Look for Woods to have a breakout season with the coverage keeping an eye on Watkins.
Now to the fan favorite; arguably the best rookie defensive player last year, the legendary Kiko Alonso. Coming out of Oregon, Kiko did exactly what the Bills drafted him for… stop the run. Not only did he stop the run, he shut the critics up that he’d be a liability in pass coverage. In his rookie year, Kiko was in on 159 tackles, 2 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, 4 INT’s, and 4 passes defended. The future is bright for Kiko and I expect nothing but the same from him for years to come. With help from Brandon Spikes, the Bills could be a very tough team to try to run against this season.
In the 3rd round, the Bills made a questionable pick taking speedster WR Marquise Goodwin out of Texas. Since they already had a similar player in T.J. Graham, I, like others, questioned this pick. But the Bills proved me wrong. Not only was he one of the fastest guys in the draft, he also has very good hands and route running ability. He can also be a threat in the return game. After missing some time with injuries , he only played in 12 games, and he ended the season with 17 receptions for 283 yards and 3 TD’s.
4th rounder Duke Williams of Nevada saw limited play and will likely be behind converted safety Aaron Williams on the depth chart again this year.
5th round pick Jonathan Meeks of Clemson could possibly see more time at safety with Jarius Byrd moving on to the Saints. He’ll be battling for his roster spot with Da’Norris Searcy and others during OTAs and training camp.
6th round pick kicker Dustin Hopkins was placed on IR with a groin strain at the beginning of the season and could have a tough time making the team while battling his replacement, Dan Carpenter.
And last but not least, 7th round pick Chris Gragg of Arkansas. With Chandler, Smith, and Moeaki in front of him, Gragg will be deep in the depth chart and will have to show he can play to make the team. In limited play, he had 5 receptions for 53 yards and a TD.
Overall, the 2013 draft class has not lived up to its potential or what Bills fans want to see. Could 2014 be their season?