BBD Editor: Dan Hope
The seven-year wait for “Arrested Development” fans following Fox’s cancellation of the show is finally over. A new, 15-episode continuation of the dysfunctional family sitcom was released on Netflix today.
In many ways, the Buffalo Bills fit the description of being the NFL’s version of a dysfunctional family (though the New York Jets may be a better example in the immediate present). A franchise defined by losing four consecutive Super Bowls from 1990-93, Bills fans have had a long wait of their own: 13 seasons since the Bills last made the playoffs in 1999.
In honor of the return of “Arrested Development,” we take a look at one of the primary reasons the Bills have been so dysfunctional in recent years: “huge mistakes” they have made in the NFL draft since the last time the Bills made the playoffs.
Of the many Bills draft picks since the turn of the century who have failed to pan out as hoped, the following five were the most significant busts. These players’ careers all fell well short of living up to the expectations that come with being a first-round pick.
The five selections are listed in chronological order.
Erik Flowers, DE, No. 26 overall pick in 2000 NFL Draft
The draft century got off to a bad start in 2000 with the first-round selection of defensive end Erik Flowers. Flowers lasted just two seasons with the Bills, managing just two sacks in each of those years.
By drafting Flowers in Round 1, the Bills took a risk by selecting a classic example of a one-year wonder. Flowers had 10 sacks and 18 tackles for loss in his senior season at Arizona State, but only played two seasons for the Sun Devils as a junior college transfer, and had just three sacks in his junior season.
The risk backfired for the Bills, as Flowers failed to establish any consistent role with the Bills. He started just six games in his two years in Buffalo, and was completely out of the NFL following the 2004 season.
Mike Williams, OT, No. 4 overall pick in 2002 NFL Draft
Coming off of a 3-13 season, the Buffalo Bills were looking for a new offensive tackle to lead their shaky offensive line. They went with massive Texas product Mike Williams, whose dominance as a consensus All-American in 2001 failed to translate to NFL success.
While Williams was big and strong, he proved to be too big. He weighed in at 6’6” and 375 pounds at the 2002 NFL Scouting Combine per NFLDraftScout.com, and struggled with his weight throughout his career. While his famous ballooning to 450 pounds did not happen until after the Bills released him in 2006, he struggled with speed rushers on the field along with a waning desire to play football.
Williams spent time at right tackle, left tackle and guard in his four NFL seasons, but never played well enough at any one spot to hold down a long-term starting job. As a top-5 overall pick, many consider him to be the Bills’ biggest bust of the century to date.