J.P. Losman, QB, No. 22 overall pick in 2004 NFL Draft
With a new coach, general manager and team president in place, Buffalo Bills fans are hoping that their team has turned the corner and is finally ready to contend for playoff berths again. One key to whether that occurs will be whether 2013 first-round pick EJ Manuel fares better than J.P. Losman, the “huge mistake” the Bills drafted last time they selected a quarterback in Round 1.
Losman was the fourth quarterback selected in a draft class that featured Super Bowl champions Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger along with another successful NFL starter in Philip Rivers. Losman never came close to matching any of their successes.
To be fair to Losman, it was not all his fault: he played behind a very weak offensive line, in part due to Mike Williams being a bust, and he suffered numerous injuries as he was hit frequently in his five seasons in Buffalo.
That said, he never proved himself good enough to be a long-term starter for the Bills. He only started one full 16-game season, completed less than 60 percent of his passes and was very turnover-prone (34 interceptions, 17 lost fumbles, only 33 touchdown passes).
The Bills needed a franchise quarterback when they drafted Losman, but he never came close to being the passing playmaker he exhibited the physical tools to be during his career at Tulane.
John McCargo, DT, No. 26 overall pick in 2006 NFL Draft
Three North Carolina State defensive linemen went in the first round of the 2006 NFL draft. Two of them, Mario Williams and Manny Lawson, are currently members of the Buffalo Bills having been signed as unrestricted free agent. The other, John McCargo, was drafted by the Bills.
Unfortunately for the Bills, the player they drafted was easily the worst NFL player of the three.
While Williams and Lawson were both widely-projected to be the first-round picks they were, McCargo came as a surprise first-round selection. He had 30.5 tackles for loss in his three-year NC State career, but no longer playing on a line where Williams and Lawson often drew double-teams as pass-rushing defensive ends, his game did not translate to NFL success.
In five seasons with the Bills, McCargo made very little impact. He started just one game and had only 2.5 sacks, all of which came in the 2007 season. The Bills had already given up on McCargo by 2008, when they attempted to trade him to the Indianapolis Colts, but that trade was voided when McCargo failed a physical.
The Bills actually made up for this failed selection later in the 2006 NFL draft with the selection of LSU defensive tackle Kyle Williams in Round 5. Williams turned out to be a massive steal, and has emerged as a first-round talent and one of the NFL’s best defensive tackles. Unfortunately for McCargo, Williams’ emergence as a starter in his rookie season helped keep McCargo from ever seeing the field much.
Aaron Maybin, DE, No. 11 overall pick in 2009 NFL Draft
Of all the selections the Buffalo Bills have made since 2000, picking Aaron Maybin at the No. 11 overall slot of the 2009 draft may very well be the worst. From the beginning, Maybin was a very incomplete player who had high upside but also very high bust potential for a top-15 draft choice.
Maybin had 12 sacks and 20 tackles for loss as a redshirt sophomore in 2008, but was a true one-year wonder with a raw game. He was an explosive pass-rusher at Penn State, but with a lean frame at 6’4” and 249 pounds, he needed to bulk up, become a stronger point-of-attack run defender and develop a more complete arsenal of pass-rush moves.
Unfortunately for Maybin and the Bills, none of those needs were met. Maybin was a poor fit for the 4-3 defense he was drafted into, but even when the Bills switched to a 3-4 defense in 2010, he struggled to get on the field or do anything productive when he did get in the game.
At the very least, Maybin was expected to make plays as a situational pass-rusher in the NFL, even if he never became strong against the run. He failed even to do that. He did not get a single sack in two seasons in Buffalo, and was released prior to the 2011 season.
“The Bills are very likely to regret this decision,” I wrote of the pick at the time. One-trick pony pass-rushers like Maybin are rarely successful in the NFL, but as teams continue to draft incomplete, high-upside rushers with very high draft picks, they continue to often be sources of busts.
The Worst Mistake?
Of the bad picks the Bills have made since the 2000 NFL draft, which one would you say is the worst? Join the discussion in our thread below the post to weigh in on the Bills’ biggest draft mistake of the century!
And for all my fellow “Arrested Development” fans out there, enjoy the new episodes. (NO SPOILERS!)