Last dozen defensive players the Buffalo Bills have selected in the first round

To follow up on part one, the “Last dozen offensive players the Buffalo Bills have selected in the first round,” here’s part two.

While the Bills defense in 2017 was undoubtedly the stronger of the two compared to the offense, that doesn’t mean there aren’t needs. Buffalo has a recent history of strong first-round defensive picks, but here’s a look at the last 12 defensive selections in the first round by the Bills:


2017 NFL draft, CB Tre’Davious White, 27th overall

Tre Day has proven to be one of the best first-round rookie impacts the Bills have had… maybe ever. White was named the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year by some, namely Pro Football Focus. White had four interceptions and 18 total passes defended.

2016 NFL draft, DE Shaq Lawson, 19th overall

Lawson isn’t close to bust territory, but he’s not close to first-round production levels either. In his first two seasons, the defensive end has yet to play a full season and only has six sacks the past two years. His third season in 2018 could be pivotal for his career, however, his name is being tossed around in trade scenarios.

2012 NFL draft, CB Stephon Gilmore, 10th overall

Gilmore played out his rookie contract with the Bills and jumped ship to the New England Patriots on a massive contract this past offseason. Gilmore is still a steady option at corner and despite some critics he had in Buffalo, you can find much worse options.

2011 NFL draft, DT Marcell Dareus, 3rd overall

Mr. Big Stuff was shipped out mid-2017 season by the new Bills leaders, head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane. Certainly not a bust, Dareus, at times, was a stud. At others, left more to be desired or couldn’t find the field due to suspension & injury.

2009 NFL draft, DE Aaron Maybin, 11th overall

Perhaps the biggest bust in team history at any position. Maybin was first-round pick, selected ahead of another popular defensive end in Brian Orakpo, and made one career start.

2008 NFL draft, CB Leodis McKelvin, 11th overall

McKelvin was overdrafted but had an average NFL career with the Bills. More remembered for some of his interviews, McKelvin also had probably the worst fumble in team history during a late kick return vs. New England on Monday Night Football in 2009.

2006 NFL draft, S Donte Whitner, 8th overall

Whitner was a big-hitter safety and that’s about it. In five seasons with Buffalo, Whitner only had five interceptions. Micah Hyde had five in 2017. After leaving, Whitner had few nice things to say.

2006 NFL draft, DT John McCargo, 26th overall

The Bills traded back into the first-round of the 2006 draft to take McCargo and he almost immediately became a bust. Only in his second season did McCargo ever play a full season and he made expendable by another defensive tackle selected by the Bills in 2006, Kyle Williams.

2001 NFL draft, CB Nate Clements, 21st overall

Clements was a solid player for the Bills. After his six seasons in Buffalo, Clements had 23 interceptions and was signed to the biggest contract ever for a defensive player ever (at the time) by the San Francisco 49ers, for eight-years and $80 million.

But with the Bills, he landed probably the biggest hit Tom Brad has ever received, so that’s cool:

2000 NFL draft, DE Erik Flowers, 26th overall

Not many good memories here. Flowers was drafted to replace Bruce Smith, essentially. Big shoes to fill and he didn’t really come close to doing so.

1999 NFL draft, Antoine Winfield, 23rd overall

Winfield was a steady contributor at corner for the Bills but eventually left for the Minnesota Vikings. The following year, defensive tackle Pat Williams followed Winfield to Minnesota

1994 NFL draft, CB Jeff Burris, 27th overall

After joining Buffalo throughout the draft, Burris eventually took a lucrative offer from the Indianapolis Colts and left via free agency. Burris was also a punt returner.


Former Bills CB Leodis McKelvin — USA Today photo


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