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Front Office Changes and your 2017 Buffalo Bills Draft Class

Doug Whaley Out

The object of intense speculation at One Bills Drive has come to fruition. Doug Whaley is no longer General Manager of the Buffalo Bills. Rumblings of this change gained momentum when national analyst Jason La Canfora cited the possibility a front office shakeup in March. Following Whaley’s disappearing act after the hiring of Sean McDermott, speculation continued as to Whaley’s tenure within the organization. On the eve of the NFL Draft, national and local reports indicated a house cleaning amongst the scouting department – many believed that this would include Whaley.

Following a 2017 draft class with McDermott’s fingerprints all over it, reports on Sunday night indicated that Whaley and the scouting department would be relieved of their duties on Sunday morning in a meeting that Terry Pegula called at One Bills Drive.

Alas, Doug Whaley is out, and the Pegula’s mountain of work continues to pile up. As one GM search appears to be wrapping up in downtown Buffalo, another is just getting started. Despite this title, it appears, by all indications, that Sean McDermott is at the helm – La Canfora tweeted this morning, “It was no secret Doug Whaley’s rocky tenure was ending, and McDermott has been in control.”

Breaking Down the Buffalo Bills 2017 Draft Class

“Bill Polian and I agreed when we first came together with the Buffalo Bills that we’d bring players only of high character to the team.” –Marv Levy

When breaking down the 2017 Buffalo Bills Draft Class, it must be noted that Sean McDermott targeted the values of integrity, leadership, intelligence, and dedication within his draftees. McDermott is clearly molding his vision for this team’s identity, while also stressing versatility with each of his picks. In a sport that is complex and requires its athletes to be students of the game, this is a sound approach on draft day. Couple this with Sean McDermott’s simplified defensive system, and you have what could be a winning formula – at least on the defensive side of the ball. In a recent discussion with the media, Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes praised McDermott’s system and overall philosophy.

Round 1 – Pick 27: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU

  • The Bills traded their 10th overall selection to Kansas City for what many touted a“great haul” in return
  • In return, the Bills received the 91st pick in the draft and also the Chiefs’ 2018 first-round selection
  • White was valedictorian of his high school class
  • Four year starter at LSU in the strongest conference in NCAA Football Captain at LSU
  • Will compete for a starting job
  • Somewhat criticized for tackling ability, but the numbers prove otherwise

Round 2 – Pick 37: Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina

  • The Bills continued to aggressively move around in the draft by trading up to get their wide receiver
  • Jones is likely to line up opposite Sammy Watkins week 1
  • Was an absolute ball hog at ECU with 399 career receptions
  • Good size at 6’2”, 200lbs
  • Academic All-American

Round 2 – Pick 63: Dion Dawkins, OL, Temple

  • The Bills moved again here, this time it was back into the second round to fill a hole on their offensive line
  • Has experience at guard and tackle
  • Will compete for the starting job at right tackle when training camp starts

Round 5 – Pick 163: Matt Milano, LB, Boston College

  • Many believed the Bills would use their 10th overall selection to take a linebacker
  • Will have to prove himself in pass coverage
  • Work ethic is strong
  • Should contribute immediately on special teams

Round 5 – Pick 171: Nathan Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh

  • Bills take a quarterback for two consecutive drafts
  • Described by many as the most NFL ready
  • Good fit in West Coast offense given his skillset
  • Pegged by some to be a career backup, while others believe he could takeover starting duties
  • His Pitt team knocked off national champion Clemson this past November

Round 6 – Pick 195: Tanner Vallejo, LB, Boise State

  • Much needed depth add at linebacker
  • Like Milano, should contribute immediately on special teams

Looking Ahead

Terry Pegula held a press conference at One Bills Drive following the news of firings this morning. Pegula’s choice of words was interesting in that he used the phrase “[we] ran a process” when describing the series of decisions that led to Whaley’s dismissal. Clearly Terry and Kim Pegula have been influenced by Sean McDermott’s vision for this team. McDermott’s mantra is “Trust the process.”

It is more than likely that McDermott, a disciple of Andy Reid, and someone who established what appear to be strong connections during his time with the Carolina Panthers, will handpick the next GM of the Buffalo Bills. In an interesting side note, immediately following Whaley’s firing, reports indicated that Whaley was Tyrod Taylor’s loudest critic within the organization.

The team has two first round draft picks in the 2018 draft, a current starting quarterback with clear limitations in Tyrod Taylor, and the NFL’s longest active playoff drought. The competence that the organization has exuded over the past four days is a welcome change – a change that Bills fans hope will soon lead the team back to the glory days of the early 90s.

Written by Nick Sperrazza

Nick Sperrazza

Nick Sperrazza is a local high school teacher and coach. Nick is a Buffalo native and a proud alumnus of Canisius High School, Canisius College, and most recently, the University at Buffalo where he earned his Master's in Education. Nick lives in the Elmwood Village with his orange tabbies, Luke and Leia, and considers himself to be an ambassador for the City of Good Neighbors that he calls home.

View All Articles by Nick Sperrazza
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