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BuffaloRush

Hits and Misses: How Successful Was GM Marv Levy In The Draft?

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As the draft approaches, I'm taking a look at the past General Managers in Buffalo and who was the most successful with the draft based on hits and misses.  While this is very subjective, I am defining a "hit" as any player that reasonably performed at or above his draft status.  As an example, a player like Paul Pozlusny becoming a solid starting LB as a 2nd round pick.  A "miss" is the opposite - a player who performed under or well under their draft status.  If you draft a player in the first round and they are a marginal starter, I am defining that as a miss.  

 

Like many of my polls, I think this will be very debated.  But let's start with our boy Marv Levy.  He served as Bills GM from 2006-2008 running 2 drafts with, what was rumored to be significant input from Dick Jauron and Tom Modrak.    Let's see how Marv did:

 

Year Rnd Player Pick Pos To AP1 PB St CarAV G Cmp Att Yds TD Int Att Yds TD Rec Yds TD Int Sk College/Univ
2006 1 Donte Whitner 8 DB 2016 0 3 9 50 157                       11 3.0 Ohio St.
2006 1 John McCargo 26 DT 2011 0 0 0 3 44                         2.5 North Carolina St.
2006 3 Ashton Youboty 70 DB 2011 0 0 0 8 49                       2 2.0 Ohio St.
2006 4 Ko Simpson 105 DB 2009 0 0 2 13 41                       3 1.0 South Carolina
2006 5 Kyle Williams 134 DT 2017 0 5 10 72 167           1 1 1       1 43.5 LSU
2006 5 Brad Butler 143 T 2009 0 0 2 13 33                 0 0 0     Virginia
2006 6 Keith Ellison 178 LB 2010 0 0 3 19 58           1 6 0       2 2.0 Oregon St.
2006 7 Terrance Pennington 216 T 2007 0 0 1 4 16                           New Mexico
2006 7 Aaron Merz 248 G 2006 0 0 0 1 7                           California

 

2006 Draft = 2Hits/7 Misses = Success Rate of 22%

I'm giving Whitner a marginal hit.  While he was a starter for the Bills, Top 10 picks needs to be All-Pros.  He was solid with the Bills but I'm not sure if he played to his draft position.  Kyle is explanatory. I'm also giving Marv a "hit" for Brad Butler - a 5th round pick who started admirably for almost 3 seasons before retiring due to injuries.  

 

ear Rnd Player Pick Pos To AP1 PB St CarAV G Cmp Att Yds TD Int Att Yds TD Rec Yds TD Int Sk College/Univ
2007 1 Marshawn Lynch 12 RB 2017 1 5 8 72 142 1 3 8 1 0 2351 10003 81 272 2130 9     California
2007 2 Paul Posluszny 34 LB 2017 0 1 9 58 145                       15 16.0 Penn St.
2007 3 Trent Edwards 92 QB 2012 0 0 2 17 38 563 929 6033 26 30 78 330 3 0 0 0     Stanford
2007 4 Dwayne Wright 111 RB 2007 0 0 0 1 15           29 94 0 3 17 0     Fresno St.
2007 6 John Wendling 184 DB 2013 0 0 0 7 110                       1   Wyoming
2007 7 Derek Schouman 222 TE 2010 0 0 1 2 25                 27 275 1     Boise St.
2007 7 C.J. Ah You 239 DE 2011 0 0 0 4 33                         6.0 Oklahoma

 

2007 Draft = 2 Hits/5 Misses = Success Rate of 29%

Again I am giving Marshawn a marginal hit based on what he did in Buffalo his first two seasons.  Of course, that one is close.  Ditto for Poz, he never turned into an All-Pro but was definitely a stellar selection in the 2nd round.  The rest was just pure crap for this crew.

 

 

Marv Levy's overall success rate in the draft = 25%

 

Synopsis:  Marv's crown jewel was drafting Kyle Williams in the 5th round.  Lynch developed into a well...beast in Seattle running with a well-schemed offense, but he wasn't as productive with the Bills.  Aside from that, the success rate for Marv leaves a lot to be desired.

Edited by BuffaloRush

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Didn’t Brad Butler retire to go into politics?

 

And I’d hardly call him a hit.

 

I’d say he hit on Kyle, Lynch and Poz. Whitner was a whiff. He was a solid player but taking him so high was an egregious error. If he took him at 24 or something, sure...

 

Marv was an abysmal GM.

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Taking Whitner at 8 and trading back into first round for bust McCargo  who was projected as a 3rd rounder was inexcusable.  Also traded up for Poz.  Kyle Williams saves the Levy Era from being a total joke...not that Marv was really running the show anyway.

Edited by Billy Zabka
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Right after the 2006 draft, I thought it looked pretty good. Seriously.  Obviously did not stand the test of time.

 

The 2007 draft I knew we were screwed immediately.  The one bright spot from that draft is us taking Marshawn Lynch who just about everyone expected Green Bay to take,  I remember being like WTF are we taking a HB?  Anyway long story short Thompson frigging panicked and selected Justin Harrell... I got so much mileage out of that pick here in cheeseland.  Priceless.

Edited by simool

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21 minutes ago, Jay_Fixit said:

Didn’t Brad Butler retire to go into politics?

 

And I’d hardly call him a hit.

 

I’d say he hit on Kyle, Lynch and Poz. Whitner was a whiff. He was a solid player but taking him so high was an egregious error. If he took him at 24 or something, sure...

 

Marv was an abysmal GM.

 

Yeah that one was a tough one.  But he was a 5th round pick. He started in both 2007 and 2008 and would have started in 2009, had it not been for a career ending injury.  It's close but for a 5th round pick that's pretty good value

15 minutes ago, Billy Zabka said:

Taking Whitner at 8 and trading back into first round for bust McCargo  who was projected as a 3rd rounder was inexcusable.  Also traded up for Poz.  Kyle Williams saves the Levy Era from being a total joke...not that Marv was really running the show anyway.

That's why I said with significant input from Dick KJauron and Tom Modrak

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Most of the board was not set by Levy.  He was brought in as placeholder due to actions by front office, specifically Tom Donahoe, who had fans wearing bags (and be thrown out by staff).  Ralph needed someone he could trust and he was furious on how Donahoe was treating his fans.

 

I'd look at other staff at the time to determine who was determining picks although report from when Kyle was drafted was that Levy visited LSU when he was there.

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That's all rumor and innuendo though.  Levy was the GM, at least in title, so this is his draft.  

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Marv was a disaster at GM but then again how many of "his" picks suffered from the general Bills malaise of the early 2000s?  Marshawn is case in point.  Middling at Bills, then goes to another team and thrives ... wins a Superbowl.

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Kind of hard to judge this because "marginal" is a pretty abstract term. Are you including term lengths? For instance, Keith Ellison was a solid linebacker for us for like 2 years. Ko Simpson played relatively well for a while next to Whitner. For a fourth rounder he seemed pretty good. Edwards was a decent starter for a while. Wendling was a great special teamer which seems to be a hit for a 6th rounder. 

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1 minute ago, whatdrought said:

Kind of hard to judge this because "marginal" is a pretty abstract term. Are you including term lengths? For instance, Keith Ellison was a solid linebacker for us for like 2 years. Ko Simpson played relatively well for a while next to Whitner. For a fourth rounder he seemed pretty good. Edwards was a decent starter for a while. Wendling was a great special teamer which seems to be a hit for a 6th rounder. 

I don't remember feeling very solid about our linebackers those two years.

Edited by Fetou

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Just now, Fetou said:

I don't remember feeling terribly solid about our linebackers those two years.

 

Could be how I remember it, but it seemed like he was decent on the weakside. Not dominant, but he was a 6th round pick.

 

My point being that it's hard to judge all the rounds against each other because they expectations are varied. 

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13 minutes ago, whatdrought said:

Kind of hard to judge this because "marginal" is a pretty abstract term. Are you including term lengths? For instance, Keith Ellison was a solid linebacker for us for like 2 years. Ko Simpson played relatively well for a while next to Whitner. For a fourth rounder he seemed pretty good. Edwards was a decent starter for a while. Wendling was a great special teamer which seems to be a hit for a 6th rounder. 

Yes I took all of that into account and all of the players you mentioned are "misses"  Levy was not good at the draft

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4 minutes ago, BuffaloRush said:

Yes I took all of that into account and all of the players you mentioned are "misses"  Levy was not good at the draft

 

Okay, that's very possible. 

 

Out of curiosity, what do you consider a 6th round "hit"? 

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36 minutes ago, BuffaloRush said:

 

Yeah that one was a tough one.  But he was a 5th round pick. He started in both 2007 and 2008 and would have started in 2009, had it not been for a career ending injury.  It's close but for a 5th round pick that's pretty good value

 

I agree that Butler was decent value, but he retired to enter politics and never blamed it on injury. I always wonder what could have been with him. 

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To think that we could have had a Haloti Ngata/Kyle Williams DT duo, but got bust McCargo and Whiffner instead. Yuck.

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50 minutes ago, whatdrought said:

 

Okay, that's very possible. 

 

Out of curiosity, what do you consider a 6th round "hit"? 

 

Its situational...but maybe someone who was a starter or solid contributer.  

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3 minutes ago, BuffaloRush said:

 

Its situational...but maybe someone who was a starter or solid contributer.  

 

So not Wendling, who (If I remember correctly, and I could be wrong) was our best STer for quite some time and played in all but two games for a 7 year career (again, as a special teamer). Ko Simpson and Keith Ellison both started more games in the NFL then Brad Butler did (I did always think Butler was solid though).  

 

Anyways- I'm not trying to stomp on your point. I do agree that Levy was not great at drafting. I haven't seen a GM in my fandom years (since '03) that's been a good drafter (I'm hoping Beane breaks that trend) so I definitely see what you're saying. However, I find it hard to say that Whitner is a hit, and those three guys i referenced above weren't given the difference between a top 10 pick and a mid to late rounder. 

 

So there's that. ;)

 

 

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6 minutes ago, whatdrought said:

 

So not Wendling, who (If I remember correctly, and I could be wrong) was our best STer for quite some time and played in all but two games for a 7 year career (again, as a special teamer). Ko Simpson and Keith Ellison both started more games in the NFL then Brad Butler did (I did always think Butler was solid though).  

 

Anyways- I'm not trying to stomp on your point. I do agree that Levy was not great at drafting. I haven't seen a GM in my fandom years (since '03) that's been a good drafter (I'm hoping Beane breaks that trend) so I definitely see what you're saying. However, I find it hard to say that Whitner is a hit, and those three guys i referenced above weren't given the difference between a top 10 pick and a mid to late rounder. 

 

So there's that. ;)

 

 

 

On those teams, it didn't mean very much. The team had no talent and no depth on defense. Keith Ellison arguably wouldn't have started anywhere else in the NFL at that stage.

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Everything about the Marv regime was a disaster. Even worse than his drafts, the mere fact that Ralph hired him as GM turned the Bills into a league-wide laughing stock. 

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The Jauron years were the most frustrating years of the drought. It seemed like they were actively trying to be awful. 

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22 minutes ago, billsfan89 said:

The Jauron years were the most frustrating years of the drought. It seemed like they were actively trying to be awful. 


Yes. The following was a real low point for me as a fan.

http://www.espn.com/nfl/news/story?id=3665128

 

      Jauron reportedly agrees to three-year extension with Bills

Oct 26, 2008
  • ESPN.com news services

The Buffalo Bills' fast start reportedly has earned coach Dick Jauron a three-year contract extension.

The NFL Network reported Sunday that Jauron and the Bills have agreed to a three-year extension that will keep the coach in Buffalo through the 2011 season.


Jauron, who entered this season in the final year of his initial contract with the team, has the Bills tied atop the AFC East with a 5-2 record after Sunday's 25-16 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

 

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We could've had Ngata instead of Whiffner.  That says it all right there.  It wasn't like Haloti was some surprise player; he was dominant at Oregon.  When it was our turn to draft, I thought they would get him for sure.  When they announced we pick Donte, I was like "WTF?  Who the hell is that?"  :bag:

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3 hours ago, Rico said:

Everything about the Marv regime was a disaster. Even worse than his drafts, the mere fact that Ralph hired him as GM turned the Bills into a league-wide laughing stock. 

I think we were one before that.

 

:huh:

 

 

 

Edited by Fadingpain

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Didn't Jauron have something in his contract that meant he had to agree to the top picks, i.e the 1st rounders, and maybe 2nd rounders too.

 

I'm pretty certain Marv loved him some Kyle Williams, as it has been reported, and I think confirmed, that Modrak persuaded him to wait an extra round before taking him - Marv was all set to pick him in the 4th round.

 

Tbh, whoever talked about rating some of these picks in relation to starting for the Bills, is right, that was a time when the team operated within what could be largely described as a talent vacuum. Although in retrospect, it seems that some of the draft classes around that time were also pretty devoid of talent, by comparison to recent years.

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