By Budd Bailey
Lee Evans of the Bills
Taken in Round 1 in 2004
The next pick: Defensive tackle Marcus Tubbs had one decent season, as he had 5.5 sacks for the Seahawks in 2004. He was out of football after the 2005 season.
Other picks in the round: Ben Roethlisberger (No. 11) is headed to the Hall of Fame for his work in Pittsburgh, and Eli Manning (No. 1 to the Chargers but then traded) and Philip Rivers (No. 1 to the Giants and then traded) may join him there. Larry Fitzgerald (No. 3 to the Cardinals) ranks with the best receivers of his generation. Steven Jackson (No. 24 to St. Louis) ran for more than 11,000 yards. Vince Wolfolk (No. 21 to New England) had a fine 13-year career.
The details: The Bills needed a deep threat, and Evans delivered. He caught 377 passes in Buffalo with 43 touchdowns. Lee had at least one 50-yard catch in all seven of his seasons here. Evans’ career ended quickly after leaving Buffalo after the 2010 season, but he had a nice run.
Other 13s: Drew Stafford (2004) had almost nine good seasons with the Sabres, peaking with 31 goals in 2010-11. The Sabres liked having Larry Playfair (1978) around so much, they brought him back in 1988 for an encore. Philippe Boucher (1991) never got off the Buffalo/Rochester shuffle, but finally landed a permanent job in the NHL in 2001 and played eight more seasons. Zack Kassian (2009) only played 27 games as a Sabre; he’s still contributing to Edmonton. Joel Savage (1998) only played in three NHL games – all with the Sabres. Chase Fraser (2017) of the Bandits) has had some injury problems, but he could be a key part of the team going forward. Justin Martin (2016) has been a regular on defense for four seasons for the Bandits.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)