By Budd Bailey

Josh Allen of the Bills

Taken in Round 1 in 2018

The next pick: Linebacker Roquan Smith of Georgia moved right into the Bears’ starting lineup in 2018, and he stayed there through 2020.

Other picks in that round: Quarterbacks received much of the attention in this draft, as usual. Baker Mayfield went first to the Browns, Sam Donald was the No. 3 choice to the Giants, Josh Rosen was taken by the Cardinals at No. 10, and Lamar Jackson became a member of the Ravens at No. 32.

The details: Opinions were divided by Allen when he came out of Wyoming. Sure he was big and strong, but could he improve his accuracy? Well, his completion average went from 52.8 percent to 58.8 to 69.2. Allen led an improved offense in 2020 that set team records for production. As one former NFL general manager said about Allen, he would have gone first overall if we had known he could improve so much.

Other 7s: Paul Seymour only played five years for the Bills as a tight end – although he was essentially an extra blocker. Not by coincidence, running back O.J. Simpson had some great years in that span. Physical problems ended his career prematurely. The Sabres were thrilled to pick Erik Rasmussen (1996), but he never did develop into a power forward.  Dylan Cozens (2019) is someone to watch in the years to come. Matt Disher (1998) played goal for the Bandits in his first two seasons, and then played in five other cities across North America.

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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