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)