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News » Modrak lacking homers

Modrak lacking homers

Modrak lacking homers
Tom Modrak gets a chance to bolster his legacy as the top college scout in the Buffalo Bills' organization in this weekend's NFL draft.

With two first-round picks and three picks in the first 42 selections Saturday, the Bills must fortify their foundation of talent.

Modrak needs the Bills to hit these picks and see some of their recent picks -- such as quarterback Trent Edwards -- develop into stars in order to pull the franchise out of what has been a decade of futility.

Modrak, the Bills' vice president of college scouting, has overseen the last seven Bills drafts. The Bills' selection process is a team effort, starting at the top with owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. So pinning full responsibility on any one person would not be accurate. Nevertheless, a couple of obvious conclusions can be made about Modrak's tenure:

*There has been a lack of home runs. The Bills simply have not drafted and developed enough superstar players. Only two homegrown Bills players taken or signed after the draft in the past seven years have been voted to the Pro Bowl (Jason Peters and Terrence McGee).

*There is a lack of star players in the trenches, on the offensive and defensive lines. The Bills drafted five trench players in 2001, before Modrak arrived, and that impacted their approach a bit the next two years. Nevertheless, in the first three rounds of the past seven drafts, the Bills have selected only six linemen, and none of them is a star.

The jury still is out on a bunch of the picks from Modrak's tenure. Edwards was a third-round pick in 2007. If he develops into a top quarterback, the entire picture gets brighter. Other recent picks such as Donte Whitner, Marshawn Lynch, Leodis McKelvin, Paul Posluszny and James Hardy all show varying degrees of promise but can't be fully evaluated.

Here's a breakdown of the Bills' drafts by round since Modrak arrived:

**Round One: Eight first-rounders have been drafted since 2002. Two were busts -- Mike Williams and J.P. Losman. A third, defensive tackle John McCargo, is close to being a bust unless he makes a big rebound this season.

While former team President Tom Donahoe had final say on the drafts from 2002 through 2005, none of the team's top decision makers can avoid responsibility on the Williams pick. There was a full consensus among the brain trust that he was the right man at the No. 4 overall spot. The Bills still are paying for that failure as they try to create a strong offensive line. They still are paying for the Losman mistake, too. If he had panned out, they would be led by a veteran quarterback entering his prime.

Willis McGahee, Lee Evans, Whitner, Lynch and McKelvin are the other No. 1s. McGahee was a big gamble and didn't work out in the end, but he is a good player. Evans is an outstanding player who could come to be viewed as a home run. Modrak was strongly in Evans' corner for a long time before the draft. The Bills passed up Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris to draft Evans. Harris went to Chicago one pick later.

**Round Two: There have been six picks: Josh Reed, Ryan Denney, Chris Kelsay, Roscoe Parrish, Posluszny and Hardy. None are busts but the franchise needed more from the first four in this group.

**Round Three: The seven picks: Coy Wire, Angelo Crowell, Tim Anderson, Kevin Everett, Ashton Youboty, Edwards and Chris Ellis. Crowell was an excellent pick. Wire is a serviceable player who's still in the league. Youboty might be good if he can stay healthy.

**Round Four: The eight picks: McGee, Sam Aiken, Tim Euhus, Duke Preston, Ko Simpson, Dwayne Wright, Reggie Corner and Derek Fine. McGee was a great pick. Corner and Fine are developing. Aiken was a good special teamer. Euhus, Preston, Wright and Simpson (who's still on the roster) were not successful.

**Round Five: Justin Bannan, Ben Sobieski, Eric King, Kyle Williams, Brad Butler and Alvin Bowen. A good round for the Bills . Williams was an excellent pick; Butler is starting. Bannan still is playing in the league.

**Round Six: Kevin Thomas, Lauvale Sape, Justin Geisinger, Keith Ellison, John Wendling, Xavier Omon. The last three still are on the team. Ellison has done well for a sixth-rounder.

**Round Seven and beyond: Fifteen players have been drafted. Mario Haggan was a standout special teamer. Derek Schouman, Steve Johnson and Demetrius Bell still are on the team. Peters and Jabari Greer were phenomenal rookie free-agent signings.

e-mail: mgaughan@buffnews.com

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 28, 2009

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