As another Bills draft comes under scrutiny in light of Reggie Ragland‘s ACL tear following the season-altering shoulder surgery that Shaq Lawson underwent, Doug Whaley‘s beginning to draw some ire from within the organization. Many inside the franchise are wondering why the recently extended GM has not taken more of the blame for drafting high-risk players, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link).
With five of the past eight Bills first- or second-round picks over the past four years set to miss or having already missed extensive time, the aforementioned anonymous sources believe the fourth-year GM should be held more accountable for what’s happened.
Sammy Watkins, whom the Bills of course traded their 2015 first-rounder to acquire, and current Dolphin Kiko Alonso are among the others who have been injured in this span. Whaley’s initial draft pick, EJ Manuel, has failed to live up to expectations after being the only quarterback selected in the 2013 first round.
Here’s more from Buffalo and some other eastern locales.
- Whaley declared Lawson, Ragland and third-rounder Adolphus Washington would all start “off the bus” in Rex Ryan‘s defense after the draft. Now, Washington is the only one looking ready to live up to that billing, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com writes. IK Enemkpali could now start on the edge in Lawson’s stead after Manny Lawson sustained an injury weightlifting this summer and remains on the Active/PUP list. Although the Bills signed Brandon Spikes and David Hawthorne in the wake of Ragland’s injury, free agent acquisition Zach Brown is expected to step in and start, Joe Buscaglia of WKBW.com writes.
- Chris Culliver is likely to begin the season on the PUP list, helping to explain his incentive-laden Dolphins contract, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports. Only cleared to resume football activities last week, Culliver embarked on a mini-free agency period, but the team that signed him wants to play it safe despite not having much depth at corner. He drew interest from the 49ers, Bears and Cardinals before agreeing to sign with another cornerback-depleted team. Culliver told media, including Salguero, he expects to be on the field in around two weeks (Twitter link).
- With the signing of the 6-foot-3 Culliver, the Dolphins are also continuing to transition away from smaller corners, save for those in the slot, per Salguero.
- Jabaal Sheard is the most likely player to see a playing-time spike for the Patriots after Rob Ninkovich‘s injury, Christopher Price of WEEI.com writes. Sheard played 305 fewer snaps than Chandler Jones last season but rated as one of Pro Football Focus’ best edge defenders. But, as Price notes, the former Browns edge player almost matched the current Cardinals cog in quarterback hits (five to Jones’ seven) and hurries (16.5 to Jones’ 17.5). Price adds more will be expected of 2015 draftees Geneo Grissom and Trey Flowers as well. The former played in 15 games, while the latter saw time in only one as rookies.
- The Jets are seeing positive results after buying low on Ryan Clady.