Modrak’s hits and misses

May 4th, 2011 at 5:30 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

 He’s been the whipping boy for disgruntled Bills fans for the last several years, as the 11-year playoff drought drags on.  But let’s put some perspective on Tom Modrak’s tenure with the team.

Modrak has been the Bills chief college talent evaluator for the last ten years, so he should be held accountable for the team’s draft failures during that decade.  He should also get credit for some of the good picks.

His job was evaluation–not decision making.  Modrak served under four general managers during his Bills tenure (Donahoe, Levy, Brandon, and Nix) and five different head coaches (Williams, Mularkey, Jauron, Fewell, and Gailey).  Just imagine how many different systems Modrak tried to fit players into from all those GMs, coaches, and coordinators.  What’s more, I’m not sure that Modrak pulled the trigger on any Bills draft picks.  His job was to evaluate the talent and direct the Bills team of scouts.  The owner, the GMs, and the coaches all had authority to pull the trigger at various times.

But there were hits, and misses under Modrak’s direction.

The hits:  WR Josh Reed, a 2nd round pick in 2002 who became a very productive pro; LB Chris Kelsay, a 2nd round pick in 2003 who’s been a valuable player for the Bills, CB Terrence McGee, a 4th round pick in 2003 who was a dynamic return man, and has been a starting CB for the last seven years (one Pro Bowl appearance); DT Kyle Williams, a 5th round pick in 2006 who went to the Pro Bowl last year; WR Stevie Johnson, a 7th round pick in 2008 who had a breakout season last year; and OL Eric Wood, a 1st round pick in 2009 who is settling in for a long and productive career in Buffalo.

Modrak’s biggest problems were when he missed, he missed spectacularly.   The Bills had some terrible first round picks during Modrak’s time with the team.

The Modrak misses:  OT Mike Williams, the fourth overall pick in 2002 who flamed out in three years; QB JP Losman, a 1st round reach in 2004; DT John McCargo, a 1st rounder in 2006 who has never earned significant playing time with the Bills; WR James Hardy, a disappointing 2nd round pick in 2008, whose career was shortened by a serious knee injury; and LB Aaron Maybin, the 1st round pick in 2009 who appears to be a spectacular bust.

Just too many first round misses for Modrak.  That’s the reason why the Bills are moving on without him.

And with Nix and up-and-coming personnel star Doug Whaley running the Bills player evaluation operations, they’ll be fine without Modrak.

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