Sunday, April 28, 2013
Are Bills taking too many character risks?
By James Walker
The Buffalo Bills were quiet in free agency, but the team was extremely aggressive in this weekend’s NFL draft. The Bills have added several players with significant off-the-field concerns in the process.
The latest example is Buffalo’s signing of rookie free-agent receiver Da'rick Rogers. The former Tennessee and Tennessee Tech star has good upside and production on the field. Rogers and former Tennessee teammate and quarterback Tyler Bray were arguably the top two undrafted players available. However, Rogers' long list of issues, which include an arrest, a suspension, a failed drug test and being kicked out of one school caused all 32 teams to stay away. Rogers announced on Twitter that he signed with Buffalo.
Are the Bills taking in too many character risks? In addition to Rogers, here's a rundown of concerns with Buffalo's 2013 draft class:
- Bills second-round pick Kiko Alonso had major issues at Oregon. The linebacker had multiple alcohol-related incidents in college and also was arrested for burglary and criminal mischief in 2011. Alonso stayed out of trouble last year at Oregon and focused on football. That was enough to make Alonso a second-round pick for Buffalo, which needs to improve its 31st-ranked run defense. The Bills hope Alonso's off-the-field issues are a thing of the past.
- Buffalo fourth-round pick Duke Williams was suspended three times at the University of Nevada for various incidents. Williams reportedly got into a fight with a teammate in 2010, which led to one suspension. He also was arrested for theft in 2009.
Rogers is the third player from Buffalo’s 2013 rookie class with major character concerns. Buffalo is a team with a rookie head coach -- Doug Marrone -- who is trying to establish his program. Marrone cannot afford to spend too much time policing off-the-field issues in his first year.
Alonso, Williams and Rogers are all talented enough to make Buffalo's 53-man roster. But the Bills must keep these players with questionable character on a short leash.