Underrated: Ronald Darby
A former track kid, Darby was taken in the second round, number 41 out of Florida State in 2015. There were some concerns about injuries when he came out, but when you watched the film, [you saw] the route instincts, the suddenness to close and really contest all footballs in his zone, whether he was playing man or zone coverage. He had a hell of a year, and it was really impressive. Really unusual production for a rookie. If it wasn't for Marcus Peters having the type of year that he had, Darby would have been on the tip of people’s tongues coast to coast as one of the top defensive rookies of the year. He’s a young guy with a really bright future in this league.
Overrated: Charles Clay
They gave up a good amount to get him after Miami placed the transition tag on him. On the one hand it’s smart—they took an area of strength from a division opponent and added it to their team. Clay has been solid, but sometimes he is spoken about as being this athletic, finesse, flex-receiver who is a matchup problem for defenses. But at the end of the day, where is his production? He and Tyrod Taylor haven’t had the chemistry yet that one might think they would. But who knows? They may be able to kindle a little of that this year. To this point, though, Clay has been a solid piece for them, but far from the difference-making type of guy that they envisioned they were getting.
When you look at where this team has been and where they are going, [general manager] Doug Whaley has really done a heck of a job, whether it was with Doug Marrone or working with Rex Ryan. From a personnel standpoint, of bringing talent to upstate New York, he’s really done a good job of not overthinking this. The way they have been going about it is to target big schools. Particularly, SEC and ACC players. We are talking about guys like Shaq Lawson and Sammy Watkins (Clemson) and Reggie Ragland (Alabama). They’re really not overthinking the process. The Bills have also had a way about not totally removing themselves from players who have maybe had an issue or two. When you do that, you get value on a devalued asset. At the end of the day, Doug Whaley and his staff have done a great job adding positive pieces to the equation and giving Rex Ryan some people he can now go win football games with.