People joked that the Buffalo Bills were turning into Florida State North after drafting three Seminoles in the 2015 NFL draft. Based upon their early returns, perhaps the Bills should continue to go to that well in the future.
The Darby selection in the second round of the 2015 draft was met with skepticism. Some fans weren't happy to see the Bills draft Darby as the team already had a strong one-two combination with Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin. Yet, Rex Ryan knows you can never have too many cornerbacks. He experienced what it was like being without quality corners in 2014 with the Jets and didn't want to see that happen again. The worst case scenario for Darby was that Buffalo could work him into a rotation behind Gilmore and McKelvin to get him some 'on the job' experience.
Through three weeks, every Bills fan should be grateful about that draft pick. As all Bills fans know, McKelvin had a setback with his ankle and was placed on the PUP list. Suddenly, the Darby pick didn't look so bad. And through three weeks, his play has shown that the Bills knew what they were doing when they selected him with the 50th overall pick of the draft.
In three starts, Darby has been exceptional. Against Andrew Luck and Tom Brady, two of the best QBs in the NFL, Darby was targeted 18 times according to Pro Football Focus. Only nine of the 18 passes were completed which resulted in 96 yards. In additional to only allowing half of the passes to be completed, Darby also added an interception against the Colts and two passes defensed overall.
On Sunday, Darby continued to show excellent coverage skills. He ran side by side with Dolphins receivers all game long and recorded his second career interception late in the first half. In addition to his interception, Darby was credited with four passes defensed on Sunday. Cornerbacks aren't expected to play so well as rookies, especially those who were selected outside of the first round. Darby, thus far, has surpassed all expectations and if his strong play continues, McKelvin find himself being 'Wally Pipped.'
In the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft, the Bills once again set their sites on a Florida State player. Karlos Williams was clearly a player the Bills coveted as a late round pick. He was the only running back of knowledge that the Bills met with or showed interest in among the backs in the class. In the fifth round, Buffalo felt there was too much value to pass up and through three weeks it appears that they were correct.
Williams has been explosive out of Buffalo's backfield. He's been hard to bring down (Two missed tackles entering Sunday's game) and hits running lanes without hesitation. He's been rewarded for his hard running as he's recorded a touchdown in Buffalo's first three games this season.
Through three games, no back on Buffalo's roster has been better than Williams. Here's a look at his stat lines through the first three games:
Williams is averaging 7.75 YPC through three games, a ridiculous average. He has been the perfect complement to LeSean McCoy and he should continue to see an increase in snaps based upon how well he's played.
It's still very early in the NFL season, but Buffalo is 2-1 and Darby and Williams have played big roles through three games. There's no doubt that Bills fans are perfectly content being called the 'Buffanoles' based upon the early returns they've received from Darby and Williams.