Buddy Nix came to San Diego from Buffalo in 2001 along with A.J. Smith and the late John Butler (who was the GM until he passed away in 2003). They brought along six players from the Bills that year (earning the nickname "Buffalo West") and led off the draft by picking LaDainian Tomlinson, which is what jumpstarted what had been a struggling franchise.
The Chargers had great success in the draft during Nix's time there (01-08), but A.J. Smith was the one making all the final decisions. During that span, the Chargers hit on nearly all their first-round picks (LT in 01; Quentin Jammer in '02; Philip Rivers in '04; Shawne Merriman and Luis Castillo in '05; Antonio Cromartie in '06).
They also had great success in the middle rounds (just Google their 2004 draft class -- it may be the best class from top to bottom in history).
One of the trademarks of the Chargers in that span was their ability to find studs in undrafted free agency. UDFA's often touted the Chargers' upfront approach and ability to develop players as their reasons for signing there. The Chargers had five players earn Pro Bowl invites Tuesday and three of them joined the team as UDFA's (Gates, Dielman and Osgood). Other prominent former UDFAs are Stephen Cooper and Mike Tolbert, who are big players for this year's team.
In my opinion, this is a great move for a Bills team that's had some real questionable drafts as of late (like the year they took Donte Whitner and John McCargo -- yikes).
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