The 2009 NFL Draft was the tale of two drafts: some picks were game winning touchdowns for the Buffalo Bills, yet some were turnovers that cost us greatly.
Round 1, Pick 11: Edge Rusher Aaron Maybin, Penn State University
Aaron Maybin was seen as one of the next pass rushing threat coming into the next decade in 2009 after clocking a 4.59 40-yard dash at his pro day. He came to State College at 220 pounds; however he would put on 26 pounds of muscle by the time he left college. That all being said Maybin didn’t flesh out at all and had issues keeping his weight up around the desired 250 pounds. He didn’t record a single sack while he was in Buffalo for two seasons and had six total for the New York Jets in his entire career. Maybin’s professional football career lasted until 2013, after which he became a full-time professional artist. He is also the founder of Project Mayhem, and the author of the 2017 book Art Activism. He is currently a teacher at Matthew A. Henson Elementary in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland.
Round 1, Pick 28: Center, Eric Wood, University of Louisville
Eric Wood was regarded as the second best center of the 2009 NFL Draft, behind now the Atlanta Falcons’ Alex Mack. Eric had a storied professional career, all with the Bills. His legacy with the team was an excellent leader for nine seasons and played and started in a total of 120 games. Another thing Eric is known for is his ability to recover from several serious injuries; and in the end it was a severe neck injury that ended his career after the 2017 season.
Round 2, Pick 42: Cornerback Jairus Byrd, University of Oregon
Jairus Byrd, seen as a player that would transition to safety into the NFL due to his lack of elite speed. He came out like a house of fire for his rookie campaign by leading the league with nine interceptions and should have been named the Defensive Rookie of the Year; however that went to the Houston Texans’ Brian Cushing. While Byrd’s career never had a year like his rookie season, he was a safety that was servicable for the next four years for the Bills then played two seasons for the New Orleans Saints, however injuries seemingly always got the better of him as he only completed three full seasons while as a pro.
Round 2, Pick 51: Offensive Guard, Andy Levitre, Oregon State University
Andy Levitre played tackle in Corvallis as was a finalist for the best lineman in the nation and was the most decorated in school history since John Didion; however his physical measurables didn’t translate to the NFL as a tackle, so he shifted inside to guard in the pros. While he provided stability for the Bills and not miss a game, he would begin to have off-season surgeries like lots of players have but his recovery time would take longer and longer. Eventually the Bills parted ways with Andy and he took his talents to the music city by signing a six-year, $46,800,000 contract with the Tennessee Titans. After struggling for two seasons in Nashville, he was traded to the Atlanta Falcons where he had a bit of a career renaissance, he last played in 2018 and after two games he tore his triceps and was placed on injured reserve. He has no plans to retire despite he is currently sitting out there as a free agent.
Round 4, Pick 121: Tight End Shawn Nelson, University of Southern Mississippi
Shawn Nelson, seen as the big-bodied (6-foot-5 and weighing 250 pounds) receiving tight end the Bills were sorely lacking a safety-valve for then quarterback Trent Edwards. In college, he had 157 catches with two thousand fifty-four receiving yards and sixteen touchdowns. However; Nelson’s career didn’t go according to plan as he only had twenty catches for 181 yards and a single touchdown reception. Also in his career, he failed a drug test for a banned substance, reportedly it was for something he was administered while in the hospital after receiving a concussion in a game. After getting his release from the team in September of 2011, he would sign with the New York Jets, but he wouldn’t last a month with the team. He eventually would sign on to play in the Fall Experimental Football League with the Blacktips; however, that league would fizzle out.
Round 5, Pick 147: Safety/Linebacker, Nic Harris, University of Oklahoma
Long before the Safety/Linebacker hybrid in style, the Bills had Nic Harris who at 6-foot-2 and weighed 235 pounds wasn’t seen as a true safety in the NFL, so he moved to linebacker. Nic only amassed one fumble recovery despite two starts for the Bills, but by the end of the season and was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve. He would ultimately be waived by the team after failing a physical so he took his talents to the Carolina Panthers and played one season with them racking up 34 total tackles and two sacks. After Carolina, Nic has played all over the world between Italy and Brazil
Round 6, Pick 183 Cornerback Cary Harris, University of South California
Cary Harris had a short-lived career in the NFL as he only played in a total of six games throughout two seasons despite having two interceptions in his rookie campaign. He would bounce around practice squads around the league and last received an injury settlement in August 2011 from the New York Giants.
Round 7, Pick 220: Cornerback, Ellis Lankster, West Virginia University
Ellis Lankster was a cornerback who had two stints with the Buffalo Bills, who is likely known most for an infamous press conference after getting two interceptions. Eventually would be released after his rookie year and would be part of the New York Jets for the next four seasons where he amassed two interceptions and a sack. Former Bills head coach Rex Ryan brought him back for a second tenure in 2015 but that didn’t last long and was released again. He would try out for the Toronto Argonauts the following season and was released again. In 2018, he played in the American Arena League but the team he played for folded mid-season.