The Buffalo Bills most likely will not be a part of the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday. No first round pick or accessible collateral to trade up to the Thursday night prime time event. Yet, go back to 1988 when the Bills had traded away their top pick in the three team Cornelius Bennett acquisition and sat on their hands waiting for round two. With the 40th pick of the 1988 draft the Buffalo Bills found a running back from Oklahoma State still on the board by the name of  Thurman Thomas and man could he play.

Joining quarterback Jim Kelly and receiver Andre Reed, Thomas quickly developed into one of the very best running backs in the league. Thurman could not only run with power and quickness, but was a great receiver and led the NFL in total yardage for four consecutive years, a record that still stands today.

The knock on Thomas coming out of college was he had a suspect knee, injuring it as a Junior. Those concerns turned out to be unfounded as Thurman proved to be a durable and extremely resilient back in the NFL.

We all know Thurman’s story as he used the slight of not being drafted in the first round as motivation to prove the rest of the NFL they were wrong. In fact, on game day Thurman would watch the tape of ESPN’s footage from his 1988 draft day, sitting in his apartment, seething while each team passed him by for other running backs on the board.

Thurman Thomas is considered one of the top five players to have ever been drafted in the second round and he has some great company. The second round of the NFL Draft has produced such players as Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Howie Long, Michael Strahan and Mike Singletary.

Yes, it’s possible for the Buffalo Bills to find a future superstar still sitting there when their pick comes up at number 50. That choice will come on Friday and when it is made it will be Jim Kelly who steps up to the podium to make the announcement. I don’t know if he was asked, but I think Thurman may have been a more fitting choice.


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