Let’s get right to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 - Chris,
The Bills have long neglected to upgrade the TE position. If Kyle Rudolph of Notre Dame is available in the second round, what do you think are the chances they would draft him? Rudolph is a rare combination of possessing solid blocking skill and a vertical threat as well. For a second round pick, Rudolph will probably be the most talented rookie available at that stage of the draft. Do you think Chan Gailey will finally address this weakness of the Bills? I realize that improving the defense is a priority, however picking Rudolph would improve the OL while providing Fitz with another target, he so desperately needs.
CB: While I agree that Kyle Rudolph is the best tight end talent in the draft, I’d be surprised if the Bills drafted him in round two. The positional holes on this team are much more pressing at defensive line, linebacker and quarterback. In fact I think cornerback is a position that is likely to be addressed prior to tight end.
I think when you look at the talent that emerged for the Bills at wide receiver last season, it reduced the need to add a difference maker at tight end. Rudolph also has injury questions to answer at his pro day in April.
2 - Hi Chris,
I read what you said about Dareus and Fairley. Is 3 too high for Kerrigan for Purdue? He seems like an Aaron Schobel type. The other 2
guys, although beasts, seem like 4-3 tackles, instead of 3-4 ends? Also, do we stick with Fitz or take like a Kaepernik or Ponder in the 3rd round. Really like both those guys in the Senior Bowl. Ponder go IT done and Kaepernick has a rocket! What are your thoughts?
CB: Three is too high for Kerrigan. There’s still some question as to whether he’s athletic enough to transition to a 3-4 OLB or if he’s strictly a 4-3 end. I tend to think he’s just just a 4-3 end. His game is similar to Schobel’s, but Schobel was a mid-second round pick.
Kerrigan will come off the board somewhere between 15 and 25.
Ponder did do well at the Senior Bowl. Some of the experts believe he’d work best in a west coast offense, which the Bills are not, but there is a relationship there with Gailey. Kapernick is more of a project because he operated out of the Pistol offense and did a lot of running (4,000 yards rushing in college). He’s got an arm, but it’s the decision making where he’s got a lot of work to do in terms of reading progressions and getting timing down delivering the ball when he hits the back of his drop in rhythm. There is talent there however.
3 - Hi Chris,
I highly doubt that Nick Fairley will be available when the Bills pick, so I wanted to get your thoughts on two other prospects that may be feasible options for them.
First is Da’Quan Bowers. Do you think he has the ability and stature to play end in a 3-4 front in the NFL? Might he be better suited to play Outside linebacker if he dropped a few pounds? Or do you only see him as end in a 4-3 front?
Second is Von Miller. I had the opportunity to watch the Senior Bowl, and although linebackers were not allowed to blitz (limiting his full potential), he still played a strong game, exhibiting much of the talent, intelligence and understanding he has for the game. He looks like he could be an excellent outside linebacker, but he seems a bit undersized for the position at the NFL level (238 lbs). Do you think his lack of size may be an issue at all?
Just wanted to get your thoughts on these two individuals and whether you think they would be an ideal fit for Buffalo’s present defensive scheme.
CB: The people in the know that I’ve talked to believe Bowers can handle an end role in a 3-4 as well as a 4-3. At 275 pounds with an upper body that is said to be freakishly strong most think he’s more likely to be a 3-4 end than a 3-4 OLB. Now I’m sure not all NFL teams will feel that way, and I suppose if he lost weight OLB in a 3-4 could be an option. But to me that’s a big ‘if’ with him.
As for Miller he’s impressive on tape. There’s no debating that. He did drop into coverage a bit more as a senior. At the Senior Bowl he showed me he’s more than capable of covering stuff in the flat and on wheel routes. That intermediate range might be a different story. He’s a pass rushing terror though and that’s why he’s going to be a top 5 pick.
The Bills need to improve their pass rush, there’s no question about that so he’s definitely a consideration for them at 3.
4 – Hey Chris. My question is in regards to the QB class this year. Knowing that Coach Gailey is moving forward with Fitz as the starter next season, what are your thoughts on Ponder? I love Fitz and expect more consistency from him this year and believe he could lead us to the playoffs. Onto Ponder, I see him as a great 2nd stringer to learn the system and grow due to Gailey and the coaching staff. In a year or two he could provide an answer for our offense if things do not go right with Fitz, or a good bargaining chip in the trade market. I have watched him his whole career and know he has a durability issue. His strengths are very good, however, and I can only see him get better in the NFL. Thanks and as always “GO BILLS!!!!”
CB: The thing I like most about Ponder is his natural leadership. Players just rally around that guy and he’s a fiery leader, one where you can see it out on the field. I think Bills fans would love that. NFL personnel people like that too because leadership can’t be taught.
I think his arm is good enough and coming from a pro style offense at Florida State is also a plus. He gets criticized for making some bad decisions late in games last year, but to me I saw most of them as a guy trying to make a play for his team. On occasion he may have been trying too hard, but I’d rather have a guy willing to take risk to win a game than no risk at all.
5 – Hey Chris,
I have noticed that the Bills are getting new uniforms for the 2011 season which is awesome. My question though is that I heard Nike has struck a deal with the NFL to revamp all the uniforms, at least I thought it was for the 2012 season. So does that mean these new uniforms will only be worn for one year or will the new nike ones come in a couple more years?
Garrett from Pa
CB: From what I have been told Reebok will be in charge of the new jersey design this year. Then Nike takes over in 2012, but changing the jersey would require formal application to the league, which can take up to 18 months. So as I understand it Nike will inherit the jersey design from Reebok and make no changes.
Bonus - Chris
You mention how the offensive line seems to have gained depth this year with much of it in the middle, and Eric Wood and Geoff Hangartner compete for the starting center role with Kraig Urbik the likely starter at right guard and you believe the odds on favorite to start at right tackle is Erik Pears. My question has to do with Chad Rinehart, he was a OLT in college projected to the right side in the pros. Does he have a chance at RT? or does Gailey and staff see him strictly in the middle? and why strictly in the middle ?
Thanks J.C. ( ex-NY upstate resident ) now living Katy, TX
CB: They see him mainly as a guard because of his feet. Rinehart is a grinder that’ll punch you in the mouth in the blink of an eye, but they feel he’s better suited inside as opposed to out on the edge where he has to cover more space. I liked what he gave the Bills at guard last year and he’ll likely be competing with Urbik for that right guard role if Wood in fact competes with Hangartner at center.
Tags: 2011 NFL draft, Andy Dalton, Chad Rinehart, Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick, Da'Quan Bowers, Fan Friday, Kyle Rudolph, Ryan Kerrigan, Von Miller
Posted in Inside the Bills