Here we go with another week of your most pressing questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Let’s get to it.
1 - Chris,
I wanted to offer another take for the Bills draft this year. Perhaps in the first round the Bills could draft a wide receiver since they need a deep threat. In the second round what are the chances of waiting for a top defensive end prospect like Chandler Jones out of Syracuse.
Thanks for all of your ongoing coverage and time.
CB: I think the only receiver worthy of going in the top 10 is Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon. Some might argue Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd, but with rare exceptions like A.J. Green last year wideouts have been coming off the board later and later.
In the 2008 draft there wasn’t a single receiver taken in round one. Knowing there’s good receiver depth in rounds two through four I think teams will be even less inclined to fill a need early at receiver. I suppose if the Bills don’t land a wideout in free agency it’s possible, but I say if they do address wideout in the draft it’ll be between rounds two and four.
As for Chandler Jones I think he’s a pretty good prospect. Not a pure speed pass rusher by any means, but comes from good stock with a brother in the league and another brother being a UFC fighter. Due to the fact that he’s not a ‘bend the corner’ defensive end I think he will be there in the second round. I think he could be a consideration for Buffalo among some of the other DE prospects that are in that second to third-round range.
2 - Hello Chris,
I’m a longtime fan of your work with the Bills, thank you so much for keeping us informed on all of the comings and goings with the team. My question for you is simple, do you expect to see Alex Carrington trimming down to around 280-285lbs. (His college weight) to become more of pashing rushing DE, rather a 5-technigue 3-4 DE likes he has been the last two seasons? I like he could excel in that position at the right weight.
CB: Ryan, this is going to be one of the more interesting questions as spring OTAs unfold in May. I’m not sure there’s a definitive answer as to just what is the best fit for Alex Carrington in Wannstedt’s new 4-3 front. His body frame screams 3-4 defensive end, but if he can trim down he could play defensive end in a 4-3 like he did at Arkansas State. His size however, might project him to a left defensive end role. He’s never been a pass rusher that has relied on speed (4.92 40-time). His game is power.
But I’m just as curious as you as to whether or not he comes in slimmed down for the new scheme.
3 - Hello Chris,
Thanks for all the coverage of the team, you do a terrific job of covering the team and I enjoy reading what you have to say. I understand that a big part of the offseason plan is to continue building the defense because it is needed, but my question is the QB situation. I strongly believe that if this team has a chance to win in the future the team needs a QB because although I believe in Fitzpatrick, he’ll be 30 years old and I’m not sure he can win the team a Super Bowl.
I understand the team won’t be in position to draft Luck or Griffin this year. I was wondering if the team might chase after a guy like Kirk Cousins out of Michigan St.? He is young, played 4 seasons in school, is a very intelligent and accurate QB. Cousins could be had later in the draft and isn’t looked at among the top QB’s in this draft even though he has the size and ability to play. He didnt’ put up the biggest numbers because of the ability to run the ball at Michigan St. I think he could be a value pick in the 3rd or 4th round and could learn the offense quickly and be the future QB.
Are Nix and Gailey set in their ways that they will only take a QB if they can get one of the top guys? Or could the team look at Cousins or another QB that can be had later in the draft? Thanks again for your coverage
CB: I wouldn’t rule anything out when it comes to the draft and Buddy Nix. I think the C.J. Spiller pick caught a lot of people off guard, but it’s proof positive that Nix and the Bills stay true to their board. That being said I’ll point to a comment made by Buddy back in January concerning the potential of drafting a quarterback.
“Maybe so, yeah,” said Nix. “If there’s one there at the right time, I don’t mean that to be that vague an answer but yeah, we’d take one.”
Basically Buddy is saying if the board falls a certain way and they have a quarterback rated as the best prospect at the time they would take one. Could that be Cousins? Certainly possible.
4 - Hi Chris,
To me, draft season is the best time of year to be a bills fan, and this year I’m snoop dogg high on South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery. Many of the mock drafts I’ve seen have him dropping into the 2nd or even 3rd round, but to my eye he’s by far the best receiver in this class. Respect to Blackmon and the kid from ND, but if he’s sitting there at pick 10 do you think the bills would pull the trigger? Although a pass rusher may be more of a need, that position seems to be one of relative depth in this class; and while they are all impressive prospects, I don’t see a huge difference on tape between Upshaw, Ingram, Perry, Mercilus, Coples, or Branch. It stands to reason that one of those guys would be there in the 2nd, and Jeffery will open eyes at the combine. He has what Buddy Nix has referred to as the ability to be open even when hes covered. You can see the competitiveness in his game bursting through the low resolution on youtube. Do you get the sense around one bill’s that another option for Fitz may be at least as coveted as a pass rusher? Do you think Jeffery is worth a top 10 pick?
Warm regards from LA,
CB: I think Alshon Jeffery made some amazing plays at South Carolina and used his body well in shielding defenders to make plays on the ball. The problem with Jeffery is it’s hard to think his game as it is currently constituted is going to immediately translate to the NFL level. The reason why is he is a giant target, but he had trouble getting off press coverage in the SEC. And he doesn’t get consistent separation.
That’s going to be even harder in the NFL. Could he develop that part of his game? Sure, but he’s going to struggle coming out of the gate knowing how much more physical corners are at the NFL level. I think he’s a second-round pick. Another big receiver that I prefer over Jeffery is LSU’s Rueben Randle. He didn’t run well at the Combine, but I’m hoping for better things at his pro day.
Randle got better every year at LSU, most notably improving as a route runner, has extremely strong hands and welcomed blocking in LSU’s run first scheme during the 2010 campaign. He’s got rock solid intangibles as well with a strong work ethic. So he’s my guy if the Bills want to get a receiver early. Only thing is they may have to trade back into the bottom of round one to get him.
5 - Hey Chris,
After seeing Brad Smith pick up more than a handful of 3rd and short conversions early in the season last year, it seems as though the offense scrapped that formation because of the lack of depth at the WR position and need for smith to line up there (and reducing wins dramatically). Are the Bills planning on using the “wild bill” formation again for short yardage for the upcoming season. Also after showing lots of potential at the outside receiver last preseason, is Marcus Easley healed and ready for this season?
CB: Your point is well taken. I too noted those 3rd and short conversions by Smith early in the year. It certainly helped to keep the offense on the field. I asked Chan Gailey your very question at the NFL Combine a couple of weeks ago. Here was his response.
“I think the best thing that Brad does for us right now is create indecision on the defense’s part,” said Gailey. “Is he coming in as a wideout? Is he coming in as a Wildcat quarterback? We lost that a little bit with the kickoff return because of the new rule and we lost some because he was playing so much wide receiver late in the season that he couldn’t play special teams as much. We hope to let him to be a three-headed monster as some receiver, some Wildcat quarterback, some special teams threat. Yes to all of the above.”
That’s kind of an open-ended answer, but I think it’s safe to say with a full offseason to better incorporate Smith into the offensive playbook that Gailey will find more use for him in the offense in 2012.
As for Easley he told me himself his medical condition has been rectified and he can resume his career. Let’s hope for the best because I think this kid can really help the passing game.
Tags: 2012 NFL draft, Alex Carrington, Alshon Jeffery, Brad Smith, Chandler Jones, Fan Friday, Kirk Cousins, Rueben Randle
Posted in Inside the Bills