The NFL draft is approaching fast. Here’s the latest edition of your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 - Hey Chris,
Do you see Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech being a reach at 10? 6’4″ Wide Receivers that run 4.3’s are a rare commodity and I can’t help but think that Gailey’s ties to Georgia Tech could play a huge factor. I know the Mock Drafts have us going DE but all of the top tiered ones should be gone by the time we hit the clock. Hill seems like a possible Megatron Junior that when lined opposite Stevie could give us a WR tandem not to be wreckoned with! What are your thoughts?
Eric from Rochester, NY
CB: From a physical measurables standpoint, you’re right, there aren’t many 6’4” receivers that run a 4.3. The problem with Hill is he never had much of an opportunity to put his receiving skills on display in Georgia Tech’s triple option offense.
He ran mostly deep go routes and slant and go’s and so projecting exactly how polished and versatile a receiver he can be proves more difficult for NFL personnel people.
I think in most scouting circles he’s a first-round pick, but top 10 is a stretch because you can’t be as sure about him due to the lack of exposure to his full potential as a route runner. So I would be surprised if at 10 the Bills make him their top pick.
Now if Buffalo moved back into the late teens or early 20’s the value is better knowing the risk. For every Willie Gault there’s also a Matt Jones.
2 - Hey there Chris,
Thanks for everything you do for the Bills. You do a great job of keeping the fans informed. I have some questions regarding the draft and free agency and how those will affect one another.
From what I gather from you and the interviews with Nix and Gailey, the Bills are not going to draft a DE or LB with the 10th pick. When there are so many questions about their NFL potential and there is so much quality later in the draft, it makes since to go in another direction.
What position do you think they will likely address with the 10th pick?
Also, I’m from Virginia and I love the possibility of drafting Cam Johnson or Chase Minnifield. Think there’s a chance they end up as a Bill?
CB: I think the Bills are in a very interesting position at 10. I tend to agree with ESPN’s Todd McShay, who believes the caliber of player between 10 and 20 is marginal. That can make for a wide range of options at the top of that range at 10.
Some draft experts claim that certain players if taken at 10 would be a reach because if a draft “guru” thinks they’ll still be on the board at 20 the team didn’t get good value. What we all need to remember is each club has all of these prospects graded differently, and every personnel executive in the league could care less what the draft analysts think.
The Bills have always claimed to be a proponent of taking the best player on their board, unless there are two players whose draft grades are so close that they feel they can lean toward positional need. Only the Bills know who is the best value to take at 10.
I think it’s safe to say that OT and WR are their top positional needs, but I wouldn’t lock the Bills in to those two positions in the first two rounds. It just doesn’t work that way.
As for Cam Johnson and Chase Minnifield, both are considered a bit stiff in the hips at their respective positions. Both are seen as mid-round picks, with Minnifield’s speed having some clubs projecting him to safety. Johnson doesn’t have the athleticism to transition to an OLB spot so he’s strictly a DE. Though he has great burst off the line, his long chase speed is not elite (4.81 40 time). Both should be off the board no later than early day 3 (4th round).
3 - CB,
Thanks for keeping us all up to speed. Always love your reports. I have a question about Merriman. When asked about him the coaches seem to just say ‘we have to get him healthy and see what he can do’.
From your talks with the coaches or with Merriman, do you think the coaches are even considering him as a possible SAM or is he strictly a DE in a 4-3?
CB: Shawne sounds like he’s going to be strictly a DE in Dave Wannstedt’s 4-3. I don’t know this, but this is what I expect. Knowing that Merriman is still rehabbing from Achilles surgery, the coaching staff is not counting on him yet. As such I almost expect his role to be that of a pass rush specialist first. Provided he comes along and can handle an increased workload then I believe they take advantage of his abilities as a run stopper, which are very underrated. But knowing it’s a wait and see I think the coaching staff takes advantage of what he does best (rush the passer) and then put more on his plate as the season wears on if his body responds favorably.
4 – Chris,
What are the chances that the Bills will draft a quarterback (a fairly decent one maybe in the third round)? Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick is the franchise quarterback, but if he goes down with an injury during the season, the Bills would be in trouble. Tyler Thigpen is NOT the answer, and Brad Smith doubles as a receiver. Also, the Bills need another receiver to complement Stevie Johnson. As always, I look forward to your response.
Tony, Daytona Beach, Fl
CB: Buddy has gone on record as saying if the right one is there when they’re on the clock they’ll draft a quarterback. That being said I wouldn’t expect one any earlier than round 3 unless some signal caller they had a high grade on slips to round 2, which is unlikely knowing how inflated quarterback value gets on draft day.
I believe the Bills will make wide receiver a focus in the draft and knowing they want a prospect capable of getting on the field early they are likely to address the position sooner rather than later. Again the value has to be right when Buffalo is on the clock.
5 - Dear Chris,
I am very excited about the signing of Mario Williams. This is a huge boost for the defense, which already has studs like Kyle Williams, Marcel Dareus, and even Shawn Merriman. With those players already in the mix, and Williams now in the mix, I am still thinking defense for the draft.
A lot of talk I’ve heard and seen online are that the Bills will focus on an offensive tackle or a stud wide receiver if he is available at ten. However linebacker still concerns me. I really like Courtney Upshaw. I love his, style of play, and that he was a teammate of Marcel Dareus. Do you see the Bills taking him at ten if he is available, or concentrating on other needs?
Thanks for your time. Take Care and God Bless.
Brian (From Hamburg)
CB: I don’t see Upshaw as an option at 10 because first and foremost I don’t think he’s fluid enough to play linebacker in a 3-4 or a 4-3. He’s what scouts call stiff in the hips in my opinion, so his lateral agility and ability to drop in coverage are substandard for the position at the NFL level. I don’t believe he can be an OLB. So that reduces him to being strictly a DE as I see it. Knowing Buffalo has capably filled that positional need with Williams and Mark Anderson I don’t see him as a viable option at 10 for the Bills.
Furthermore I don’t think he fits the value of being a top 10 pick. Nice player, and probably a first-round pick, but I don’t think he’s top 10 material. What the Bills think of him is anyone’s guess.
Tags: 2012 NFL draft, Cam Johnson, Chase Minnifield, Courtney Upshaw, Fan Friday, Mario Williams, Shawne Merriman, Stephen Hill
Posted in Inside the Bills