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Inside The Bills

What Kiko was doing on draft day

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2014 – 11:09 am

Kiko Alonso has a passion for football, but not for laying around and watching TV. That’s why on draft day 2013 he was going to do anything, but plant himself on the couch and watch the NFL draft.

“I was at home in Los Gatos and I had some buddies over,” Alonso told Buffalobills.com. “We were just kind of hanging out. I knew it was a big day, but I didn’t want to just sit on the couch watching TV. I wanted to relax and hang out with my buddies and play some cards and stuff like that.”

After day one of the draft came and went Alonso did pay a bit more attention with the TV on in the background while he hung out with his friends.

“I honestly didn’t think I would go first round just from what people were telling me, like scouts and stuff,” said Alonso. “But I did figure based on what people were telling me that I would go day two. So I thought I had a good shot to go second round and it was an honor to go that high.

“I just remember I was excited just to get picked. After it sunk in that it was the Bills I was like, ‘Okay Buffalo.’ But I didn’t even know where the hell that was. It was just pure excitement.”

Today on Buffalobills.com we profile the painstaking process Buffalo’s scouting department went through to make Kiko Alonso their draft choice at 46th overall. It’s the second installment in our ‘On the Clock’ series leading up to the 2014 NFL draft.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

DE Ealy earns props from OT Jake Matthews

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2014 – 9:50 am

Their teams were both new to the SEC, but Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews, who is widely forecast to be a top 10 pick in the draft this spring knows the best pass rusher he faced in college wasn’t from one of the traditional power schools in the SEC.

Matthews, who had a pre-draft visit with the Bills Wednesday, was asked who the most challenging pass rusher was for him in his college career and he cited Missouri DE Kony Ealy.

“I thought Kony Ealy was really good at Missouri,” said Matthews. “Real aggressive, big and strong. Mixed up his pass rush moves real well.”

Ealy, who is profiled in our Countdown to Draft Day presented by Time Warner Cable today, had four tackles, including one for loss and a quarterback hurry in the game. Missouri won the contest 28-21 in Columbia.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-11

Posted by Chris Brown on April 11, 2014 – 12:53 pm

The Bills pre-draft visits were in full swing this week. Stay close to Buffalobills.com for more visit updates in the weeks to come. For now here are some of your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Chris,
Thank you for keeping me informed for the last  decade. Before I only had the newspaper to go by and it was very slow and incomplete.

Three or more of these eleven  players Jake Mathews, Taylor Lewan, Greg Robinson, Sammy Watkins, Eric Ebron, Mike Evans, Kahlil Mack, Anthony Barr, C.J. Mosley, Justin Gilbert and Jadeveon Clowney will be avilable to the Bills for sure. If any of the top three QB’s are added to the mix then Buffalo can even be more selective.

I think the top 9 will go like this 1) QB/DE, 2) WR/DE, 3)&4) QBs, 5)QB/LB ,6) OT, 7) OT/LB,8)QB and Buffalo will choose Mack, Lewan, Watkins or Evans in that order depending on their availability.

I actually think the Bills will take an OT because it affects the most players. Players such as the RBs, the QB and the WR/TEs directly. No other position does this. I hope they get Lewan but if Mack is available I would go with him first because the defense wins FB games and Mack would push our “D” past Seattle in my modest opinion.

How do you see it at this point in time?

Thanks
Ken

CB: It’s hard to know exactly what will fall to the Bills at nine as the teams in front of them, for the most part, need a lot of different building blocks. That means they could go in a number of different directions with their top pick. Knowing the QB class is far from intriguing outside of Manziel the popular speculation now is that only two QBs will go in the top 8, with Teddy Bridgewater looked upon as the QB falling out of the top 10.

Jacksonville at three is one of those pivot type picks, where what they do could largely impact the teams right behind them. They’re now thought to be considering a QB in round two rather than round one and will look to add a difference maker at another position on offense (Sammy Watkins?) after loading up on defense in free agency. I still think they’re still considering a QB, especially if Bortles is still on the board.

Mack will not make it to nine, no way, no how. So cross him off your list. Cleveland is unpredictable as to what they might do as are the Raiders at five. Atlanta is expected to go OL or DL and it will depend on which player is ranked highest on their board among those two positions. Tampa Bay is a virtual lock to receiver and take Mike Evans. Minnesota is likely to take a QB knowing the mess they had at the position last year and it could be Manziel there.

So what should be there for Buffalo? Probably one of the top three OTs (presumably Lewan), Ebron and C.J. Mosley. I don’t see Justin Gilbert or Anthony Barr as part of the equation there. Whether the Bills have another player or two ranked as high is unclear.

The most talented of the three I mentioned (Lewan, Ebron, Mosley) is probably Ebron, who one could argue also has the most upside. Lewan and Mosley kind of are what they are. They’ll both be very solid pros and should be in an NFL starting lineup right away, but Ebron has a chance to be special and that could give him the edge there. We’re all guessing, but the most important factor is how things play out in front of Buffalo.

 

 

2 – Chris,

Pardon me, but my brain is working overtime on the Bills.  With Carpenter in the fold where does this leave Hopkins?  Thought he was supposed to be the new guy with the strong leg.

Jim (Skaneateles)


CB:
It puts Hopkins in a tough spot. First of all he’s trying to come back from a bad groin injury on his kicking leg side. Second, he’s competing with a veteran kicker who put up the second most accurate FG kicking season in team history. With the money invested in Carpenter by the Bills, Hopkins is going to need to have the training camp of his life to unseat Carpenter.

Now head coach Doug Marrone is not opposed to carrying a second kicker as a kickoff specialist, which is a role that Hopkins could most definitely fill. However, the roster numbers have to work out right to keep a second kicker for such a luxury. We’ll see how it plays out this summer.

 

 

3 – Hey Chris,

Huge fan of yours and the Bills obviously. Just wondering about the Corey Graham signing. Will he be competing for second cornerback position with Leodis?  And if not, how will that affect Nickel Robey’s playing time, if at all?  Do you think it was a big contract for a potentially 3rd string corner or will his special teams play make up for it?

Thanks,
Brendan

CB: As I’m sure you and most other fans have seen coach Marrone has said he intends to make Graham a part of the safety competition with Duke Williams, Jonathan Meeks and Da’Norris Searcy to fill the spot left by Jairus Byrd. He’ll also be the first guy in on the boundary at corner if McKelvin or Gilmore are sidelined by injury. As for Robey he will hold onto the role if Graham lands the safety spot next to Aaron Williams.

 

4 – Hey Chris,

I was just curious, if team a wanted to trade a player for a pick in the draft, and the traded player ended up failing the physical for team b, what would happen?  Would the player(s) selected with the traded pick pick(s) go to team b and the player that failed the physical would return to team a?  Or would something else happen?

Thanks,
Tommy

CB: Yes, if a player did not pass the physical for his new team the trade would be nullified and any and all assets exchanged in the deal would revert back to their original clubs. That’s what happened several years ago when the Bills tried to trade John McCargo to the Indianapolis Colts. He failed his physical with the Colts due to a back problem they cited and the trade was nullified.

 
5 – Hi Chris,

Just wondering what your thoughts are on the Bills seemingly not attempting to keep Carrington or Moats. There was so much talk last summer about how well Carrington was coming along and now they could seem to care less about keeping him. I wouldn’t imagine it’s because of competition from other teams as he hasn’t proven himself on the field for any stretch of time.

Also looking at Rivers career he hardly seems like an upgrade from Moats. They both seem to be in the same kind of position as fill in LB’s struggling to get more snaps. Also what is the deal with Chris Williams? NFL.com says he graded out terribly last season. To be honest I’m less than pleased with where the offensive line has gone under Marrone. In Gailey’s last season we had the fewest sacks and CJ’s yards per carry were through the roof. Marrone’s supposed to be a line guy and during his first year we were at the bottom of those stats and seem content to downgrade from Levitre to Williams at LG. Do you know anything we dont about where this might be going?

Dan

CB: I have it on very good authority that the Bills offered Carrington a contract extension before the 2013 season, but he and his agent (the same one as Jairus Byrd) turned it down. Three weeks later Carrington tore his quadriceps tendon and went on I-R in a contract year. Moats was presented with a contract offer this offseason and he chose not to take it thinking he could do better. Whether he did or not we may never know, but he signed a one-year veteran minimum deal with a $65K signing bonus.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Sleeper RB Cobb is put together

Posted by Chris Brown on April 10, 2014 – 4:36 pm

One of Buffalo’s pre-draft visitors is Cumberlands RB Terrance Cobb. He’s got a thick lower body, which is why even when would be tacklers go low on him it has proven difficult to get him down on the ground. Cobb looked like a man amongst boys in his 2012 season when he rushed for 1,991 yards in the NAIA’s Mid-South Conference, but here’s a look at him in action from that season.

Cobb only appeared in six games in 2013 due to an injury, but still averaged 5.8 yards per carry. Finding testing times and measures has proven difficult, but he’s seen as a priority free agent and will likely be signed as an undrafted free agent.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

McShay goes TE, OT in 2 rd. mock for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 10, 2014 – 11:45 am

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has put together a two-round mock draft and has some interesting choices for Buffalo at nine and 41 overall.

McShay went tight end and offensive tackle with the first two picks. Here’s his synopsis for the Bills.

No. 9 – TE Eric Ebron, UNC
This is something of an outside-the-box pick, and certainly doesn’t fill a glaring need, but the more I think about it the more I like the selection. For one, there aren’t many glaring holes on this team, opening things up for the Bills to take the best available player. Also, second-year QB EJ Manuel would really benefit from having an elite downfield threat with seam-stretching speed like Ebron at the tight end position, giving him another weapon alongside WRs Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods and Mike Williams and steady TE Scott Chandler.

No. 41 – T Ja’Wuan James, Tennessee
After passing up on a tackle at No. 9 overall, the Bills get a good value in James who is a great fit for their zone-blocking scheme.

If Watkins and Evans are both off the board, which in McShay’s mock they are (5th and 7th picks), I think there could be much more consideration for Ebron at Buffalo’s spot at nine.

James is an example of how deep this year’s draft is at the offensive tackle position. James was somewhat overshadowed by teammate Tiny Richardson at Tennessee, but is thought by many NFL scouts as capable of starting right away at right tackle in the NFL.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Inside Bills draft room on NFLN airs tonight

Posted by Chris Brown on April 10, 2014 – 7:59 am

NFL Network will have a Bills specific angle to their Path to the Draft programming tonight.

NFL Network’s Path to the Draft show will go inside the Bills draft room. NFL Network analysts Daniel Jeremiah and Charles Davis will co-anchor the Path to the Draft, and will be joined by NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, Charley Casserly and Brian Baldinger, former first-round pick Curtis Conway, and various additional NFL Network analysts.

The program airs at 7 pm tonight (Thursday).


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Posted in Inside the Bills

OT Kouandjio has lengthy pro day

Posted by Chris Brown on April 8, 2014 – 3:01 pm

After his knee was reportedly rejected by some NFL clubs at the combine, Alabama OT Cyrus Kouandjio set out to convince NFL scouts otherwise. That opportunity came on Tuesday in Tuscaloosa.

NFL.com reported that Kouandjio apparently asked scouts in attendance if there was anything they wanted to see him do in addition to what he had planned for his pro day workout. Scouts put him through a battery of position drills.

He also confirmed that he’ll have a private workout with Tampa Bay. Kouandjio also reportedly improved his vertical leap by six inches from 25 to 31 inches.

Some believe Kouandjio could still be a late first round pick if his knee checks out.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

What the first 100 mock drafts have told us

Posted by Chris Brown on April 8, 2014 – 11:59 am

There has been a steady stream of mock drafts for the better part of the last month and with a month still to go before day of the 2014 draft, they only figure to increase in frequency. The crack staff at Buffalobills.com has crunched the numbers on some of the projected picks for the Bills at nine overall and there are some clear favorites among the prognosticators.

Having now charted 100 mock drafts, here are a few of the more interesting notes and numbers that have emerged from our research:

1 – OT is for me
Forty mock drafts project that the Bills will select an offensive tackle. Linebacker has been projected as the Bills’ pick 22 times, good for the second most projected position to the Bills. Tight end and wide receiver have each been projected as the Bills pick 18 times.

2 – Popular names, big games
North Carolina TE Eric Ebron and Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews have been the most common Bills’ pick in the mocks, with each player being projected to the Bills 18 times in the first 100 mock drafts. Michigan OT Taylor Lewan (16), Clemson WR Sammy Watkins (9) and Texas A&M WR Mike Evans (9) have also been frequently projected as the Bills’ pick.

3 – Late surge
Considering the continually evolving nature of team needs, we have also broken down the mocks into separate time periods. Since the free agency period began on March 11, the most projected player to the Bills has shifted to Michigan OT Taylor Lewan (10). Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews (9), North Carolina TE Eric Ebron (5) and Texas A&M WR Mike Evans (5) have all been commonly projected to Buffalo as well.

4 – Latest polls
Offensive tackle has continued to be a popular pick for the Bills, accounting for seven of the last 10 mock drafts compiled:

o   Bleacher Report (April 1, Dan Hope) – Texas A&M WR Mike Evans

o   SI.com  (April 1, Doug Farrar) – Buffalo LB Khalil Mack

o   NFL.com (April 1, Bryan Fischer) – Notre Dame OL Zack Martin

o   Yahoo! Sports (April 1, Shaun King) – Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews

o   WGR 550 (April 2, Joe Buscaglia) – Texas A&M WR Mike Evans

o   USA Today’s The Big Lead (April 2, Jason McIntyre) – Michigan OT Taylor Lewan

o   ESPN.com (April 3, Mel Kiper Jr.) – Michigan OT Taylor Lewan

o   Pro Football Talk (April 7, Mike Florio) – Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews

o   SB Nation (April 7, Dan Kadar) – Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews

o   Sideline View (April 8, Lance Zierlein) – Michigan OT Taylor Lewan

5 – Can I get seconds?
Seven mock drafts have included second round selections.  Selections include: Washington TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (3), Wisconsin LB Chris Borland (1), Ole Miss WR Donte Moncrief (1), UCLA G Xavier Su’a-Filo (1) and Tennessee OT Antonio Richardson (1).

6 – Who had who first? 
The first mock draft charted was on December 18, 2013 from ESPN’s Todd McShay projecting the Bills to take Michigan OT Taylor Lewan.

Special thanks to the Bills media relations department for diligently charting the mocks.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Sleeper RB West getting lots of attention

Posted by Chris Brown on April 8, 2014 – 11:24 am

Towson RB Terrance West, who had a solid if not spectacular workout at the NFL combine in February, had his pro day Monday on the Towson campus and reportedly drew scouts from 22 NFL clubs.

As the Baltimore Sun reported, West, who rushed for better than 2,500 yards and 42 TDs in 2013, brought the Tigers all the way to the FCS title game last season. At 5’9″ 230 pounds West is built like a bowling ball with tree trunks for legs.

The Bills were one of the teams represented at the pro day. There one of several teams that figure to be making him a consideration come rounds three and four in May. West ran a 4.54 40 time in Indianapolis had 16 reps on the bench, a 33.5-inch vertical and a 10-foot broad jump.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: OL prospect Thomas tears ACL

Posted by Chris Brown on April 7, 2014 – 2:10 pm

It’s not the kind of news any NFL prospect wants to get just a month before the NFL draft, but Clemson OL Brandon Thomas got the worst news he could hear concerning the start of his pro career.

According to ESPN NFL analyst Adam Caplan, Thomas tore his ACL last week.

Thomas was forecast as a third or fourth round prospect prior to the injury. The ACL tear could easily drop him to the fifth or sixth round.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-4

Posted by Chris Brown on April 4, 2014 – 12:24 pm

The 2014 draft is just over a month away and the pro days are winding down. Among the big ones left are Penn State (April 8), LSU (April 9) and Georgia (April 16).

For now here are some of your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Chris,

If a scenario happens where say the big 3, Clowney, Mack and Watkins were gone and either/or Bortles, Bridgewater and Manziel fell to the Bills at #9. Do you see any chance the Bills would have interest? I’m of the mind that we need to give EJ Manuel a healthy and fully educated season to see if he’s the man. That being said if a team sees a potential franchise QB drop into their lap I guess you do have to consider it.

Enjoy your work Chris,
Thanks Wally James
Fredericksburg ,VA

CB: That’s an interesting scenario you’ve painted. I think the Bills have been clear that they are all in on EJ Manuel as their franchise quarterback. As tempting as it may be to draft Johnny Manziel if he is there at nine, you have to look at this the way the Bills or any other NFL franchise would.

They invested more than a year of research, scouting, testing and projecting to make their determination that EJ Manuel is fully capable of being their franchise quarterback and excelling for them on the field. That kind of commitment mandates that you do everything you can as an organization to help him succeed. Drafting a quarterback ninth overall this year, no matter who it is, does not achieve that mandate.

If the value at nine is right for a player who can more effectively help EJ Manuel on the field this year on offense then another player will be the pick. Not Johnny Manziel. If the value is not right then I see the Bills moving back to allow another club to trade in to take Johnny Manziel and gain valuable picks in the process, not unlike they did last year (See: Kiko Alonso).

 

2 – Chris,
Thanks for all you do. With all of the cuts of high priced veterans (Revis, Peppers, etc) do you anticipate Mario Williams to survive the length of his contract in Buffalo?   Or do you anticipate the Bills parting ways to free up $16+ million in cap space.

-Jim

CB: High-priced players sometimes do not see the end of lucrative contracts, and you’ve provided more than one example above. When contracts aren’t guaranteed, as is the case in the NFL, there are no guarantees a player will see the end of it with the club that signed him.

That being said the Bills are among the most fiscally responsible teams in the league and rarely put themselves in a position of having to fire sale the roster. The last time it happened was in 2000 when late GM John Butler, being so tied to Hall of Famers Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed compromised the team’s salary cap health until he unfortunately had to cut all three on the same day.

It served as a lesson to this organization to not fall into such a situation again.

So while I certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a day coming when the Bills do decide to part ways with Mario Williams prematurely, I think they also try to maintain a measure of responsible spending to allow for a couple of lavish contracts on the roster.

 

3 – Chris,
As always thank you and everyone who help to inform Bills nation. My question is on the defensive side,  now that Byrd is gone for sure who do you see stepping up next to Williams? I know Searcy saw a good deal of time last season in spot duty for Byrd early on(along with Leonhard), but do you see him as a full time starter? I really like him as a third safety you can put in the box and play on special teams personally.

Do you think Duke Williams could be the next guy or Meeks maybe? Or maybe a replacement could be found in the draft. Also what do you make of the defensive end position as a sleeper positional need? Do you see any of the “tweeners” (Hughes or Lawson among others) possible switching to or back to the d-end position? Or do they stay at linebacker? Look forward to hearing what you think thanks again!
Will

CB: Doug Marrone has given indication that Corey Graham will be given an opportunity to play safety alongside Aaron Williams, so he’ll be part of the competition and I like the open-minded thinking there. He’ll be in direct competition with Duke Williams and Jonathan Meeks. I really liked what I saw from Williams in both the practice setting and the preseason last year. I think his athleticism caters well to the versatility you need nowadays at the safety position. He played corner at Nevada so coverage assignments down on the line aren’t an issue for him.

We just didn’t see enough of Meeks last year with the injury to know what he can offer. Searcy while capable of playing safety really carved out a niche for himself as a nickel LB. He had a very productive season there so I’m not sure the coaches will want to mess with that.

As for defensive end, I think the priority is getting Jerry Hughes signed to a long term deal as he enters the final year of his rookie deal. Provided they can get a deal done they should be okay there.

With coach Marrone saying at the league meetings last week that they’ll primarily be a 4-3 front defensively I do see Hughes and Lawson joining Mario Williams as the primary defensive ends in Jim Schwartz’s defense. Whether they decide to add through the draft remains to be seen, but that’s a pretty darn good trio.

 

4 – HI CHRIS,
I am absolutely delighted that the Bills have re-signed K Dan Carpenter,but I am perplexed as to why the Dolphins released him. Was he a problem in Miami or was it a money situation??
Regards from
Richard
Los Angeles

CB:
The Dolphins found him expendable because they drafted a kicker in the middle of the fifth round last year in Caleb Sturgis. Miami was apparently disappointed in Carpenter, who had struggled a bit early in the 2012 season and was hurt for the last two games that year. The investment in Sturgis practically predetermined how the “competition” was going to turn out in Miami last summer.

What I enjoyed was watching Carpenter succeed on almost 92 percent of his attempts, almost half of which came from 40-yards plus. He finished tied for 10th in the NFL in field goal accuracy and only two kickers ahead of him (Gostkowski, Tucker) had more attempts from 40-yard plus than him.

Meanwhile Sturgis finished 29th in field goal accuracy at 74.6%.

From 40-yards plus last season Carpenter was an impressive 14-for-17 (82.3%) including 4-for-6 from 50-yards plus. Sturgis was 11-for-17 (64.7%) and he played half his games in Miami. Carpenter had seven games in Buffalo.

 

5 – Hi Chris,

I have a hypothetical question for you. If Sammy Watkins was still available when the Bills are picking do you think they may pass on him because he is reportedly to be represented by Eugene Parker? I think it would be a fair observation to say that Eugene Parker is developing a reputation for causing the Bills front office grief when it comes to contract negotiations with Jairus Byrd and Jason Peters being prime examples.

From an outsiders prospective if the Bills were to select Watkins and he performs as expected, then we would only have him for the length of his rookie contract before he ventures off to “greener pastures”. Do you think teams are impacted by who the players selects as their agent when deciding who to draft particularly in the first round?

Regards
Matt
CB: I don’t believe that NFL clubs factor in the agent for the player when assessing their grade for the player on their draft board. Knowing that I tend to believe the Bills and every other NFL team chooses a player based on his ability on the field, potential, character makeup, passion for the game and fit for their team. So if Sammy Watkins is on the board at nine, which I don’t think will happen, then I see the Bills running the card up to the podium with his name on it.

Your point is a valid one, but the opportunity to get one of the best prospects in the entire class at a position of need trumps any concern you might have about him staying with the team for his second contract.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kiper mocks Bills 1st 3 picks

Posted by Chris Brown on April 3, 2014 – 2:44 pm

Mock drafts are flying in left and right this time of year as the 2014 draft is just over a month away. ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper has taken on the task of making mock picks for all 32 teams in the league through the first three rounds. His picks for Buffalo are pretty interesting as he addressed some of the perceived top positional needs for the team.

Here’s how things fell in Kiper’s mock picks for Buffalo.

Buffalo Bills
Top needs: RT, WR, S, TE

Round 1 (9) OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Round 2 (41) TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
Round 3 (73) WR Brandon Coleman, Rutgers

Analysis: I’d like to find a good matchup threat in the passing game for my young quarterback. But keeping him healthy is the first concern, and getting Lewan — who easily could have been a top-two pick last season in a thinner draft — at No. 9 is a good value at a position of need. The draft is deep with pass-catchers, and I take advantage of that in Round 2, taking Seferian-Jenkins even ahead of Jace Amaro. Scott Chandler is a pretty good player, but “ASJ” is at another level athletically, and his presence could also allow Buffalo to involve some two-tight end looks. I’m taking a shot on a big target in Round 3. At 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, Coleman provides great length and the ability to make plays over defenders. I also see safety as a need, but building around EJ Manuel wins out here based on how the board played out.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

2 notable measurables on CB Roby

Posted by Chris Brown on April 2, 2014 – 4:48 pm

Ohio State CB Bradley Roby, who had a pre-draft visit with the Bills Wednesday, has a lot going for him when it comes to his athleticism. He also has a couple of noteworthy measurables that may separate him from some other cornerbacks in the draft class.

By no means do measurables paint the whole picture on a prospect, but Roby who stands just 5’11″ has 10 1/4-inch hands. Those were the biggest at the NFL combine at the cornerback position. What does it mean? Bigger hands can cater to being a surer tackler and can aid in securing the ball on potential interception opportunities.

Where Roby also performed best was his initial burst. His 1.47-second 10-yard split time on his 40-yard dash at the NFL combine was the fastest among cornerbacks, tied with TCU’s Jason Verrett. Such a short area burst will help in the quick change of direction situations that cornerbacks face all the time.

Just a couple of unique ingredients to the total package that is Roby.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

CB Roby has eight scheduled visits

Posted by Chris Brown on April 2, 2014 – 12:42 pm

Ohio State CB Bradley Roby, who is visiting with Buffalo today at One Bills Drive has a busy pre-draft schedule in front of him.

 

In an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Roby said he had eight pre-draft visits counting his one today (Wednesday) with the Bills. He didn’t mentioned all the teams he’ll be visiting with, but did lay out his schedule this week.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills not Seastrunk’s first visit

Posted by Chris Brown on April 2, 2014 – 12:38 pm

The Bills are hosting Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk along with Ohio State CB Bradley Roby and LB Ryan Shazier today in Orchard Park. But today isn’t Seastrunk’s first NFL pre-draft visit.

Seastrunk was visiting with members of the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff on Tuesday. He made the short trip up to Buffalo for Wednesday’s visit.

Top prospects typically have multiple visits in the final weeks leading up to the draft.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Mayock’s updated top 5 by position

Posted by Chris Brown on April 1, 2014 – 1:43 pm

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has updated his top five draft prospects by position for the 2014 NFL draft.

Among the interesting prospects moving up and down include Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater, who slid from first to third at quarterback. He also moved Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller ahead of Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert at cornerback. Gilbert is considered by other prognosticators as the top cover corner, but he’s got a slight build and doesn’t offer a ton in run support.

Mayock also moved Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix up to his top safety.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

TE Niklas related to OT Jake Matthews

Posted by Chris Brown on April 1, 2014 – 11:55 am

Notre Dame TE Troy Niklas, who is being hosted by the Bills on a pre-draft visit today (Tuesday), has some pretty impressive NFL bloodlines.

Niklas is the nephew of Hall of Fame OL Bruce Matthews.

“Going back to my childhood I always wanted to play in the NFL, watching my uncle (Bruce Matthews) play in the league,” said Niklas. “Seeing him get inducted in the Hall of Fame.”

His relation to the Matthews family is through his mother. Niklas’ mom and Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews’ mother are sisters. Matthews is projected as a top 10 prospect. As a result Niklas has no relation to Green Bay pass rusher Clay Matthews.

“Our families have spent some time in Texas. I knew him before he got big,” said Niklas of his Aggie cousin.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-28

Posted by Chris Brown on March 28, 2014 – 11:45 am

Pre-draft visits will begin next week. We’ll have you covered here at Buffalobills.com as the draft is just over a month away. Now we turn to some of your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hey CB,

Why are more people not talking about Martavis Bryant?  I saw his combine numbers and at 6 foot 5 I though they were quite impressive.  He was projected by some to go in the late 2nd or 3rd round and I was just thinking.  Wouldn’t that be a steal to get him in the 3rd round?  The bills need a tall receiver that can be a red zone threat.  Thank You

Morgan

CB: There’s no question that Bryant is an athlete after clocking a 4.42 at the NFL combine along with a 10’4” broad jump and a 39-inch vertical. His linear speed is unquestioned, but dropping his weight and getting in and out of breaks is still a bit of a question mark for him. He’s also considered a raw prospect, who wasn’t asked to run a full route tree at Clemson.

My biggest issue with him is his playing strength. Even though he had an impressive 16 reps on the bench it’s difficult to find that strength off the line or in traffic on the playing field in his game. He needs to add muscle to his frame as he goes just 211 pounds and has a slight build. Against the physical cornerbacks of the NFL he’s going to get knocked around. He’s probably a late second or early to mid-third round pick in a deep receiver class.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you believe his lack of “body of work” will lower the #Bills interest in Mike Evans? He just started playing ball.

rockydm92

CB: I think what intrigues most NFL clubs with Mike Evans is his amazing production despite still being young in football. As most talent evaluators see it there is a very high ceiling there knowing when he does gain more experience his production could be even better at the NFL level.

And the reason teams are happy to wait on that potential is because right now even in the NFL he’s a size mismatch and he should be able to produce just off his measurables to start. Then as he hones his game he’ll be an even greater asset to a team’s passing attack.

 

3 -  Chris,

With Jairus Byrd now in New Orleans, do you anticipate the Bills are happy with their current S depth with: Aaron Williams, Searcy, Meeks, Duke Williams?

Also a random question, do you know why the NFL football is nicknamed “the Duke”??

-Jim

CB: As you probably saw this week with our coverage of the league meetings in Orlando, led by our own John Murphy, head coach Doug Marrone is considering lining Corey Graham up at safety as part of the competition. It sounds like he’ll compete for a role there, in addition to cornerback, with Duke Williams, Jonathan Meeks and Da’Norris Searcy. Aaron Williams is a lock at one of the safety spots already.

As we outlined in our story on this development this week, Graham isn’t completely foreign to safety.

As for your question about NFL footballs being nicknamed ‘The Duke,’ here’s the history behind it courtesy of the Wilson Sporting goods website.

In honor of the late New York Giants owner, Wellington Mara, one of the most beloved and respected figures in professional sports history, the Official Football of the NFL is called “The Duke”.

Wellington Mara, who spent 81 years with the New York Giants and made numerous contributions to the NFL, was named Wellington by his father, Tim Mara, after the Duke of Wellington. He was given the nickname “The Duke” as a youngster by Giants players.

The NFL first used a ball in honor of Wellington Mara called “The Duke” in 1941 at the suggestion of George Halas, as Tim Mara (Wellington’s father) had helped him arrange for Wilson Sporting Goods Co. to become the league’s official supplier of game balls.

“The Duke” ball was used through 1969 but was discontinued prior to the 1970 season, the first to be played post NFL-AFL merger. The NFL and AFL continued using a Wilson football, but with a new design and no official name. In 2006, the NFL returned the name of “The Duke” to the ball after Mara’s passing in October, 2005.

 

4 – Chris,

I think the two best prospects the Bills should consider are Khalil Mack and Sammy Watkins. Which do you think fits the team better? They would bit the best player available. What chances to you think they might make it to 9? How should the Bills protect a team jumping up to 7 or 8th pick if they find a player they love?

Josh

CB: I don’t disagree that Mack and Watkins are two of the best prospects in the class, but I’d be surprised if either are available at nine. If either one gets past the fifth pick I think a few teams will be making efforts to move up to six or seven to grab them. If both are still on the board when Tampa Bay is on the clock at 7, I think it’d be very tempting for Buffalo to swap spots with Minnesota at 8 to ensure they would get at least one of them. Still, parting with picks is not what the Bills typically do. Then again it’s Doug Whaley’s first draft and we don’t have a track record to work with concerning his approach in a fluid draft situation.

 

5 – Hi, Chris!

What criteria did the Bills and New York Giants, and the rest of the NFL teams qualify to be the selected matchup for the annual NFL HOF Game? Does both the PFHOF in Canton, OH, and the NFL decide which teams to play, is the selection if teams always announced in February, especially after the Super Bowl? Thanks. Llewellyn.

CB:  The league doesn’t have a specific criteria, but the fact that both NFL franchises have some of their most popular all-time players being inducted in this year’s Hall of Fame class in Andre Reed and Michael Strahan does play a factor. The NFL also takes into account the likelihood of fans from the respective teams traveling to the game. Knowing that fans of the Bills and Giants will already be on hand for the induction ceremony, there’s a strong likelihood that many of them will make a full weekend of it and take in the Hall of Fame game Sunday as well.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Bills dine with Canadian OL

Posted by Chris Brown on March 28, 2014 – 8:25 am

Every year we see a few Canadian based prospects come off the board in the NFL draft. On day three a McGill University offensive lineman by the name of Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is likely to be one of them this spring. And the Bills were in attendance at his pro day workout this week.

According to the Toronto Sun, Duvernay-Tardif, following a workout that demonstrated his NFL caliber athleticism (40 time around 5-flat, 31.5″ vertical, 9’6″ broad jump and 34 reps on bench, 4.59 short shuttle) had dinner with one of Buffalo’s scouts in attendance.

Now this doesn’t mean the Bills are more interested in Duvernay-Tardif than any other prospect. What it likely means is the Bills, like most clubs when it comes to Canadian based players, has some more blanks to fill in on their final report on the prospect. Taking him to dinner and spending a few hours with the kid helps to accomplish that.

The problem I have with Duvernay-Tardif, as impressive as his workout may have been is he was more than 20 pounds lighter (298) than his listed playing weight (321). Prospects often shed weight so they can run and move faster. NFL talent evaluators will undoubtedly factor that into their evaluation.

That being said Duvernay-Tardif did enough to show he has NFL level athleticism and is forecast as a developmental prospect who will probably come off the board on day three (Rounds 5-7).


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills draft pick positions overall rounds 1-7

Posted by Chris Brown on March 27, 2014 – 4:59 pm

C.J. Spiller

We knew Buffalo would be picking ninth in each round of the 2014 NFL draft, but with all the compensatory picks now handed out, we now know the pick overall in each round for the Bills as well. Here’s a look at players the Bills have drafted in those overall slots including four players on the current roster.

Round 1 – 9th overall
1968 WR Haven Moses San Diego State
2010 RB C.J. Spiller Clemson

Round 2 – 41st overall
1984 WR Eric Richardson San Jose State
2008 WR James Hardy Indiana
2010 NT Torell Troup Central Florida
2012 T Cordy Glenn Georgia
2013 WR Robert Woods USC

Round 3 – 73rd overall
1977 WR John Kimbrough St. Cloud 

Round 4 – 109th overall
1970 LB Steve Starnes Tampa
1976 LB Dan Jilek Michigan
1987 DT Leon Seals Jackson State
1989 WR John Kolesar Michigan
1995 DB Ken Irvin Memphis State
2004 TE Tim Euhus Oregon State 

Round 5 – 149th overall
1967 DE Bill Wilkerson Texas El Paso (formerly Texas Western)

Round 6 – 185th overall
1971 RB Tyrone Walls Missouri
1995 DE Shannon Clavelle Colorado
1997 T Marcus Spriggs Houston

Round 7 - 224th overall 
1995 RB Darick Holmes Portland State
2008 WR Stevie Johnson Kentucky


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Posted in Inside the Bills