Inside The Bills

Mayock’s mock has no QB until 11

Posted by Chris Brown on May 8, 2014 – 10:35 am

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock does not have a quarterback coming off the board in his mock draft until pick 11 with the Tennessee Titans, and it’s not Johnny Manziel. He also has an interesting pick for the Bills.

Mayock’s most interesting choices as they could pertain to Buffalo happen at three where he has Jacksonville taking Khalil Mack despite the fact that they loaded up on defense in free agency and desperately need help on offense. He has Cleveland taking an offensive tackle in Jake Matthews at four even though they spent big money to keep Joe Thomas, and then Sammy Watkins fifth to Oakland.

At nine he has Buffalo taking an offensive tackle.

PICK NO. 9  — ZACK MARTIN – OT – NOTRE DAME
Eric Ebron is possible, but I would take Martin. You can play him at tackle or guard, even center, and he’ll do it at a high level. He will help make E.J. Manuel a better quarterback.

The first quarterback he has coming off the board is Central Florida’s Blake Bortles at 11 to Tennessee. He doesn’t have Manziel coming off the board until pick 16 to Dallas.


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Draft choice value aided by larger player pool?

Posted by Chris Brown on May 7, 2014 – 11:57 am

With 100 extra underclassmen in this year’s player pool there is a prevailing thought outside NFL front offices that picks for each of the 32 NFL teams carries added value. While there’s no question that the largest additional pool of talent in the draft’s history has helped in making the 2014 class deeper, the enhanced value of draft choices this year might not be as dramatic as some might believe.

Bills GM Doug Whaley, in a one-on-one interview during the Buffalo Bills Draft Special presented by New Era, set to air tonight at 7 pm on WKBW-TV Channel 7 in Buffalo, admits the value of everyone’s draft choices is enhanced to some degree, but doesn’t believe the value of a fourth-round pick would be more like a third-round pick in other years.

“You may not get a third round talent in the fourth round, but you can get a fourth round talent throughout the whole fourth round, or a third round talent throughout the whole third round,” Whaley said. “So it’s deep, but I believe you’ll get a lot of value wherever you pick in this draft.”

See the full interview with Whaley, relive EJ Manuel’s 2013 draft experience with Buffalo’s starting QB and watch film of prospects with Bills Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos. It’s all tonight in a one hour special on WKBW-TV Channel 7 at 7 pm.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Mayock on round 2 & 3 OT options

Posted by Chris Brown on May 6, 2014 – 12:15 pm

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock doesn’t believe the offensive tackle class is as deep as some NFL GMs have indicated. That’s why when asked to provide some options for pass protectors in rounds two and three he only had a handful.

“It’s not as deep a tackle draft as some might have you believe,” said Mayock. “I think there are going to be a couple of separate runs. The first is in the first round. I think you’re going to see five tackles go. Then I have four guys before the ground kind of falls away and there’s a big drop. So Joel Bitonio, who a lot of people like inside. Morgan Moses, Jack Mewhort from Ohio State, who a lot of people see inside and Ja’Wuan James from Tennessee, who I think is a starting right tackle. Those are the guys on the second day, second and third round guys.

“Then there’s a significant drop off. So I do think there’s going to be a run on those four guys. Then it becomes Tiny Richardson from Tennessee, Michael Schofield from Michigan and Cameron Fleming from Stanford. They’re all right tackles. I think Hurst is a swing
tackle from North Carolina. They’re all a drop-off  ability-wise with the exception of Seantrel Henderson from Miami who has first-round talent, but has so many issues off the field. I  think there are going to be a couple tackle runs.”


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Mayock on round 2 & 3 WR options

Posted by Chris Brown on May 6, 2014 – 12:01 pm

While as many as seven wide receivers have been projected to come off the board in round one, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock believes there will still be a ton of talent to choose from at the position on day two of the draft. Here’s his assessment of round two and three receiver talent that should be available.

“In round two at wideout Davante Adams from Fresno State, a guy that’s really moving up a lot of board, Cody Latimer, a big guy that ran 4.4 coming off a foot injury from Indiana. A one-year wonder from Clemson Martavis Bryant. You want to talk about a guy with ability, almost 6’4″, ran in the 4.3s, jumps out of the gym, an explosive talent. He’s a one-year production guy, which I think scares people. But his physical skill set is so awe-inspiring, he’s probably going to go into (round) two.

“Allen Robinson in the third round from Penn State. If you’re looking for a speed guy, Paul Richardson from Colorado. He flies.”

I’m not in agreement with Mayock about Latimer. He’s going to be a first round pick somewhere in the 20’s. I’ve got him going ahead of Marqise Lee and others. My mock will be up Wednesday morning. Latimer’s game against Michigan State was impressive. He was boxing out one of the most physical corners in this draft in Darqueze Dennard and making catches like he wasn’t even there, and he’s a very good downfield blocker. Power and speed alone will push Latimer into round one.


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Two more mocks go TE, OT for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on May 6, 2014 – 9:45 am

The two latest mocks both come from the Monday Morning QB site today (Tuesday). And for the Bills the picks run along the typical lines that we have seen.

Peter King has the Bills taking a tight end while Greg Bedard went with an offensive tackle. Here were their assessments.

Bedard

9. BUFFALO: ERIC EBRON, TE, NORTH CAROLINA

Scott Chandler is a solid tight end but the Bills can and need to do better at the position. Ebron’s ceiling is very high. This is not too early for him.

King

9. BUFFALO: TAYLOR LEWAN, OT, MICHIGAN

Bills stunned that Lewan’s still hanging around, and they pass on tight end Eric Ebron, who could be a great security blanket for E.J. Manuel. Keep in mind that GM Doug Whaley is very much open for business here, and could trade down and still get another guy they love: Odell Beckham.


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Steelers top teams with most drafted starters

Posted by Chris Brown on May 5, 2014 – 5:21 pm

As we covered in our third installment of ‘On the Clock’ driven by Michelin – ‘Believing in building through the draft’ we outlined how more of the successful NFL teams have draft picks as starters. It’s not an absolute by any means, but clubs with more homegrown talent tend to enjoy more success. Here’s the rankings of teams with the most starters on their roster who were their own draft choices.

The Bills are tied for the fifth-most draft choices that are starters on offense or defense. Here’s the rundown with Pittsburgh on top with 18.

# Starters            Team    
18                           Pittsburgh
17                           Green Bay
17                           Minnesota
16                           New England
15                           Atlanta
15                           Cincinnati
15                           San Francisco
14                           Baltimore
14                           Kansas City
14                           Philadelphia
14                           San Diego
14                           Seattle
14                           St. Louis
13                           Arizona
13                           Buffalo
13                           Dallas
13                           Houston
13                           NY Jets
12                           Cleveland
12                           Tennessee
11                           NY Giants
10                           Carolina
10                           Denver
10                           Detroit
10                           Miami
10                           New Orleans
9                              Chicago
9                              Jacksonville
8                              Indianapolis
8                              Oakland
8                              Tampa Bay
8                              Washington


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Latest mock goes OT for Bills at 9

Posted by Chris Brown on May 5, 2014 – 4:46 pm

NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah just submitted his latest mock. And while I have no idea which numbered mock this is for him he is going with offensive tackle for the Bills at nine.

The way Jeremiah has the board unfolding, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews is still on the board since he has Taylor Lewan going sixth overall to Atlanta. It’s interesting how these next two tackles after Greg Robinson (Auburn) have flip flopped a lot during the pre-draft process. After Matthews was long the favorite to be the second off the board, now more mocks (Jeremiah’s and Kiper’s) have Lewan coming off the board first. In any event here’s Jeremiah’s liner for the Bills pick.

PICK NO. 9 – BUFFALO BILLS – JAKE MATTHEWS – OT TEXAS A&M — Matthews would team up with Cordy Glenn to give the Bills an outstanding set of young offensive tackles.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Jeremiah’s mock draft is he doesn’t have North Carolina TE Eric Ebron coming off the board until 17 to Baltimore.


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Just handful of backs that can do it all

Posted by Chris Brown on May 4, 2014 – 9:43 am

On Buffalobills.com today (Sunday) we took a closer look at the popularly held contention that running backs are devalued because the NFL is now a passing league. While we found statistical evidence showing the value of the run game in today’s NFL is as healthy as ever, Carolina GM Dave Gettelman did make a good point on the lack of ‘do it all’ running backs.

“I think that the typical NFL run game is very different from the college run game so there’s an adjustment for those guys,” Gettelman said last week. “Eddie Lacy comes out of Alabama and that’s a prototypical NFL run game. There are fewer guys coming out with that kind of background.
“The position has been de-emphasized at the college level and it’s a tough adjustment. The other thing is blitz pickup is a huge issue. It’s big. What’s happened on the college level is those running backs aren’t doing any blitz pickup stuff. That takes a lot of time. You take a running back in the first round he better be a three down guy right now and there better not be any question in your mind that he can figure out the blitz stuff because it’s a real problem. It’s a real issue.
“The number of running backs that come out of college with legitimate blitz pickup ability, it’s scarce. They’re rare. They really are. There are some guys you can watch 10 tapes on and they never pick up the blitz. Third down, let me run my arrow, my circle or my screen. It’s a big problem.”
Now backs like Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde and Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk do have a good amount of tape showing their pass protection skills. LSU’s Jeremy Hill is another that has been asked to do it, but wasn’t quite as effective in the eyes of most scouts. There are a handful of others in the draft pool, but for those that don’t have that on their resume it becomes another projection for scouts and that’s a guessing game. And scouts like to guess as little as possible.
Not surprisingly, Hyde, Hill and Seastrunk were all backs who made pre-draft visits to the Bills.
ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay believes the value at running back this year is very good even though we might only see one or two come off the board in the second round.
“There’s still value there and for some teams there’s more value than others,” McShay said. “There were five backs in the second round and two years ago there were three in the first and two in the second. We’ve averaged five in the first two rounds the last few years, but I think there will be 11 backs from the end of the second round to the end of the fourth round and that’s a high number. There are a lot of good backs, but not great backs that would go in the first round.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-2

Posted by Chris Brown on May 2, 2014 – 11:45 am

The draft is next Thursday (finally). Here are some of your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net about the draft and other topics concerning the Bills. Be sure to follow our wall to wall draft coverage on Buffalobills.com and live on the @johnmurphyshow, which can be found on the Bills app or locally on WGR Sportsradio 550.

1 - Hey Chris,

In my opinion, Coach Marrone’s biggest mistake in year one was not having an experienced NFL quarterback on the roster to fill in for EJ. Boy, did the Bills ever pay for that oversight. How, then, is it possible that Doug Whaley has NO PLANS to sign a veteran QB for 2014? Can you shed some light on the thinking at One Bills Drive? Because it sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

Also, something I thought to be a no-brainer now looks as though it’s not going to happen……Why haven’t the Bills signed Jim Leonhard?!?

Thanks for everything,

Kenny in Indiana
CB: I would argue that it was not an oversight. They had Kevin Kolb on the roster. He was supposed to be EJ’s backup, but a preseason concussion landed him on injured reserve two weeks before the season started. The free agent market was a barren landscape of quarterback talent. Fortunately they swung a trade to land Thad Lewis, who is a player the front office and coaching staff is very high on as a backup.

He is the reason why they chose not to pursue a veteran free agent option. He’s had a year in the system and he and EJ now have a full time quarterback coach, who by the way worked previously with both of them (EJ at the Senior Bowl, Thad in Detroit).

As for Leonhard my only guess is he was seen as an ideal fit in a new defensive system last year that he was wholeheartedly familiar with and could teach to the younger players. Now with the scheme change he may not be seen as quite the same fit.

 

2 – Hi Chris,

The transition from Buddy Nix to Doug Whaley has seemed to go very smoothly.

My question is about Doug Whaley’s basic draft philosophy. Buddy Nix was on record saying he didn’t like to move in the draft, whether it was up or down.

I would love to see the Bills move down in the 1st round this year, pending a dance partner, to get more pick(s).  There appears to be a lot of talent in the 2nd & 3rd rounds. Do you think Doug Whaley will be more proactive to move down in the draft than Buddy?

P.S.  I hope 2014 is the year you get to report about more wins than losses!
Trade Down Tim

CB: I do think that Whaley is more aggressive by nature to make a deal. He was very honest about keeping all options open with their pick at nine. That includes trading up, which I think is a distinct possibility. We’ll see what happens, but at the pre-draft press conference I was encouraged by this comment from Buffalo’s GM.

“If you have a calculated system, and you use that approach, and the deal makes sense, and you see hey, we can move down to this point and still get a guy that we’re excited about, pick up another pick, then don’t be afraid to make the deal,” Whaley said.
3 – Chris,

I saw a rumor going around on nfl.com saying that Houston is “trying very hard to move down to acquire draft selections” and that Buffalo is a potential trade partner.  I would like this move and I hope Buffalo goes for the #1 pick.  I would love to see them pick up Greg Robinson or Sammy Watkins.  Do you think this is a good possibility?  Who do you think they would be chasing after to give up picks to make sure they land?

Thanks,

Alec……..Adams, NY

CB: I tend to doubt the Bills will move up to the top spot. Even the Bills at nine would have to give up an awful lot to make that happen. That being said I do think that moving up to a spot between 4 and 6 is a possibility if the right player is still on the board for them. There’s no way to gauge the likelihood of that happening because there’s no way to tell whether the compensation offered will be accepted for such a move to occur. I do think if the right talent is sitting there on the board Buffalo will at least make an attempt to make something happen.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

With the passing of Mr. Wilson how will this affect spending for the organization in the coming months? Certainly, the staff had a license to spend when he was alive but given that his estate needing to be settled, was a plan put into place so the day to day and free agent spending would not have cash limits. I  just wonder when a player needs to be paid millions of dollars to sign who writes that check now?

Thanks,
Chris Z.

 

CB: As team President and CEO Russ Brandon and GM Doug Whaley said at the pre-draft press conference their operations as a football club are unaffected moving forward. Here are their direct quotes.

Doug Whaley – “The ownership situation has no bearing on us trying to win football games.”

Russ Brandon – “In regards to the ownership transition, it’s business as usual in every facet of our operation.”

 

5 – Chris,

Does Austin Seferian-Jenkins fit what the Bills are looking for in an athletic tight end? Does he have the speed to be a juke type of tight end? I think he’s the second best tight end beside Ebron. Is he a viable candidate in round 2?
CB: He is a round two prospect so I suppose he is an option if Ebron isn’t the pick in round one, but I just don’t see him as a fit for Buffalo. He is a giant man, but he does not have the athleticism of Ebron. Apparently no one else does in the class at the position either. Seferian-Jenkins has above average athleticism for a tight end his size (6’5 ½” 262), but there are work ethic questions about him and some off the field issues. There’s not a lot of wiggle to him after the catch as he generally tries to run through defenders. He’s still a work in progress when it comes to blocking.


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Mayock: Tampa might take Ebron

Posted by Chris Brown on May 2, 2014 – 9:23 am

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock was asked specifically about what he thinks the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will do with the seventh overall pick. Mayock threw out a couple of names, but in his mind they’re taking a playmaker for their passing game.

“I think Tampa Bay is in a pretty good place to get a really good football player,” said Mayock. “The tight end, Ebron, I think his interest starts right there in Tampa. He’s going to go somewhere between seven and 13. So with Ebron if you have a playmaker to help that offense, I think it would be awesome. They’re in a good place to sit and get a playmaker.”

Other draft prognosticators have Tampa Bay taking Mike Evans in the seven hole, which also makes sense. Knowing the success that Josh McCown had in Chicago’s offense last season with two big wideouts outside in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, one has to think that Bucs GM Jason Licht is at least thinking about trying to duplicate that in Tampa for McCown with Vincent Jackson and another big target. Of course Ebron could fit that role as well.


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4 round mock goes TE, DE, OT, ILB for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on May 2, 2014 – 9:12 am

NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks put together a four-round mock draft this week in advance of the real thing next week. His picks for the Bills certainly addressed some of their most pressing positional needs, but predicting how things are going to unfold over four rounds is a pretty tall order.

Brooks has Buffalo staying at nine and taking North Carolina TE Eric Ebron. Then from there things get interesting. Here are his picks over the first four rounds for Buffalo.

Buffalo Bills

Round 1 (9): Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Round 2 (41): Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
Round 3 (73): Ja’Wuan James, OT, Tennessee
Round 4 (109): Jordan Zumwalt, ILB, UCLA

Crichton is one of the best defensive ends in the draft class and he did make a pre-draft visit with the Bills. Ja’Wuan James is a player we profiled on Buffalobills.com today and is a plug and play right tackle. Zumwalt is an overachiever, who is not an ideal measurables player, but is smart and versatile.


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Andre Reed to announce Bills 2nd rd pick

Posted by Chris Brown on May 2, 2014 – 9:06 am

The Bills will have a Hall of Fame presence at the NFL draft a week from today.

Bills Hall of Famer to be Andre Reed will be on hand at Radio City Music Hall for day two of the 2014 NFL draft next Friday to announce the Bills second-round pick.

The NFL is having 32 NFL greats representing each team in round two to come out and announce the picks. Other former Bills who are participating include Hall of Famer James Lofton, who will announce the Packers pick and London Fletcher, who will announce Washington’s pick.


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Mayock weighs in on OT Zack Martin

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2014 – 5:41 pm

The Bills personnel department touted Zack Martin’s versatility as one of his best attributes, but they see him as an offensive tackle first and foremost. After 52 starts at tackle for Notre Dame you can understand why. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock agrees with Buffalo’s assessment.

“I love the kid. Even though I have him fourth as a tackle, he’d be my number one center or my number one guard. I  believe that he is the only player in this draft that could start and play at a high level at all five offensive line positions,” said Mayock. “I think as we get closer to this draft, he will be the fourth offensive lineman off  the board.”

What was most interesting was the range in which he thought Martin would come off the board.

“I think he’s coming off the board somewhere between nine and 13. He’s too good. He’s too safe,” said Mayock. “There are too many offensive line needs out there. There are a bunch of teams that look at him and say, He could start at right tackle day one, maybe we move him inside to guard or center the next year. He’s awesome. He’s about as safe a player as there is in this draft. If you want him, you better get him early.”

Obviously 9-13 is a range that includes the Bills first round pick.


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Mayock on how many WRs could go in 1st

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2014 – 2:49 pm

By now everyone has heard that the 2014 draft offers one of the deepest classes of receiver talent in a long time. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock believes a good number of wideouts could come off the board in round one.

“I think there’s a chance that six wideouts will go in the first round and (Sammy) Watkins and (Mike) Evans will be the first two,” said Mayock. “I think the next two are going to be Odell Beckham from LSU and Brandin Cooks from Oregon State. Beckham is an explosive kid with return skills. He gets in and out of breaks as well as any receiver in this draft and has good size. Cooks is a smaller receiver, but might be the most explosive in the entire group and tough. Good route runner. Their value will start somewhere in that 13 to 20 range. After that Kelvin Benjamin and Marqise Lee come into play.”

There are a good number of reports out there now however, that Benjamin is unlikely to go in round one due to concerns about his one year of production and intangibles.


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Weighing Watkins vs. Evans

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2014 – 2:34 pm

Most NFL talent evaluators have Clemson’s Sammy Watkins as the top receiver on their draft board, but not far behind is Texas A&M’s Mike Evans. We asked NFL Network’s Mike Mayock to compare and contrast their respective games and how they were used may or may not help their transition to the NFL game.

“When I look at those wideouts it’s vanilla and chocolate. They make different flavors for different reasons,” said Mayock. “The Watkins kid is explosive. He’s a great route runner, great hands, tremendous run after catch. More than anything he’s a competitor. In addition to all the natural gifts he has there’s an edge about him when he plays and I love that.

“Mike Evans is more a product of what today’s NFL environment is. With the advent of the back shoulder throw has opened up the game for the big wideouts, the 6’5″ wideouts. Why? Because they can basically play outside the numbers. They don’t have to run as many routes and they don’t have to get in and out of breaks like the smaller wideouts, so they’re running a bunch of outside the number routes that become converted back shoulder throws. It’s just a jump ball. Anytime you get a one-on-one with a defensive back with his back turned and you get a big superior athlete and the odds favor the wide receiver. So Mike Evans I think is what today’s NFL is all about. He’s an outside the numbers and red zone guy.

“That being said I happen to think Watkins is a better football player.”

ESPN Monday night football commentator Jon Gruden also feels Watkins and Evans are two receivers whose games do not have much in common.

“I think Evans is a completely different receiver than Watkins, at least on the tape I’ve seen,” Gruden said. “Evans plays on the right side of the formation.  He is in a no-huddle offense.  He plays on the right every play. They don’t switch sides. He doesn’t go in motion. He’s not in the slot. He’s a big X receiver that is a prototype split end, much like Tampa already has in Vincent Jackson, a guy that is a dynamic force when the ball is in the air. He’s a threat to run it after the catch. When he wants to, he can be a dominant blocker.”

 


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Falcons ok to move back, but not out of top 10

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2014 – 6:50 pm

The Atlanta Falcons held their pre-draft press conference today (Wednesday) with GM Thomas Dimitroff. With a lot of talk about the Falcons being poised to make a move off their sixth overall pick, Dimitroff was asked about the prospect of moving out of the six hole.

Most of the talk has surrounded speculation that the Falcons will move up, perhaps all the way to the top spot to take Jadeveon Clowney in a deal with Houston. But Dimitroff hinted that there may be more value in moving back from six.

“It allows us to think about the  ability to move back as well,” he said. “There are some really, potentially, good opportunities to move back and potentially gain more picks in the draft.”

Dimitroff did not reveal the teams that he’s talked with, but did say he’s had some interesting discussions.

“I’ve talked to many teams about many things and trades are part of that,” said Dimitroff. “The big thing is to make sure you have an idea of what the compensation would be if something were to come to fruition in the draft. Whether you travel down that road or not it’s important to gauge what the compensation might be.”

Dimitroff called the quality of talent in the top 10 picks a “top notch top 10,” and predicted that while there may be a lot of movement with teams in the top 10 he doesn’t see many teams apt to move out of the high rent district.

“We’re excited to be in that top 10. This top 10 is so versatile. I just feel like there’s some really good versatile talent. I think you’re going to have some impact driven football players this year. It’s a very accomplished top 10,” said Dimitroff. “Most of the people that are in the top 10 this year, more than likely want to stay in the top 10. They may want to trade within the top 10, but they don’t want to trade out of the top 10.”

That could benefit a team like the Bills knowing their pick at nine would remain attractive if they wanted to make a move up the board. Atlanta already has 10 picks in this year’s draft, which is what has fueled the idea of a move up the board rather than back.

 


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McShay on the reviews of OT Kouandjio’s knee

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2014 – 4:56 pm

ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay routinely talks to NFL clubs during the pre-draft process and he has spoke to 10 about Alabama OT Cyrus Kouandjio, who was reportedly failed medically by some teams at the NFL combine back in February. Kouandjio tore his ACL in 2011 and had surgery. He has played each of the last two seasons without missing a game or a practice, but the x-rays and MRIs performed in Indianapolis obviously revealed something that didn’t sit well with some NFL team doctors.

McShay said the reviews on Kouandjio’s long term viability in the NFL with respect to his knee have been all over the map.

“I’ve gotten so many mixed reviews in terms of the durability and how concerned teams are,” said McShay. “I’ve talked to six different teams that have passed him (medically) and I’ve talked to four other teams that have either failed him or put a mark next to him where it’s going to significantly affect his draft grade. I haven’t talked to any other teams about him so that’s a sample there.

“As a football player I have him graded out as an early second round prospect. I thought he really struggled with consistency this year. The beginning of the year he had some bad tape, the middle of the year I thought he got a lot better. At the end of the year he struggled in that bowl game and it was not a fair fight in terms of facing an undersized and very fast defensive end in Oklahoma, but he’s got to get used to it and adjust and I didn’t think he adjusted very well.”

“He gets off of balance a lot and his technique has got to improve. But the guy is almost 6’7” and 322 pounds. Forget his 40 time, he moves pretty well. He’s light on his feet and he’s got long arms, almost 36 inches. Big hands, 10 and a quarter inches. He can play. He’s going to be able to play at the level if the durability holds up and if he gets good coaching and continues to develop.

“He’s just not where he should be and he definitely should’ve gone back to school. There’s still a chance he’s a top 40 pick and if you get him early in the second round it’s a pretty good deal. If you’re comfortable with his medical and you have a good offensive line coach that you trust and you’re not forced to start him day one you get a good deal in Kouandjio. Three years down the road we might be talking about a good starting tackle in the NFL.”

Kouandjio was Buffalo’s last pre-draft visit last week, no doubt in part to get one last look at his surgically repaired knee.


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How Manziel draft drama could unfold

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2014 – 4:26 pm

QB Johnny Manziel is already the most headline grabbing prospect in this year’s draft. ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay believes that the heart stopping quarterback could create even more drama in next week’s draft if he gets past Cleveland at four, which at this point sound possible.

“Manziel I think it’s four or it’s going to get really interesting,” said McShay. “From what I understand there are discussions, as there is in every draft room, in the (Cleveland) organization that that’s the way to go. I think that would be a good fit and I don’t think every place would be a good fit for him. I think having Kyle Shanahan there and the west coast system and having had RGIII, and I’m not saying they’re the same player, but Johnny Manziel’s game is about movement and elusiveness. But I think he’s a good fit for them because they have the right people and right system in place.

“If he doesn’t go four the wild card is St. Louis. They won’t take him at two, but they could do some moving around and they’re rumored in a lot of potential trades. Les Snead likes to trade and Jeff Fisher isn’t opposed to it either. If St. Louis sits at two and takes an offensive tackle he’s not going to Jacksonvile, he’s not going to Oakland, he’s not going to Atlanta. I don’t buy the Tampa Bay rumors and if he gets past Minnesota he’s not going to Buffalo, Detroit or Tennessee or the Giants.

“So if he gets past four he could fall to 13 to St. Louis. I’m not saying St. Louis would take him at 13, but it’s a possibility. He’s on their radar and there are people in that organization who really like him. He’s the most polarizing player in this draft. If he gets past four it’s going to be the all-time drama. Where he’s going to go, who is trying to trade up? It’s going to make for an unbelievable scene if he’s on the board at five, but there’s a decent likelihood he goes four to Cleveland.”


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Pettine: Ideally we pass on QB at 4

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2014 – 10:27 am

A couple of the major pivot points at the top of the draft board are at third overall with Jacksonville and fourth overall with Cleveland. Armed with a multitude of picks this year, many believe the Browns will take a quarterback. The question is when? With 10 total picks including three in the top 35 they don’t have to take a QB at four and from the sound of head coach Mike Pettine they may not.

The Browns held their pre-draft press conference the other day and also began their first veteran player minicamp. Following a practice Pettine told the Akron Beacon-Journal that taking a position player at four is the preferable play.

“That’s been a big part of the discussion in the draft room,” Pettine said of addressing quarterback. “That’s a position that we know, as many others, that we’re going to need to address, and you talk about where you’re going to do it and the impact that it’s going to have on the rest of the team. Certainly it’s an ideal situation if you can get that quarterback later in the draft and that way you’re drafting a position player at four. But we’re in the business of, I think, staying true to our sequence, that if our fourth-best player or somebody rated above that is there at the fourth pick that we’ll feel comfortable turning the card in regardless of what the position is.”

When GM Ray Farmer was asked if the Browns considered a quarterback worthy of the fourth pick in this year’s draft Farmer chose to plead the fifth and did not provide a direct answer.

Teams like the Bills are naturally hoping that the Browns or some other club ahead of them takes a quarterback knowing it will push more of the talent Buffalo is interested in down the board to them at nine.

 


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Bucs open to moving back

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2014 – 5:22 pm

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held their pre-draft press conference today (Tuesday) and among the questions was the potential to move back or completely out of the top 10. Bucs GM Jason Licht is open to it citing the depth of the draft class.

“Well it is deep and 98 underclassmen [declaring] help that this year. I think that’s 25 more than last year. I think we were looking at our board and we have over 50 guys that we deem as draftable that are underclassmen, that’s essentially adding almost two rounds,” Licht said. “But that affects the top and that’s definitely something that we would look into and we’ve already reached out to teams and if our player isn’t there we would be open to conversations in moving back and picking up picks.”

Bucs head coach Lovie Smith then added his support for moving back, but then also talked about staying put or even moving up. It was a poorly played game of liar’s poker.

“It has been documented (that the draft is deep) and we think if that’s the case then there are a lot of good players a little bit further down in the draft,” Smith said. “At that seventh spot though we feel that we’re going to get a pretty good player there and how about moving up? What do you think about that?”


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