Inside The Bills

Draft class jersey numbers

Posted by Chris Brown on May 11, 2015 – 2:49 pm

They wore them all weekend, but in case anyone missed it here are the jersey number assignments for Buffalo’s six draft choices.

Ronald Darby – 28
John Miller – 76
Karlos Williams – 40
Tony Steward – 50
Nick O’Leary – 84
Dezmin Lewis – 13

 


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Report: Undrafted OT Collins signs with Dallas

Posted by Chris Brown on May 7, 2015 – 2:24 pm

LSU OT La’el Collins, who was taken off many draft boards last weekend due to his name being part of a murder investigavtion in Louisiana, has reportedly signed with an NFL club.

Per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Collins has signed a three-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys, which is fully guaranteed. The Bills had expressed interest in Collins. Head coach Rex Ryan confirmed on Wednesday that he had dinner with Collins. That dinner reportedly took place Monday night.

Buffalo, Miami and Dallas reportedly showed the most interest in Collins, who was forecast as a first-round pick before the news of the murder of Collins’ ex-girlfriend surfaced right before the 2015 NFL draft.

What’s strange is why Collins to go to a club with one of the best offensive lines in the league rather than join a team with a better chance to get on the field sooner.

 


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Florida St. leads NFL draft class

Posted by Chris Brown on May 6, 2015 – 12:17 pm

NFL.com’s Gil Brandt crunched the numbers for what schools produced the most draft choices and the Bills were a major factor in one school finishing on top. 

Florida State had the most draft choices with 11 followed by Louisville (10) and Florida (9) per Brandt’s tweet.  

The Bills were responsible for three of those FSU draft choices taking Ronald Darby, Karlos Williams and Nick O’Leary. 

Half of the Bills’ draft class hailed from Florida State this year. 


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Whaley: drafting to beat division a factor

Posted by Chris Brown on May 4, 2015 – 6:30 pm

In the wake of the 2015 NFL draft Bills GM Doug Whaley talked about how the actions of dIvision opponents can impact draft decisions at times. 

Appearing on NFL Network Whaley in explaining the Bills’ choice of CB Ronald Darby in round two had a couple of reasons. First and foremost Darby was the top player on their board at the time. Second the NFL has largely become a passing league. His last point however, dear with the AFC East clubs the Bills will face twice a season.

“I think when you look at your board, if everything is close between the two players, you’ll go with a need player or a guy that helps you win the division,” said Whaley. “Because to make the playoffs for sure, you have to win your division. So that’s the first stated goal of our team.”
With the Dolphins and Jets both reloading at receiver this offseason and the Patriots one of theist productive passing teams in football, grabbing a highly touted cornerback capable of playing press man could prove valuable should injury strike the position. 


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Kouandjio to be with brother for draft

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2015 – 9:18 am

Cyrus Kouandjio is younger than his brother Arie, but declared early for the 2014 draft and got to the NFL draft a year before him. Now with his older brother a part of the 2015 NFL draft class, Kouandjio will be with his brother and family this weekend.

“We’ll be down in Tampa with my family this weekend with him and watch the draft,” said Kouandjio.

Kouandjio will fly out of Buffalo this morning (Friday) as his brother, Arie, is projected as a third or fourth-round pick. Arie Kouandjio played guard at the University of Alabama. Cyrus followed Arie there out of high school and the two played together on the Crimson Tide’s offensive line with Cyrus playing left tackle and Arie playing guard.

Arie Kouandjio’s multiple knee surgeries are what could hurt him the most knowing medical evaluations differ from one team to the next. Cyrus Kouandjio knows all about that having lived it last year with some teams reportedly failing his surgically repaired knee at the NFL combine last year.

Cyrus has worked hard to calm his older brother’s nerves now that the process is coming to a conclusion.

“I try to tell him having been through the process, whichever team you’re going to you’re going to go to that team,” Kouandjio told Buffalobills.com. “It’s not about the draft, it’s about what you do once you’re on a team. He’s more focused on that and training every day and ready to get it over with.”

 


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Bills don’t re-stack board between days 1 & 2

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2015 – 12:45 am

With the advent of round one of the NFL draft standing on its own on day one of the three-day saga, it leaves NFL GMs and their personnel departments time to mull over what has come off the board and what’s left to grab at the start of round two. Some might think if certain prospects came off the board sooner than a team anticipated that they might feel compelled to re-rank their board in preparation for day two. Buffalo doesn’t subscribe to that line of thinking.

Bills GM Doug Whaley in an appearance on the John Murphy Show explained that once the board is finalized that’s it. The reason Whaley and his staff are confident that their board holds up no matter what happens is because of the way they stack it to begin with.

“For us, we’ve done this the last two years, we stack the players as if we had the first pick all the way down to our second-round pick (50th overall). So we’ll stack one through 50. So after round one we won’t re-calculate the board (Thursday night). We’ve already got them stacked. So we’ll keep peeling them off.

“We’ve done the work already, so names will go and when we pick at 50 we might say, ‘Well we’ve got our guy still up there at 50, but our guy at 35 is also still on the board, let’s pick him.’”


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A 2nd round pick on 2nd round picks

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2015 – 11:07 pm

The Bills obviously did not have a first-round pick to work with in this year’s draft, but as Friday approaches Buffalo’s pick at 50 could still land a quality player for the club. And if recent history is any indication GM Doug Whaley and the personnel department should do well.

Looking over the last few years Buffalo has some key core players on their roster who were former second-round picks.

2011 – Aaron Williams
2012 – Cordy Glenn
2013 – Robert Woods, Kiko Alonso
2014 – Cyrus Kouandjio

“I think all picks are very vital to a team,” said Woods, who was pick 41 in 2013. “I think Doug Whaley is on the right track getting guys in here. The second round pick has been very big in the past couple of years. It’s got to be a good one.”


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Gruden on Bills draft outlook

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2015 – 11:28 am

The 2015 NFL draft is just days away and despite coming from an offensive background as a former coordinator and head coach himself, ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden thinks Buffalo might fill some of the defensive holes in the draft.

“As far as what they’re going to draft, they’ve made a real good addition to their backfield in LeSean McCoy,” Gruden said. “I’m sure they’re going to look at replacing Kiko Alonso and lost a pretty good safety man (Da’Norris Searcy). So I think they’ll look for some things on defense, but I really like what they did trading up to get that receiver (last year) because Watkins is one heck of a player.”

Buffalo’s primary positional needs are widely seen as offensive line, linebacker and tight end.


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Does the draft board see changes this late?

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2015 – 10:03 am

Buffalo’s draft board is essentially finalized after the last pre-draft meetings over the past week. This late in the game many wonder if there are late risers or draft fallers on NFL draft boards in the final meetings to set the board for good. Bills GM Doug Whaley says there are a percentage of prospects that are moved.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show last week, Whaley admitted that in their final draft board meetings they do tweak some things and some late incoming information can impact a player’s rank on their board.

“You’ll tinker here and there. We have 200 to 250 guys on the board,” Whaley said. “By the time we hear from the coaches and listen to their final reports and hear the final medical reports there will be about 35 to 40 guys who may move.

“Are there drastic movements? Only physical or character things that may move a guy really far down, but mostly with the playing aspect they may move a round or two up. But it’s tinkering.”


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Mayock on QB Mannion

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2015 – 11:53 am

As our Draft Profile series concludes with Oregon State QB Sean Mannion we offer NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock’s take on the quarterback who worked in a pro-style offense in college.

Sean Mannion I’ve got him as my sixth quarterback,” said Mayock. “He took a beating. Not much at the wide receiver position (at Oregon State), the offensive line wasn’t very good. He throws with some anticipation and timing. He’s really skinny, big, tall. He’s got to accelerate everything he does from his reads to his physical movement skills. But he reminds me a lot of Mike Glennon when he came out of NC State. Glennon, I believe, went in the third round. I’ve got Mannion going either in the third or fourth, and I think he’s a guy that could, with development and strength, turn into an interesting quarterback.”


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Whaley: Really lucky with draft’s OL depth

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2015 – 10:01 am

There’s little debate that Buffalo needs to add to their numbers on the offensive line, particularly at offensive tackle. Fortunately for the Bills this year’s draft class offers some uncommon depth at the guard and tackle positions.

Bills GM Doug Whaley, who made an appearance recently on the Howard Simon show on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, believes the depth of offensive line talent is quite good in the 2015 class.

“We’re really lucky,” Whaley said. “Guard and the depth of offensive line is something we would be looking at, and this is a deep draft, not only on offensive line but at offensive tackle. Like the coaches have said, we’re going to tinker and put the best five out there. We’re not going to limit yourself to an interior guy, but we will go best offensive lineman. There’s a possibility at pick 50, a possibility in the third round, and a possibility of adding two.”

Buffalo currently has just three offensive linemen on their offseason roster.


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Bills have rep of being open for business

Posted by Chris Brown on April 24, 2015 – 12:48 pm

In our second installment of our ‘On the Clock’ Series presented by BENRUS, we outlined how an influx of new general managers in the NFL has changed the conversation on how to build a roster and acquire talent. Bills GM Doug Whaley has been one of the more aggressive deal makers in the NFL over the last league year (March to March) making eight trades. Whaley feels in the NFL draft that could serve as an advantage for the Bills.

“We’ve built a reputation that we’re open for business any time, any day, anywhere,” said Whaley. “When we’re looking to make a trade it’s a little more difficult because in the end they hold the cards. They hold the assets you’re trying to acquire. So you’re going to probably have to give up a little more than you want, hopefully not.”

Whaley said earlier this week that Buffalo is more likely to trade down than up due largely to the lack of assets to swing a trade. In an interview with Buffalobills.com, Whaley explained the key to a good deal.

“Just the part where everybody in the deal feel comfortable and no one feels slighted,” Whaley said. “That’s where the negotiation comes in and that’s the art of the deal. I rely heavily on (Bills Sr. VP of Football Administration) Jim Overdorf because he’s been doing it for so long because a lot of it is numbers with the draft chart. A lot of it is gut feel too. A team might come to us and say, ‘We want this guy and we’re willing to give up this.’ And we might say, ‘Well that doesn’t quite work for us, but how about this?’ So you just go back and forth.”


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Fan Friday 4-24

Posted by Chris Brown on April 24, 2015 – 11:32 am

Veteran voluntary minicamp is up this week beginning Tuesday and will roll us right into the draft Thursday night. Remember to stay close to Buffalobills.com online and on your mobile devices for full coverage of the Bills 2015 draft class as it happens. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

Any shot the Bills can get in on Rivers? Something like EJ and this year’s 2 and 5 or EJ and next year’s 1?

RealSteveRhodes

CB: The Philip Rivers trade chatter exists because of the quarterback’s comments, not the GM’s. Rivers has backed off his comments recently. That doesn’t mean that teams won’t be inquiring about the veteran QB’s availability. In a down year for quarterbacks it’ll be interesting to see what NFL clubs would be willing to offer, but I think the asking price would be very high if Tom Telesco even entertains an offer in the first place.

It’s my belief your trade proposals above would have to be improved to make a deal even remotely possible. Not having a one to offer this year I think removes Buffalo from consideration, and that’s if San Diego even decides to talk turkey. In a down year for quarterbacks I wouldn’t want to be hitting the reset button at that position, especially when my QB was an NFL MVP candidate for the first half of the season in 2014.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

2 players #Bills need this draft. MyCole Pruitt and Chris Bonner, what’s your thoughts, opinions?

mattgolden03

CB: While I think there are a lot of things to like about Pruitt’s skill set, I don’t know that he’s a match for what Buffalo is looking for at tight end. Buffalo has the versatile playmaker in Clay and a potential athletic understudy in Marqueis Gray. Chris Gragg is a good straight line athlete, so what’s left? In a power run scheme Buffalo needs a tight end that is an accomplished blocker. If they can offer short to intermediate pass catching ability all the better.

Prospects in this year’s draft class who fit that bill as I see it are Ohio State’s Jeff Heuerman and Delaware’s Nick Boyle. Heuerman probably comes off the board in day two and Boyle on day 3. Good, high character players as well.

As for Chris Bonner, I wouldn’t be opposed to using a seventh-round pick on the D-II QB prospect. For a 6-7 quarterback I’m impressed with the way he makes himself small in the pocket to avoid pressure, and then the feet he has for a 6-7 man, Bonner is pretty good at extending plays.

The basics of his arm mechanics are good. He’s got an over-the-top delivery. What he lacks right now is touch on the ball and arc. Too often he throws a laser no matter what type of route he’s targeting. Dropping throws in the bucket on deep outs or putting more loft on an over the shoulder pass are the things he needs work on.

What I think I like best about Bonner’s game is the way he’s able to avoid the inside rush in the pocket, keep his eyes downfield and re-set his feet to deliver the ball. His throws aren’t always great, but a feel for pocket pressure is tough to find in young QBs. I’m confident some NFL team will try to develop him.

 

3 – Chris,

What positions do you expect the Bills to target? With RB out of the way, do you see tight end as logical choice? Given they are trying to win this year it would make sense to draft someone to plug n’ play to start. The Bills could use depth on defense but it is more likely they will target a guard or tight end? Or where do you seem them going elsewhere with #50?

Sean Robbins

CB: I think offensive line will be a major focus at 50 and if the right value is there at offensive tackle or guard I believe that’s where they go. Players I like for the Bills at 50 (assuming of course they’re still on the board) are G/C A.J. Cann, OT Cedric Ogbuehi (provided the knee checks out), OT Donovan Smith and G Laken Tomlinson.

If none of those prospects are on the board at 50 I think that’s when best on the board truly comes into play. A good all-around OLB/DE would make the most sense for me knowing Manny Lawson is entering the final year of his contract, but I think defensive back, inside linebacker, defensive tackle are all on the table there if the offensive line options are gone.

 

4 – Hi Chris,

I’m a longtime Bills fan now living in Kentucky and really appreciate all the hard work you do reporting the happenings at One Bills Drive. It seems the Bills with the support of the Pegula’s have assembled an all-star coaching staff.  Are there any league rules that limit or restrict the number of assistants a team can hire or that can be on the sidelines during a game?

Thank you,
Mark from Louisville

CB: Thanks for the kind words. To my knowledge there is no limit to the number of assistants a club can have on a coaching staff. And you’re right it is an all-star staff.

 

5 – Chris,
First of all thanks again for the great coverage of the Buffalo Bills. My question is about the offensive line and in particular the two starting tackles from the 2014 season. I recall either Doug Whaley or Rex referring to guard and tackle as a need, I thought the addition of tackle was interesting. I know the Bills have seen Cordy Glenn as a tackle in the past but I’ve heard many times that he could be one of the best guards in football if kicked inside. With a new staff and o-line coach do you think they may see as a guard? If this were to be the case that leaves a hole at left tackle clearly. Leading to my next question which is do you think Seantrel Henderson could swing over to the left side? I thought he had his rookie woes early against some top flight talent (Houston game against Watt) but got better as the season went on. Do you think he could be a starting left tackle? This move would also lead me to believe that Cyrus Kouandjio could have a legitimate chance at winning the right tackle spot. Thanks again, I look forward to your insight on these potential moves.

Go Bills!
Phil Dabowl

CB: I think all options are open. Doug Whaley, Rex Ryan and my conversation with offensive line coach Aaron Kromer are all consistent. They will look to find what the best combination of five linemen is best for the starting offensive line. That means no move is off the table.

That being said it’s my belief that Cordy Glenn is the best tackle on this roster right now. The coaches might feel differently and they have a trained eye for what works best far better than I do. Asking Seantrel Henderson to flip to the left side is not outlandish, but I think in his second NFL season might be a bit premature.

There’s little question that Henderson has the physical skill set to play on the left side, but his NFL readiness for that position is the key question. I think Cyrus Kouandjio will also be given every opportunity to be an offensive tackle for this team as opposed to guard.


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Mayock: Day 1 readiness an issue at OT

Posted by Chris Brown on April 24, 2015 – 8:50 am

While the general consensus heading into the 2015 NFL draft is that it is a deep class of offensive tackles, there are no truly elite pass protectors in this year’s draft. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock broke down the OT class and explained why there’s a lot more of the ‘very good’ than the ‘great’ this year.

“As far as the offensive line class, let me put it to you this way; after Brandon Scherff, who was a tackle at Iowa and is going to get kicked inside and will probably go in the first 10 or 12 picks, after him, there’s an awful lot of question marks.

“Now, that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of talent, because there is. But I could take, for instance, Ereck Flowers (Miami), D.J. Humphries (Florida), Andrus Peat (Stanford) and T.J. Clemmings (Pitt). And all are gifted first round tackles but I can poke a hole in every one of those kids, either from a technique perspective or an off the field perspective or whatever.

“So what’s happened this year is that after Brandon Scherff and some teams like Cam Irving who could be a center, the kid from Florida State but as far as the tackle group is concerned, man, they’ve been pushed down a little bit in the first round, not because of talent, but because they’re not all ready to play day one.

“For instance, the reason I have La’el Collins as my No. 1 tackle is because out of that whole group he’s the only one where I bang the table and say: I think I know exactly what I’m getting. I’m getting a starting right tackle that can kick inside and play guard, but I’m getting a starter day one and he’s a body mover, I know what I’m getting. All those other guys have question marks, and I think they’re getting pushed down to the second half of the first round.”

That’s somewhat good news for the Bills, who could use a tackle in this year’s draft. With the top end talent this year getting pushed down to the latter half of the first round, and knowing the depth of the class, there should be a decent amount of capable prospects to choose from in rounds two and three should they choose to go in that direction.


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Kiper: QB a possibility for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 23, 2015 – 10:20 am

The Bills said back in January from a sheer numbers standpoint they would have to add at that position. At the time they only had EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel on the roster. Buffalo addressed the position by trade and free agency, acquiring Matt Cassel from the Vikings and signing Tyrod Taylor as a free agent. Now with the draft upon us, will they address quarterback again?

ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper believes it’s a possibility that Buffalo takes a quarterback. In his recent piece on NFL team needs entering the draft Kiper listed quarterback first for the Bills and suggested that Buffalo strongly consider taking one in the second or third round. In a national conference call earlier this week, Kiper explained his thinking and mentioned Baylor’s Bryce Petty specifically.

“I just felt like for Buffalo at that point, (Bryce) Petty a possibility in the second round,” said Kiper. “You bring in another quarterback to compete. Not sure about EJ Manuel, they brought in a veteran (Matt Cassel) you’ve got Tyrod Taylor as well. So I thought just bring in a guy like that. For the Bills they’ve got needs other than quarterback and if they feel they’re okay with their quarterback situation they could look for an offensive guard or an inside backer. Round two is where I think Petty could go. Could he go in round three? Sure, but I think a quarterback at some point in the first four rounds would at least have to be a possibility for the Bills.”

At this point the Bills do not have a first or fourth-round pick, so rounds two and three would be where Kiper’s suggestion would have to take place.


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Jeremiah goes LB for Bills in 2 rd. mock

Posted by Chris Brown on April 22, 2015 – 2:27 pm

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has put together a full two-round mock draft and has gone to the defensive side of the ball for the Bills with their first pick at 50th overall.

Jeremiah went with an outside linebacker at pick 50 taking UCLA’s Eric Kendricks. Here was his brief take on the pick.

50. Buffalo: Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA
Comment: Kendricks is instinctive and athletic in coverage.

Jeremiah likely sees that Manny Lawson will be entering the final year of his contract with Buffalo in 2015, and that coupled with the release of Keith Rivers and trade of Kiko Alonso gives credence to the possibility of a linebacker being taken on day two, if not round two, in round three.

 

 


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Whaley on 2nd tier of QB prospects

Posted by Chris Brown on April 22, 2015 – 12:49 pm

Just about everybody knows that Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are the top two quarterback prospects in this year’s draft class, but how NFL clubs stack the quarterbacks after that on their draft board is a matter of personal preference.

That’s Bills GM Doug Whaley’s opinion. In an appearance on the Howard Simon show this week on Bills flagship WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley laid out some of the QB prospects he thinks belong in the second tier.

“You’ve got Bryce Petty, Garrett Grayson,” said Whaley. “Those two guys are pretty good. (Sean) Mannion from Oregon State. Theres a clump of those guys where we say, ‘Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.’”

When asked specifically about UCLA’s Brett Hundley, who some clubs have ranked in that second tier, Whaley said the following.

“Guys like Brett Hundley are going to have a longer shelf life to try and get in and produce because he is more of I like to say an athletic thrower where Bryce Petty is more of an athletic passer,” said Whaley. “Those guys will take a little longer, like a Brett Hundley. But he’s in that group, it just depends. (For example) Brett Hundley in the Seattle Seahawks offense might be more attractive to Seattle, so that’s why I say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”

In contrast to Petty, who Whaley believes will have to adapt to a pro-style offense.

“You like his deep ball and his short game. You don’t like that it seems everything (in his offense) was pre-determined,” said Whaley. “He’s done some things on the field, but we’ve not seen him do things that we’re going to ask him to do. That’s where the question mark comes, and that’s where the balancing act of where do you have that value, can he do it, can’t he do it, you think he can and can’t’ so where do you put that value?

“Some people think he should go in the second round. Some people think he may take longer or may not be able to do that, and that’s why its harder now to scout these quarterbacks, because you can’t see them do what you want them to do.”

 


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Whaley on why moving back in draft makes sense

Posted by Chris Brown on April 21, 2015 – 12:45 pm

Each year every draft is different in terms of the caliber of players it contains. Bills GM Doug Whaley stated at Monday’s pre-draft press conference that they’re more likely to trade back than trade up if such an opportunity arose during the draft. Yes, part of the reason is because they’ve got limited ammunition to swing a deal with just six draft choices. But there’s another factor.

In this year’s draft pool, there’s a healthy consensus among league personnel executives that the difference in the caliber of the prospects from 25 to 75 is not significant. So an opportunity to move back is something that NFL clubs, including the Bills, would be open to discussing in that range.

“I will feel more sure about that after we finish setting our board this week,” said Whaley on the John Murphy Show this week. “But in a preliminary look at it we would have no adverse effect in the caliber of player we get if we move down some. Then we can pick up picks for later on this year or possibly next year.”


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Whaley on tight end need

Posted by Chris Brown on April 20, 2015 – 5:21 pm

The Bills held their pre-draft press conference Monday. During the free agent period the Bills signed TE Charles Clay, released Scott Chandler and let Lee Smith sign with Oakland. With four tight ends on the roster, Whaley was asked if there was a need to add one or two more heading into training camp.

“From talking to Coach (Greg) Roman, he’s a multiple tight end guy, so the more tight ends you get—he says sometimes he might use four on game day being active,” said Whaley. “It would not affect us. We have some young guys who are on the squad now that we’re excited to see how they progress. But if that tight end is the guy sticking out there in the second or third round or whenever, and we want to get him—it’s like a salesman.  When you’re a salesman, your boss never says, ‘Stop selling.’  Coaches never say ‘Stop getting me good players.’”

More important than a versatile tight end like Clay, the Bills would appear to need an in-line blocker type for their power run game.

 


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Rex’s role in draft decisions 

Posted by Chris Brown on April 20, 2015 – 2:54 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan and GM Doug Whaley are two men that see eye to eye when it comes to building a football team from personnel to playing style. So what does that mean for the level of input Ryan will be asked to provide when it comes to draft prospects?

Whaley at the team’s pre-draft press conference Monday indicated that Ryan will be able to weigh in just like the other coaching staffs.

“We always want to incorporate the coaches scouting process and their thoughts on players into what we’ve done,” said Whaley. “We started this process last May. We value what the coaches’ opinions on players and especially how they see them using them once they get to be Buffalo Bills. So we’ve done that with every coaching staff we’ve been a part of.”

 

 

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