He made this pick for the Bills in his first mock draft, and in his second mock draft, ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. again went quarterback for Buffalo’s pick at 10.
Kiper again selected Clemson QB DeShaun Watson for Buffalo at 10th overall. Here was his revised reasoning.
10. Buffalo Bills – 7-9
DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson
This is obviously based on the idea that Tyrod Taylor would be playing somewhere else. We’ll be able to say that definitively, one way or the other, in March. If there’s a big question here, it’s whether Watson is any more ready to start in year one than a quarterback who’s currently on the roster. I think the Bills will go a different direction if they’re able to bring in a veteran QB in March.
Kiper has just two quarterbacks going in round one with North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky going second overall to San Francisco, just like he did in Kiper’s first mock too.
Tags: 2017 NFL draft, DeShaun Watson, NFL mock draft
Posted in Inside the Bills
NFL.com draft analyst Charley Casserly put together his first mock draft and has a quarterback going to the Bills at 10. The only difference is it’s not Clemson’s DeShaun Watson.
Casserly mocked North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky to Buffalo at 10. In fact it’s the first quarterback he has off the board. Here’s his assessment.
Pick 10 – BILLS
Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina: Bills get the draft’s top quarterback in a weak group.
In fact Trubisky is the only quarterback that Casserly has coming off the board in round one. Meanwhile he has nine cornerbacks going in the first round.
Tags: 2017 NFL draft, Mitch Trubisky
Posted in Inside the Bills
Into the offseason we go. Franchise and transition tag window opens next week with the NFL Combine and free agency on the horizon. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.
1 – @ChrisBrownBills rank the following in likelihood from high to low. Romo, tyrod, rookie qb, someone else not mentioned starting.
CB: I’m going to put Tyrod first on this list only because he’s on the roster and under contract. Right now he’s the path of least resistance. He’s an asset that’s already here. A lot of national reporters are operating under the assumption that he’s as good as gone. I don’t subscribe to that contention. I believe it could go either way.
A rookie quarterback is a distinct possibility because regardless of what happens with Tyrod Taylor the team will have to add at the position. Obviously if the team moves on from Tyrod it would only increase the likelihood of that happening, and then this would move to the top of the list in terms of likelihood. But even if Taylor remains a Bill, EJ Manuel is a free agent. They’ll probably need another arm.
Romo is probably more likely to end up in Chicago, Houston or even Kansas City. At age 37 and with a long injury history it’s not an investment that looks all that attractive. There’s no denying his talent and his won-loss record, but at this point in his career the risk seems higher than the reward.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Tyrod unwilling to take a pay cut (don’t blame him), does that cement his dismissal?
CB: The reports that Tyrod is unwilling to restructure his deal with the Bills makes sense. First, despite the popular opinion that his contract is cost prohibitive, Taylor would be tied for 16th among starting quarterbacks in terms of average salary if the Bills pick up his option.
The past two seasons Taylor has finished seventh and ninth in Total QBR (ESPN metric).
Business-wise Taylor knows in a thin free agent quarterback market that he would be at the top of the free agent list if he was released by Buffalo, where he could potentially sign an even larger contract than the one he has with Buffalo.
Does it cement his dismissal?
I think that’s a strong way to paint the situation. While a lot of NFL business decisions are made because of money, I think the bigger factor in this particular decision is the collective opinion of the Bills front office in terms of whether they believe they can do better at the position than Taylor.
The front office has understandably been tight lipped on that subject.
That doesn’t mean money won’t be a factor. It’s probably 1A. But you have to be convinced that your product on the field can be more consistent and productive with someone besides Taylor. Then the next step is determining if that someone you have in mind is an asset you can realistically acquire.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills You’re in charge on Draft Day. Do you take QB Trubisky or WR Williams?
CB: This is a pretty easy decision to make based on what I think will happen in the draft. Of course as I’ve mentioned in this column before we’ve yet to see what’s acquired by the Bills in free agency. That could change their approach in the draft.
But in an effort to provide an answer I will say that this quarterback class does not appear to possess more than one prospect who is going to help a team on the field this year.
Trubisky is probably the closest thing and he’s a quarterback who couldn’t get on the field before this past season. All that being said I don’t think Trubisky falls out of the top three picks. Cleveland, San Francisco or Chicago all need quarterbacks, so one of them will take him off the board long before Buffalo is on the clock.
Going under the likely scenario that he’s off the board my preference in this particular draft is to wait on drafting a quarterback. None of the other QB prospects are NFL ready and that will continue to be a trend with the college game separating further and further from the NFL game (no huddling, no audibles, no calling plays). So that would leave me taking Mike Williams at 10 under your parameters.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Which RFA’s do you think the #bills will tender and at which comp. level?
CB: I think it’s a lock that they tender Mike Gillislee and Ryan Groy. Both had exceptional individual seasons for the Bills last year. In fact I think it wouldn’t be surprising if they tried to sign both players to long term deals to keep their cap figures more manageable.
Colton Schmidt had a bit of an up and down season last year. With a new coaching staff there’s always the chance that they could prefer someone else to Schmidt. Special teams coordinator Danny Crossman is still on the staff so that may help Schmidt’s cause.
The other thing to remember here is tendering Schmidt at the low level does nothing in the way of compensation protection. Schmidt was undrafted, so tendering him at the low level only gives you right of first refusal.
I’d be surprised if IK Enemkpali is tendered a qualifying offer.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills any time frame on Kyle Williams’ decision on retirement?
CB: When we spoke to Williams at the Pro Bowl it was clear he was still decompressing from the season. He did say he was encouraged by his initial conversations with new head coach Sean McDermott, and it’s clear his teammates are trying to get him to return.
I would anticipate that the club would ask that he make a definitive decision before free agency opens in March.
Tags: 2017 NFL draft, Colton Schmidt, Fan Friday, IK Enemkpali, Kyle Williams, Mike Gillislee, Mike Williams, Mitch Trubisky, NFL free agency, Ryan Groy, Tony Romo, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills
ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay unveiled his second mock draft and at 10th overall he went with a big wideout for Buffalo.
McShay had the Bills getting Clemson WR Mike Williams, recognizing the potential player losses that position could incur through free agency this offseason. Such a scenario would pair two former Clemson playmakers outside with Williams and Watkins. Here was his assessment on the pick.
10 – Buffalo Bills, 7-9
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Mitch Trubisky or DeShone Kizer could be in play here, depending on what happens with Tyrod Taylor. But the Bills have four WRs hitting free agency and would fill an immediate void with Williams. The Clemson standout has a good size-speed combination and shows the ability to create late separation when the ball is in the air.
It’s a pick that certainly makes sense in light of the potential losses at receiver in free agency. While there’s no debating that the Bills will have a need at cornerback and safety, the draft is deep at those two positions, so wide receiver could be a strong consideration early in the 2017 draft for Buffalo.
Tags: 2017 NFL draft, Mike Williams, mock draft
Posted in Inside the Bills
Holding the 10th overall pick, the Bills figure to have a number of options in the 2017 NFL draft when they’re on the clock. On the whole a lot of the early mocks have Buffalo taking a quarterback, with the most common pick being Clemson’s DeShaun Watson. But a recent Bleacher Report mock went in another direction.
They mocked Alabama DL Jonathan Allen to the Bills at 10. Here was their assessment.
The Pick: DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama
If the Buffalo Bills do not address the quarterback position prior to the draft—either by restructuring Tyrod Taylor’s deal or acquiring one via free agency or a trade—this pick could very well be Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes. But Taylor is under contract for now, and my hunch is the Bills find a way to make that relationship work for another season at least.
General manager Doug Whaley and new head coach Sean McDermott will be tasked with adding impact players across the board, but with McDermott’s specialty being the defensive line, I see Jonathan Allen as a perfect fit for the Bills, especially since Marcell Dareus is a constant headache for Buffalo.
At one time, Allen was considered a top-three player in this draft class, but concerns about prior shoulder injuries have pushed him down here to No. 10 overall. He could be an amazing value if his past ailments don’t lead to more issues in the future. For a rebuilding Buffalo team, Allen can be a centerpiece on defense.
Tags: 2017 NFL draft, mock draft
Posted in Inside the Bills
Fan Friday has been on a bit of a hiatus of late with Senior Bowl duties last week and the new head coaching announcement earlier last month. But we’re back. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.
1 – @ChrisBrownBills
Which position are the Bills most likely to double-dip on the draft? WR? S?
CB: I think this question is a little premature. The steps this team takes in free agency first will largely determine what positional need could get additional focus in the draft. Do the Bills re-sign two of their four free agent receivers? Do they pick up a safety in free agency like Arizona’s Tony Jefferson? When will Aaron Williams’ decision be finalized?
All of these will factor into Buffalo’s direction in the draft in late April.
That being said I will say that both wide receiver and safety are likely to be addressed in some capacity in the draft and free agency.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills will Tyrod be the QB now that all coaching staff is in place???
CB: I think the process has already begun on that front. Bills GM Doug Whaley told Buffalobills.com at the Senior Bowl last week that meetings would begin with the coaching staff once the college and pro personnel departments returned to Buffalo. How long a process that would be to lay out the direction and construction of the roster this offseason was not divulged, but it is underway. He described the meetings that took place this week as preliminary.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills does new WR coach really have any impact on drafting Zay Jones?
CB: Phil McGeoghan, Buffalo’s new receivers coach, coached East Carolina WR Zay Jones the last two seasons after he helped develop Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry from a rookie to a Pro Bowl caliber receiver as receivers coach with Miami.
What McGeoghan can provide more than anything is intimate knowledge on Jones that you can’t get by watching film. What his work ethic is day in and day out on the practice field. What his family life is like at home. What he’s like as a teammate. What drives him, motivates him. These are all things that NFL college scouting departments work to gather on prospects all year, and the Bills scouting department probably has a lot of that information on Jones already.
McGeoghan offers a knowledgeable sounding board to confirm and validate anything and everything on Jones, who I was impressed with last week at the Senior Bowl.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Is 2017 a rebuild year or a try to make the playoffs year?
CB: Based on the feedback I’ve gotten from GM Doug Whaley it’s clear that the only thing this team is rebuilding is their philosophy on how to build a perennial contender. It’s clear that the front office didn’t believe the philosophy of the previous coaching regime was one that was designed to contend year in and year out. Sean McDermott’s coaching model is built to do that.
Now does that mean the team will be contending in 2017? I think we have to see how the roster takes shape through the course of the offseason to better ascertain the team’s immediate fortunes.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills
Is there a chance Daboll joins McDermott’s staff esp. with the W&M connection?
CB: While you are correct that Patriots TEs coach Brian Daboll did coach at William & Mary for one year when Sean McDermott was a player there, from the people I’ve spoken with in New England, Daboll’s intention is to stay put with the Patriots. All indications are he is the heir apparent as the offensive coordinator when Josh McDaniels leaves for his next head coaching job.
For those that don’t know Daboll is also an Orchard Park native, and played his high school ball at St. Francis. With the stability of his situation in New England, I’d expect him to bide his time and move into the OC role there when the time comes.
Tags: 2017 NFL draft, 2017 NFL season, Brian Daboll, Doug Whaley, Fan Friday, Phil McGeoghan, Tyrod Taylor, Zay Jones
Posted in Inside the Bills
The quarterback position will be one of major focus this offseason for the Bills knowing there’s a decision to make on Tyrod Taylor. That decision will impact Buffalo’s direction in the draft as well. ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. issued his first mock draft and has the Bills taking a quarterback.
Kiper picked Clemson QB DeShaun Watson for Buffalo at pick 10. Here was his reasoning.
10. Buffalo Bills
DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson
I’m a believer in franchises with new head coaches starting fresh with new quarterbacks, and it appears likely the Bills move on from Tyrod Taylor after hiring Sean McDermott. That leaves Buffalo with a huge hole and a top-10 pick to fill it. I wrote last week that I didn’t think Watson would get a post-title game draft bounce, but I’ve heard differently from people around the NFL. Though he had an up-and-down season — and threw 17 interceptions — Watson is extremely talented. He’s the second quarterback off the board in this projection, ahead of Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer.
Tags: 2017 NFL draft, DeShaun Watson, Mel Kiper
Posted in Inside the Bills
Two more underclassmen declared themselves eligible for the 2017 NFL draft.
Clemson RB Wayne Gallman, who had 46 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown against the vaunted Alabama defense. At 6-1 and 205 pounds the consensus is that he needs to add bulk to his frame to match his physical running style.
Meanwhile Michigan LB/DB Jabrill Peppers also declared for the draft. Seen as NFL safety material Peppers is expected to have a first round grade on some NFL club draft boards.
Tags: 2017 NFL draft
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 – @ChrisBrownBills at pick 10 in this year’s draft if we let Tyrod walk do we go qb?
CB: We’re getting way ahead of ourselves here because first the head coach has to be in place, then player evaluations by the new staff will chart the course of who is here and who is not here. But to answer your question, in the event that the new head coach elects to move on from Tyrod Taylor I don’t know that drafting a worthwhile quarterback at 10th overall will happen.
I’m a fan of Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer, but knowing there are QB needy teams in front of Buffalo (San Fran #2, Chicago #3, NY Jets #6) I don’t think he even gets to 10 for the Bills to consider. UNC’s Mitch Trubisky is still up in the air on whether he’s staying in school or entering the draft pool.
Kizer played in a pro-style spread system, had the ability to call audibles at the line of scrimmage and has the physical measurables you look for (6-5, 220). His numbers dropped this past season as the Irish struggled to a 4-8 finish, but it wasn’t all on Kizer. Working with a bunch of first-year receivers after Will Fuller, Chris Brown and C.J. Prosise moved on to the NFL, Kizer still had 26 TDs against 9 INTs, even though his completion percentage dropped five percent.
So while I like Kizer and Trubisky, I don’t anticipate them making it to pick 10 and after them I’m not enamored with what’s left to the point where I would use the 10th pick to take one.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Is Cardale Jones the starting QB next year?
CB: Again this is a ‘predict the future’ question that’s far too difficult to answer. There are too many variables that aren’t even in place to know where Jones will stand on the depth chart. Does the new head coach think he can win with Tyrod Taylor? Does he think Cardale Jones could be part of a quarterback competition in training camp? Does he think Jones could win that competition? Will they be adding at the quarterback position via trade, draft or free agency? Would that quarterback be more NFL ready than Jones, who just saw his first NFL action last week for a quarter?
I think one thing we have to think about is if a new head coach comes in and there’s a new offensive system for Jones to master it’s going to set his development back, as we’ve seen with young quarterbacks here before (e.g. J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards, EJ Manuel).
Let me be clear that I’m not saying the changes on offense were the reasons those quarterbacks struggled to develop, but constant change makes it harder for young quarterbacks to succeed and advance their games. All of them saw coaching changes in their time with the Bills.
Jones will be the next quarterback, even if Anthony Lynn is hired because he inherited an offense this past season that he intends to change.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills Are Bills expected to put tender on Gillislee? What is the tender process, and why don’t teams place highest tender possible?
CB: Restricted free agents are the players teams must decide upon regarding whether to extend them a qualifying offer to retain the right of first refusal, should they be offered a contract from another NFL club.
There are different levels at which a player could be tendered to dissuade other clubs from trying to make a contract offer to lure the player away from their current team.
The new restricted free agent tender levels are usually released by the NFL in early March, though NFL clubs make projections on what the amounts will be.
There is the low tender, which means the compensation due the original club if their RFA player was signed away by another team would equate to the draft round in which they were selected. For Mike Gillislee such a tender would yield a fifth-round pick in return, since Gillislee was a fifth-round pick of the Dolphins (2013).
Last year’s low tender was $1.671 million.
If Buffalo values him as something more than that and they want to make it more prohibitive for another team to sign him away they can use the second-round tender, which would make the compensation a second-round pick if the Bills chose not to match an offer from another team.
Last year’s second-round tender was $2.553 million.
The first-round tender last year was $3.635 million, and carries first-round pick compensation.
I certainly understand your question as to why teams don’t just tender everyone at the highest possible level. Sometimes cap constraints keep teams from doing that. They also want to be careful not to overvalue a player to avoid paying said player more than they would like if a long term contract is a route they want to take.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Doug Whaley is so unimpressive, do you know how he continues to sell himself to ownership?
CB: I think what you need to keep in mind is as a fan you only see him in one context, a press conference, question and answer setting. Whether it’s on the radio or on TV you only see Whaley in a Q&A format.
What you don’t see is Whaley’s decisiveness when weighing the value of a trade. You don’t see him in personnel meetings pinpointing positional needs, assessing the talent level of specific players. You don’t see him running draft meetings, the draft room, interacting with players, making tough personnel decisions, finding players on the street at a time when there aren’t many and finding contributors (e.g. Mike Gillislee, Ryan Groy, Justin Hunter).
I know it’s hard to not think about him in the interview context because that’s all the exposure you have to Whaley. Look at the talent he is directly responsible for adding to this roster on the whole and I think you’ll find a lot more hits than misses.
I understand that for a team that has struggled to get wins, the misses are magnified, but there isn’t a GM in this league who has a perfect record. Drafting players is a lot like a batting average. If you hit .400 in landing Pro Bowl type talent in the draft, you’re the equivalent of Ted Williams. You’re in a league of your own. Most quality GMs hit between .300 to .350 in the draft in terms of landing top flight talent that can be the core of your team for years.
The lost piece of the puzzle as I see it for the Bills has been player development by the coaching staffs that have come through Buffalo. The head coaches that have been hired in Buffalo have unfortunately not put the best of coaching staffs together over the years and that has compromised the development of players and maximizing player potential has proven difficult.
That’s not to say there haven’t been good player development coaches over the years. Sanjay Lal, Anthony Lynn and Aaron Kromer are among the best examples on the most recent staff. There are others. Previous assistants that come to mind include Bobby April, Donnie Henderson and Joe D’Alessandris.
Does all this mean that Doug Whaley is blameless? Doug said himself he needs to do a better job. In fact it was one of the first things he said in his press conference Monday. But it’s my personal belief that Doug Whaley is a good personnel man, who knows how to build a team over time and has a plan. We all know the franchise quarterback has been a missing component for some time, and those are hard to find. Other teams that don’t have one have struggled too. Denver lost theirs after winning the Super Bowl and they’re out of the playoffs this year.
Absent that though this roster does have a good deal of talent, and this offseason will provide more opportunity to add to that talent. The key will be hiring a head coach who can implement a vision and structure to unify everyone on the staff and roster to achieve the ultimate goal. Hopefully that new head coach hires the kind of coaching staff that can maximize the talent on hand along with the new talent coming through the door.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills I like Sean McDermott. Do you think he can be a solid leader?
Ronald Krzal Jr
CB: I think knowing the kind of leader a coach can be can only be captured in the kind of long interview sessions that the Bills are conducting now in their coaching search. You can’t look at a resume of offensive or defensive success and determine if a guy is a leader. You’ve got to sit down with a coaching prospect and get to know them to determine that.
Does their philosophy about being a head coach inspire you? Do you think he’s capable of motivating men who have been mired in a culture where the success has been minimal and galvanize them into believing they can do better? Does he come across as a person that people willingly follow and believe in?
Not being in that room I can’t tell you if he can be a solid leader.
I can tell you that I like who he has worked under during his time in the NFL. Andy Reid, Jim Johnson and Ron Rivera are all solid coaching influences. So the people he has worked under is definitely a plus. But that doesn’t qualify Sean McDermott as a solid leader. That’s more about who he is as a person as I see it. And maybe he is that person, but there’s no way for you and I to know that from where we sit.
Tags: 2017 NFL draft, Cardale Jones, Doug Whaley, Fan Friday, Mike Gillislee, NFL free agency, Sean McDermott, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills