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