Super Bowl XLVI is just a couple of days away, but Bills fans are focused on other things. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 – Hey Chris,
Love your work. I was just wondering if you had insights about a player like Luke Kuechly? I have never seen a linebacker diagnose so many plays in such a big time conference. I imagine that when we pick @ 10 this kid might slip to us. I know Buddy mentioned a lot but what do you think?
CB: Thanks for the kind words. Kuechly is a heck of a linebacker no doubt about it and in terms of the overall player rankings he is largely considered a top 10-15 talent. Kelvin Sheppard is marked down as the starting MLB in Buffalo’s new 4-3 defense. I’d expect Nick Barnett to play on the open side (WLB) where his athleticism can be maximized. If the Bills believe Kuechly is capable of playing a strong side linebacker role in a 4-3 he could be a consideration. I’m not sure he is a consensus Top 10 talent in the eyes of NFL scouts however, due to his lack of elite athleticism.
There’s no denying Kuechly’s instincts and impressive productivity, but if his upside in the eyes of scouts is limited by his athleticism he might not be worthy of a top 10 pick for the teams that are picking in that area. We’ll see if we can get a gauge on what the Bills think of Kuechly’s upside in the coming weeks.
2 – Chris,
I read your Fan Friday blog today and with regards to your answer about the Bills seeking a proven play making receiver in FA instead of the draft I am curious if you believe that they will actually attempt to reel one in?
The Bills are not going to get into a bidding war and I completely understand why. The only 3 guys in free agency that fit the description given by Nix are Colston, Bowe, and Jackson. All others are NOT proven play makers and definitely do NOT match the open when covered analogy that Nix used.
I can see the team putting a big offer out to Bowe and Jackson and saying take it or leave it and whichever one signs the team takes or if they both say no thanks then looking to the draft to fill the need.
This brings me to my next point. Given the fact that the drop off between Blackmon and Floyd is not that great could you see the Bills drafting a receiver at 10 if a “big play making” receiver was there? I have no clue what the tape that coaches and scouts shows about the top pass rushers in this class but judging from my opinion from what I have researched there is not a clear pass rusher that belongs in the top 10, in fact I don’t see one that should be a top 15 pick. Thank you for taking the time.
CB: I think your free agent targets are on the money and I do believe if any of them make it to the free agent market March 13th (not sure any of them will) then the Bills will likely make their best offer and see if anyone is interested.
As for the pass rushers in the draft at the top of the board I think there’s a good chance that Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw would be there at 10 and I believe he’s worthy of that pick. There might be a couple of other considerations (Melvin Ingram), but the choices are admittedly limited.
That being said I’m not convinced Buffalo would take a receiver that high. Yes, Floyd is probably the second best WR in the class after Blackmon, but he does have somewhat of a diva label on him and has an injury history as well as a DUI charge from last March. There’s no denying he’s a playmaker, but those are a lot of issues for an NFL club to iron out and feel good about to make him a top 10 investment.
Chan Gailey always talks about adding players of high character to his team, and he’s a man of his word so I’m not sure Floyd is a fit.
3 – Chris,
Looking more into the injury situation and that the Bills led the league in I-R designations, has Buddy Nix looked into the A-Turf Titan playing surface that currently only the Bills have installed? It would seem that possibly a FieldTurf or Sportexe surface would be a better alternative as a lot of the teams that have been successful with less injuries such as New England, the Jets, or Baltimore have these surfaces installed. Up until last year Rogers Centre also had FieldTurf. Thanks for all the updates you provide Bills fans around the country.
Larry in Tucson AZ
CB: I don’t believe the turf is the culprit here. Terrence McGee, Donald Jones and Fred Jackson all went down in the span of a quarter and a half in Miami on grass. All three were lost for the season. Eric Wood tore an ACL on Field Turf in Dallas without any contact. So I don’t think you can make that connection. It’s the brutality of the game that led to most of Buffalo’s injuries in my opinion.
4 – Chris,
Since Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey arrived in Buffalo, they have been steering toward a 3-4 defense. Yes they play quite a bit of a 4-3 defense, but their draft picks have been geared toward the 3-4 defense. After two years of drafting players like: Torrell Troup, Kelvin Sheppard, Alex Carrington, Marcell Dareus and acquiring players like Shawne Merriman and Nick Barnett all for playing the 3-4 defense. If Dave Wannstedt goes back to the 4-3 defense, is that NOT going to set us back a few more years, until we start drafting and acquiring more 4-3 personnel??? And where does that put these players that I have mentioned???
Devoted Bills FAN
CB: Don, your question is very valid, but Buddy Nix already addressed this issue so I’ll let his comment handle your question.
“The guys we drafted this past year, Marcell Dareus can play in any defense,” said Nix. “Aaron Williams, he’s going to play no matter what you do. Kelvin Sheppard can play in either defense. Da’Norris Searcy he’s going to play in either. All of our defensive draft picks this past year would fit either defense. As an outside backer you want a guy 6’4” or 6’5” 255 or 260. In a 4-3 those guys are defensive ends. If he’s that size and he can rush the passer he can play in either one.”
Those are the exact measurables for Shawne Merriman so I would anticipate that he too would fit as a defensive end, and let me remind you that Merriman is very, very underrated as a run defender. Torell Troup played in a 4-3 at Central Florida and knows the scheme well. Carrington played in a 4-3 at Arkansas State at end. Nix and his personnel department knowing how much hybrid defense is played week to week in this league made a point of getting scheme versatile players. And because of that the defensive front should not suffer a setback.
5 – Hi Chris,
I enjoy your coverage of the team very much. My question for you is do the Bills still have a draft pick left this year from the Lynch trade and what did they get for Lee Evans? Also it seems like they should be in line for a compensatory pick of some kind this year for Poz. Ok, thanks again for all the info!!
CB: Thanks for the compliment. The Bills got a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft for Lee Evans from Baltimore. As for the Lynch trade it was a conditional sixth-round pick that could become a fifth-round pick. From what I understand the chances are good that it will be a fifth-round pick, but because it is a conditional agreement, those conditions agreed upon by the two clubs must be confirmed by the league as being satisfied. That has yet to happen.
With respect to a compensatory pick for the loss of Paul Posluszny that should happen. I would anticipate a fifth or sixth-round pick knowing the size of Poz’s contract has a lot to do with the unknown compensatory formula that the league employs. Buffalo did not have a free agent signee that came remotely close to Poz’s $45M deal with Jacksonville so I’d expect Buffalo to get one for losing him.
So breaking it all down the Bills will have nine picks and should get a 10th as a compensatory (round to be determined). Here are the rounds of the picks we know they have assuming the pick from the Lynch trade is a fifth, though the league has not confirmed it. (1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7).
Tags: 2012 NFL draft, A-Turf, Buddy Nix, compensatory picks, Courtney Upshaw, Fan Friday, Luke Kuechly
Posted in Inside the Bills