Inside The Bills

Ogletree still on radar

Posted by Chris Brown on March 26, 2013 – 9:43 am

Georgia LB Alec Ogletree, who is widely seen as a first round talent in this year’s draft class, has been mocked to the Bills with the eighth overall pick at times. Since the release of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, most prognosticators have leaned quarterback for the Bills in predicting the eighth overall pick. But the Bills themselves apparently still have Ogletree on their radar screen.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the Bills are one of several teams that have either held or will hold a private workout with the dynamic linebacking talent. Ogletree has some off the field concerns, but if a team investigates those transgressions and they are satisfied the Georgia product could be a top 10 pick.


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Fan Friday 3-8

Posted by Chris Brown on March 8, 2013 – 1:21 pm

Pro days are underway and free agency is up next. Here’s the latest edition of your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Dear Chris,

Many so-called experts are calling for a new middle linebacker to replace Kelvin Sheppard.  He seems to be an NFL talent.  If a new MLB is brought in, do you see Sheppard playing the weak side linebacker position or a second inside linebacker position if the Bills are in a 3-4 defense?  Thanks.

Neil from Jamestown, NY
CB: I would anticipate Sheppard to be a primary candidate to be one of the two inside backers in any 3-4 looks the Bills defense figures to employ. As for how things work in any 4-3 looks remains to be seen. I’m not sure Sheppard would stay on the field in nickel situations. He didn’t last year when it was Nick Barnett and Bryan Scott serving as the nickel LBs.

Linebackers with coverage ability are more coveted than ever in a league that leans more and more to the passing game. Buffalo will be looking for more of them both inside and outside at linebacker.

 

2 – Chris,

I was wondering what are the chances the Bills go after recently released Receiver Titus Young? I know usually we don’t take chances on players that may cause issues despite their talent, but Titus Young is still a young and very talented receiver with allot of upside. I think taking a chance is worth it, especially because it seems as if Doug Marrone is a player’s coach. We desperately need talent in our receiving core alongside Stevie. I personally don’t believe Donald Jones would make the roster of more than 3/4’s the NFL’s teams, let alone be the second option. Titus could really help as the number 2 man and fill a void that has needed to be filled. What do you think? Thanks,

Anthony Marasco

CB: Young is too much of a personality headache. For a new head coach trying to establish a program and approach to success, Doug Marrone doesn’t need a problem player like Young no matter how talented he is. Marrone and his staff are going to be presented enough challenges as a first-year staff, they don’t need to add to the pile with a player that bought himself a ticket off the Lions roster by being a horrible teammate.

 

3 – Chris,

Is Glennon or Wilson worth the 8th pick or do you see them taking a much needed LB and maybe one of the Top 5 QBs in the draft might be there in round two. Or do the Bills use the first 3 rounds to better the Defense and get a QB in free agency?

CB: I think it’s safe to say that the pickings are slim in free agency at QB so either their first or second round pick will need to address quarterback. I don’t see Glennon or Wilson as a top 10 pick, but I’m no scout. I believe both will be heavier considerations in round 2 or 3. I think if there’s a QB the Bills like at 8 they’ll take one, otherwise they’ll take the best defensive player available. If there isn’t a top defensive talent they believe is fitting of the eighth pick and the QB they like is gone I think they look to move back.

Improving the defense will be a focus, but I think they might try to reduce those needs in free agency to reduce the to-do list in the draft knowing they have just six picks.

 

4 – Chris,

I would like your perspective if Buddy should draft a WR or LB with the first pick and then trade back into the late Rd 1 to get a QB still on the board before teams like ARI, KC, PHI, NYJ can grab one. Also assuming that there might even be a possibility that R. Nassib could still be there.? Nix did say that what the Bengals did to get A.J Green and Dalton changed their franchise… Mainly would he be willing to trade back into Rd 1? 

Secondly, I think we need to lock up C.J. Spiller before he hits free agency and so we don’t have to use a franchise tag. Couldn’t the Bills be doing that already this offseason? Why do we need to wait another year when he is only going to get better and we are going to have to pay him more?
 
Thanks Chris!
Dan in CA

CB: I’m a little reluctant to take a WR in round one at 8, primarily because I think there are only a couple of first round worthy receivers in the entire draft, and one of them is a risk in Patterson due to a lack of a college resume (one year of production). If you’re picking a receiver eighth overall he should be able to help right away. I’m not sure Patterson is an immediate impact guy, which is what Buffalo needs.

Second, wide receiver has the highest miss rate in terms of position in round one. That according to ESPN NFL analyst Bill Polian who has done studies on it.

Buddy Nix only has a short draft history here in Buffalo, but he likes to let the draft board come to him rather than seek out trades and be active in moving up and down the board. However, this year I think one of two things could happen.

The Bills either move down from 8 (as I stated above) if a QB they like or a defensive player fitting of value at eight isn’t there anymore or they try to move into the bottom of round one from round two.

As for Nassib I think he’s going to be a late riser and find his way into the bottom of round one.

Finally Spiller still has two years left on his rookie deal. They can wait until this time next year to address an extension.

 

5 -  Chris, 

What is the bigger need inside or outside LB? How will the positions be used in the new hybrid system? Could prospects like Te’o and Ogletree play inside or outside?

CB: I’d tend to think the two spots are equally in need of additional talent. Sheppard is capable of playing one of the inside linebacker spots in a 3-4 front. Nigel Bradham is one of the few viable OLB candidates on the roster.

I think we’ve got to wait and see what defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has in mind with respect to the multiple scheme he plans to employ.

Te’o is strictly an inside linebacker. Ogletree is capable of playing both inside and outside.


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Te’o not among top LB 40 times

Posted by Chris Brown on February 25, 2013 – 2:44 pm

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said on Sunday that Manti Te’o would need to run 4.7 or better in the 40 to help his cause. That didn’t happen today at the NFL Combine in Indy. Te’o ran a 4.8. Here’s where that leaves Te’o in the eyes of Mayock.

“Anything 4.7 or better would be phenomenal; 4.8-plus is going to be a concern,” said Mayock. “In that 4.7 to 4.8 range is going to be what an inside linebacker is expected to run.”

So it sounds as though Te’o’s speed will be considered just average. Seeing him struggle against Alabama in the National Title game against some top talent, and now seeing the 4.8 time will send scouts back to the tape to try to cement their grade on the All-American LB.

Here are the top LB 40 times, which included all three linebackers that we profiled on the home page of Buffalobills.com today as viable cover linebacker options.

OLB Zaviar Gooden – Missouri – 4.5
OLB Cornelius Washington – Georgia – 4.5
ILB Jonathan Bostic – Florida – 4.5
ILB Brandon Hepburn – Florida A&M – 4.59
OLB Jamie Collins – So. Miss. – 4.59
OLB Sio Moore – UCONN – 4.62
ILB Alec Ogletree – Georgia – 4.62
ILB Jonathan Stewart – Texas A&M – 4.62
ILB Kevin Reddick – North Carolina – 4.66
OLB Khaseem Greene – Rutgers – 4.67


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Best LB bench marks

Posted by Chris Brown on February 25, 2013 – 10:19 am

Here’s a rundown of the best bench press rep counts for the linebackers at the NFL Combine this morning.

OLB Cornelius Washington – Georgia – 36
OLB Sio Moore – UCONN – 29
ILB Michael Mauti – Penn State – 28
OLB Zaviar Gooden – Missouri – 27
OLB Jelani Jenkins – Florida – 27
ILB John Lotulelei – UNLV – 25
ILB Kevin Minter – LSU – 25
OLB Etienne Sabino – Ohio State – 24
ILB Kevin Reddick – North Carolina – 23
ILB Jonathan Bostic – Florida – 22
OLB Sam Barrington – So. Florida – 22
OLB Gerald Hodges – Penn State – 22
OLB Sean Porter – Texas A&M – 22

Georgia LB Alec Ogletree had 20 reps on the bench. Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o did not bench.


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Ogletree trying to move forward

Posted by Chris Brown on February 23, 2013 – 6:09 pm

Georgia LB Alec Ogletree is a consensus top 10 talent, but his off the field transgressions could have an impact on where he comes off the board. At the NFL Combine Saturday, Ogletree addressed his arrest for suspected DUI last month and his school-imposed four game drug suspension in 2011.

“I’m a good person at heart,” he said. “Everybody makes mistakes and I feel really bad about the situation, but I’m learning from it and I’m moving forward.”

When asked if he’s worried about how his off the field issues could affect his draft stock Ogletree wasn’t sure. 

“I don’t know what it’s going to do, but I feel bad about it,” he said. “I’m really sorry about it, but I just have to move forward and take whatever I get.”

Bills GM Buddy Nix addressed the issues facing Manti T’eo and Ogletree earlier this week.

“We’re evalutating them as football players first and if there’s something habitual and continuous with their conduct then we’d take it into consideration,” Nix said. “But at this point we don’t take anyone off our board.”


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Buddy on players’ off the field issues

Posted by Chris Brown on February 21, 2013 – 2:08 pm

Linebacker is a position of need for the Bills this offseason, and a couple of the more highly regarded prospects have off the field concerns. Bills GM Buddy Nix was asked if such a player would be taken off of Buffalo’s board completely.

Appearing on WGR Sportsradio 550 Thursday morning by phone from Indianapolis, Nix said Manti T’eo and Alec Ogletree, who was arrested for suspected DUI last month, will not be taken off their draft board at this point.

“We’re still evaluating that process. We’re evaluating them as football players first and if there’s something habitual and continuous with their conduct then we’d take it into consideration,” said Nix. “But at this point we don’t take anyone off our board.”

Ogletree also served a school-imposed four-game drug suspension while at Georgia.


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Mayock on Ogletree’s off the field concerns

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2013 – 12:40 am

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock was asked to assess the stock of Georgia LB Alec Ogletree, widely considered a top 10 talent by NFL talent evaluators. However, in the wake of some off the field issues including a DUI arrest last month, Mayock said assessing the risk has become much more difficult for NFL clubs.

“Let’s preface it by saying if he was clean off the field I’d be banging the table for a top 10 pick,” said Mayock. “So, teams value this kind of when you start talking about medical issues or off the field problems, you get a risk‑reward scenario, and every team is different with how they assign risk versus reward. 

“I think most of the teams are going to look at him and say, OK, multiple drug issues and now a D.U.I., we have to account for it somehow. Some teams may say he’s off our board. I don’t think many teams will, but some teams may say he’s off the board. 

“Most teams will say top 10, too much risk there. Too much risk, not enough reward. If we can get him second half of the first round or first half of the second round. Every team will be different with that. They’re going to assign a value based on the risk. 

“So until teams get to look him in the eye, spend time and grind him as a person, they’re just going to discount him now for a while until all of the facts come out. Until they get a better feel for him as a kid, it’s going to hurt him a half round, a round. It depends on the team.”


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Report: LB Ogletree cited for DUI

Posted by Chris Brown on February 17, 2013 – 4:58 am

One of the top linebacker prospects in the NFL draft was arrested for DUI.

Georgia LB Alec Ogletree was arrested earlier this month for driving under the influence. His agent Pat Dye confirmed the arrest to ProFootballTalk.com. Here was Dye’s comment on the matter.

“Last weekend, my client Alec Ogletree was pulled over for speeding and a lane violation in Arizona,” agent Pat Dye told the website. “After the officers smelled alcohol, they conducted tests and also cited him for DUI. Although Alec regrets this incident terribly, he is thankful that there was no accident and that no one was hurt. Because this matter is still pending, we cannot comment further publicly at this time.”

Ogletree, who was most recently mocked to go to the Bills at eighth overall by ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper, is one of the most versatile linebacker prospects in the draft with the ability to play inside or outside.

According to PFT, Ogletree also was suspended during his time at Georgia for four games due to a positive drug test along with teammate and fellow draft prospect Bacari Rambo an All-American safety.

He’ll obviously have an awful lot of explaining to do during his formal interviews with NFL clubs at the NFL Combine later this week. Buffalobills.com will have full coverage of the NFL Combine from Indianapolis beginning on Thurs. Feb. 21st.


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Fan Friday 2-15

Posted by Chris Brown on February 15, 2013 – 4:46 pm

Hey Bills fans, NFL Combine week is coming up and we’ll have wall to wall coverage on Buffalobills.com with daily video reports, video interviews with prospects and members of the Bills front office. We’ll also have the John Murphy Show live in Indianapolis on Wednesday and Friday night from 7-9 pm with the podcast on Thursday evening. And of course plenty of written content for your to peruse through the course of the week. Keep it here all next week with our coverage of the Combine on site beginning on Thurs. Feb. 21st. Now to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

 

1 - Chris:
Q:  With the new coaching staff taking over how much of an impact will Coach Pettine and some of his former Defensive Jet Assistants have on providing (Coach Marrone) insight on the Bills current Offensive Talent since they had to prepare for the Bills two times a year?

CB: I think there’s some validity to that point, but I think coach Pettine or any other Bills defensive coach will only provide input on a Bills offensive player if it’s asked of them. Generally the coaches stick to evaluating their side of the ball, but are certainly open to offering opinions if they’re asked of them. I  think this could be one of those unique circumstances where Pettine, Jim O’Neil and Anthony Weaver could have something to offer the offensive staff on their players.

 

2 – Chris

I am a statistic guy by nature. I was very surprised that George Wilson was the 2nd leading tackler on the team. He did it very quietly. What I did notice is that he didn’t have the big plays from years past.

In fact neither he nor Searcy had any interceptions. The only linebacker with any interceptions was Bryan Scott. Tackles by linebackers were mostly by Nick Barnett.. Sheppard seemed to get lost on most run plays.

He and Moats early in the year couldn’t fight off the blockers. A middle linebacker should be leading the team in tackles. Like Poz did while he was here. Sheppard should have 30-35 more tackles for the year.

Moats seemed one dimensional, in that he could rush the passer. That was Aaron Maybin’s downfall.

Nigel Bradham was making plays and hustling on every down. He can only get better. 

Where do you see Buffalo drafting a linebacker this year? Will it be middle or outside? 

Thanks 
Gary in Indianapolis

CB: I think tackle statistics can be misleading at times. Often it’s where on the field the tackles are made rather than how many of them one makes. It’s kind of a moot point now regarding Wilson and Barnett now that both of them are no longer here.

As for where Buffalo could address the linebacker position, I believe it’s wide open. I think they could go inside or outside. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if they drafted one at each spot.

There is some premier talent at the top that would be worthy of the eighth pick like Georgia’s Alec Ogletree, who I like a lot because of his versatility and elite athleticism. He was a safety that became a linebacker and made it work. I know that makes some fans skittish sometimes to see that. Ogletree is athletic enough to play OLB or ILB. He lined up inside for Georgia.

Oregona’s Dion Jordan is another athletic anomaly that could go that high, though he’s coming off an injury. I like LSU’s Kevin Minter who is a late first, early second ILB. Alabama’s Nico Johnson is another ILB option in the third round. On the outside, Arthur Brown from Kansas State and Khaseem Greene from Rutgers are good day two picks though they might be on the short side for a 3-4 scheme at 6’1”.

Southern Miss’ Jamie Collins and UCONN’s Trevardo Williams are two other OLBs that could figure in the third round.

 

3 – Chris,
Who would you like to see the Bills get at QB, Glennon is getting all the hype, but Nassib is a Marrone guy.

RR21RaceFan

CB: You’re right that Nassib played for Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett for that matter. What needs to be kept in mind is they know all they need to know about Nassib. Now they have to determine where he fits in the entire class of QBs. If there are prospects that they rank considerably higher than him and they have the opportunity to take the higher rated prospect that’s what they’ll be compelled to do. If the difference is marginal they might lean in favor of Nassib.

With the quarterback class a bit muddled with no consensus top talents I think it helps Nassib’s chances of being considered among the top signal callers. I’m still trying to watch more tape of these guys and I’ll admit it’s hard to like one considerably more than the other with what I’ve seen so far. It’s not nearly as easy as it was last year.

 

4 – Chris –

Is Marquise Goodwin a possible target for a WR spot in the draft?  He’s an elite athlete who competed in the 2012 Olympics and was the big play threat in the Texas offense.  He’s also a value as a kick returner.

Also, would his teammate Alex Okafor be a target if he’s there in the second?  Is Buffalo still looking to upgrade the end position?

Mike
Bills fan in Texas
CB: I don’t know that Goodwin, who projects as a third round pick is a guy that fits the profile of what Buffalo is looking for at the receiver position. At 5’9” and 179 pounds he’s not a fit to play outside and beat physical corners for jump balls and such. The Bills already have this kind of receiver in T.J. Graham. So I do not see him as a mark for the Bills.

As for Okafor he’s an interesting prospect and did well at the Senior Bowl. The problem I see there is he’s considered a DE only and my suspicion is the Bills are going to be looking for defensive ends that can also line up as OLBs to allow Mike Pettine to be multiple with his scheme. Okafor doesn’t have the athleticism to run and cover as an OLB in a 3-4 or a 4-3. He’s strictly an up on the line end in a 4-3 by most accounts, so I don’t know that he works for Buffalo either.

 

5 – Chris,
Thank You for keeping us updated each week, my question is with Leodis McKelvins contract being up and Aaron Williams still developing and not known, is there a chance we could go after FA Aqib Talib?

Thomas Neaverth

CB: I don’t see the Bills pursuing Aqib Talib. He just doesn’t fit the character mold for a player that the personnel department looks for. He’s had some run-ins off the field and twice had fights with teammates in Tampa Bay. So while talented I don’t see him as a target for Buffalo.


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Kiper’s new mock has LB to Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on February 7, 2013 – 3:40 pm

ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper has just released his second mock draft. He makes special mention that he believes trades could happen for teams like Kansas City (1st) and Arizona (7th) where they move out of the top 10 since there are no quarterbacks that fit the value there. That’s why he also doesn’t select a QB for the Bills at 8.

Kiper chose Georgia LB Alec Ogletree for Buffalo at eighth overall. Ogletree had 112 tackles, 3 sacks and an interception in 2012. Here was his analysis.

8.  Buffalo Bills (6-10)

Alec Ogletree *

COLLEGE: Georgia
AGE: 21
HT: 6-3
WT: 237
POS: LB
Analysis
: Sticking with a linebacker here, but going with the higher ceiling. The Bills really need help at interior linebacker, where Kelvin Sheppard
is merely adequate. Ogletree was at one time a safety, and you see those kinds of instincts when he plays, because he simply flies to the ball. He’s a great pursuit player and a guy who will shoot gaps and make stops in the backfield, but that’s also because he has really good instincts. A big key with Ogletree is versatility. There’s no reason he can’t work on the edge, or inside. He has the ceiling of a player who can do it all.
 
Kiper did not have a quarterback coming off the board in the entire first round.

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