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Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 2-7

Posted by Chris Brown on February 7, 2014 – 2:06 pm

Buffalo’s coaching staff is now complete with the hiring of Rob Moore as receivers coach. Now preparations for the NFL Combine will ensue. Let’s get to your questions from email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - @ChrisBrownBills

With some mock drafts saying TE Eric Ebron for us that would be a huge upgrade and the big addition the offense needs. Can Buffalo afford Byrd and LT Albert?


CB: I think Branden Albert is unlikely based on what Bills GM Doug Whaley said on the John Murphy Show last week. He indicated that they will continue to take a measured approach to free agency and not break the bank on high-priced free agents. Albert would certainly fit into the high-price category.

Here’s what Whaley said at the Senior Bowl a couple of weeks ago.

“We were extremely happy (with our free agents last year),” Whaley said. “I think we’re going to stay that course, value picks, guys that can come in and contribute and we get a real good return on our investment. They’re not going to be big splash guys.”

That being said I do believe they will make every effort to re-sign Jairus Byrd to a long term contract extension.


2 – @ChrisBrownBills Thoughts on Rob Moore ? Cuse guy!


CB: I know Rob Moore’s coaching experience is not lengthy on paper, but having met him here at One Bills Drive and being very familiar with his playing career from the time he was in high school I believe he has a lot to offer Buffalo’s receiving corps. He has an interesting approach that I think will cater well to both the youth and the proven vet in Stevie Johnson in the receivers room.

For those that don’t know his playing career all that well he was a two-time Pro Bowl receiver in his 10-year career and was 1st Team All-Pro in 1997 when he led the league in receiving with 1,584 yards on 97 catches and eight touchdowns.

I anticipate his transition to this staff will be seamless having worked with Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett in the past.


3 – Hi Chris,
Thanks for your continued hard work into the offseason. My Question is in regards to this upcoming draft. Buddy Nix always had the take the “best player on the board” Mentality. Do you see anything changing now with Whaley, and maybe start drafting more with the mentality of positional need??

I think the Bills are a lot closer to being a legit playoff team and its only a few “holes” that need to be addressed, And not just take a player just because they are a good football player.

Thanks, Tim in St.Catharines Ont.

CB: I don’t think GM Doug Whaley would debate that they still have a few positions in need of a upgrade. The difference now compared to a few years ago is they don’t have a dire need to plug a hole at almost any position.

Could they use a top flight size WR, a game breaking TE or a young offensive tackle? Absolutely, but they won’t be in deep trouble if they don’t. And with that in mind I think now more than ever they can truly go for the best player on the board.

I think if they’re in a situation where player grades between the top two or three players on the board is negligible they’ll address what they feel is a position of need, but beyond that Whaley seems to believe now more than ever they can go best player on the board regardless of position.


4 – Hi Chris,
Thanks for all your info you translate to us fans! My question is, why did we not see what Moeaki or really what Gragg had to offer this season near the end?  Why do teams sign players and never play them? It’s not as though Moeaki was a practice squad player. I really thought the Bills would have liked to see him get on the field and show what he can bring! Your thoughts??
Eileen in Niagara Ont.

CB: I think the offensive staff did want to make more game day use of the two tight ends, but game situations and circumstances compromised those plans. I can say that both players will be in the fold all offseason, which should afford the coaching staff more than enough time to gauge where both should appear on the depth chart as well as the roles they might play.

Also remember that even though the fans didn’t see much of them, the staff saw Gragg every day in practice for all of 2013 and got a month-long look at Moeaki in the practice setting to make some judgments on him. So while the book on those two for fans might be short, it’s not for the coaches. They’ll have a plan for both of them.


5 – Hey Chris,

A quick question about Stephon Gilmore. I’ve wondered why he has been so inconsistent and the game against the Steelers indicated to me some of his problems. In a game against a smaller receiver like Antonio Brown, Gilmore seemed overwhelmed and slow. I think his problem is that he plays like a smaller player when he should be using his size as an advantage over smaller receivers by jamming them at the line. Why doesn’t Gilmore play more like Revis? The talent, in my opinion is there, but I feel Gilmore is being used incorrectly.

Tommy in Pittsford

I think you’re missing the obvious here. Gilmore’s broken wrist, which required surgery prevented him from using the greatest strength of his game. His ability to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and steer and muscle them around is 75-80 percent of his game. The guy played with one arm and one hand for essentially 10 games last season. He had pins in his wrist.

Essentially he had to play cornerback completely different than he had ever done before, which is why in your words he played like a smaller corner than he looked. When he finally was fully healed you began to see the Gilmore everyone expected. Unfortunately the injury made 2013 somewhat of a lost year for him.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Nix still playing role for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2014 – 1:40 pm

He’s listed as a Special Assistant for the Bills, and was to help the organization in a variety of football-related roles. One of those roles includes scouting the talent at the Senior Bowl in Mobile this week.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show, Bills GM Doug Whaley said he likes being able to lean on his predecessor as a sounding board and talent evaluator.

“He’s a great resource for me and I would be remiss if I didn’t use him,” said Whaley. “Any major decision or free agent we think about bringing in and ask him what he thinks. After this BLESTO meeting we’ll give him a list of the top rated guys and have him look at those guys. We’ll give him some of the free agents that we’ve pegged as interesting. So he’s a resource and with that wealth of knowledge I’d be remiss if I didn’t pick his brain and use him to our fullest advantage.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 5-24

Posted by Chris Brown on May 24, 2013 – 11:51 am

Be sure to remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice for our country on this Memorial Day weekend. There’s a reason we can all have backyard barbecues this weekend. Let’s get to the latest edition of your questions from and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,
I think we can still get players like Charles Woodson, etc . to further help this year if we can get them at the right price? Don’t get me wrong. I love what we have done so far this off season and draft.

CB: Sure you saw that Woodson returned to the Raiders where his career started on a one-year deal. I don’t know that he’s cornerback material anymore at his age. That being said I will say I’d feel better if the team added a veteran cornerback.

I think the team is well stocked with inside slot defenders, but outside where you need more size, Gilmore and McKelvin are the projected starters. Crezdon Butler (6’1”) and T.J. Heath (6’1”) both offer good size, but not much experience.

The free agent market at corner however, doesn’t offer much. There are a lot of vets that are past their prime. Still, a vet that could be plugged in should injury strike that can still get the job done even for a four to six game stretch could prove valuable.


2 - Hi Chris,

I enjoy your articles and videos every day during the off season!

Buddy before he stepped down said there will be more veteran players released from their teams to make more cap room, etc.

What are any of the dates between now and training camp when teams will have to make decisions on keeping or releasing players?

Please keep up the good work, 40 year Bill’s fans like me can’t get enough updates and info.

Thanks again!

Bob S

CB: The releases that Buddy was referring to were due strictly to cap room being hard to come by for some NFL clubs. It’s not really any roster reduction dates that will prompt that between now and the start of training camp.

Offseason rosters are now at 90 players, but only the top 51 count toward the salary cap. The first cutdown from 90 to 75 players happens the last week in August, with the cut to 53 just a few days later.


3 – Hi, Chris! As a former WNYer, and a long time Bills fan living afar off in NJ, in the midst of huge numbers of Giants, Jets, and Eagles fans, thanks for helping me stay abreast of all things Bills related.  I was excited to see the schedule come out and find that I will be in the New Orleans area while my favorite team is playing the Saints! What’s the best way to get tickets to that game where I will be sitting among fellow  WNYers?  Keep up the great work, my friend!

Michael C.
Edison, NJ

CB: I’d recommend getting in touch with the local Bills Backers chapter in New Orleans. They can probably tell you where to park to tailgate and might be able to help you with tickets at the Superdome. Here is their info from the Bills Backers page on

Big Easy Bills Backers
The Bricks Courtyard Bar & Grill
735 St. Joseph St.
New Orleans, LA


4 – Chris,

After years of being one of the oldest in age from top to bottom run nfl operations the bills have emerged with young executives and coaching staff to possibly being one of the youngest. Can you comment on this ? Also have you seen Bill Polian walking the halls at 1 Bills Drive? Just asking ! As always enjoy your work…….

Wally J.  in Fredericksburg, Va.

CB: Thanks to our crack research staff the Bills front office (Brandon, Marrone, Whaley) is the youngest in the league in terms of average age, which we blogged last week. And no, no Bill Polian sightings.


5 – Dear Chris:

Great draft coverage and congratulations on predicting EJ Manuel as the 1st pick.  Can we play “What if”?  What if the Jets used their 2nd pick on Manuel instead of their 3rd on Geno Smith?  What would the Bills have done with their pick at 16 overall?


Neil in Jamestown, NY

CB: I think there’s a strong chance they would’ve tried to move back again, and there were multiple suitors for their pick at 16.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Manuel pick impacted Nix’s decision

Posted by Chris Brown on May 14, 2013 – 9:47 am

Buddy Nix’s decision to step down as GM of the Bills Monday had a lot of contributing factors, and Nix didn’t deny that selecting QB EJ Manuel in round one a few weeks ago played a role.

In a one-on-one interview with, Nix said drafting Manuel made it easier to settle on the decision to step aside.

“I feel a lot better about it because of that,” said Nix in reference to the Manuel pick. “We’ve got two good veterans here and another rookie that will make him have to earn it. When (he’ll start) I don’t know that’s up to the coaches. That’s up to coach Marrone. He’ll decide when the guy is ready to play, but I don’t have any doubts that he’ll be successful here and in this league.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Nix believes he saw things through

Posted by Chris Brown on May 13, 2013 – 5:08 pm

Outgoing Bills GM Buddy Nix has said more than once that he wanted to see things through with the organization and get it back to being a winning team. Though the won-loss record has yet to show that, Nix believes he has done so as he now steps aside.

In a one-on-one interview with, Nix explained why he felt he positioned the team for success.

“Yeah, obviously you’d like to see the win-loss results, but somebody asked about what I think is going to be remembered about my legacy,” said Nix. “It’s according to who is looking at it I guess, but I think it’s going to be determined in the next two or three years. I think the good times are coming and that’s not to put any pressure on the head coach now, he knows there’s pressure anyway in this
business. But I think our roster is good, I like the draft class and I like our rookies, so I think we’re fixing to have some exciting times.”

Posted in Inside the Bills

Buddy on what changed

Posted by Chris Brown on May 13, 2013 – 5:05 pm

Outgoing Bills GM Buddy Nix said right after the draft that nothing had changed concerning his status as the team’s top personnel man. Now three weeks later he’s stepping aside. In a one-on-one interview with, Nix explained what changed.

“Russ (Brandon) and I talk a lot,” said Nix. “Our offices are right here together and Doug Marrone too, we talk about everything. We started after the draft. At the time we were so consumed with the draft going into it and even right after talking about the guys we got. Then after things kind of settled down and we tried to figure out the right timing and to me that’s the big issue here. This is the best time.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Scouting calendar told Nix it was time

Posted by Chris Brown on May 13, 2013 – 2:40 pm

As outgoing GM Buddy Nix said at his press conference announcing his transition from GM to a Special Assistant for the Bills, there is never a good time personally to retire, but for the Bills in his mind it was the best time. Here’s why.

As Nix explained it the scouting season for the 2014 class begins next week, so to step aside now would make for the cleanest break for a transition to a new GM.

“Starting next week, I already had a flight and was scheduled to go to St. Pete to start on the 2014 Draft. You sit there for 10 hours a day and listen to reports one right after the other on the 2014 draft prospects,” said Nix. “To be honest with you, my energy level is as good as it has ever been, but I was not all excited about that trip.

“We have got some young scouts that are fired up about it and that is the way it should be. That is the way I was. The best time, and again for us, is before we start the process for next year.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

What Buddy said about Whaley

Posted by Chris Brown on May 13, 2013 – 12:33 pm

With the decision by Buddy Nix to step down as GM of the club Monday, it creates the natural assumption that Assistant GM Doug Whaley will be promoted to the now vacant role. What Nix said about Whaley just a couple of months ago supported that assumption.

While at the NFL Combine Nix was asked about his own future with the Bills and while he said he still had the zest to do the job he also mentioned Whaley specifically.

“I think you’re maybe less than confident in what you do if you can’t put your replacement in place, and we did ours,” said Nix this past February. “I was on the job three months when I hired Doug and nothing’s changed with him. My energy level or anything hasn’t changed. Look, I’m not going to do this until I’m 100, I promise you. I’d like to know I’ll be around until then, but I’ll decide that. I’ll sit-down with Russ and we’ll do what needs to be done, but to put a timetable on it, I started something and I’d like to see it through.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Trade with Rams was set Tues. before draft

Posted by Chris Brown on May 6, 2013 – 9:30 am

When the Bills were on the clock with the eighth overall pick they executed their trade with the Rams in short order. Here’s where you can watch how quickly it happened.

Buffalo GM Buddy Nix tells in a the Bills Inside the Draft Room feature that the trade had been set in place two days prior to round one.

“I talked to them about two days before the draft, probably Tuesday and said this is what we’d do and we’ll see what the situation is. You can’t make those before pick time,” said Nix. “Is their guy going to be there? Is the one we want still be there when we move down? We talked about it and laid the groundwork for it and said we’ll talk again at pick 6 or 7.”

Nix also said he knew that Tavon Austin was the impetus for the deal even though the Rams never told him that was their guy.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills had chance to move up in Rd. 1

Posted by Chris Brown on May 6, 2013 – 8:05 am

The NFL draft is more than a week in the rearview mirror, but takes you inside the draft room on draft day on April 25th to see how things came down on day one when the Bills landed EJ Manuel.

Bills GM Buddy Nix, who narrates how things unfolded on draft day, revealed that Buffalo had a chance to move into the top five in a deal with Detroit. But Nix had no interest in moving up.

“Not at all,” Nix told “You’ve got to give up too much to move up. We had guys that we thought would be there and had our favorite there so we weren’t interested in moving up.”

Bills head coach Doug Marrone also provides background on the goings on in the draft room in this Bills draft special on

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Posted in Inside the Bills

How Bills scored on draft trade

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2013 – 11:54 am

The value looked relatively close when people assessed the trade between the Bills and Rams on day one of the draft, which allowed Buffalo to move down to 16 in round one and pick up an extra second-round pick and a seventh-round pick. But according to a new online trade value calculator the Bills came out on top in the deal.

The draft pick value calculator weighs trades and produces a value on the deal. Buffalo’s trade with St. Louis gave the Bills a trade value of 118. Anything over 100 indicates better than even value on the deal. If the value on the trade is under 100, that team “lost” the trade.

“I think getting the two extra picks and being able to fill an extra couple of needs was huge,” said Bills GM Buddy Nix. “We didn’t have a seventh and we wind up with a tight end that we wanted to get and we would not have been able to do that. Obviously the extra second is almost like a first to us.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills competed with 14 teams to land WR Rogers

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2013 – 11:55 pm

The Bills knew they liked the talent of Tennessee Tech WR Da’Rick Rogers. The problem was so did half the NFL, so after the draft was over it was far from a sure thing that Rogers would agree to terms with the Bills. But Rogers came to Buffalo for a few reasons, which Bills GM Buddy Nix laid out.

Nix appearing on the John Murphy Show laid out the reasons why he felt Rogers saw Buffalo as a good spot for him.

“There were 14 teams after him after the draft and we were able to get him,” said Nix. “I think there were a lot of reasons (President and CEO) Russ (Brandon) and (Senior VP of Football Administration) Jim (Overdorf) have been pretty close with his agent. Plus his agent also represents Robert Woods and they had worked out together during the pre-draft process and knew each other.

“I think Da’Rick felt comfortable here. Plus he was one of our 30 (pre-draft) visits and he sat in my office and I told him how it would be here. He can either make a living playing football or get a job. I think he understands, plus he went to dinner with our coaches here and I think he liked it.”

Nix believes Rogers understands he’s got to make good on this opportunity.

“This guy is talented and he can play,” said Nix.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Nix thinks Bills roster is better

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 30, 2013 – 6:30 pm

The draft is done, the undrafted free agents are signed, and the veteran free agents have settled in.

Bills General Manager Buddy Nix says the Bills roster is better now than it was back on New Year’s Eve, the day after last season ended.

‘Absolutely. We’re younger, we’re a young team,” Nix said. “We got speed and some versatility. We brought some toughness to this team. It’s not any reflection on the guys that were here, they did a good job for us. But we needed to get better in some areas and speed was one of them. Because of the way our defense is, we needed some guys who can play more than one spot. I think we were able to do that.”

Nix made the comments in an appearance on The John Murphy Show. The entire interview is available here

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills had a 1st/2nd round grade on Da’Rick Rogers

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 30, 2013 – 5:15 pm

The biggest name among the 16 undrafted players the Bills signed Monday undoubtedly belongs to WR
Da’Rick Rogers. The Tennessee Tech wideout was not drafted after three failed drug tests at the University of Tennessee. He finished his college eligibility with some pedestrian numbers put up last year, at Tennessee Tech.

But Bills GM Buddy Nix says the team had a first-to-second round grade on Rogers, when it came to football ability. The Bills GM talked about Rogers on The John Murphy Show.

“Being from Tennessee, I’ve known his background,” Nix said. “He’s from Calhoun, Georgia, I knew him when he was playing in high school. The guy’s got tremendous talent. He’s made some bad decisions. It’s gotten him in trouble. Got him out of the University of Tennessee, from an All-SEC performance in his sophomore year, and he goes to Tennessee Tech where he has a so-so year. He played down to the level of competition, really. But this guy’s talented. He can play. The ball’s in his court. He goes by the rules, and does like he’s supposed to, or he goes somewhere else.”

Nix said the Bills had several meetings with Rogers prior to the draft, and he sat down with the talented receiver in Orchard Park when he made a visit to One Bills Drive. At that meeting, Nix spelled out for Rogers what the team expected from him.

“He was one of our thirty visits,” Nix said. “He sat in my office, and I told him how it would be here, and what we expected. He can either make a living playing football or get a job. I think he understands that.”

The Bills GM says Rogers experience of being bypassed in the draft despite having first round ability, may serve to motivate him moving forward.

“I think he’s humbled. I think he’s probably got a chip on his shoulder.”

The entire interview with Bills GM Buddy Nix is available here

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Marrone and Nix on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2013 – 11:08 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone and GM Buddy NIx will both be on the radio airwaves today (Tuesday). Here’s where you can find them commenting for sure on Buffalo’s newest player, LB/DE Jerry Hughes.

Coach Marrone

Sirius Radio with Rich Gannon -   11:40 am

CBS Sports Radio with Tim Brando -  12:05 pm

Buddy Nix
Sportsradio 1270 AM The Fan – Buffalo -  2:40 pm

TSN Radio -  3:05 pm


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pettine’s defense puts premium on versatility

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 29, 2013 – 8:20 pm

The Bills pulled off a rare player-for-player trade Monday, sending third year LB Kelvin Sheppard to the Colts in exchange for fourth year LB Jerry Hughes.

And while both the Bills and Colts are willing to part with young defensive talent, the trade seems to be more a product of finding a right fit for the defense. At least that’s what Bills GM Buddy Nix said, in an appearance on The John Murphy Show.

Nix was asked if Sheppard was not a good fit in the new defensive scheme being installed by Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine.

“I think that’s part of it,” he said. “Kelvin is a true middle linebacker–a guy that’s going to play from C-gap to C-gap and he can do that downhill.”

“But Mike Pettine made this statement during the draft,” Nix told host John Murphy. “The days of the Mike linebacker and the strong safety have just about fallen by the wayside. Everything has moved over. You’ve taken the Mike now, and he’s moved over. You’ve moved Will to Mike. And now you walk up Bryan Scott as a nickel linebacker, and he’s now the Will. Those guys got to be able to run and cover.”

Nix says the Bills have stressed versatility in the linebacker moves they’ve made in recent months.

“We got Moats there in the middle-he can play two spots. We got Kiko Alonso in there–he can play two spots. Nigel Bradham can play Will or Mike. That is what we’re coming to.”

The entire interview with Bills GM Buddy Nix is available at\johnmurphyshow

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Hughes trade another versatility move

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2013 – 5:07 pm

The Bills acquisition of DE/OLB Jerry Hughes from the Colts follows the trail of examples of the demand for player versatility and speed.

Hughes had 4.65 speed coming out of TCU and without a lot of miles on his tires playing behind Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, Hughes figures to still be that fast. But his ability to play strong side LB and a rush end, including some subpackage rush looks is what made him the kind of versatile fit defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and head coach Doug Marrone are looking for.

“Versatility is something we’re looking for and we’d like our linebackers to at least be able to play both outside spots and we’d like our middle backer to have the ability to play WILL or MIKE so that was enticing about Jerry,” said Bills GM Buddy Nix.


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Nix initally surprised by slow go at QB

Posted by Chris Brown on April 28, 2013 – 7:59 am

Bills GM Buddy Nix said he’s rarely nervous and rarely is he shocked, but the way the 2013 NFL draft was playing out at the quarterback position was downright stunning.

After two days just three quarterbacks had come off the board in Buffalo’s own EJ Manuel, Geno Smith and Mike Glennon.

“Really at first it kind of shocked me a little bit, but when you think about it people were worried about this quarterback class,” said Nix. “The hype or the lack of got people concerned and they went out and tried to give themselves some insurance bringing in a veteran quarterback and it kept it from being a priority in the firsts few picks. And once that got started and they started hanging on and staying out there people were worried about there being something that they didn’t know. I think those things happen. They slide a lot of times and you think, ‘Well if this guy is still there, then there’s something about them that I don’t know.’”

In total just 11 quarterbacks were drafted. It was the fourth-lowest total among position groups in this year’s draft to only center (5), fullbacks (3) and kickers (2) and punters (2).

Ironically, the Bills were strongly considering taking a second quarterback after Manuel had already been drafted.

“Very seriously we did (consider it),” said Nix.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills intend to add undrafted QB

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2013 – 7:36 pm

Bills GM Buddy Nix got the long term answer at quarterback for the future in first-round pick EJ Manuel, but Buffalo plans to add still another quarterback to the mix as they begin their recruiting of undrafted rookie free agents.

“We’ll try to get another one in free agency,” said Nix.

With the 2013 NFL draft concluded, three quarterbacks that made pre-draft visits to Buffalo went undrafted. Arizona’s Matt Scott, Tennessee’s Tyler Bray and Washington State’s Jeff Tuel all visited One Bills Drive earlier this month.

Buffalo also put Bray through a private workout. Seeing the clear focus on adding team speed and versatility Scott might prove to be the more coveted quarterback prospect as he offers the most athleticism of the aforementioned signal callers. But there will also be stiff competition from the other 31 NFL clubs to land any one of them.

“It will be competitive, it always is,” said Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon, who takes part in the recruitment of undrafted rookie free agents. “If you look back historically some of the successes we’ve had with some of the undrafted free agents and it comes down to recruiting and situations within your roster structure and opportunity. We’ll be very competitive.

“If you look at the statistics even just last year, the percentage of undrafted rookies that make rosters and practice squads, it’s significant.”

Nix admitted that there were a couple of times on day two and three of the draft that they considered taking another quarterback.

“Very seriously,” said Nix.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

What Bills want in a QB

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2013 – 8:18 pm

The Bills are expected to take a quarterback in this draft, presumably early. Here’s what Buddy Nix described in terms of what they want in a quarterback prospect.

“Obviously you want size in a quarterback, a guy that’s intelligent, got enough arm and accuracy,” said Nix. “But the things about a quarterback are the intangibles that you have to try to find out and that’s leadership and how he does under pressure and how quick he can make decisions.”

Buffalo’s scouting staff has conducted their most extensive and exhaustive scouting of the QB prospects in recent memory to make sure they get this right.

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Posted in Inside the Bills