Only one more Fan Friday after this prior to the draft, and Jason Peters trumps everything so we start there. I’m going to be in full scramble mode answering all your pre-draft questions this week. Let’s get started.
ESPN is reporting that Peters was traded for a 1st(28th overall) and Philly’s 4th round pick this year as well as a undisclosed 2010 pick. Now that this is a done deal which tackle do you see Buffalo taking at #11?
CB: First Kevin, nothing is done until either of the teams confirms it. But to entertain your question, should this trade indeed come to fruition I would say that the chances of Buffalo taking an offensive tackle increase somewhat, but not significantly. Here’s why.
I think the Bills will move Langston Walker to left tackle and plug Demetrius Bell in at right tackle. Bell came a long way in the past year and is very, very athletic. Asking him to step in at left tackle right now however, is too much to ask of a second-year player with no NFL starts on his resume.
If you remember the Bills started Jason Peters on the right side when he first played tackle in a game filling in for an injured Mike Williams back in ‘05. I think doing the same with Bell is not out of the realm of possibility. If that’s the course they choose to take, then I think the Bills can still target a premier pass rusher, like Everette Brown at 11, who I have liked all along.
Then at 28 they could scoop up a top flight center like Alex Mack (Cal), OLB/DE Connor Barwin (Connor Barwin) or Larry English (No. Illinois) or tight end Brandon Pettigrew (OK State) if he happens to still be on the board. Personally I think Pettigrew will be gone by 25 to Atlanta or 26 to Baltimore.
I’m not saying that an offensive tackle like Michael Oher (Ole Miss) isn’t a possibility at 11, but I don’t think it means they’re forced to take one there. Heck they could even get a solid right tackle prospect in Eben Britton (Arizona St.) at 28 if they wanted.
But this organization has a lot of faith in Bell’s long term potential and after successfully developing Peters, who wasn’t an offensive tackle until Buffalo moved him, I believe they feel they can develop Bell into a dependable starter.
I guess we’ll all know better in about a week.
2. Hey Chris,
I know the Bills have all but announced Hangartner the center for next season, but could it be a smoke screen and could the Bills be eying up someone like Alex Mack in the draft? Then moving Hangartner to guard?
CB: I wouldn’t rule anything out at this point, but Hangartner has said his best position is center and I get the sense the organization is committed to him playing in the pivot. You want to put the players in positions where they can best succeed, and for Hangartner that’s center, in his opinion and the opinion of the organization.
3. Chris, just about everyone in the Bills community including yourself keeps saying that the team’s greatest need going into 2009 is to improve its pass rush. But isn’t it a fact that the Bills had the # 13 defense in the NFL last year against the pass? If that’s true, isn’t improving the pass rush more of a luxury than a necessity, especially given the fact that the offense ranked near the bottom of the league in just about every important category? Shouldn’t landing a first-rate TE and Center trump acquiring a situational pass rusher who plays mainly on third down? Last year we insisted on getting “value” from our first round pick by drafting a CB and ended up not getting the kind of TE we desperately needed, when we could have traded down and drafted John Carlson. I hope that doesn’t happen in 2009, leaving the offense shortchanged once again.
CB: While I understand the point you’re trying to make, the ranking of the pass defense in 2008 (13th) is a bit misleading. The reason why is because teams still had fair to good success running the ball against Buffalo when all was said and done. The Bills finished 22nd against the run and surrendered over 120 yards per game on the ground.
When teams run that well against you they don’t have to throw as much reducing the yards a defense gives up passing thereby improving the ranking against the pass.
Some might say that run defense figure means they should get another defensive tackle, but any hope of getting B.J. Raji at 11 is a pipe dream. He’ll be gone by the sixth pick.
As for the pass rush here’s why myself and the majority of fans I’ve spoken with feel the pass rush has to be addressed. Over the past two years Buffalo has a total of 50 sacks. Combining 2007 and 2008 that ranks 29th in the league, with only Cleveland, Cincinnati and Kansas City with lesser production over that span. The pass rush has to be addressed early if you wish to get a player that can help you right away.
Just read your blog on S. Carolina TE Cook. I can see where interest in this guy is growing and Nelson/Cook could be neck and neck. I don’t agree however with your assessment that with the addition of T.O. the Bills need for a TE is reduced. Personally I believe the addition of a real TE is of paramount importance. That along with improving the OL interior to me should be of primary importance to the Bills. I know you believe the Bills should go after a DE with their first pick to improve the pass rush, but I believe making the offense significantly better is the real key. Our struggles last season were offense related.
CB: Perhaps I didn’t state my opinion on the tight end well enough. When I said that the need for a playmaking tight end was reduced by the signing of Owens, I meant for 2009. This year, if you don’t have a playmaking tight end ready to make plays and have an instant impact on your offense you’re not dead in the water.
I still maintain that the pass rush is priority number one. I think tight end can be addressed in rounds two or three depending on what players the Bills covet most at that position. That player can come in as a rookie in 2009, get his feet wet without the pressure of making tons of plays. Then the following year when Owens is probably gone he and James Hardy can step up and fill the void in the passing game together.
I agree offensive line is a need area too. In my ideal draft Buffalo gets a premier pass rusher in the first (Brown?), a solid interior lineman in the second (Wood?) and a pass catching tight end in the third (Coffman?). If this reported Peters trade happens, then pass rusher first, OL bottom of first, pass catching TE in 2nd.
5. Hey Chris,
I wanted to get your opinion on Oregon OL Max Unger. In doing some player research I have developed a man crush on Unger and would love to see him in a Bills uniform. I love his versalitility as he can play center, guard, or tackle plus he brings top notch intangibles and experience to the table. I think he would be a great add with our second round pick, if he lasts that long. Anyways, your opinion would be greatly appreciated.
CB: I think Max Unger would be a good pick. Yes, he is versatile having played some tackle. Though he’s never played guard, I think he could handle it.
Personally I prefer Alex Mack and Eric Wood to Unger. Mack and Wood have a little more nastiness and tenacity to their game, while Unger is more of a technician.
Don’t get me wrong I respect Unger’s game a lot and wouldn’t be upset if he wound up with the Bills. I just like Mack and Wood a bit better.
Tags: Alex Mack, B.J. Raji, Brandon Pettigrew, Chase Coffman, Connor Barwin, Eben Britton, Eric Wood, Everette Brown, Fan Friday, Geoff Hangartner, Jared Cook, Jason Peters, Larry English, Max Unger, Michael Oher
Posted in Inside the Bills
In the latest mock draft from the National Football Post, I like the picks they’ve got marked down for the Bills. However, I’m not confident their third round selection will still be on the board.
In round one they have Buffalo taking the still rising Robert Ayers, who reportedly has impressed in interviews as much as he has on the field. The general feeling among NFL clubs is that his one big year of production as a senior starter is just the tip of the iceberg as opposed to being a one-year wonder. Most talent evaluators feel he’s only going to get better.
In the NFP mock Aaron Maybin is already off the board at 9 to Green Bay so Ayers wouldn’t be a terrible pick at 11. I like Ayers as a player, but 11 seems a bit high for a guy that doesn’t come across as a big pass rush guy. He’s capable, but not dominant. I’m using the 11th pick on a dominant guy.
In round two they’ve got Buffalo taking Duke Robinson from Oklahoma, the consensus top guard in a weak guard class. I wouldn’t be opposed to that in light of hole at left guard right now. The offensive line does have to be shored up.
In round three they’ve got the Bills taking TE Shawn Nelson out of Southern Miss. I like Nelson’s game breaking ability a lot, but I don’t see him on the board in round 3 for Buffalo at pick 75.
That’s why if the Bills get their DE in round one, they’re going to have a big decision to make in round two. Do they address the interior of their offensive line, knowing that there’s not a lot of depth at guard, or do they go for the best of the game breaking talent at tight end?
Personally I’d address the guard position, whether it’s Duke Robinson or LSU’s Herman Johnson. I’m a big believer in getting your big men early.
And the tight end class is deep this year. I still think you can get an athletic tight end at 75 like a Chase Coffman (Missouri) or Cornelius Ingram (Florida), two talented pass catchers coming off injuries.
Without a stable offensive line, this offense goes nowhere fast, even with T.O. and company. What would you do in round two?
Tags: Aaron Maybin, Chase Coffman, Cornelius Ingram, Duke Robinson, Herman Johnson, NFL Draft, Robert Ayers, Shawn Nelson, Terrell Owens
Posted in Inside the Bills
It’s no surprise, but Missouri TE Chase Coffman won’t be working out here at the Combine. He’s just six weeks removed from surgery for a Jones fracture of his fifth metatarsal.
He’s an intriguing mismatch at the TE position and a great pass catcher, but with two of his four collegiate seasons compromised by injury there will be some concern that he’s too big a risk for being injury prone.
Coffman is rated by most scouting services as a second round pick.
He plans to work out fully at the Missouri pro day. The Tigers are actually having two pro days on March 5th and March 19th. Wouldn’t be surprised if he waits until the 19th to do anything because it’ll give him a month or so to get ready.
Tags: Chase Coffman
Posted in Inside the Bills
Here’s the latest installment of Fan Friday. As most of you know by now you can email your questions to me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net. I try to respond to everyone either personally or here on Fan Friday.
Do you think the Bills will sign a veteran QB in the off-season. I realize that Trent has not done terrible job, but he has not exactly done a good job. It seems like the game is moving too fast for him still and he doesn’t anticipate his receivers, he waits for them to be open, then throws it, and by the time the ball gets there the window is already closed. Also, I wonder if he’s the long term solution for this team considering he’s always nicked up and doesn’t play well in cold weather. Please tell me this team is going to get a play maker at QB like McNabb, Bills fans need some hope after this season.
CB: I don’t think a playmaker like Donovan McNabb is realistic because those kinds of players are usually not out on the free agent market. You usually have to give up something significant for that kind of talent. The Bills will be in the market for a backup quarterback because J.P. Losman will be looking for opportunities elsewhere.
I’ve stated a few times that I think Byron Leftwich might be the best available free agent this offseason. I say that because Kerry Collins only wants to be a starter, and he’s also a free agent. Now Leftwich might be able to find an opportunity where he’ll be given the chance to start (e.g. Chicago) and that would make Buffalo far less attractive, where I’m assuming only the backup job will be what’s offered.
So to expect to see some juggernaut QB get signed to play the role of backup is unrealistic as I see it. You may have to settle for a Ryan Fitzpatrick (who I like), Chris Simms or some other veteran that is accustomed to the backup role and would be more accepting of it.
2. Hey Chris,
A while back on Fan Friday you said something about we can’t compete for Haynesworth or Suggs in the offseason. My question is why not considering other teams sign a big player almost every year, we never really sign a player like that. Also who do you think we can bring in during free agency considering we need another good DE to get to the QB. And do you think we can spend the money to bring in Kurt Warner. We need a better QB that can throw touchdowns. Kurt Warner is a leader, that can throw a lot of TDs, Trent Edwards really doesn’t.
The needs as I see them are all over the board, but the biggest two are QB and DE
CB: I don’t disagree that there are several needs. Perhaps I should have been more clear with respect to Haynesworth and Suggs. First of all, I don’t think Haynesworth hits the market. He’s too vital for the Titans to let him go. I think Suggs could get away with Bart Scott and Ray Lewis also set to become free agents for Baltimore. Suggs would arguably cost the most due to the higher price tag for pass rushers.
The reason I don’t think the Bills will be able to compete for Suggs is there will be a number of teams competing for him on the free agent market if he gets there. The Bills historically don’t like to get into bidding wars for players, and there will be numerous bidders for Suggs. I’d be very happy with Bart Scott though to upgrade the linebacking unit.
I recently heard that JP Losman will not be returning to the Bills next season because of another poor showing during this past season. Do you think any other team in the NFL would pick him up because of that reason? Thanks.
CB: It has less to do with his poor showing and more to do with the fact that he’s an unrestricted free agent. Losman also wants to pursue an opportunity where he’ll have a legitimate chance to compete for a starting job.
Even though there are NFL teams in need of quarterback help, in light of how he performed this past season when called upon, I’m not confident he’ll be able to get such an opportunity. I think he’ll have to accept a backup job and hope he gets another shot. He’d be wise to go to a team with an offense that suits his strengths, which is making plays on the run and throwing downfield.
4. Hey Chris,
What’s up with all the criticism of Poz lately? People on the message board are calling him a bust, you yourself said you’re “willing to give him another year.” What are people expecting from this guy that we aren’t getting? The dude is in on practically every tackle and there are way weaker positions on this defense than MLB. Why aren’t people calling out a guy like Keith Ellison or Chris Kelsay instead?
CB: I was puzzled by the negativity over Poz too. I think those people that saw Poz play at Penn State were a bit spoiled because he not only made the routine plays, but the big ones as well, a lot of them. Now in the pros those big plays have been fewer and further between and people that saw him play in college think something is wrong. I personally think those big plays will become more and more frequent in year three. In essence this past season was his rookie year after playing all of 2 1/2 games in 2007. He was usually a half step away from making a lot of big plays in 2008. He said himself he wants to make more big plays and no one puts in more time in the offseason than this guy. I really believe it’ll come. Keep the faith.
5. Hey Chris,
I agree with your assessment of drafting a pass rushing defensive end. Who would you like to see in a Buffalo Bills uniform?
What the Bills need to do with the tight end position, Do you think we should draft, sign a FA, or get the current ones more involved?
God Bless The Buffalo Bills!
Alex – San Juan, P.R.
CB: First, I’d appreciate it if you could send some of your gorgeous weather up this way. We’re freezing our rears off in Buffalo today. Now back to business.
As I’ve said I’d like to see the Bills use their top pick on a pass rusher. I was very impressed from what I’ve seen from Everette Brown (FSU) and Brian Orakpo (Texas) this year. What I like about them is their brute strength, which will be important at the pro level when it comes to standing in there against the run.
I would like to do a little more research on them before definitively stating that I think they’re the best fit for the Bills. There are some other candidates as well.
If the Bills elect to go the free agent route, I’m concerned because I don’t see them winning a bidding war for Julius Peppers or Terrell Suggs as I stated above. The young free agent talent at DE is not overly impressive. Chauncey Davis had four sacks lining up opposite John Abraham. Antonio Smith had 3.5 sacks lining up opposite Bertrand Berry (who is also a FA, but on the downside) and Corey Smith (Detroit) isn’t much to get excited about either. That’s why I think the draft is the best route to take.
As for tight end the only free agent I’d consider this offseason is Bo Scaife (Tennessee). He had a productive year (58-561-2 TDs) though he’s not going to stretch the field and he’s not any bigger or better for that matter than Schouman or Fine. But his numbers have improved the last couple of years. But if the right game-breaking prospect is on the board in the second or third round (Chase Coffman – Missouri?) I’m not opposed to going that route at all.
Tags: Albert Haynesworth, Antonio Smith, Bart Scott, Bo Scaife, Brian Orakpo, Byron Leftwich, Chase Coffman, Chauncey Davis, Chris Simms, Corey Smith, Derek Fine, Derek Schouman, Everette Brown, Fan Friday, J.P. Losman, Julius Peppers, Kurt Warner, Paul Posluszny, Ray Lewis, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Terrell Suggs
Posted in Inside the Bills