Inside The Bills

Developing QB prospects important this year

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2013 – 12:14 pm

Much has been made about the fact that there isn’t a lead pipe lock at the quarterback position in this year’s draft class, but NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock made a good point on a team’s confidence in developing quarterbacks.

On a national conference call Mayock was asked about both Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick, who both were second-round draft choices. Both have become solid starting quarterbacks even though they were not finished products or can’t miss franchise signal callers when they came out.

“They both became second round picks, they might have gone back‑to‑back in the draft, but what did people miss,” Mayock asked rhetorically. “Kaepernick, when he started taking off, I went back to my college notes on him, and I was like, ‘Look at all this I have written on this kid.’ What I had was big arm, wildly inconsistent, great athlete. Well you could see all that stuff. 

“But I think Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers spent a year kind of getting that arm where it was a lot more consistent. Could you say the same thing about Geno Smith? Probably. Could you say the same thing about Mike Glennon? Yeah, big arm. 

“I’m not talking about athletic ability with Glennon, but somebody could buy into a Geno Smith up high because they feel like there are flashes of everything there. However, he’s got to put it together on a more consistent basis. 

“So a team that feels comfortable in their ability to evaluate and then develop quarterbacks are going to feel better about Geno Smith and Matt Barkley and Mike Glennon.”

Knowing Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who also is the team’s quarterbacks coach, was very successful in developing Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib, one wonders if the Bills have a similar faith to that of the 49ers in developing quarterback prospects that might not be finished NFL products at the time they are drafted.


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Zone read ins and outs

Posted by Chris Brown on January 30, 2013 – 10:17 am

As we covered on Buffalobills.com today, the Bills new defensive staff stands a good chance of having viable answers to stopping the zone read quarterbacks that are taking over the NFL. One of them obviously is playing Sunday in the Super Bowl in Colin Kaepernick, and his team’s scheme was dissected well by National Football Post.

Former NFL safety Matt Bowen does a good job of explaining the elements of the 49ers Pistol offense with Kaepernick and provides visuals of why it’s tough to defend.

Fortunately the Bills have defensive assistants under Pettine that have been defending similar types of offensive schemes in the college ranks the past seven years. That should equip Buffalo’s defensive staff with practical solutions in defending it that should make the Bills defense more effective than they were against such quarterbacks last season (See: Russell Wilson).


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Mock – LB, QB, OT for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2011 – 3:07 pm

The latest and probably last mock draft by the National Football Post goes three rounds and they’ve got a LB, QB, and offensive tackle going to the Bills in those three rounds.

In round one they predictably have Buffalo taking Von Miller the pass rushing LB from Texas A&M. In round 2  they’ve got Buffalo taking Colin Kaepernick, the QB from Nevada and in round 3 they’ve got Buffalo landing OT Marcus Gilbert from Florida.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kaepernick intangibles

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2011 – 8:50 am

Bills scouts addressed the media again this week leading up to the NFL draft and we’ve all heard about Colin Kaepernick’s outstanding athleticism, which is obvious to anyone that has watched him play. So I asked about whether he had all the intangibles that scouts look for from the quarterback position as well. The answer I got was definitive.

Bills scout Rashaan Curry, whose scouting region includes Nevada, called Kaepernick’s intangibles “off the charts.”

“There may not be a better kid in this draft in terms of intangibles,” said Curry. “Now I don’t know that for sure because I don’t cover half the country, but in terms of my portion of the country there may not be a better guy in terms of intangibles than him. A guy who is smart, competitive, works hard and is driven. You get warm feelings when you think about his intangibles. You talk about a kid who not only did what the coaches asked him to do, but outside of that was a leader and dragged guys along with him.”

To further address Kaepernick’s abilities, ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden admitted that Nevada’s ‘pistol offense’ does complicate projecting Kaepernick to the NFL, but it’s clear he thinks highly of Kaepernick’s intangibles as well.

“Well, the pistol does make it tough, but you can’t deny production,” said Gruden. “No one’s thrown for 10,000 yards and rushed for over 4,000. I do think you’re getting a double threat.  You’re getting a guy that has a contagious, charismatic personality – a guy that really wants to compete.  You’re getting an exciting prospect.  Might take him some time, but you’re getting a guy that can run and pass, just needs some development and needs to make the transition to the next level.”


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Colts work Kaepernick

Posted by Chris Brown on April 8, 2011 – 1:18 pm

According to NFL.com the Indianapolis Colts are the latest team to put Nevada QB prospect Colin Kaepernick through a private workout.

The 49ers, Browns and Eagles have also had Kaepernick work out for them privately and he’s had pre-draft meetings with Denver and Tennessee. According to the NFL.com report Kaepernick is also to meet with Oakland next week.

The Colts have also met with TCU QB Andy Dalton.


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QB in 3rd in mock for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 5, 2011 – 3:53 pm

In a three round mock draft, the Bills are predicted to go pass rushing LB in round one, wide receiver in round two and a quarterback in round three.

Draft Insiders predicts Von Miller with the third overall pick for Buffalo, followed by Pitt WR Jonathan Baldwin in round two and Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick in round three.

Personally I’m not sure Kaepernick is even on the board come round three with most analysts pegging him as a second rounder now that he’s had a solid pre-draft body of work and up to 10 teams putting him through private workouts.


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10 workouts for Kaepernick

Posted by Chris Brown on April 5, 2011 – 3:46 pm

Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick, who has put together a solid pre-draft period, is going to be very busy over the next couple of weeks.

Kaepernick has 10 private workouts scheduled and three pre-draft visits according to the National Football Post. Workouts are reportedly lined up with Cleveland, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Oakland, Philadelphia and San Francisco along with a few others.

The report also states that Oakland will host Kaepernick for a pre-draft visit. He’s previously visited with Tennessee.


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Fan Friday 4-1

Posted by Chris Brown on April 1, 2011 – 12:31 pm

No pre-draft smoke screens here, even on April Fool’s Day, though you’ve got to wonder if it’s a good idea for Da’Quan Bowers was wise to schedule his pro day on this date. Guess it’s better than Friday the 13th. Anyway on to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 - Chris, 
Can you break down what the scouts think about the three best mobile QB in the draft, that being Newton, Locker, and Kaepernick. Judging on Chan’s desire for a guy that can move out of the pocket and what round they can be had (NEWTON 1) (LOCKER/Kaepernick 2-3), who makes the most sense for the Bills just on talent and ability to drop back to be a full time passer. I think Kaepernick seems like a great talent and has put up better numbers than most QB’s. Locker could also develop better. He’s got major arm and legs. How interested are the Bills in Locker and Kaepernick compared to the rumors of Cam?

Jack

CB: Most draft analysts have these three guys specifically ranked Newton, Locker and Kaepernick. Kaepernick has been criticized for having a long wind up, but he has worked to shorten his delivery. Locker timed the fastest at the combine running a 4.5 flat, but Kaepernick (4.53) and Newton (4.58) were right behind him.

Kaepernick and Newton are two of only three QBs (Tebow is the other) to pass for 20 and rush for 20 touchdowns in a single season.
Kaepernick has the longest track record being a four-year starter and was extremely consistent in terms of production. With Locker the same cannot be said, though he improved in some areas of his game each year. Newton had only one year of major college football as a starter, but it was a special year obviously taking what was largely an average team and leading them to a national title. He and Nick Fairley made an average team an elite team with their talent.

What is certain is all three are athletes. All have guns for arms and all three can run.

I’m a fan of Kaepernick having the chance to interview him at the Senior Bowl one-on-one. He just came across well. I did not have that chance with Locker or Newton, though I was on hand for their group interviews at the combine.

With all three of these guys there is going to be an adjustment period. Newton and Kaepernick come from spread offenses. Locker has two years in a pro-style offense under Sarkisian at Washington.

Newton played in a superior conference, which is partly why most see him at the top of the board because he got it done despite facing elite athletes. Locker and Kaepernick however are not far behind.

How interested the Bills might be in each of these guys is tough to peg because of the way NFL clubs tend to mislead as much as they tell the truth. Even Buddy said 10 percent is truth this time of year. So for me to tell you who they think fits them best would be just guess work on my part. We do know that Newton visited, something that Locker and Kapernick have not done to this point.

2 - Hi Chris,
I know the SS position is kind of up in the air right now with Whitner only being tendered, but not re-signed and the top free agents signing to other teams. What do you think the chances are of George Wilson becoming a starter? In my opinion the guy has done a tremendous job whenever he has filled in. Being a converted receiver one would think consistent playing time would only help him perfect his craft.
Dan
From Western, MA
 
CB: I think George Wilson could contend for the starting role at strong safety in 2011. Bryan Scott is still in the fold as well. So as things are currently constituted with respect to the roster, those two are the prime candidates.

3 - Hey Chris,
Just want to start by saying I’m a big fan of yours and I think you do a great job for the Bills and their fans.

I just have a few questions regarding the D Linemen in this years draft and their values. I understand the combine means a lot to coaches and scouts but does Marcell Dareus’ performance really put him ahead of Fairley? I wasn’t able to watch Dareus as much as I did Fairley due to Auburns success but from what I saw in the National Championship, he looked un-blockable. And my last question is whether Da”Quan Bowers fits into the Bills defensive scheme for next year. He is such an athletic guy and I personally would love to have him line up for us but do you think he’d be able to handle the DE position in both the 3-4 and the 4-3?
Thanks for your time,
Mark from New Jersey

CB: Thanks for the kind words. With respect to Dareus just watch his performance in the National Championship game against Texas in 2010. Not only unblockable, but how about a 319-pound man making an interception and running almost 30 yards for a touchdown? Oh and throw in a knockout shot on Colt McCoy. Dareus, much like Fairley was this past January, was the Defensive MVP.
Dareus in all likelihood is not going to have the sack numbers of Fairley at the NFL level, but he is a superior run stopper and does push the pocket with consistency, which prevents quarterbacks from stepping up to elude pressure from defensive ends. Both Dareus and Fairley are special talents.

Dareus has just done it for longer (2 years) than Fairley (1 year).

With respect to Bowers, I thought head coach Chan Gailey had an interesting response to a question he got earlier this week from a Bills season ticket holder in a Tele-Forum we conducted on Tuesday. He was asked if Bowers was a fit for Buffalo’s base 3-4 scheme. Here is coach Gailey’s answer.

“He is an explosive player. He really is. He can make things happen as a pass rusher coming off the edge. He plays the run better than people give him credit for. I think that if we ended up taking that guy we’d find a place for him. We’d make it work. You can’t take a guy that is that good of a player and not make him fit in to what you’re trying to get done defensively. We’re not going to pass up a very, very good football player just because he might not fit perfectly. We’ll adjust to get good football players on our team.”

Knowing the Bills have intentions of playing a hybrid defense that employs 3-4 and 4-3 looks, I don’t think they’re going to rule anyone out even if they’re pegged by some as one scheme only defensive ends as has been the case with Bowers. Bowers is largely viewed as a 4-3 left defensive end.

But back in February I talked to C.J. Spiller, his former college teammate, about him and he believes Bowers is strong enough to play end in a 3-4. He’s 6’4” and 275 pounds and freakishly strong in the upper body. But it seems clear that the Bills wouldn’t shy away from him provided there isn’t a talent they have rated higher on their board when they pick.

4 – Hi Chris,
It looks like we have a lot of holes to fill especially with the release of Marcus Stroud, and potential free agents Drayton Florence, and Donte Whitner. I cannot help but think that we do not have enough depth at our DB’s position and believe we have more depth at the DT position. I think Leodis Mckelvin has regressed, and Terrance McGee cannot stay healthy in order to finish a season strong. I believe this is very problematic but I have not seen this concerned expressed on the Bills site. Do we have other DB’s that can fill in?

In light of this and assuming that we do not address these needs in free agency, I think we should go with CB, DT, or DE with our 3rd pick, also our second pick should be DT, DE, or perhaps ILB. Also, I would think Kaepernick would be a better selection at our 34th pick than Cam Newton at our 3rd overall. I cannot help but think about the the pressure the coaching staff will face if they draft Cam Newton. If Fitz starts to fizzle, then I can see the fans cheering, “Start Cam now!” The last thing we need is this pressure and distraction.

What say you!?

Best,

Stephen from Rancho Cucamonga, Ca

CB: Your point about the cornerback contingent is well taken. I think the Bills staff still believes they can make Leodis a more consistent corner and I think McGee will be given every opportunity to prove he can stay healthy because when he’s healthy he’s a solid corner. Reggie Corner is still on the roster as well and would likely serve as the nickel. But they do need to add talent at cornerback. This year’s draft class has only three prospects considered first round material, possibly four. For the Bills that’s good news, because hopefully it leaves some quality prospects to choose from in the middle rounds where the value should be relatively good.

As big a talent as Patrick Peterson is I’m a proponent of helping your defense in the front seven first. As for Cam Newton the kid is a talent. Granted there are some questions there, but the Bills will have done their due diligence on him and anyone else that plays quarterback to determine if any of them are potential franchise type QBs.

5 - Looking at the current roster in seems they need to develop a future ILB that can play the 3-4 and a SS. Do you expect Buddy to meet these needs in the draft? Who are the top players in the draft they may target? It would seem likely for the Bills to draft a linebacker but I haven’t heard anything on safety after losing on Sanders.
Thanks
Sean

CB: Buddy has told me himself in an interview on Buffalobills.com from the Senior Bowl that he feels they need to add two inside linebackers this offseason. Absent free agency, they’re likely to come in the draft. Who they’d target is tough to say, but they’ve had LSU’s Kelvin Sheppard in for a visit and had him down at the Senior Bowl for a week. Buddy also went to North Carolina’s pro day to see their two inside linebackers Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant. Beyond that I really don’t have any other names for you.
With George Wilson back in the fold I don’t see safety as a pressing positional need for them.


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Long list for Kaepernick

Posted by Chris Brown on March 28, 2011 – 1:45 pm

Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick has a long workout list lined up for the next week with NFL clubs.

Kaepernick on the heels of a solid pro day will be doing private workouts for Miami, Tennessee, Denver, Kansas City and Cleveland. That according to DraftInsiders. The workout for Cleveland is taking place today (Monday) according to the National Football Post.

Kaepernick has already had a private workout with the Eagles last week. He’s seen as a second-round pick.


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2 rd mock: LB, QB to Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 28, 2011 – 11:01 am

A two-round mock by Rotoworld has the Bills taking a linebacker first and a quarterback second.

Rotoworld’s two-round mock has Buffalo taking Texas A&M pass rusher Von Miller at three with the following analysis.

Chan Gailey sent out indications at last week’s owners meetings that he’s head over heels for Newton and Blaine Gabbert. We’re not buying it from a coach who specializes in turning non-premium quarterbacks into productive passers. Miller is everything that Aaron Maybin isn’t..

Then in round two the mock has Buffalo selecting Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick, with the following reasoning behind the pick.

Kaepernick is an ideal fit for Bills coach Chan Gailey, who runs a variation of the Pistol Spread offense and loves athletic quarterbacks. A team could be intrigued enough with Kaepernick’s cannon arm and 4.5 speed, however, to trade back into the end of the first round to draft him. 

Kaepernick’s stock was originally in the 3rd or 4th round as he was widely viewed as a developmental type prospect. However, on the heels of a consistent pre-draft process from the Senior Bowl to his pro day, Kaepernick is now widely viewed as a second round pick that’s in the mix with the likes of Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder and Ryan Mallett.


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Fan Friday 3-25

Posted by Chris Brown on March 25, 2011 – 1:42 pm

Time for your Fan Friday questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Keep them coming and have a good weekend everybody.

1 - Hi Chris  
I have been thinking the Bills should go defensive tackle or linebacker at #3 overall.  What do you think about them taking Robert Quinn, potentially, the next Bruce Smith? If they don’t put him at End then put him at Linebacker. The guy has everything the Bills are looking for as far as pass rush, and explosiveness, with one year less of wear and tear on the body. 
 
Go Bills !!!!
Thanks,  Dale

CB: The wear and tear argument is a good one with respect to Quinn, but most NFL talent evaluators worry about the one less year of development. Quinn is a great raw talent and will probably go in the top 15 because of his high ceiling, but he’s also a risk and might take longer to adjust after a year away from football. As a result some teams might not feel comfortable investing a top 10 pick in a guy that might not be able to give you instant impact in year one.

2 – Hi Chris,
Everyone seems to be predicting that the Bills will take a QB with their pick at #3, but I’m not buying it.  Can you give me your prediction on how many team “need” a QB and would take one in the first round if he was the right guy?  I’m thinking there are 4-5 potential first round QBs (Newton, Gabbert, Locker, Mallet) and one of them should fall to Bills in the Second or even third round.

Thanks,
Kevin
Ashburn, VA
 
CB: The only way the Bills take a QB at 3 is if they’re convinced that one of the top prospects is a franchise type quarterback, otherwise they pass. But there are a number of teams with a quarterback need in the top half of round one. As I see it you’ve got the following.
Carolina at 1
Buffalo at 3
Cincinnati at 4 (Palmer wants out)
Arizona at 5
San Fran at 7
Tennessee at 8
Washington at 10 (McNabb to be moved)
Minnesota at 12

In reality the only quarterbacks most analysts see going in the top 12 are Gabbert or Newton. Mallett and Locker have character and accuracy issues respectively and might not even come off the board in round one, though QB value tends to get inflated on draft day. We’ll see.

3 - Hey Chris,
My question is in regards to Christian Ponder of FSU. As Gailey has clearly stated that Fitz is his starter going forward at this point, would Ponder be a nice addition to this team. I have seen Ponder play the last 3 years and have seen his skills as well as his flaws. It seems to me that he can play at the NFL level with the right coaching staff and teammates. He has good arm strength and decent accuracy. I know his durability would be a main factor in his NFL career. With Gailey and the rest of the coaching staff, as well as guidance from Fitz, I believe he would be a great asset to our Bills team for little money. Your feedback would be great on the thought of Ponder to the Bills in Rnd 3 or 4. Thank you and as always “GO BILLS” and “GO FITZ”!!!!!!!!!
Daniel

CB: Unfortunately I don’t see Christian Ponder lasting until round 3. I think he goes in the top half of round 2. After an injury-riddled senior season, he’s had a productive pre-draft period. He performed well at the Senior Bowl on Chan Gailey’s South team taking MVP honors. In the games I’ve seen him play the leadership comes naturally to him. He’s not afraid to take chances and he’s really smart. He’s also played in a pro-style offense at Florida State so the transition for him figures to be shorter than other QBs in this class. Personally I like him as a talent. Some so called experts say he’s best suited to play in west coast system, but I think his ability can take him beyond that.

4 - Chris,
Like you, I think Ryan Fitzpatrick did a great job at QB this past year and don’t believe Buddy will draft a QB at 3.  Last year Buddy said the Bills need playmakers and then drafted one.  I believe he will duplicate exactly what he did last year, he will first draft a playmaker with pick #3 ( Peterson think Revis, Von Miller think Mathews or Green think Fitzgerald), then focus on the defensive front seven in rounds 2-4 along with a developmental QB and maybe a TE.
 
So, could you please name some of the 3-4 DEs and ISLBs that would be available in rounds 2-4, along with the names of QBs better suited to the what the Bills do.  I’m thinking a smart guy who can process information like RF but with a stronger arm.  Also, a few TEs as well.  I truly believe that Buddy and Chan are turning this team around. 
 
Thank you for your great work and keep it coming!  Go Bills!!
 
Michael

CB: Here you go.
ILBs in round 2 – Martez Wilson – Illinois; round 3 – Kelvin Sheppard – LSU, Quan Sturdivant – UNC, Colin McCarthy – Miami; round 4 – Greg Jones – Michigan St., Nate Irving – N.C. State

DEs in round 2 – Cameron Heyward – Ohio St., Christian Ballard – Iowa, Jabaal Sheard – Pitt; round 3 – Allen Bailey – Miami, Pernell McPhee – Miss. St.; round 4 – Pierre Allen – Nebraska, Rickey Elmore – Arizona, Greg Romeus – Pitt

QBs that could fit in the Bills scheme really doesn’t apply because Chan Gailey always adjusts his scheme to fit the players as evidenced by what he did in going from Neil O’Donnell to Kordell Stewart in Pittsburgh. The good thing about that is it could open the Bills up to more possibilities if they choose to take a QB.

TEs – round 2 – Kyle Rudolph – Notre Dame, Luke Stocker – Tennessee; Round 3 – D.J. Williams – Arkansas, Lance Kendricks – Wisconsin; round 4 – Jordan Cameron – USC, Rob Housler – Florida Atlantic, Virgil Green – Nevada
 
5 – Chris, 
Can you break down what the scouts think about the three best mobile QBs in the draft, that being Newton, Locker, and Kaepernick.  Judging on Chan’s desire for a guy that can move out of the pocket and what round they can be had (NEWTON 1) (LOCKER/Kaepernick 2-3), who makes the most sense for the Bills just on talent and ability to drop back to be a full time passer. I think Kaepernick seems like a great talent and has put up better numbers than most QB’s. Locker could also develop better. He’s got major arm and legs. How interested are the Bills in Locker and Kaepernick compared to the rumors of Cam?

Jack

CB: Most scouts in the league that I’ve seen quoted anonymously are concerned with Locker’s inconsistencies in terms of accuracy and decision making. Great athlete, but accuracy in the NFL where the windows are smaller is key. With Newton it’s the offense he comes from and concerns about his character and work ethic. Again a great athlete with loads of potential, but playing QB in the NFL is a lot more than being athletic are the issues for scouts. Finally Kaepernick, again fantastic athlete, but comes from a pistol offense where they spread things out. But he was a four-year starter and has consistent numbers. His mechanics have been knocked (long wind up), but he’s clean as far as the intangibles and as a leader. Pretty sharp too. All these NFL teams have to determine if these QBs are franchise type material. That’s the question that must be answered.

As far as how interested the Bills are, that’s tough to say. Locker, Newton and Kaepernick haven’t been in for pre-draft visits to this point. That obviously could change in the coming weeks. Chan believes mobility is important, but doesn’t rule out QBs that are as mobile necessarily. Here’s what he said at the combine about mobility in a QB.

“I think you have to be able to adjust. Mobilty helps, yes, but if you don’t have a mobile quarterback and he’s your best quarterback then you better find a way to be successful without having mobility involved in it. We did it with Troy (Aikman) in Dallas. Troy wasn’t a bootleg type guy, but we did it a little bit just to keep them honest. You have to adjust. Whoever your best player is you adjust around what they do.”


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Kaepernick now an early 2?

Posted by Chris Brown on March 24, 2011 – 11:36 am

The general consensus among the draft analysts was that Colin Kaepernick was a 3rd or 4th round prospect due to his long wind up, pistol offense and propensity to use his legs. On the heels of a solid pro day workout, more and more analysts are now projecting him as an early 2nd round pick, which is probably where the NFL scouts had him all along.

NFL.com’s Gil Brandt said as much in his pro day report out today (Thursday) on Kaepernick’s workout.

His co-worker Mike Mayock echoed Brandt’s sentiments recently.

“He’s got a huge arm. He’s a great athlete, and he’s got a big frame,” said Mayock. “The kind of guy you want to buy into. He’s the kind of guy that’s going to rise a little bit. A lot of people thought he was a third, fourth, fifth-rounder heading into the season. Now, he’s probably a second round type of guy.”

His agent reportedly said Kaepernick had 10 private workouts/pre-draft meetings set up one of which took place Wednesday with the Eagles.

Kaepernick also has workouts scheduled with the Titans, Dolphins and 49ers. He has a pre-draft visit and workout set up with the Broncos.

Kaepernick showed great consistency in his college career in terms of TD-to-INT ratio as we profiled on Buffalobills.com. He also has clean intangibles in terms of leadership and character. It looks like he’s now being grouped with the likes of Christian Ponder and Andy Dalton in the top half of the second round.


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Kaepernick pro day results

Posted by Chris Brown on March 23, 2011 – 8:47 am

Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick stood on his numbers for the combine and just did positional drills at his pro day Tuesday in Reno. A total of 26 NFL clubs were represented, including the Bills.

According to ProFootballTalk, Kaepernick completed 36 of 38 passes in his workout. Kaepernick, who is viewed by draft analysts as a project QB, has been working on his deep ball accuracy, shortening his wind up and making his drops quicker. Some now think he could be a second-round prospect.

According to the Reno Gazette Journal, Kapernick had a private workout with 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh last week. He also has 10 private workouts/pre-draft visits set up with NFL clubs according to his agent.


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Fan Friday 3-11

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2011 – 11:12 am

Let’s get right to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 -
Chris,
The Bills have long neglected to upgrade the TE position. If Kyle Rudolph of Notre Dame is available in the second round, what do you think are the chances they would draft him? Rudolph is a rare combination of possessing solid blocking skill and a vertical threat as well. For a second round pick, Rudolph will probably be the most talented rookie available at that stage of the draft. Do you think Chan Gailey will finally address this weakness of the Bills?  I realize that improving the defense is a priority, however picking Rudolph would improve the OL while providing Fitz with another target, he so desperately needs.
 
Go Bills!
Buffalo Bill

CB: While I agree that Kyle Rudolph is the best tight end talent in the draft, I’d be surprised if the Bills drafted him in round two. The positional holes on this team are much more pressing at defensive line, linebacker and quarterback. In fact I think cornerback is a position that is likely to be addressed prior to tight end.

I think when you look at the talent that emerged for the Bills at wide receiver last season, it reduced the need to add a difference maker at tight end. Rudolph also has injury questions to answer at his pro day in April. 

2 - Hi Chris,
I read what you said about Dareus and Fairley. Is 3 too high for Kerrigan for Purdue? He seems like an Aaron Schobel type. The other 2
guys, although beasts, seem like 4-3 tackles, instead of 3-4 ends? Also, do we stick with Fitz or take like a Kaepernik or Ponder in the 3rd round. Really like both those guys in the Senior Bowl. Ponder go IT done and Kaepernick has a rocket! What are your thoughts?
Bill

CB: Three is too high for Kerrigan. There’s still some question as to whether he’s athletic enough to transition to a 3-4 OLB or if he’s strictly a 4-3 end. I tend to think he’s just just a 4-3 end. His game is similar to Schobel’s, but Schobel was a mid-second round pick.
Kerrigan will come off the board somewhere between 15 and 25.

Ponder did do well at the Senior Bowl. Some of the experts believe he’d work best in a west coast offense, which the Bills are not, but there is a relationship there with Gailey. Kapernick is more of a project because he operated out of the Pistol offense and did a lot of running (4,000 yards rushing in college). He’s got an arm, but it’s the decision making where he’s got a lot of work to do in terms of reading progressions and getting timing down delivering the ball when he hits the back of his drop in rhythm. There is talent there however.

3 - Hi Chris,
I highly doubt that Nick Fairley will be available when the Bills pick, so I wanted to get your thoughts on two other prospects that may be feasible options for them.
 
First is Da’Quan Bowers. Do you think he has the ability and stature to play end in a 3-4 front in the NFL? Might he be better suited to play Outside linebacker if he dropped a few pounds? Or do you only see him as end in a 4-3 front?
 
Second is Von Miller. I had the opportunity to watch the Senior Bowl, and although linebackers were not allowed to blitz (limiting his full potential), he still played a strong game, exhibiting much of the talent, intelligence and understanding he has for the game. He looks like he could be an excellent outside linebacker, but he seems a bit undersized for the position at the NFL level (238 lbs). Do you think his lack of size may be an issue at all?
 
Just wanted to get your thoughts on these two individuals and whether you think they would be an ideal fit for Buffalo’s present defensive scheme.
 
Thanks Chris.
 
Paul

CB: The people in the know that I’ve talked to believe Bowers can handle an end role in a 3-4 as well as a 4-3. At 275 pounds with an upper body that is said to be freakishly strong most think he’s more likely to be a 3-4 end than a 3-4 OLB. Now I’m sure not all NFL teams will feel that way, and I suppose if he lost weight OLB in a 3-4 could be an option. But to me that’s a big ‘if’ with him.

As for Miller he’s impressive on tape. There’s no debating that. He did drop into coverage a bit more as a senior. At the Senior Bowl he showed me he’s more than capable of covering stuff in the flat and on wheel routes. That intermediate range might be a different story. He’s a pass rushing terror though and that’s why he’s going to be a top 5 pick.

The Bills need to improve their pass rush, there’s no question about that so he’s definitely a consideration for them at 3.

4 – Hey Chris. My question is in regards to the QB class this year. Knowing that Coach Gailey is moving forward with Fitz as the starter next season, what are your thoughts on Ponder? I love Fitz and expect more consistency from him this year and believe he could lead us to the playoffs. Onto Ponder, I see him as a great 2nd stringer to learn the system and grow due to Gailey and the coaching staff. In a year or two he could provide an answer for our offense if things do not go right with Fitz, or a good bargaining chip in the trade market. I have watched him his whole career and know he has a durability issue. His strengths are very good, however, and I can only see him get better in the NFL. Thanks and as always “GO BILLS!!!!”
Dan
Ocala, FL

CB: The thing I like most about Ponder is his natural leadership. Players just rally around that guy and he’s a fiery leader, one where you can see it out on the field. I think Bills fans would love that. NFL personnel people like that too because leadership can’t be taught.
I think his arm is good enough and coming from a pro style offense at Florida State is also a plus. He gets criticized for making some bad decisions late in games last year, but to me I saw most of them as a guy trying to make a play for his team. On occasion he may have been trying too hard, but I’d rather have a guy willing to take risk to win a game than no risk at all.

5 - Hey Chris,

I have noticed that the Bills are getting new uniforms for the 2011 season which is awesome. My question though is that I heard Nike has struck a deal with the NFL to revamp all the uniforms, at least I thought it was for the 2012 season. So does that mean these new uniforms will only be worn for one year or will the new nike ones come in a couple more years?

Thanks,

Garrett from Pa

CB: From what I have been told Reebok will be in charge of the new jersey design this year. Then Nike takes over in 2012, but changing the jersey would require formal application to the league, which can take up to 18 months. So as I understand it Nike will inherit the jersey design from Reebok and make no changes.

Bonus - Chris

You mention how the offensive line seems to have gained depth this year with much of it in the middle, and Eric Wood and Geoff Hangartner compete for the starting center role with Kraig Urbik the likely starter at right guard and you believe the odds on favorite to start at  right tackle is Erik Pears. My question has to do with Chad Rinehart, he was a OLT in college projected to the right side in the pros. Does he have a chance at RT? or does Gailey and staff see him strictly in the middle? and why strictly in the middle ?    
Thanks J.C. ( ex-NY upstate resident ) now living Katy, TX

CB: They see him mainly as a guard because of his feet. Rinehart is a grinder that’ll punch you in the mouth in the blink of an eye, but they feel he’s better suited inside as opposed to out on the edge where he has to cover more space. I liked what he gave the Bills at guard last year and he’ll likely be competing with Urbik for that right guard role if Wood in fact competes with Hangartner at center.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-4

Posted by Chris Brown on March 4, 2011 – 3:43 pm

Though there are bigger headlines concerning the NFL right now, we dive into your Bills and draft related questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net here on Fan Friday.

1 – Chris
 Do you think it’s possible that the Bills might go after Carson Palmer? It has been said that he has asked for a trade and will consider retirement if the team does not meet his wishes. Would Buffalo possibly show interest in acquiring him? With Fitz penciled in as starter as of right now I BILLieve he would be a great asset to the Bills organization, especially with the relationship that Fitz and Palmer share. If Buffalo decided not to pursue him are there any other veteran QBs out there that Buffalo might be interested in? With the #3 pick overall I just don’t see a QB at that spot being drafted when our D is the real soft spot, but there is no question we need a long term answer at our QB position and with Palmer being a former #1 pick he could be our guy. Love your blog thanks for keeping us Bills fans constantly informed.
-Jeff P.
Rochester, NY

CB: I’d be surprised if the Bills engaged in trade talks for Carson Palmer. It just doesn’t fit the Buddy Nix model of building a team, which is largely done through the draft. Nix and Chan Gailey are taking a methodical approach to building this team the right way. I don’t see Palmer being a part of that.

The only other free agent QB I thought made sense for them in a backup capacity to Fitz was Tyler Thigpen, who worked with Chan Gailey in Kansas City in 2008 and started games for the Chiefs. The two worked pretty well together despite a lack of talent around Thigpen at the time. Thigpen’s availability will ultimately be determined by what everyone is waiting for at the league level.

As for the pick at 3, I believe quarterback is a genuine consideration. The task for the Bills brass now is determining whether or not they believe one of the top quarterback prospects is truly a franchise QB. If so they’ll take one at 3, be it Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert. I don’t believe anyone else falls into the discussion this year.

Otherwise it will be defensive line. Thanks for the kind words.

2 - Hi Chris,
 
I’ve seen Cam Newton, Mallett, and others, but I just recently watched video on Colin Kaepernick and I’m REALLY impressed. How is he not getting as much talk as all the others? What do you think about him? If you have a chance, watch his very first start against Boise St., the #3 ranked defense. Also hear that he light it up at the Manning QB camp.
 
Thanks,
Jerry
BillsFanInFl

CB: The reason Kaepernick is not getting as much consideration is because he’s considered more of a developmental project in terms of molding him into a pro QB. Kaepernick rushed for over 4,000 yards in Nevada’s Pistol offense. Chan Gailey ran a version of the pistol offense in Kansas City when he had Tyler Thigpen scrambling around.

Kaepernick has an NFL arm and obviously mobility, and he’s insisted to me that he had progressions in his offensive scheme at Nevada, but I don’t know if NFL talent evaluators are buying it. They feel there’s a longer learning curve there with him than some of the others in this class that come from spread offenses (Newton, Gabbert) and I think part of it has to do with his throwing mechanics. He does have a long wind up, but the Bills have said throwing mechanics do not carry a lot of weight with them in comparison to throwing it to the right spot at the right time and getting it there with accuracy.

3 – Chris,

I noticed One Bills Dr. added quite a few O-linemen during the later half of the season, including Kraig Urbik 6’5″ 323lbs, Chad Rinehart 6’5″ 307lbs, Colin Brown, 6’7″ 335lbs, Erik Pears, 6’8″ 305lbs and Mansfield Wrotto, 6’3″ 320lbs.  (Plus we already have Cordaro Howard and Hangartner).

If it comes to pass that Eric Wood gets moved to center during off season OTAs and training camp, who do you think has the best chance of becoming the starter at right Guard for the Bills?  The Bills played so many different combinations to finish out the year I never got a good feel for who seemed to be the best right Guard candidate.

P.S.  As a follow up, which of these players could be in the mix for right Tackle?

Thank you,
Tim N
Virginia

CB: The right guard in that scenario would be Kraig Urbik, and here’s why. Buddy Nix upon claiming Urbik off waivers stated that on their draft board in 2009, their three best guards were Eric Wood, Andy Levitre and Kraig Urbik. With a big smile Nix said, “Now we’ve got all three.”

So if Wood moves to center he’ll be flanked by Levitre and Urbik in my opinion, unless Urbik’s play drops off dramatically this year and I don’t see any reason why it would.

As for right tackle the odds on favorite there is Erik Pears. He outperformed Mansfield Wrotto earning playing time at the end of the season, and is a former two-year starter for the Broncos at tackle. With Wrotto expected to play more on the interior and compete for a guard spot, Pears has less competition barring the addition of a draft choice.

4 - Hey Chris,
I was wondering with coach Gailey being able to work with the South QBs and also him being a offensive guy would the Bills conseder getting a quaterback like Ponder or Dalton. Ponder might have improved his draft stock to a late second round but Dalton might be there in the 3rd. Just wondering if they would take a quaterback.

Thanks for the time,
Josh

CB: I think the Bills taking a QB at third overall is a distinct possibility provided they believe one of the top candidates is a franchise QB. If not then your scenario is more likely with a third round prospect a possibility. Ponder performed well at the Senior Bowl (MVP) and did well at the combine both on the field and in interviews from what I’ve been told. So he might not be there in the third. Some even believe Seattle is considering him at 25th overall.

5 - Hi Chris,
I like you believe that the Bills need Fairley and I think he would help this defense out tremendously, do you see the Bills just making a deal if Carolina is willing to move 2 spots that way there is no anticipation whether the team or 2 before us is going to grab him. Because over the last few draft classes I really believe that they should have made some better picks or at least tried to jump up in the draft.
Thanks for your time               
JON
Tampa

CB: I do like Fairley’s game a lot, but I do believe Marcell Dareus is right there with him and just as good a pick. The Bills seem to believe Da’Quan Bowers is a multiple defense fit, but I don’t think he’s as versatile as those two, despite being a better pass rusher.

All that being said I’d be surprised if Buffalo moves up from pick 3. Sure there is the danger of missing out on somebody, but if a defensive lineman is what they’re after, there’s more than enough to choose from at three because even if two of the aforementioned players go first and second, there’s still one there to take. Also remember that Buddy Nix has said time and again he’s not a guy that likes to jump around the draft board. He likes to sit where he is and make his picks.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Locker, Kaepernick lead 40s

Posted by Chris Brown on February 27, 2011 – 11:08 am

Washington QB Jake Locker and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick not surprisingly are the leaders in the early unofficial 40 times from the quarterbacks.

Locker ran an unofficial 4.52, while Kaepernick ran an unofficial 4.53. If Locker’s time holds up it would be the fourth fastest 40 time by a QB since 2000, while Kaepernick’s would tie for fifth best since the turn of the century.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Why Cam didn’t meet media

Posted by Chris Brown on February 26, 2011 – 9:30 am

Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton did not make his way to the interview room on Friday for a very good reason.

Buffalobills.com has learned that Newton, after the initial medical exams, had to go to the local hospital for extra films (either an additional x-ray or MRI). When prospects have to head to the hospital for follow up screenings the first thing to be pulled off their schedule are the media interview responsibilities.

This is a common occurrence at the combine for a lot of prospects and is likely why fellow QBs Colin Kaepernick and Ryan Mallett also did not make it to the media room Friday.

In all likelihood Newton, Kaepernick and Mallett will all make their way to the interview room Saturday (today).


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Posted in Inside the Bills

No Cam on Cam

Posted by Chris Brown on February 25, 2011 – 6:18 pm

Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton did not make his way to the media room here at the NFL combine on Friday.

Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers had their weigh ins and medical exams Friday and also make their way over to speak with the media at Lucas Oil Stadium. Newton didn’t make it over along with some other quarterback prospects like Colin Kaepernick and Ryan Mallett.

According to Draft Insiders Newton’s heavy interview schedule was “taking its toll,” but no formal interviews for signal callers take place until this evening. There were only informal discussions between quarterbacks and teams last night. If last night was taxing on Newton, he might be even more worn out come Saturday.

In all likelihood they’ll be in the media room on Saturday with defensive linemen and linebackers also making their way through.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kaepernick adds some muscle

Posted by Chris Brown on February 25, 2011 – 8:17 am

Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick stands 6’6″ so he has prototype NFL height for a quarterback, but some NFL talent evaluators felt he was a bit lean at 225. Kapernick weighed in this morning here at the NFL combine and successfully added some muscle to his long and lanky frame.

Here’s his tweet on how his weigh-in went this morning.

Kaepernick10 Weighed in at 233 today at the combine…… good start to the day!

Adding eight pounds of muscle to his frame is an impressive feat. Whether or not it affects his 40 time remains to be seen. Kaepernick is expected to be one of the faster timed QBs.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kaepernick getting examined

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2011 – 12:10 pm

One big part of the NFL combine process is getting the medical evaluations on all 328 prospects on hand. Some of the quarterbacks are already going through that process like Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick10 Heading to medical testing now

Some prospects can spend up to five hours in medical testing, sometimes even longer if they are coming off of a major injury in their last collegiate season. Fortunately for Kaepernick he’s not one of them.


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Posted in Inside the Bills