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Inside The Bills

Kaepernick to run sub-4.5

Posted by Chris Brown on February 23, 2011 – 4:29 pm

Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick is the only QB in college football history to throw for over 10,000 yards and rush for over 4,000. His athleticism is expected to help boost his stock this week at the NFL combine and he has big plans for his 40 time.

In an interview with the National Football Post, Kaepernick laid out his personal expectations for his 40 time. Here’s part of his Q&A with NFP.

NFP: What do you expect for your 40-yard dash time?

Kaepernick: “I’ve run it previously in 4.43. I’ve been close to that in training. Anything below 4.5 would be good. I want to be in the 4.4 range.”

Kaepernick also mentioned that he’ll be skipping the bench press, something a lot of quarterbacks do knowing they’re going to be throwing.


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Dwan prefers Kaepernick

Posted by Chris Brown on February 22, 2011 – 2:37 pm

Dwan Edwards, who is new to twitter, held a question and answer session his account and as expected there was a lot of draft prospect talk. When asked which QB he’d prefer the Bills to take in the draft his answer was a bit unexpected. Here was the give and take.

The question came from this tweeter.

homeslice5484 Which QB would you take in the draft if QB was the pick? Newton? Gabbert? Kaepernick? Mallet?

And here was Edwards’ response with the question attached.

DTrain_98 Kaepernick RT @homeslice5484 Which QB would you take in the draft if QB was the pick? Newton? Gabbert? Kaepernick? Mallet?

When asked why he preferred Kaepernick in a subsequent tweet, Edwards said he liked his playing style. Well all of this has gotten around to Kaepernick himself in the fast moving twitter universe and here was Kaepernick’s comment on Edwards’ preference.

Kaepernick10 DTrain_98 might be my new favorite player!


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Newton to throw, Gabbert won’t

Posted by Chris Brown on February 22, 2011 – 9:59 am

According to the Associated Press, Auburn QB Cam Newton will throw and participate in all drills at the NFL combine later this week. Meanwhile one of his competitors to be the first QB off the board, Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert will forgo the opportunity to participate in drills.

Newton plans to fully participate and told the AP he wants “to be transparent” through the whole draft process. A smart move in light of the off the field questions that surrounded him this past college season.

Gabbert will reportedly skip all throwing drills, but Washington’s Jake Locker and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick will participate. Buffalobills.com’s coverage of the NFL combine begins on Thursday.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-18

Posted by Chris Brown on February 18, 2011 – 3:46 pm

A reminder that our NFL combine coverage from Indianapolis begins on Thursday here on Buffalobills.com and runs through the weekend. So be sure to check the blog, the home page and the media center for stories, one-on-one interviews and comment from the top NFL prospects. Now to your questions.

1 – Chris, 
I’m delighted to see that you are intrigued about Colin Kaepernick – a guy I have had my eye on as a prime prospect for the Bills.  Buddy Nix says he likes to see consistent success at the college level and here’s a guy who has passed for 2,000 yards and run for over 1,000 for three straight years – the only player in NCAA history to do that.  He clearly needs work on his throwing motion, but he was already at 67% accuracy with his current motion.  What would he be like with some good coaching to get him to release the ball correctly?  But the best thing about him is his intelligence, leadership and character.  The intangibles don’t get much higher.  And he did lead his team to a #11 ranking in the final AP  poll. Let us know what you think.

Dan Singal
Rochester

CB: Kaepernick is intriguing to me because he has prototype size, arm strength and athleticism. What’s between the ears is what is going to be key in his evaluation. When NFL teams put him on the board and ask him to come up with answers for certain coverages or test his rate of retention with plays in the course of a 15-minute interview it’s designed to get a better handle on how he can adapt to a sophisticated NFL offense.

He ran a pistol offense at Nevada and in talking to him he’s well aware that he has to show that he can operate from under center. But more importantly he has to convince NFL decision makers that he can leaern, process and execute a complex NFL offense. All that being said I think at best he’s a late second-round pick.

2 – Chris,
I’ve been thinking about all of the people’s questions to you about getting a “slash” QB in the draft. Personally, I think we need more of pocket passer if we were going to get a QB early on in the draft. I was thinking that they go with a DE or a CB in the first pick, and then maybe trying to shoot for a Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Mallet, or, Jake Locker in the 2nd pick if they are still there, so he can be a backup for a year or two under Fitz’s Guidance. Your thoughts?
 
Thanks,
Zack
Vernon NY

CB: Gabbert is widely considered a top 10 pick. I’m not sure I’m ready to be convinced of that, but most draft analysts see him gone by Arizona’s pick at 10 at the latest. Locker or Mallett could slip into the second round if they don’t show much this week at the combine or their pro day or do not fare well in the interviews with NFL clubs. Locker and Mallett have inconsistencies in their game and Gabbert has questions as well. Of those three Mallett is the only true pocket guy. The other two are mobile so I’m not sure they fit your criteria.
Personally I think the Bills only take a QB in the first two rounds if they believe he can be a franchise QB in a year or two, otherwise I see them going defense.

3 - Hi Chris,
In some mock drafts that have Fairley going to Carolina, I see some people giving us Patrick Peterson.  I loved what I saw from Marcell Dareus and think he would make more sense and help our run defense immensely.  Do you think the Bills would go with more talent in Peterson or a bigger need in Dareus?

-John
Fredonia

CB: I’m not privy to their preferences or draft grades, but my thinking is if they’re down to a decision at 3 between Peterson and Dareus, and their grades on them are close, I believe Dareus would be the pick. Peterson is a special talent, but Dareus helps to answer your biggest problem, which is your run defense. I don’t see that going unrecognized in that kind of a debate.

4 – Chris,
Every since the Bills announced Doug Whaley as Assistant General Manager/Director of Pro Personnel he has kept a pretty low profile with the media.  His hiring was hailed as a great move but I think the jury is still out.  What are your thoughts?  Also could you detail how the Pro Personnel department is structured (personnel-wise) and what are everyone’s duties.  We constantly hear about Tom Modrak and his scouts preparing for the draft but how does the Pro Personnel department spend their time throughout the year?  Do they maintain a video library on every single player in the NFL or do they rely on other team’s pro departments for help when they need it?  Could you do an in-depth explanation sometime in the future?
 
Thanks,
Go Bills!

CB: Doug doesn’t mind keeping a low profile. He just likes to go about his business, which deals primarily with the pro personnel side of things. He the head guy on the pro side of the ledger and did a pretty good job in his first year bringing in talent like Kraig Urbik, who stands a good chance of starting at right guard next year if Wood goes to center permanently. He brought in Chad Rinehart, who is a capable reserve interior lineman. And Erik Pears, who was acquired late in the year could be the starting right tackle next season. Akin Ayodele to fortify a position hurt by injury were all good pickups.

I think his ability to secure talent at times of the year when talent is sparse speaks to his expertise. Buffalo is in good hands on that end of the roster building business.
5 - Hi chris,
How important is it to upgrade at right tackle this offseason?  Is it high on the priority list and do you see the bills bringing in a GOOD veteran or a higher draft pick rookie?  I was wondering your thoughts on the tackles in the draft and if any of them like Nate Solder would fit into a right tackle role for us, or if we even have a shot at him? 
 
Thanks – Showtime.

CB: I don’t see right tackle as high on the priority list. It’s fourth behind DL, LB and QB as I see it. The reason why is because of the aforementioned Erik Pears. He was a two-year starter for Denver before he fell out of favor there and bounced around since then. Is he a long term solution? That’s up to the coaches, but he’s at least a proven player at that position in the league and can hold the fort until they cultivate more talent.

I’m not saying they won’t draft a tackle. In fact I hope at some point they do just for capable depth, but with the needs so great on defense I don’t think it’s a lock to happen.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-28

Posted by Chris Brown on January 28, 2011 – 1:30 pm

It’s been a fun week at the Senior Bowl here in Mobile. The pre-draft process has begun. Time for your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 - Chris,

Unless the Bills take a QB with the third pick which seems unlikely do to the talent there on defensive  what do you think about the middle round QB’s. Ponder from FSU seems overrated while Pat Devlin and the freakish 6’6′ speedy Colin Kaepernick looks like guys Chan could develop into a throwing quarterback. What do the scouts see of these guys?

Thanks
Tyler

CB: At this stage in the game scouts are hesitant to talk much about prospects. They’re still gathering the all important character background information now that they can talk to the players with the college seasons over. They did a lot of that this week at the Senior Bowl. The lobby at the hotel may as well have been a convention hall with all the one-on-one meetings I witnessed by all the NFL clubs.

As for the quarterbacks you mentioned. I love Ponder’s natural leadership and he has the physical skills to play in the league. I just want to be convinced that some of his late game mistakes this past season were a result of him trying to do too much, which could be corrected. Delaware’s Pat Devlin really struggled to complete passes at the East-West Shrine game by all accounts and that won’t fly in Buffalo’s weather, literally. Kaepernick is really intriguing. He’s got prototype size, can run around and make plays on the move and has a solid arm.

I’m really hoping he shows well in Saturday’s game, but even so he’s probably a second rounder at best at this point. I think Ponder has the best intangible/physical skills combination while Kaepernick has the most potential and I like TCU’s Andy Dalton too. He’s a smart quarterback that can make plays and rarely makes mistakes. Those are some of the middle round guys I wouldn’t mind seeing in a Bills uniform.

2 – Can you break down in general terms how the Bills scout college players? Do they travel to games or only break down game tape? Do they have scouts that focus on different regions of the country? And the non Division I schools? Since under Buddy they drafted small school guys like Batten, Moats,  Brown, and free agent Donald Jones. How involved is Buddy in the scouting process or does that fall under Modrak. When does Chan fit into the process in looking at future guys? I’m sure lots of Bills fans are wondering how 1 team can look at 7 rounds of college players.

Thanks!
Dawn

CB: Yes, scouts are assigned to specific regions of the country like the southeast or the west. They occasionally travel to games, but in large part they go to a school in the fall during the season during the week and go watch game tape at the schools. The school’s pro liaison generally sets up a room for all the scouts to make use of on campus.

Scouts look at seniors only at this time and put together full reports on any and all seniors that are believed to be draft worthy. Some schools have two, some schools have eight to 10. All of them must be done. After watching tape all morning, scouts will take in practice that afternoon on campus, and they might talk to an assistant coach to ask about a player’s work habits or talk to the strength and conditioning coach to get a feel for the player’s dedication.

Then it’s on to the next school that week and the process repeats itself week after week for about four months. In the end they usually come up with 350 draft eligible players on their board and about 150 players that they expect to go undrafted, but still might want to sign as undrafted free agents.

Buddy is involved in the scouting process. There were several weeks this season where he was out on the road from Thursday to Saturday and then re-joined the team for Sunday games. The coaching staff usually begins to focus their attention on the draft process after their review of the previous season through film study has concluded. That usually happens now during Senior Bowl week.

3 – Chris,
My question to you is: who are some of the big name free agents from other teams that you could see Buffalo going after in the offseason? Any holes that we could solve this way like the Merriman pick-up. Thanks for the daily info.

Chris in Atlanta

CB: I’ll be honest. I haven’t poured over the prospective free agents list just yet, primarily because we don’t what the state of free agency is going to be without a new labor agreement. They’ll all be in limbo. That being said I do know that Miami QB Tyler Thigpen is a free agent. Knowing his history with Chan Gailey when he was the offensive coordinator with him in Kansas City, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills make a play for his services as a backup quarterback behind Ryan Fitzpatrick.

4 - Chris
Just a thought and I would like your feed back. I think and hope that Troup continues to get better. I really like the guy that was added late in the season, (Kellen Heard). I was watching him for a few years until he changed schools. He looks like a beast. What would you think of Heard and Troup rotating in the middle and get Fairley in the first round and have him and Kyle Williams at the ends? That could be a great line up. I think Kyle would be an animal at DE.

Thanks
John N.

CB: Fairley is my personal favorite for the Bills pick, but I’m not sure he’ll be there at three. Heard is a guy that Buffalo wants to see a bit more of so it’ll be interesting to see where his career goes heading into next season. I don’t know if he’s starter worthy.

I’ve asked coach Gailey about playing Kyle at end and he believes that Kyle is so effective inside that he can’t afford to move him to the edge of their defensive front. He thinks he does his best work in there. And yes I do believe Troup will get better as well as Carrington.

5 – Chris
Any chance of the Bills getting compensatory draft picks this year?

Thanks,
Scott

CB:
Unfortunately Scott I’m not optimistic. The main criteria needed to qualify for compensatory picks is a net loss in free agents. Basically you need to sign fewer than you lose. What also makes it tricky is only certain free agents signed by other clubs or by your club in a predetermined offseason time period qualify. So for example Terrell Owens, who did not sign with Cincinnati until the first day of training camp, would not qualify as a loss because he signed with another club very late.

By my count I don’t have the Bills sustaining a net loss of free agents this past offseason so I’m not expecting them to be awarded any compensatories.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-21

Posted by Chris Brown on January 21, 2011 – 12:28 pm

Be sure to check out our coverage from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama beginning on Tuesday next week. For now we answer your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Chris,

There appears to be some very strong “Slash” type quarterbacks in the draft (Newton, Pryor, the VT QB).  Given Coach Gailey’s success with “Slash” at Pittsburgh and Cam Newton’s talents what do you think about that as a QB direction for the Bills.  I know they like Fitz (so do I) but as a trend, maybe a “Slash” QB can create mismatches that seem to propel teams.
Thanks

Dave
Gobills!

CB: There are some multi-faceted prospects in the draft, although Terrelle Pryor is returning to Ohio State for his senior season. Newton is the best of that bunch. Personally I’m not sure if Tyrod Taylor (the VT QB) has the measurables to be a full-time QB.
He’s super athletic so he might be better fit as a Brad Smith or Josh Cribbs type that plays some wideout and returns kicks and dabbles at QB.

The guy I really want to look at closely is Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick. He’s the only QB in college history besides Tebow and Newton to rush for 20 TDs and pass for 20 TDs in the same season. He also orchestrated the huge upset win over Boise St. this year to ruin the Broncos perfect season. I think he’d be a realistic option for the Bills in the third round if he’s still on the board.

2 - Hey Chris,
Joe in Charlotte but long time Bills fan, Your opinion of Andy Dalton, possible 2nd or 3rd rd for the Bills?, I think he would really benefit from a year or 2 learning from Fitz.  Has measureables, great attitude, and is a winner.  Realize he comes from spread system but feel he is very adaptable.  Your thoughts.

CB: He’s another QB I’m interested in getting a better look at during the practices at the Senior Bowl next week. TCU had a great season and though their defense gets most of the press, Dalton put a nice season together running that attack. I think 3rd round is realistic, but as I stated above Kaepernick is intriguing as well.

3 - Hey Chris,

Just wondering if you think the Bills might sign Vince Young to maybe be a backup?  He’s a veteran and he could do some damage with Gailey. Also, Fitzpatrick could be trade-worthy and the Bills could draft a QB.

Thanks,
Tommy of Pittsford

CB: I don’t see that happening. Someone will take a chance on him, but seeing as how he undermined his head coach in Tennessee, I can’t see too many head coaches being in favor of bringing him on board even in a backup role.
4 - Hey Chris,
If Donte does not return, what are our options at Safety? Can we get a difference maker through Free Agency or Draft? Who are the big names out there? Secondly, what will become of all the WR’s we have, can we possibly keep all of them?
 
Take Care,
 
Randy

CB: First and foremost Bryan Scott is still under contract. Second, George Wilson, who is also a free agent could conceivably be had for far less money than what Donte Whitner is asking for at this point. Philadelphia S Quintin Mikell is set to become a free agent. He’s a bit older than Donte (30), but is a capable safety. Not necessarily a difference maker, but Buffalo needs difference makers in their front seven and they in turn will make the men on the back end better playmakers.
5 - Chris, 

In 2008 the Bills played the AFC West.  They Oakland at home and KC on the road. Please tell me why the Bills are playing Oakland home again and KC on the road again (4th straight year) in 2011?  Shouldn’t that be reversed?

Bryan
Grosse Ile, MI

CB: Under the guidelines of the normal rotational schedule it would be, but the league put in a scheduling stipulation that when another division plays the AFC West they would not play both west coast teams in the AFC West (San Diego and Oakland) on the road in the same season.

So although the Bills were slated to play San Diego and Oakland on the road in 2011, this stipulation switched the location of their matchups with Oakland and Kansas City. Thus the Bills will play Kansas City on the road again and Oakland at home.


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Posted in Inside the Bills