Inside The Bills

Bowers knee was a concern

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2011 – 6:05 pm

For those Bills fans that were wondering, the Buffalo personnel department did have a respectable measure of worry regarding Da’Quan Bowers and his knee. They also weren’t sure Bowers was a fit for their defense.

“We’re concerned about the injury to be honest with you,” said Bills GM Buddy Nix. “I guess maybe the fit probably wasn’t real good for us either. I’ve been watching Da’Quan since he was a freshman. I think he’s a 4-3 defensive end. He might be able to play outside backer, but you’d be taking away what he does best by dropping him.”


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Feeling for Bowers

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2011 – 3:19 pm

Bills top draft choice Marcell Dareus couldn’t help but feel for Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers, who slipped all the way out of the first round last night due to concerns about his recovery from a knee injury. Dareus, who was in the green room at Radio City last night actually checked on Bowers to make sure he was alright.

“At the combine I got to know him,” said Dareus of Bowers. “I met him for a great little deal of time as we were in the same group. He’s a real cool, laid back guy. My prayers go out to him. I asked him if he was okay. He said he was straight. He texted me and let me know everything is okay with him and gave me a congratulations. I hope I get to meet him on down the road a little bit.”

With the Bills on the clock near the top of round two it could be sooner than Dareus realizes.


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Miller, Bowers meet w/Browns

Posted by Chris Brown on April 12, 2011 – 12:25 pm

Texas A&M LB Von Miller and Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers are both meeting with the Cleveland Browns (picking 6th) today (Tuesday).

That according to the National Football Post. Miller also has other pre-draft visits scheduled with Tennessee (picking 8th) and San Francisco (picking 7th) on Wednesday and Thursday this week. He also has a visit lined up with Washington (picking 10th) next Monday.

Miller and Bowers both had pre-draft visits with the Bills.


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Bowers getting some votes

Posted by Chris Brown on April 6, 2011 – 9:24 am

In the M&T Bank Draft Day Challenge, in which Bills fans have a chance to predict who the Bills will take with the third overall pick, there has been a measure of support for Bowers.

Though Auburn’s Cam Newton is still the most popular choice among Bills fans with 23% of the predictions for draft day, Bowers is getting some votes. Currently he’s got 3.4% of the vote, and with his visit to One Bills Drive today (Wednesday) that number is bound to go up.

Fans have until April 28th to register for the M&T Bank Draft Day Challenge where they have a chance to win a Bills game day experience including pre-game sideline passes and a Bills helmet.


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Bowers stock update

Posted by Chris Brown on April 6, 2011 – 9:00 am

Since Da’Quan Bowers held his pro day there has been a lot of talk with respect to his draft stock, but for a player that most believe is still not 100 percent recovered from knee surgery, is his stock really going to slip much?

Granted Bowers, who is visiting with the Bills today (Wednesday) was considered a contender to be the number one overall pick just a couple of months ago. Recovery from knee surgery might cloud his medical situation a bit, but it doesn’t change what he’s put on tape. That’s why ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay can’t see him slipping down the board much, if at all.

“I think Bowers is a top four prospect or can be a top four prospect if he clears medically and there’s no concern,” said McShay. “I’ve talked to people from 12 different teams about Bowers just to make sure that I’m on point with this. There are slightly different versions of what you hear. Some people think he favors the knee injury on tape. There are times where I could see what they’ve talking about. Against Florida State there were some plays, but I’m not 100 percent sure and I’m not a doctor. So ultimately as a personnel guy you have to trust your medical staff and if he’s cleared and there are no long term concerns with the knee then you just evaluate him as a football player. In my opinion he’s one of the top five players in this draft and belongs somewhere in the top five picks, maybe six or seven. 

“I just think he’d be a great fit in a 4-3 defense. I think you could plug him in right away. He’s a big, strong defensive end, can play either side and is probably best suited to play left defensive end.”

What’s puzzling to me is if there are truly scouts out there knocking him for favoring the knee on tape. The guy played through the injury and did not have surgery until the end of the season. Shouldn’t a guy be getting credit for that instead of knocked?


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Where Bowers goes from here

Posted by Chris Brown on April 4, 2011 – 10:45 am

Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers, by most accounts did not have the pro day performance most were hoping to see last Friday. Even Bowers himself would only label the workout “decent.” It’s clear his surgically repaired knee has kept him from training at his typical work rate, so where does he go from here with only a few weeks until draft day?

According to NFL.com’s Steve Wyche, Bowers will undergo his own medical re-evaluation concerning his knee, which is less than four months removed from December surgery in Indianapolis on April 9th.

NFL.com believes that Bowers may have to oblige teams interested in holding a private workout with him between now and the draft as they perform their due diligence on the heels of his pro day.


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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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Bowers 40 times

Posted by Chris Brown on April 1, 2011 – 9:13 am

Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers has run his two 40-yard dashes and the times might not help him much.

According to DraftInsiders the first time was a 4.92 and the second time was a 4.85. They also report that he had a broad jump of 9’2″ and a 34 1/2 inch vertical. He had a time of 6.95 in the three cone drill.

As we mentioned earlier if Bowers workout proves disappointing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s going to be taken off the draft boards of NFL clubs. As Bills GM Buddy Nix said, he may just need more time to get healthy.

But without quieting concerns about his recovery from knee surgery it could have teams concerned about risk.


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Big day for Bowers

Posted by Chris Brown on April 1, 2011 – 8:16 am

It’s the biggest day of the pre-draft process for Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers. He has his personal pro day today (Friday) to show that the torn lateral meniscus in his knee that required surgery at the end of his senior season is 100 percent healed and he’s back to being the top flight pass rushing terror that most NFL clubs believe he is.

Bills GM Buddy Nix and members of his scouting staff will also be on hand for the workout. Nix however, does not feel a poor workout means you pull Bowers off your board.

“I think it’s big for him,” said Nix. “I’m not sure that you would write him off if he’s not completely healthy Friday, but it’s time for him to show he either is healthy or that he needs more work or more time.”

Bills head coach Chan Gailey was asked on Tuesday during a season ticket holder teleforum if Bowers was a fit for Buffalo’s 3-4 scheme. Knowing the plans are to go to more of a hybrid scheme in 2011, Gailey is confident they could find a place for Bowers.

“I think that if we ended up taking that guy we’d find a place for him,” said Gailey. “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.”


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Nix on Bowers pro day

Posted by Chris Brown on March 28, 2011 – 9:29 pm

Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers will have his much anticipated pro day this Friday (April 1st). Bills GM Buddy Nix will be in attendance and admits it’s going to carry a lot of weight for the top flight pass rusher.

“I think it’s big for him,” said Nix. “I’m not sure that you would write him off if he’s not completely healthy Friday, but it’s time for him to show he either is healthy or that he needs more work or more time.”

There have been reports in some national publications that Bowers failed a pair of physicals by NFL clubs at the combine last month. At the combine Bowers declared himself fully healthy.

“I am 100 percent,” he said. “It was a small meniscus tear. It hampered me from my first three weeks of training, which is why I was not doing anything at the combine because I feel that I want the same amount of time that everybody else had to train and fully prepare for the combine. I am going to do all my workouts on pro day.”

Bowers was initially going to perform with his college teammates at Clemson’s pro day March 10th, but set his personal pro day back a few weeks to April 1st, which has led to a ton of speculation about his knee.


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Fan Friday 3-18

Posted by Chris Brown on March 18, 2011 – 12:24 pm

Hey Bills fans. I’m taking the day off for my birthday, but here are some answers to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Have a good weekend.

1 - Chris,
Can you break down how Bowers, Fairley, or Dareus would fit in the Bills 3-4. Can you explain the difference between a five technique and three technique lineman. Would they have to only play the DE position with Kyle up the middle. What are the future plans in the 3-4 for Troup and Carrington going forward in terms of starting next season.

Sean, NY

CB: Bowers and Fairley would be strictly defensive ends in the 3-4. Some believe Bowers can shift to an OLB role in a 3-4, but I think he’s strong enough at 275 pounds to stand in there at end in a 3-4. Fairley could be a three technique defensive tackle in a 4-3, and knowing Buffalo is going to be multiple with their fronts on defense next year, he has double value.

Dareus is the prospect with the trump card though. He is a fit in either defense because at 319 pounds he could stand in there and play nose tackle in a 3-4, but he’s athletic enough to play end in a 3-4, which is what he did at Alabama. He could also play the one technique or three technique defensive tackle in a 4-3.

The only difference between a three-technique and five-technique is the alignment of the defensive linemen. Now their roles are different in the scheme of the defense, but basically there are numbers assigned to the alignment of a defensive lineman. For example, if they are lined head up on a center they’re in a zero technique.

A one-technique defensive tackle is lined up on the shoulder of the center. This DT is typically the grinder that ties up blocker in a 4-3 front. A three technique DT is lined up on the outside shoulder of the guard and is usually the more athletic penetrating type defensive tackle.

A five-technique is an alignment usually for a DE in a 3-4 on the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle. Their role is to stand and grind with the OT and sometimes TE to hold the point of attack and allow linebackers to run free to make tackles, although they have full license to disengage and make plays themselves. The alignments go all the way up to nine, which is the widest alignment, usually taken by a pass rushing DE or OLB.
2 - Hi Chris, 
I’ve taken some heat for this question already.  But I’d like your take on it.  What are you thoughts on building up the defense and o-line this year and trying to pick Andrew Luck in next years draft?  Now I know he will probably be the #1 pick in the draft but if we package some picks together or some players and picks, we may be able to get him unless we have a horrible season and end up picking #1 overall.  I just think that no one besides ryan mallett would be worth grooming or putting any time into as far as a qb for the future.  Luck has everything your pretty much want in a qb coming out of college and i’d like the bills to have a player at QB  who isn’t so much of a question mark.  Besides Fitz is playing at a high level and we need to invest this season in other areas such as defense and o-line.  As always thank you for your time.
-Showtime.
 
CB : I don’t think your idea is so far-fetched. I’m all for loading up on the defensive side of the ball and if you still have time to address offensive tackle all the better. I don’t mind being aggressive and doing whatever it takes to get up to number one next year for Luck. Just keep in mind it’s anything but a guarantee, knowing first there’s likely to be a host of other NFL clubs looking to make a similar trade deal for Luck, and you’re likely to have a team in that number one spot all too happy to take Luck first off the board, and with no interest in trading out. It’s not something you can bank on.

That’s why I think there’s a good chance they take a QB somewhere in the draft.

3 – Chris,

I’ve been reading a lot about the right tackle position and the teams general need for linebackers.  In those conversations, I never see anything about Ed Wang or Arthur Moats.  Is Wang still that far away from contributing as a right tackle (even as a backup)?  Was his injury the big setback or does he just have a lot more to learn?  I was thinking Moats, Poz, and Merriman would be 3 of the 4 starting linebackers next year – the 4th being a new addition with a big, run-stuffing frame.  Do the Bills see Moats more of a 3rd down rush linebacker?  Do they see issues with his run defense?

Thanks.
Eric in Baltimore

CB: I think in the end Wang will be best suited to play guard. That’s just my opinion. Right now guard is a deep position. They worked him at both guard and tackle last year and I anticipate that will continue. I don’t see him getting on the field as a starter in 2011 however.

Buddy Nix has said he likes some of the young talent they have at OLB, and that includes Moats. He’s got potential, but if Merriman is healthy and the Bills draft a pass rushing LB high (e.g. Von Miller), Moats will not be a starter.

Personally I expect them to address ILB with more picks than OLB, not higher picks, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see two picks used on ILBs.

4 – Hello Chris,
Kiper brings up an interesting observation with his 2.0 mock draft.  Newton to Bills.  Does the possibility of his tremendous upside make him too attractive for the Bills not to pass up?  Even if the Bills take someone like Von Miller that doesn’t mean he pans out either.  (i.e. Maybin)  Newton could be worth the gamble.
Jim (Skaneateles)

CB: It’s the 64 million dollar question Jim. Picking this high doesn’t happen often and it affords you the opportunity to get a franchise quarterback if you believe there is one in the draft. That’s what the Bills have to figure out. Is there a franchise type QB in the draft. If so they have to take him, whoever it is (Newton, Gabbert). If not, then they have to take a player that is considered a sure fire star. The safest picks at the top of the board are Marcell Dareus and Patrick Peterson.

5 - Chris,
Doesnt the Bills releasing Marcus Stroud indicate that they will go for a defensive end with the no. 3 pick in the upcoming NFL draft?

Perhaps Marcell Dareus, if Bowers and Fairley are gone by the time Buffalo picks?

Or will it be LB Von Miller, who I believe Gailey likes?

LeeD

CB: I think it increases the positional need. With the three top flight talents you mentioned I think they feel good about having the chance to take one of them. Whether they feel all three are worthy of the third pick is another question. Von Miller is an option as well, and yes Gailey may like Von Miller, but there are very few head coaches in the NFL, if any, that don’t like him.


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Report: Bowers to visit

Posted by Chris Brown on March 16, 2011 – 5:48 pm

ESPN is reporting that Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers will have a pre-draft visit with seven of the teams holding the top eight picks in the 2011 NFL draft.

The Bills are among those teams according to the report. The only team in the top 8 not having Bowers in for a pre-draft visit are the 49ers who pick 7th overall.

Bowers is recovering from a torn meniscus suffered last October, ironically on a play in which Bowers had a sack against N.C. State. He held off on surgery until the end of the season. His pro day is set for April 1st.


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Kirwan’s 2 picks for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 13, 2011 – 9:08 pm

NFL.com’s Pat Kirwan put together a two-round mock draft and has the Bills going D-line first and QB second.

In round one he has the Bills taking Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers and in round two he has Buffalo selecting QB Ryan Mallett.

Personally, I’d be surprised if Mallett is the pick. His arm is unmatched, but there are a lot of other questions surrounding him. No doubt the Bills and 31 other teams are seeking answers to those questions on Mallett between now and draft day.


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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

What if Cam, Fairley off board?

Posted by Chris Brown on March 8, 2011 – 10:34 am

While several mock drafts have Buffalo taking one of the two Auburn prospects in Cam Newton or Nick Fairley. But what if both go off the board first and second overall in front of the Bills pick at 3? NFL Network analyst Charles Davis’ mock is predicting just that.

Davis has Newton first overall to Carolina and Fairley to Denver at 2. So with the third overall pick Davis has the Bills taking Da’Quan Bowers.

I think there is a realistic possibility that the board at the top could fall this way. Carolina drafted two QBs last year (Clausen, Pike), but they don’t sound sure if they have a franchise QB. More importantly Denver, which is moving to a 4-3 front on defense has Robert Ayers and Elvis Dumervil on the ends and they need a defensive tackle, so Fairley makes a lot of sense.

That would leave Bowers as probably the best prospect on the board with Patrick Peterson. When asked about Bowers in a group of top defensive prospects which also included Marcell Dareus and Nick Fairley, Bills GM Buddy Nix did say that they would fit any defense. And as we profiled on the home page at Buffalobills.com the Bills are looking for defensive linemen that can fit multiple schemes knowing that Buffalo will be a hybrid front defense.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

PFT mock gives Bills DE

Posted by Chris Brown on March 7, 2011 – 1:18 pm

ProFootballTalk has stepped into the mock draft arena and has the heavily hyped Heisman trophy winner going first overall.

With Cam Newton first to Carolina and Marcell Dareus second to Denver, PFT has the Bills landing Da’Quan Bowers third overall. Here’s their take on the pick.

The Bills would prefer Cam Newton, but won’t have a chance at him barring a trade up. While Blaine Gabbert should also be considered, the NCAA’s sack and tackle-for-loss leader will be difficult to resist for a club that ranked 27th in sacks last year. Ala Darnell Dockett in Arizona, Bowers would play end in Buffalo’s 3-4 and focus on rushing the passer.

With Auburn’s pro day set for Tuesday March 8th, reports are swirling that Carolina head coach Ron Rivera will be attending Cam Newton’s workout personally. Not anything terribly unusual, but anything related to Newton generally gets more attention. Rivera according to reports during the NFL combine met with Newton twice, both informally and behind closed doors. He also spoke of needing a franchise QB when addressing the media at the combine. So seeing Newton at the top of the board is not anything shocking at this point.


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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

Bowers pro day set

Posted by Chris Brown on March 4, 2011 – 12:57 pm

Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers has his pro day set for late in the pre-draft process.

According to the National Football Post, Bowers will work out for NFL scouts, GMs and personnel execs on April 1st at Clemson at 9 am. Bowers only participated in the bench press at the NFL combine last week due to a lateral meniscus tear in his knee that required surgery at the end of the season.

NFP was in touch with Bowers agent who saida that Bowers is ahead of schedule in his rehab from surgery and will be ready to go April 1st. Personally I don’t know if April Fool’s Day is the best choice to perform for NFL scouts.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

CBS mock has DE to Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 3, 2011 – 10:31 am

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco put together his mock draft 2.0 and has Buffalo taking a defensive end.

With Nick Fairley first off his board to Carolina and a surprising choice of Patrick Peterson for the Broncos (despite Denver’s re-signing of Champ Bailey), Prisco has Buffalo taking DE Da’Quan Bowers third overall.

Now I will say that in recent days when asked about Nick Fairley, Marcell Dareus and Da’Quan Bowers, Bills GM Buddy Nix said all three of them could fit in any scheme. Bowers is probably the biggest question mark in that area. At 275 pounds he’s a little light to play end in a 3-4 system weight-wise, though he’s supposed to be freakishly strong in his upper body and is thought by most to be capable of handling the point of attack in a 3-4 scheme.  He had 22 reps on the bench in Indy.

Dropping back to an OLB position is also a consideration for him should he go to a 3-4 team, but there’s more of an unknown there.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bowers on his meniscus tear

Posted by Chris Brown on February 26, 2011 – 1:52 pm

Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers provided an update on the meniscus tear in his knee that required surgery after this past season.

“I’m 100 percent,” he said. “It was small meniscus tear. It hampered me in my first three weeks of training, which is why I’m not doing anything at the combine. I feel I want the same amount of time that everybody else had to train and fully prepare for the combine. So I’m going to the three weeks that I missed and prepare and do all my workouts on pro day.”

Clemson’s pro day has not yet been set, but Bowers timetable of three weeks would peg it at around March 18th.


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Posted in Inside the Bills