Bills players are in town this week for the start of Buffalo’s offseason conditioning program. With their arrival running in concert with the start of the NFL draft, one wonders do players lobby the personnel department on behalf of their former college teammates? Bills head coach Chan Gailey provided me with the answer.
I specifically asked Chan if Marcell Dareus lobbied for any of his former Alabama teammates in an exclusive one-on-one interview today knowing up to five prospects from Nick Saban’s squad could come off the board tonight.
“Those Alabama guys are pretty loyal to each other they are, but there’s not much lobbying going on,” said Gailey. ”I think they probably realize that it doesn’t make a difference what they say. They’re pretty good about it. They tell you the truth about the guys when you ask them and we appreciate that. There’s not a lot of lobbying going on.”
Five Alabama players did make pre-draft visits to One Bills Drive. Mark Barron, Dont’a Hightower, De’quan Menzie, Dre’ Kirkpatrick and Trent Richardson.
Tags: 2012 NFL draft, Chan Gailey, De'quan Menzie, Donta' Hightower, Dre Kirkpatrick, Marcell Dareus, Mark Barron
Posted in Inside the Bills
Hard to believe we’re 26 days away from the NFL draft! Get up to speed on the top 5 prospects at each position with our video position previews in the media center at Buffalobills.com where you hear from almost every one of the prospects profiled. Let’s get to your questions.
1 - Chris,
I like Nix’s stance on picking value over need, but since OLB is a definite need, if Terrell Manning from NC State is still available in the 3rd, do you think he’s what the Bills are looking for? He seems like a pretty quick, tough, instinctive player. Also, is there any chance TE Coby Fleener is going to be available for us in the 2nd round, & if so, would the Bills go for him? I know they’re high on Chandler, who had a good year, but you can’t deny Fleener’s ability/athleticism. Last, is there any chance the Bills trade out of the #10 pick? I just can’t see them taking a (right) tackle with Pears playing as well as he did & DE/OLB seems like a reach. Unless some fluke-ishness, a-la last year w/ the Locker-Gabbert-Ponder run, happens in those 1st 9 picks & CB Claiborne is still available, I don’t see anyone being worth what we’d have to pay a #10 pick. I’d rather trade the pick altogether for a proven vet, Mike Wallace anyone? Thanks for all your work keeping us displaced Bills fans in the loop.
CB: A lot of questions here. First, Terrell Manning to me is a boom or bust player. Most believe he should’ve returned to N.C. State for the 2012 season and I’m one to agree. He just doesn’t make enough plays. He’ll flash here and there, but he doesn’t have great football instincts. Manning overruns a lot of plays in my opinion. He has pass rush ability, but I think the better overall player is his teammate Audie Cole. After Cole ran in the 4.6s at his pro day I felt better about him being a LB target in the 3rd or 4th round. He played mostly SLB, but was moved to MLB this past season for the Wolfpack.
He’s a smart, instinctive player with good physical ability. At 6’4” 246, he’s got prototype size for the strong side LB spot and would be a great young prospect to line up behind veteran Kirk Morrison. I met him at the Combine and liked what I heard. The dude’s hand swallowed mine (10 inch hands). I think he also could serve as a backup MLB.
Stanford’s Coby Fleener is now being talked about as a late first-round pick after his monster pro day last week. I don’t know that he’ll go that high, so you’re right about him probably being there for Buffalo in round two. I just don’t see tight end being a priority. Chandler I believe still has some potential to reach. Last year was his first year as a full-time starter. I think he can do even more this year.
As for trading out of the 10th overall pick. I think it is very realistic. If Buffalo doesn’t like what is on the board at offensive tackle in terms of the value matching up at pick 10, and they don’t believe WR Michael Floyd is right for the 10th pick either, I could see them making an effort to move back five to 10 spots and picking up an extra choice. Of course they need to find a trade partner to do that.
Your dream of getting Mike Wallace by the way are remote at best. All signs point to him being re-signed by Pittsburgh.
2 - Hey Chris,
I really appreciate all the work you do in keeping us informed on the Bills. My question is about Memphis DT Dontari Poe. Heard he blew people away at the combine with his athleticism for his size of 6-4 and 346 pounds. I know we have Williams are Dareus in the middle, but Poe reminds a lot of people of another guy the Bills passed on Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata. Curious if you think the Bills would give any consideration to drafting this guy or would they rather address a bigger need?
Jeremy from San Antonio
CB: While Poe is an intriguing prospect and should be no worse than a mid-first round pick, I don’t see Buffalo going the DT route. The Bills have a lot of depth on the interior with Torell Troup on the road to recovery from back surgery, Kellen Heard and now Dwan Edwards as a likely DT in the new 4-3 scheme.
Buffalo’s positional demands at OT, WR, LB and CB trump DT.
And while I like Poe as a prospect, he’s not Haloti Ngata.
3 - Dear Chris,
Is it plausible the Bills would consider using one of their 4th round picks on Kellen Moore? I think he has potential be a great backup for Fitz. His accuracy would fit well into our offensive scheme. Many are casting doubts on his ability to perform at the next level, but it seems Buffalo has built a 1st class culture through acquiring players with a chip on their shoulder!
Thanks for keeping us in the loop with your great coverage.
Fort Collins, CO
CB: Being a guy of small stature myself I always root for the guys that aren’t blessed with the physical gifts that the elite prospects possess. But it’s even hard for me to look past Moore’s physical limitations. Being under six-feet tall wouldn’t be as much of an issue if he was on the higher end of the athleticism meter. Unfortunately he’s not. He lacks agility and escapability and that hurts him at the NFL level because at his height he’s going to need to move around a lot to find throwing lanes to throw through, much like Doug Flutie did. Moore can’t move like Flutie.
He’s super intelligent and anticipates throws really, really well. He puts good touch on the ball as well, but driving the ball downfield isn’t something he’s going to do. I suppose he could survive as a backup WCO QB, but I believe he’ll be a successful offensive coordinator in this league before he’s a successful quarterback. A sixth or seventh-round pick at best.
4 - Chris,
Love the offseason coverage. Can’t wait until draft day! Can you breakdown who is in the mix to fill the rush/SAM LB in the new defense? Who are the best 43 LB in the draft that could fill the void? Hightower (Alabama) Lewis (Oklahoma). Where do players like Chris White and Robert Eddins (who looked great in preseason ) fit into the new LB scheme. The team needs depth at LB at all 3 positions.
CB: As it stands now Morrison would be the starting SLB going into camp with Moats backing him up over there and last year’s sixth-round pick Chris White in that mix too. On the weak side it’s Nick Barnett and Robert Eddins, who is under contract and is a rush LB. I anticipate Shawne Merriman to be a pass rushing end on the open side (right side) so he’s out of the mix. I believe Bryan Scott could be part of competition as well knowing he played a hybrid LB role in the team’s nickel package last year.
As for draft prospects that fit the 4-3, Hightower to me is an ILB and probably a second-round prospect. Lewis is an interesting player because he’s got a lot of physical talent, but since the Oklahoma coaches never found a spot for him it’s hard to know what he is exactly. He also had some academic issues and it was recommended to him that he turn pro. Also said to have some maturity issues so he doesn’t sound like Bills draft material. North Carolina’s Zach Brown (WLB), Boise State’s Shea McClellin (SLB), Utah State’s Bobby Wagner and N.C. State’s Audie Cole (SLB) are all guys I feel better about.
5 - I’m puzzled about the status of Alex Carrington. He played as a 4-3 defensive end in college and in the 3-4 this year they played him at linebacker, even though he is around 300 lbs. He must have quickness to play linebacker and I heard he increased his strength dramatically coming into last season. Therefore, why isn’t he mentioned as a candidate to be one of the starting defensive ends in the 4-3? Thanks for being willing to answer our questions.
CB: The reason why you don’t see him being mentioned as a DE in Buffalo’s new 4-3 defense is because he’s likely to be a defensive tackle. Carrington added lean muscle to his frame last year and came into camp at 305 pounds. He was miscast as an OLB, but he along with Spencer Johnson were the best answers they had in terms of setting the edge in the run front with Merriman out of the lineup. Now in the 4-3 Carrington is likely to be a wave player on the interior. I believe he’s capable of playing a LDE role in a 4-3, but there he would be a backup to Mario Williams.
The Bills are going to have some tough decisions to make on the defensive line this summer where they currently have 16 players.
Tags: 2012 NFL draft, Alex Carrington, Audie Cole, Chris White, Coby Fleener, Donta' Hightower, Dontari Poe, Dwan Edwards, Fan Friday, Kellen Moore, Kirk Morrison, Nick Barnett, Robert Eddins, Ronnell Lewis, Shawne Merriman, Spencer Johnson, Terrell Manning
Posted in Inside the Bills