Happy Friday the 13th Bills fans! The draft is fast approaching. Let’s get to your questions on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.
1 – @ChrisBrownBills
For a team without a consensus starting QB for the last 22 yrs, does trading up to take 1 of a deep class of QB prospects in the 2018 draft constitute “reaching”? Can Beane/McDermott afford to kick this can down the road?
CB: I think we are all of the belief that all the stockpiling of Buffalo’s draft capital, which is at a record level in terms of assets, was not done to add nine players to the roster (their total number of picks). It was done to provide them with the ammunition to get a quarterback in this year’s class.
For a plan that has likely been a year in the making, I find it hard to believe that the Bills will not make every attempt to trade up to grab one of the QB prospects they feel is worth the price of moving up the board to select.
Although there will be a couple of options in next year’s draft at QB – Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham, Washington’s Jacob Eason, Missouri’s Drew Lock – those players, with the possible exception of Stidham, have to show dramatic improvement on the field in 2018 to be in the same category as the QBs in this class.
Now is the time to strike and the Bills have the assets to make it happen.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills
How do you think Ryan Groy fits into our plans moving forward? Especially without Incognito.
CB: I think we’ll have a better idea on that post-draft. It’s my contention that the Bills will add some youth to their offensive line in the draft. The question is will they make additions early in the draft or late? That will likely be determined by what assets they choose to part with in a trade up scenario in round one.
If they add an interior lineman relatively early (rounds 1-3), and it’s a guard who has a chance to start right away then I think Groy is competing for the starting center role. If it’s a late round addition, then I think Groy is more likely to line up in a starting guard role and will compete with John Miller.
3 – @ChrisBrownBills
Are the Bills interested at all in Mason Rudolph or Lamar Jackson? Is it even possible that they stay at 12 and take either of those guys or are they definitely going after one of the other four? Namely Baker Mayfield or Josh Rosen.
CB: I believe the answer to this is in Buffalo’s preparation. They’ve scouted and done their due diligence on all of the top 6 quarterback prospects. Truth be told there’s something to like about all six of the top QBs, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they were intrigued by any one of these top QB prospects.
I’m sure they probably have two that they covet the most, but when you’re sitting at 12 you have to know for certain who you believe is ready to compete for the starting job now and who is a year away and slot your quarterback prospects accordingly.
As for your question of if it’s possible they take Jackson or Rudolph at 12, in the draft anything is possible, especially at the QB position, where in most cases on draft day their value tends to get pushed up the board because teams get nervous about missing out.
There are a few cases over the years where a QB slides, but more often than not QB value moves up, which is why Rudolph even in the 12-20 range of round one wouldn’t surprise even though most values on him as little as two weeks ago had him late one to early two.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills
Hey Chris, what’s the plan for the Middle LB spot? I’m sure they’re going to take someone with one of their first 3 picks, but was curious who you’d think would be a fit, especially if they trade up? I like Jewell from Iowa in Round 2 assuming they make jump up in round 1.
CB: This is a position I’m legitimately concerned about because the draft is thin at true ‘mike’ linebacker types. Knowing they could part with draft assets to address QB, I worry that some of the better options at MLB won’t be there for Buffalo.
I do like Jewell as a prospect because of his productivity and instincts, but he might not have all the requisite measurables to excel as a three-down MLB. He has some coverage liabilities to his game in terms of lateral movement and change of direction skills, so I wonder where the Bills value on him would lie.
I believe there are some outside linebacker prospects who could project to ILB, like BYU’s Fred Warner or Vanderbilt’s Oren Burks. NFL teams will have to try to see if some of these OLB prospects are capable of moving inside because the ILB crop is so thin.
Burks is a guy I think could easily project inside because he’s played there before and possesses the cover skills necessary to that position.
5 – @ChrisBrownBills
Why is it taking so long to move to top 5? Everyone knows the #bills are looking to trade
CB: I don’t know this for sure, but I would think that the Bills, or any other team interested in possibly moving into the top 10 or top 5, have laid the groundwork for a possible trade with another club, but a lot of those decisions are predicated on what players come off the board first.
Let’s just say hypothetically that the Bears want RB Saquon Barkley, but don’t think they’ll get him at 8. Maybe they don’t have the assets to get up to 2, so they’ve talked with Browns at four and the Broncos at five.
Even if they have a deal in place with the Broncos at 5 to move up, there is no sense of pulling the trigger on a deal unless they know Barkley is available. So if Barkley somehow slides past the Browns at four on draft day, then the Bears call the Broncos and pull the trigger to move up to five to take the RB.
That’s why a lot of trades do not happen until draft day.
Tags: 2018 NFL draft, Brandon Beane, draft trades, Fan Friday, Lamar Jackson, Mason Rudolph, Richie Incognito, Ryan Groy, Sean McDermott
Posted in Inside the Bills
The NFL draft is in the rearview mirror. Time to review it and other topics you’re wondering about courtesy of your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.
1 – @ChrisBrownBills This weekend’s rookie camp, is it just rooks or are 2nd year guys encouraged to attend. i.e; Manuel, Gragg, Woods, etc.?
CB: In addition to the draft choices, undrafted rookie free agents and street free agents with less than a year of accrued NFL time there are some first-year players who are eligible to participate this weekend. Here’s a look at the first-year players (have a year accrued in the NFL) who will be on the field Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Players like EJ Manuel or Chris Gragg are not eligible.
DB – 47 – Michael Carter
OL – 76 – Randy Colling
OL – 72 – Edawn Coughman,
FS – 40 – JaJuan Harley
DE – 98 – Ikponmwosa, Igbinosun
WR – 16 – Cordell Roberson
LB – 54 – Jacquies Smith
WR – 87 – Chris Summers
LB – 58 – Nathan Williams
Michael Carter is technically a rookie even though he came out in the 2013 draft class. He went undrafted and did not stick on an NFL roster so he does not have an NFL accrued season from the last calendar year.
2 – Hey Chris,
After seeing Free Agency pan out and how many teams weren’t willing to pay their own Free Agent RBs (or other FA RBs) a lot of money or even commit to long-term contracts, it looks like CJ Spiller wouldn’t require that much to keep in Buffalo after his rookie contract expires. I know that it’s been pointed out as a concern for the Bills Fan Community after this year when Fred and CJ become free agents, but I’m less concerned. Knowshon Moreno had a career year (completely destroying Spiller’s stats) and ended up in Miami on a 1 year, $3 million deal. Although he had Peyton as his QB, I think this is the future of all RBs– just like no RBs were drafted in the First Round last year, and it may be the same again this year. Do you see the Spiller contract situation shaking out the way that I do? And also, do you think the Bills will draft an RB at some point in the draft now that they’ve signed Anthony Dixon?
Nate from Garbage Plate City
PS- Go Bills!
CB: I think it’s very hard to see how the future will play out with C.J. Spiller. He has a player option first and foremost on his current contract. It’s going to be very interesting to see if offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has tweaked his approach in how to make the best use of C.J. Spiller on a week to week basis. Naturally the high ankle sprain injury hindered a lot of their plans last year for him. Fully healthy Spiller can be a dynamic weapon in this offense that is expected to move at a fast tempo.
While I think there is merit to your argument about running backs being had for relatively affordable prices it’d be hard to part with one of the four or five most talented athletes on your roster. While Buffalo’s roster arguably has the most talent from top to bottom than it has had in a while, Spiller is still one of just a handful of elite players. Money will naturally have a lot to do with the final decision and how it impacts both sides.
3 – Hello Chris.
Thanks for all the great coverage of the Bills year round. My question has to do with the 2014 pre-draft visits the Bills conducted this off-season. In a review of the 29 players that visited One Bills Drive, I found it rather interesting that they didn’t bring in a single QB. We have heard how Coach Marrone likes to have a high level of competition for every spot on the roster, so why not bring in a QB or two that has a decent chance to still be drafted in Rounds 3-5? Clearly the Bills can’t be content with just having Manuel, Lewis and Tuel, considering how few career NFL starts the trio has amassed.
I just think they could have added at least 1 or 2 potential QB’s into the mix. It would have also created some kind of confusion around NFL circles as to that the Bills are up to, which I believe would be a good thing.
Dan Van Wie
CB: Even before the pre-draft visits began the Bills were pretty clear that they were content with their quarterback depth chart particularly with Thad Lewis as the backup. GM Doug Whaley reiterated as much right after the draft.
“We do not anticipate bringing in another arm,” said Whaley. “I’ll never say never, you never know what is going to happen. Someone could get hurt… But at this time we’re very confident with the guys we have on campus. Like I’ve said before, our philosophy should keep you .500 and Thad came in and got us close to the three, two and three. So we’re excited about that and then Jeff Tuel came in and played against Kansas City, did some good things but also had some mistakes. But we were conscious of the fact that he was an undrafted college free agent rookie so we expected him to make some mistakes.
“And Dennis Dixon has been in the league for a while and he brings a skillset that will compliment what we’re trying to do offensively. We have some competition. We do have some young guys, but they’re experienced in our system. And that was another thought process: if you bring someone else in, they’re just as young or younger and less experienced in the system so we’re very confident where we are right now.”
4 – Hi Chris,
The Bills front office said going into the draft that they really liked Sammy Watkins. However, Watkins’ agent is Eugene Parker. Given our past trouble with his clients, does the front office take that into consideration? They will never publicly say that they hate a certain agent. But wouldn’t you rather draft players that you can keep for long term?
I just feel it may be a waste if they spent all those draft picks to move up to get Watkins and can only keep him for 4-5 years.
CB: You make a great point and I understand your concern. Ultimately though the Bills are going to take the best player they can get for their team regardless of agent affiliation. Yes, they took a risk moving up the board, but they felt strongly that Watkins would put them over the top and into the postseason. It came at a cost and we won’t know if their calculated risk pays off until the 2014 season plays out.
With respect to Watkins long term future, I know the track record for second contracts to keep that guy’s clients in Buffalo isn’t strong, but let’s watch the kid play for a year or two before everyone starts to worry about those things.
5 – Chris
There is no question Watkins is a top talent..but what are your thoughts on the trade overall? My opinion is that if you want to trade a first round pick it better be for a franchise quarterback…
CB: What you have to remember is a general rule of thumb is if you’re trading a pick that is in the following year it typically requires an increase of one round (a two this year equals a one next year). So if you don’t want to trade a second-round pick this year the way for a GM to get around that is to offer a first in the following year.
We can debate how equitable the trade was all day long, but I think this team hasn’t had a true number one wideout since Eric Moulds was in his prime. It was an absolute must for EJ Manuel’s development. He will help the 28th passing offense from 2013 take a big step forward and potentially into playoff contention.
I think after 14 years of missing the playoffs a bold move was required. Something drastic to end the postseason drought. You couldn’t find a more talented option in this draft class.
Tags: C.J. Spiller, Doug Whaley, draft trades, Fan Friday, quarterback, Rookie minicamp, Sammy Watkins
Posted in Inside the Bills