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Inside The Bills

McShay goes TE, OT in 2 rd. mock for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 10, 2014 – 11:45 am

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has put together a two-round mock draft and has some interesting choices for Buffalo at nine and 41 overall.

McShay went tight end and offensive tackle with the first two picks. Here’s his synopsis for the Bills.

No. 9 – TE Eric Ebron, UNC
This is something of an outside-the-box pick, and certainly doesn’t fill a glaring need, but the more I think about it the more I like the selection. For one, there aren’t many glaring holes on this team, opening things up for the Bills to take the best available player. Also, second-year QB EJ Manuel would really benefit from having an elite downfield threat with seam-stretching speed like Ebron at the tight end position, giving him another weapon alongside WRs Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods and Mike Williams and steady TE Scott Chandler.

No. 41 – T Ja’Wuan James, Tennessee
After passing up on a tackle at No. 9 overall, the Bills get a good value in James who is a great fit for their zone-blocking scheme.

If Watkins and Evans are both off the board, which in McShay’s mock they are (5th and 7th picks), I think there could be much more consideration for Ebron at Buffalo’s spot at nine.

James is an example of how deep this year’s draft is at the offensive tackle position. James was somewhat overshadowed by teammate Tiny Richardson at Tennessee, but is thought by many NFL scouts as capable of starting right away at right tackle in the NFL.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Ebron: I’ll make pre-draft visit with Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 19, 2014 – 1:29 pm

North Carolina TE Eric Ebron is forecast as a mid-first round pick in the 2014 NFL draft. So he figures to have several pre-draft visits this spring leading up to the draft in May. Ebron in an interview Wednesday revealed the four teams that have already lined him up for a pre-draft interview.

Talking on ProFootballTalk Live Wednesday, Ebron said the four teams are the Bills, Lions, Ravens and Panthers.

That list figures to grow, but the pre-draft visit certainly adds intrigue to the direction the Bills may go with the ninth overall pick.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

TE Ebron invited to NYC for draft

Posted by Chris Brown on March 19, 2014 – 1:04 pm

The NFL has apparently sent out their invitations to some of the top prospects in this year’s draft class to attend the 2014 NFL draft in New York City at Radio City Music Hall. One of those prospects accepted his invitation on Twitter.

North Carolina TE Eric Ebron tweeted that he’s ready to attend the draft in May.

Ebron is forecast as a mid-first round pick.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-14

Posted by Chris Brown on March 14, 2014 – 3:54 pm

Free agency is in full swing with the Bills nailing down three new players in the early going. Stay close to Buffalobills.com for updates throughout free agency. For now let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hi Chris,

Jim Schwartz is obviously a good good coach and the Bills Defense did some really good things last year under Mike Pettine. My question is how likely will Coach Schwartz try to “not fix what ain’t broke” and keep some/most of the good stuff from last year (even though they may not be his concepts) while adding his own flavor to improve thing that do need to be improved, like run defense for example?

Thanks in advance.
Grant Folkard

CB: In talking with coach Marrone about this during the offseason the way he’s explained it is Coach Schwartz is going to keep most of the terminology the same. The reason this isn’t a big burden for him is because he spent a couple of seasons as a defensive assistant under then Baltimore defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis. Mike Pettine also coached in Baltimore where the defensive system and terminology remained the same even after Marvin Lewis left to coach in Cincinnati. So a lot of the calls and checks will not only be the same, but sound the same.

As for the run defense Marrone is wholly confident that Schwartz, whose defenses have enjoyed tremendous success against the run, will dramatically improve the unit’s performance in this area as well as third down defense.

 

2 - Hey Chris, long time Bills fan.
Wondering if you could shed some light on a few things.

First with hiring a former head coach for D coordinator, what are the chances he stays longer than one season? Do you think this was something that was discussed in private between coach Marrone and Jim Schwartz? And if not how big of a problem would this be for Dough Marrone heading into his 3rd season.

Also with Todd Downing being a QBs coach, with out ever playing the position. Is this fair with all the pressure being put on EJ? I read that EJ really likes him but don’t we need experience there? Playing? To mentor EJ and the struggles that come along with being a QB..

Thanks Jacob

CB: I don’t know that anyone can predict how long a coordinator is going to remain in his current post in the NFL. There are too many variables at work like the number of head coaching vacancies at the end of the year, how effective Schwartz is in his first year here, how successful the team is and coach Schwartz’s own personal aspirations.

Coach Marrone can’t have that kind of talk with Schwartz because no coach in the NFL is going to hold an assistant back from an opportunity at a head coaching job. That’s just not the way it works.

When you hire quality people that’s the risk you run, but I’d rather have the quality coach that’s in demand.

As for Todd Downing he has played the quarterback position. I cannot find his college background, but he did play semi-pro ball in the Mid-America League for the Minnesota Maulers and won a league title there in 2002 as their quarterback. So the position is not foreign to him at all.

I’d like to think coach Marrone’s track record of hiring assistants in the short time he’s been the Bills head coach should tell you he’s not going to hire someone who is not qualified to help the player at the most important position on the field.

 

3 - Chris,

I’ve seen several posts in which you referenced the “12th Man”.  Does the team officially call its fans the 12th Man or is that just a personal reference?  I’m having a huge argument with some Seahawk fan coworkers about whether anyone besides the Seahawks is officially allowed to use that term.

Thanks.
Cliff Hogg

CB: The 12th Man was adopted by Bills fans long before the Seattle fans started using it. The first football outfit to coin the phrase however, was Texas A&M University. They’re credited with the first recorded use of the term in 1922 when coach Dana Bible was running out of players in the Dixie Classic against defending national champion Centre College. In the stands he noticed a student who tried out for the team, but did not make the varsity squad and promptly told him to suit up and be ready in case he was needed. The volunteer player, E. King Gill, ran to the locker room and suited up and got back out to the field. He never entered the game, but became known as the 12th man.

So the Aggies have got dibs on everybody, but concerning your argument the 12th Man was popularized in the late 80’s and early 90’s. In 1988 Bills fans set an all-time single-season NFL attendance record of 622,793. Fans were then honored as the ‘12th Man’ and inducted onto the Bills Wall of Fame in 1992.

 

4 – Hey Chris,

I ask you if Sammy Watkins, Jake Matthews, or Eric Ebron are there at nine which one helps EJ in his evolution more? Or do we go as we have in the past & pick up a O linemen later such as Z. Martin & go with a player like Mack if he is there seeing as the defense thing lingers.

Thanks !!
Mr. T from Fort Myers via Nashville

CB: I think going by the best on the board approach that the Bills usually take it would be hard for me to think that Ebron or Matthews will be rated higher than Watkins. Most experts see him as a top five talent and I have not heard the same consensus for Matthews and certainly not for Ebron, though he is a special talent.

I think any one of those three would be of great help to Manuel in different ways, but GM Doug Whaley will take the player that helps the team the most. And that likely involves Manuel to some degree, but that’s the all-encompassing view a general manager has to take.

 

5 - Morning Chris, Happy Friday!

I was wondering how the Bills go about setting up their needs in free agency and the draft.  I was wondering how much emphasis they put into the upcoming 2014 schedule? For instance, we will have to face guys like Calvin Johnson, Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall, receiving corps from Green Bay and Denver.  Do they look at the defensive fronts, the AFC East is getting better defensively, not to mention teams like Houston and Detroit.  So basically how much does that affect their decision making when it comes to the importance of positions that are needed for the team?  Thanks for your hard work, and I hope you enjoyed Indy at the combine!

Go Bills! Jillian

CB: We did enjoy Indy very much. Glad you watched our coverage of the NFL combine. Your question is a good one. Typically opponents in a given year do not impact their decision making all that much in free agency and the draft. Teams like Chicago and Green Bay, which the Bills see only once every four years is not what you usually base your personnel decisions on.

That being said I do know that some moves are made with a team’s division opponents in mind. You’re facing those teams every season, twice a season and you have to beat them to win your division and get to the postseason. So the personnel make-up and strengths of teams like New England, the Jets and Miami could play a role in some decision making.

Again it’s not an overwhelming factor, but those teams are taken into consideration knowing they stand in the way of a playoff berth.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Top 10 tight end 40 times

Posted by Chris Brown on February 22, 2014 – 7:48 pm

Top TE prospect Eric Ebron said on Friday he was definitely going to run a faster 40 time than his former college teammate and current Cincinnati RB Gio Bernard. Bernard ran a 4.53. Did Ebron beat him? Here’s a look at the top 10 40 times from the tight end group Saturday.

1 - A.C. Leonard – Tennessee St. - 4.50
2 - Eric Ebron – North Carolina – 4.6
3 – Colt Lyerla – Oregon – 4.61
4 – Trey Burton – Florida – 4.62
5 – Jace Amaro – Texas Tech – 4.74
6 – C.J. Fiedorowicz – Iowa – 4.76
T7 – Anthony Denham – Utah – 4.77
T7 – Reggie Jordan – Missouri Western – 4.77
9 – Jake Murphy – Utah – 4.79
10 – Arthur Lynch – Georgia – 4.82


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Posted in Inside the Bills

TE Ebron confident in his playing speed

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2014 – 5:33 pm

He’s widely considered to be the best tight end in the draft. North Carolina’s Eric Ebron is an uncommonly athletic tight end who has been compared to 49ers TE Vernon Davis when it comes to physical ability. He was making no promises Thursday concerning his expectations for a 40-yard dash time, but he assures he’ll be better than a former college teammate of his who currently plays in the NFL.

Ebron’s college teammate Giovanni Bernard, who had a pretty successful rookie season, ran a 4.53 40-time here at the Combine last February. The talented tight end is confident he’ll perform better.

“Gio just told me to get as much rest as I can,” said Ebron of his Combine advice. “I just texted him. I’m going to run a faster 40 than him. I’ll just put it like that.”

When asked what makes his game different from other NFL tight ends his answer was simple and direct.

“Fast,  I play fast,” he said. “I’m a little bit faster than most.”

In watching five games of Ebron rarely if ever did opposing defenses press him at the line of scrimmage when he was split wide. I asked him why he thought that was the case.

“I think teams don’t press me because they can’t,” he said flatly. “I will not be pressed at the line of scrimmage that’s a powerful thing of mine. They’d do best if they play a couple of yards back.”

Most linebackers and safeties did just that often giving him a seven or eight-yard cushion. That won’t happen in the NFL however, where the matchups won’t be quite as lopsided. One has to believe that NFL talent evaluators would prefer to see him against more press coverage just to see how he handles it.

For more Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts, click here.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Mixed bag of picks in 4 CBS mocks for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2014 – 7:05 pm

The draft analysts at CBSSports.com have put together their mock drafts on the eve of the NFL Combine and all four have different picks for the Bills at nine.

CBSSports.com’s Rob Rang, Dane Brugler, Pete Prisco and Pat Kirwan all selected different players for Buffalo at ninth overall. Rang and Kirwan picked offensive tackles while Brugler chose a tight end and Prisco took a linebacker for the Bills. Here were their assessments.

Rang’s pick

9. BUFFALO BILLS

(6-10)
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: Cordy Glenn has quietly starred at left tackle, but upgrades could be had at right tackle and left guard. Matthews warrants a top 10 grade in part because of his versatility. Powerful and technically sound, Matthews is as pro-ready as it gets.

Brugler’s pick

9. BUFFALO BILLS

(6-10)
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: The Bills need to add a big, physical presence in the receiving game, whether at wide receiver or tight end. Ebron is a freak athlete who will instantly help the Bills offense and second-year quarterback EJ Manuel.

Prisco’s pick

9. BUFFALO BILLS

(6-10)
C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama: They need speed next to Kiko Alonso. Mosley will be a 10-year starter.

Kirwan’s pick

9. BUFFALO BILLS

(6-10)
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: The Bills head coach is a former offensive line coach and he knows the Bills need better people up front. Lewan is sliding in the eyes of some, but Michigan has produced a lot of NFL linemen.

Of the four players listed here I’d probably be happiest with Jake Matthews. He’s the most athletic and technically sound lineman in this draft class and is the most NFL ready. Plus his NFL bloodlines don’t get much better with a Hall of Fame OL for a dad in Bruce Matthews.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Tight end the pick for Bills in new mock draft

Posted by Chris Brown on February 6, 2014 – 11:00 am

While one mock draft at CBSSports.com has Buffalo taking UB LB Khalil Mack with the ninth overall pick, another has the Bills taking a tight end.

CBSSports.com’s Dane Brugler, has Buffalo taking UNC TE Eric Ebron, widely considered the best tight end in the draft class this year. Here’s his analysis.

9. BUFFALO BILLS

(6-10)
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: The Bills need to add a big, physical presence in the receiving game, whether at wide receiver or tight end. Ebron is a freak athlete who will instantly help the Bills offense and second-year quarterback EJ Manuel.

Perhaps most interesting is that this mock draft has four quarterbacks coming off the board before Buffalo picks at nine. If this is a scenario that pans out it will push a lot of the top flight talent down the board to the Bills at nine.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pair of NFL.com mocks go TE & LB for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on January 16, 2014 – 11:25 am

Two of the more recent mock drafts have a top flight tight end and linebacker going to the Bills with the ninth overall pick.

NFL.com’s draft analysts Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah made the picks. Brooks went with North Carolina TE Eric Ebron. Here was his take on his pick.

  1. PICK NO. 9
    ERIC EBRON –  TE - NORTH CAROLINA
     
    General manager Doug Whaley will look to add an explosive weapon in the middle of the field to help foster the growth of E.J. Manuel.

Jeremiah went with Alabama LB C.J. Mosley, who is listed at 228 pounds.


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Posted in Inside the Bills