Inside The Bills

A lot of pass rushers sitting there

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2009 – 9:16 pm

Orakpo, Brown, Maybin are all sitting there with the Bills on double deck.

Cushing is still a viable possibility as I see it, especially if Buffalo doesn’t like any of the warts on the pass rushers. We’ll see.

Don’t know how many of you saw my NFL Network on the beat mock draft picks, but we had to choose who we thought the Bills would take at 11 and 28. I picked Cushing at 11, and then based on the picks of all the other beat writers for the other NFL teams, Brown was still on the board at 28 and I took him there for Buffalo with their second pick.

Be funny if that actually happens.


Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills: Cushing capable of a lot of things

Posted by Chris Brown on April 22, 2009 – 8:25 pm

With Buffalo’s scouting staff kind enough to take part of their lunch break to make themselves available to the media this week, just days before the draft I asked Bills scout Rashaan Curry if he thinks USC LB Brian Cushing could help a team as a pass rusher as well, seeing that he played some DE for the Trojans in his college career. Here’s the answer I got.

“I think he’s capable,” said Curry, “The guy has shown that he can do a lot of things on the field. Play coverage, play the run, help rush the passer, be a blitzer. You’re talking about a versatile player and an impact guy. The other thing with him playing defensive end, he played behind some pretty good players so they were trying to find a way to get him on the field. I wouldn’t discount what he was able to do at either position just because of where he played. It was the result of seeing the caliber of players that came before him that are now making an impact at our level.”

I followed up by asking him if he sees Cushing’s ideal position as a strong side LB. Curry wouldn’t bite on that.

“I think you think about him inside as well,” Curry said. “Obviously we have Poz and like a lot of things about him, so you wouldn’t move him. I think Cushing could do a lot of things for you.”

Suffice to say that Cushing is viewed as a versatile performer by the Bills and probably a lot of other teams. I’m not convinced that Buffalo is as high on Everette Brown as I am, so I’m trying to look at alternatives at 11.

Obviously Michael Oher would be a consideration with Peters now moved, but Cushing might be more instant impact and can do more. He just looks like a Bills type player.

I honestly don’t know which way they’re leaning or who their top considerations are at 11. Everything has been very hush-hush here at One Bills Drive. But I would not rule out Cushing.


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Could LB Curry be option for Bills at 11?

Posted by Chris Brown on April 21, 2009 – 1:42 pm

With the rapid ascent of USC QB Mark Sanchez into the top 10 and Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin reportedly coveted by Oakland’s Al Davis, a premier linebacker talent could be slipping all the way out of the top 10 in Wake Forest’s Aaron Curry.

Once thought to be a lead pipe lock top five pick, Curry is sliding according to several draft insiders because he’s considered by most to a be a strong side linebacker. That’s the one that grinds with the tight end in the run game and does most of the dirty work.

If Curry slips out of the top 10 and is still on the board when the Bills pick, that’s going to make for a very difficult decision. Strong side linebacker is unquestionably a need, and Curry might be the safest pick in the draft, but he is not going to help your pass rush.

I want to say that a pass rusher is still the play at 11, despite the trade of Peters and the possibility of Curry slipping to 11, but Curry is special. If he slid that far it would really give me pause if I had to make that call.  

Granted, Buffalo could still get a solid linebacker prospect at 28, 42 or heck even 75 that could compete for that starting role vacated by Angelo Crowell.

But Curry is a great talent and a future defensive captain (he has that kind of presence). If it’s Everette Brown and Aaron Curry at 11, it’s a good dilemma.

If you believe in getting your big men early you take Brown and help Buffalo’s pass rush. If you believe in trusting the value on your board I think you take Curry. What would you do?


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-17

Posted by Chris Brown on April 17, 2009 – 7:24 pm

Only one more Fan Friday after this prior to the draft, and Jason Peters trumps everything so we start there. I’m going to be in full scramble mode answering all your pre-draft questions this week. Let’s get started.

1. Chris,

ESPN is reporting that Peters was traded for a 1st(28th overall) and Philly’s 4th round pick this year as well as a undisclosed 2010 pick.  Now that this is a done deal which tackle do you see Buffalo taking at #11?

Tks,

Kevin Klump 

CB: First Kevin, nothing is done until either of the teams confirms it. But to entertain your question, should this trade indeed come to fruition I would say that the chances of Buffalo taking an offensive tackle increase somewhat, but not significantly. Here’s why.

I think the Bills will move Langston Walker to left tackle and plug Demetrius Bell in at right tackle. Bell came a long way in the past year and is very, very athletic. Asking him to step in at left tackle right now however, is too much to ask of a second-year player with no NFL starts on his resume. 

If you remember the Bills started Jason Peters on the right side when he first played tackle in a game filling in for an injured Mike Williams back in ‘05. I think doing the same with Bell is not out of the realm of possibility. If that’s the course they choose to take, then I think the Bills can still target a premier pass rusher, like Everette Brown at 11, who I have liked all along.

Then at 28 they could scoop up a top flight center like Alex Mack (Cal), OLB/DE Connor Barwin (Connor Barwin) or Larry English (No. Illinois) or tight end Brandon Pettigrew (OK State) if he happens to still be on the board. Personally I think Pettigrew will be gone by 25 to Atlanta or 26 to Baltimore.  

I’m not saying that an offensive tackle like Michael Oher (Ole Miss) isn’t a possibility at 11, but I don’t think it means they’re forced to take one there. Heck they could even get a solid right tackle prospect in Eben Britton (Arizona St.) at 28 if they wanted.  

But this organization has a lot of faith in Bell’s long term potential and after successfully developing Peters, who wasn’t an offensive tackle until Buffalo moved him, I believe they feel they can develop Bell into a dependable starter.

I guess we’ll all know better in about a week.

 

2. Hey Chris,

I know the Bills have all but announced Hangartner the center for next season, but could it be a smoke screen and could the Bills be eying up someone like Alex Mack in the draft?  Then moving Hangartner to guard?

CB: I wouldn’t rule anything out at this point, but Hangartner has said his best position is center and I get the sense the organization is committed to him playing in the pivot. You want to put the players in positions where they can best succeed, and for Hangartner that’s center, in his opinion and the opinion of the organization.

 

3. Chris, just about everyone in the Bills community including yourself keeps saying that the team’s greatest need going into 2009 is to improve its pass rush.  But isn’t it a fact that the Bills had the # 13 defense in the NFL last year against the pass?  If that’s true, isn’t improving the pass rush more of a luxury than a necessity, especially given the fact that the offense ranked near the bottom of the league in just about every important category?  Shouldn’t landing a first-rate TE and Center trump acquiring a situational pass rusher who plays mainly on third down?  Last year we insisted on getting “value” from our first round pick by drafting a CB and ended up not getting the kind of TE we desperately needed, when we could have traded down and drafted John Carlson.  I hope that doesn’t happen in 2009, leaving the offense shortchanged once again.

Dan, Rochester

CB: While I understand the point you’re trying to make, the ranking of the pass defense in 2008 (13th) is a bit misleading. The reason why is because teams still had fair to good success running the ball against Buffalo when all was said and done. The Bills finished 22nd against the run and surrendered over 120 yards per game on the ground. 

When teams run that well against you they don’t have to throw as much reducing the yards a defense gives up passing thereby improving the ranking against the pass.

Some might say that run defense figure means they should get another defensive tackle, but any hope of getting B.J. Raji at 11 is a pipe dream. He’ll be gone by the sixth pick.

As for the pass rush here’s why myself and the majority of fans I’ve spoken with feel the pass rush has to be addressed. Over the past two years Buffalo has a total of 50 sacks. Combining 2007 and 2008 that ranks 29th in the league, with only Cleveland, Cincinnati and Kansas City with lesser production over that span. The pass rush has to be addressed early if you wish to get a player that can help you right away. 

 

 

4. Chris,

Just read your blog on S. Carolina TE Cook. I can see where interest in this guy is growing and Nelson/Cook could be neck and neck. I don’t agree however with your assessment that with the addition of T.O. the Bills need for a TE is reduced. Personally I believe the addition of a real TE is of paramount importance. That along with improving the OL interior to me should be of primary importance to the Bills. I know you believe the Bills should go after a DE with their first pick to improve the pass rush, but I believe making the offense significantly better is the real key. Our struggles last season were offense related.

Your thoughts?

Bill Kubera

Cicero, NY

CB: Perhaps I didn’t state my opinion on the tight end well enough. When I said that the need for a playmaking tight end was reduced by the signing of Owens, I meant for 2009. This year, if you don’t have a playmaking tight end ready to make plays and have an instant impact on your offense you’re not dead in the water.

I still maintain that the pass rush is priority number one. I think tight end can be addressed in rounds two or three depending on what players the Bills covet most at that position. That player can come in as a rookie in 2009, get his feet wet without the pressure of making tons of plays. Then the following year when Owens is probably gone he and James Hardy can step up and fill the void in the passing game together.

I agree offensive line is a need area too. In my ideal draft Buffalo gets a premier pass rusher in the first (Brown?), a solid interior lineman in the second (Wood?) and a pass catching tight end in the third (Coffman?). If this reported Peters trade happens, then pass rusher first, OL bottom of first, pass catching TE in 2nd.

 

5. Hey Chris,
I wanted to get your opinion on Oregon OL Max Unger.  In doing some player research I have developed a man crush on Unger and would love to see him in a Bills uniform.  I love his versalitility as he can play center, guard, or tackle plus he brings top notch intangibles and experience to the table.  I think he would be a great add with our second round pick, if he lasts that long.  Anyways, your opinion would be greatly appreciated.
Thank You,
 
Brad

CB: I think Max Unger would be a good pick. Yes, he is versatile having played some tackle. Though he’s never played guard, I think he could handle it.  

Personally I prefer Alex Mack and Eric Wood to Unger. Mack and Wood have a little more nastiness and tenacity to their game, while Unger is more of a technician.

Don’t get me wrong I respect Unger’s game a lot and wouldn’t be upset if he wound up with the Bills. I just like Mack and Wood a bit better.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Kiper on Everette Brown

Posted by Chris Brown on April 16, 2009 – 4:56 pm

In the wake of my post on what Mike Mayock thought of Florida State DE Everette Brown, Mel Kiper addressed him in his national conference call Thursday. He basically said there’s a wide range of opinion out there on Brown, which also creates a wide range of where he could go on draft day.

“He could go as high as four and as low as 30,” said Kiper. “I think going 12th overall to Denver is realistic and even Buffalo at 11. He could go later, but I’ve had him as a mid-first round pick all along.”

Granted Kiper could be hedging his bets so putting a mid-first round grade on Brown splits the difference in terms of the wide range of opinions on Brown. No doubt some teams are scared off by his size (sub 6’2″) and realize he doesn’t have the frame to add much more weight if he struggles against the run at the NFL level.

I maintain that I think he can handle it at 252 pounds. He appears to know enough about leverage, and he is the most polished pass rusher in the class with respect to techniques and pass rush moves.


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Kiper not against Cushing to Bills at 11

Posted by Chris Brown on April 16, 2009 – 4:03 pm

With knocks on most of the top flight pass rushing DEs in the draft (Orakpo – work ethic, Brown – size, Maybin – one year wonder) I’ve gone on record (NFL Network Path to the Draft) as saying that USC LB Brian Cushing may prove to be a safer option for Buffalo at 11. Mel Kiper apparently isn’t opposed to that either.

When asked by Allen Wilson of the Buffalo News what he thought of Cushing going to the Bills at 11 he said the following.

“Cushing is a good football player,” said Kiper. “The need at defensive end is what you have to look at. I would say that supercedes the outside linebacker a little bit. This team could use a tight end too. That’s why I had Pettigrew in there at one point. Cushing wouldn’t be bad. He’s a good football player. You want to bypass Ayers, you want to bypass Everette Brown or Aaron Maybin, you could and Cushing figures to go in the mid-first round area.”

Kiper said he had OLB as Buffalo’s third most pressing need behind pass rushing DE and TE, but he could understand that move.

I really feel if the Bills have some reservations about Brown or Maybin that Cushing makes the most sense. We’ll see.


Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Mayock changes thinking on Everette Brown

Posted by Chris Brown on April 16, 2009 – 2:49 pm

In late January, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock listed Florida State DE Everette Brown as his second best defensive end in the class, but also put OLB in parentheses after his name and indicated he thought he was an OLB candidate in a 3-4 defense. Appearing on a conference call Wednesday, Mayock’s opinion on where Brown fits in a defense has changed considerably.

“I actually don’t think he’s a linebacker in a 3-4,” said Mayock of Brown. “I don’t think he’s got the length. He’s 6’1 1/2″. To me he’s a base 4-3 defensive end. Some teams are still looking at him as a 3-4 linebacker.”

I don’t know this, but my guess is Mayock was basing his initial opinion more on what he was hearing from his NFL team contacts, and as he said teams are still looking at him as a 3-4 OLB. But now after doing all of his own film work on most of the top 350 prospects (the guy is a workaholic) he has formulated more of his own opinion and sees him as a 4-3 end.

I’ve been a fan of Brown from day one as a fit for the Bills 4-3 system as an end. I think he’s strong enough to hold up. Now he may not be as good against the run as Orakpo or Ayers, but I think he can handle the role.

Now Mayock doesn’t see him as a top half of the first round pick (top 16).

“There was a lot of heat when he first came out of being a top 10 or 15 pick,” said Mayock. “That’s cooled off a little bit. I see him closer to a late one.”

I still think Brown is good enough to be a top 15 pick, but obviously there is a difference of opinion out there. We’ll see where he goes.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

3 round mock for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 16, 2009 – 1:45 pm

The mock drafts keep coming and this one from nooffseason.com goes three rounds. On the whole I like the majority of their picks with respect to where they have players valued. I like their first two picks for Buffalo, but I’m not crazy about the third rounder.

In round one they’ve got Buffalo taking Everette Brown, who everyone knows at this point is a player I like a lot, though there are some that don’t see him as that valuable (top half of 1st round).

In round two they’ve got the Bills taking Alex Mack 42nd overall, but I’m not 100 percent sure he’ll still be on the board. I think Pittsburgh could grab him at the bottom of the first, though these guys have the Steelers taking Louisville’s Eric Wood.

I like Wood, but I like Mack better.

In round three they go a bit off the board with Michigan State’s Javon Ringer. While there’s no question that the Bills need a third running back especially now in light of the Lynch suspension, I can’t see Dick Jauron wanting to add a rookie. Counting on rookies, especially early in the season when Lynch is out of the lineup doesn’t add up.

That’s why Buffalo has been bringing in a bevy of veteran backs on free agent visits, Dominic Rhodes most recently (Tuesday).

In round three I think a linebacker or tight end is more likely if they go DE and OL in the first two rounds as these mockers have done.


Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-3

Posted by Chris Brown on April 3, 2009 – 3:24 pm

Another Fan Friday as we inch closer to the NFL Draft. Got some interesting questions this week. Keep them coming at AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1. Chris
In college Brad Butler played right tackle. Do you think the Bills would think about switching Brad Butler and Langston Walker. Brad is quicker and Langston would be a monster inside?

Thanks
John

CB: I don’t see this change happening. Walker is best on the edge in my opinion and I felt had a very good season in 2008. Moving to left tackle for the opener in place of the ‘not ready’ Jason Peters, then back to right tackle was yeoman’s work.

Butler I believe is the type of player you want inside. A guy that likes to mix it up and get nasty. I don’t know that Brad is necessarily quicker than Walker. Just because Walker is 366 pounds, don’t assume the man can’t move. His feet are well above average for a man his size.

 
2. What’s happening with Chris Ellis? He was our 3rd rounder last year after all, his injury has set him back no doubt, but we haven’t heard any word on him lately? Is he healing well? Will he be the force we want him to be, allowing us to maybe go after one of the other needs that early at 11, like OL or TE where a lot of people are looking at players to fill gaps. Is Chris doing well enough for us to put DE at a second pick this year? If he’s not, than I sure hope we go DE -1st, and find some prospects to mold like we seem to do so well for our other positional needs.
-Jonathan Wyman
Virginia

CB: I think the team still has a lot of faith in what Chris Ellis can do for the defense. He is healthy and he’s here participating in the offseason conditioning program. I believe he needs to get stronger physically to hold up better against the run. It could get him more snaps this year.

The bottom line however, is the jury is still out on him so adding more pass rush talent is necessary and early. They need a pass rusher that was dominant at the college level. Someone that can make an impact as a rookie. You only get those kinds of players at 11. Aaron Maybin, Everette Brown and Brian Cushing (a LB) are the three I would target.

If it’s Cushing in round one I probably wouldn’t address DE until round three knowing the team needs offensive line or tight end help. Cushing can help on the pass rush.

The unconfirmed reports about Cushing testing positive for steroids would end my preference for him as a player if they proved to be true.

 
3. Chris,
 
       Wondering if Derrick Brooks is a possiblilty to help us with the Cover-2 Tampa defense ?
 
    Todd Logan

CB: I think the Bills will see how they fare in the draft at the LB position before they entertain the possibility of adding a player like Brooks.

 
4. Any word on Schobel’s foot injury?  Will he be able to be the force he once was and help the pass rush?  He is the rock of that line.
 
Curt

CB: Schobel is recovering nicely. Surgery as we reported back in early February will not be necessary. Whether he can be the force he once was as a pass rusher is a question only Schobel can answer through his play. He can say he feels fine and that he’s back to normal, but his play will be the only ammunition he has and he knows that.

 
5. Chris,
   
            What are your thoughts and opinions on Larry English, and him fitting in as a Buffalo Bill?  Also do you think we could draft him in the 2nd round, or will he probably be scooped up by then?  With his size and athleticism I believe he is a Terrell Suggs type player where he could play LB or DE…….What do you think he will be more of? 
 
Thanks – Showtime.

CB: If the right team likes English he could be off the board at the bottom of round one. After running a 4.74 and 4.79 40-times at his pro day I think that’s a possibility. There are some teams that are concerned that he might not be strong enough to hold up as an every down DE in a 4-3 system. I believe he can.

For a DE it’s more about explosiveness and with a 36-inch vertical and a 1.59 10-yard dash I believe he has the burst to be productive off the edge. He’s a little short at 6’2”, which is why some teams consider him a 3-4 OLB.

He has a similar issue to that of Everette Brown. Brown gets more of the benefit of the doubt having played in the ACC. Playing in the MAC knocks English down a peg by some talent evaluators, right or wrong.

I think if the Bills don’t get a DE in round one, English is definitely an option in round two, provided he’s still on the board.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-27

Posted by Chris Brown on March 27, 2009 – 5:31 pm

Less than a month until the NFL draft. Trying like heck to keep up with your questions. Bear with me. I’ll try to get them all answered before draft weekend.

For those that don’t know questions can be sent to AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Here we go.

1. Hi Chris,
the Bills coaching/personnel staff seem to be saying that they are looking for an every down DE, but would not be averse to taking a situation rusher. If this is the case do they see no future in Chris Ellis? They said they took him last year to be a situational pass rusher, and  being a rookie DE is hard in this league and he was injured, but didn’t they take him for this exact reason last year?
Thanks,
Rafi in Toronto

CB: You raise a good point. Some forget that Ellis is on the roster. Yes, Ellis is viewed as a situational pass rusher. His biggest issue as a rookie was not being strong enough to hold up against the run. I intend to catch up with him this spring and see what he’s done to re-shape his body and get stronger. He is taking part in the offseason conditioning program. Most NFL players make their biggest jump from year one to year two because they get to spend an offseason in an NFL training program rather than prepping for the combine and pro days.

Hopefully it makes a difference for Ellis because with the strong likelihood that the Bills take a pass rusher early, Ellis needs to show improvement or his playing time could be limited again. With respect to you thinking that the staff viewed Ellis as THE answer. He is a possible answer, but because the jury is still out on Ellis and the pass rush production has been subpar (team-wise) the Bills have to get a top flight talent at the position early in the draft as I see it.

 

2. Chris,
One thing I was interested in was the TEs in the draft. Shawn Nelson to me looked like a stud. His physical prowess was obvious, but during some of his workouts, clips of him blocking at the Senior bowl practices were shown and he looked adept against top flight competition. Where do you think he will end up being taken now that the combine has seemed to helped his value? And, do you see him as a potential Bills target? – ie. Would he be an upgrade over Fine and Schouman in pass catching, while still providing adequate blocking skills?
 
Thanks,
 
Dirk Vandewaal
Waterloo Ontario

CB: I share your affinity for Shawn Nelson. He’s a potential game breaker in the passing game. He’s a willing blocker as evidenced by his performance at the Senior Bowl, but he needs a lot of work in that area as most of the tight ends in this class do.

I think his measurables in terms of 40 time, height and length make him a more explosive pass catching option than Fine or Schouman. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be a more reliable player as a rookie. Still he’s likely to come off the board early in the second round. He may or may not be there for the Bills at 42.

 

3. Chris,

I am excited to be celebrating the 50th season of Buffalo Bills and I love the website where fans can vote on the all-time team. My question regards the selection process for the all-timers. Did you have any input when coming up with the parameters and nominees for the all-time team? I am wondering why the guidelines allow for 3 WR’s but only 1 RB to be chosen. This seems a little inequitable to me. 2 WR’s and 1 RB or 3 WR’s and 2 RB’s seems like a better ratio. What do you think?

Scott E.
Greensboro, NC

CB: I don’t disagree with your thinking there. Deciding between Thurman and O.J. was really tough for me. From what I understand they wanted to honor the Bills most prolific offensive era, which was the early 90’s and the K-Gun offense, in which the base formation was a three by one (3 WRs, 1 RB) set. The decision makers also decided to go with the 3-4 defensive front that was popular during the Bruce Smith years, which made choosing between Fred Smerlas and Ted Washington anything but easy. I understand what you’re saying, but those are the parameters.

 

4. Chris,
I was noticing the combine numbers and I could not help but notice the apparent dominance of USC OLB Brian Cushing. With Angelo Crowell gone from the Bills there is a need for a OLB.  I know the Bills need to address the pass-rush but I see Aaron Maybin as too high of a risk at #11 much like Brandon Pettigrew.  I have read that Orakpo has inconsistent effort and that Brown is not exactly a 4-3 guy. 

Cushing came into the combine with a lot to prove, and he answered any questions those had about him.  The Bills are known for their speedy defense and he fits the role perfectly.  This guy could be the most dedicated determined guy coming out of the draft. He, Poz and Mitchell would make up a fast LB corps. 

Pettigrew is too risky at #11 but he would be perfect at #20 just before both the Falcons and Eagles selections; two teams looking for some help at TE.  What do you think?  Is Cushing the right fit for the Bills?
Thanks,
Wade

CB: I think Cushing is a reasonable option at 11. I don’t think that’s a reach for him at all. There’s no question that Maybin carries some risk, and in light of the first year failures of Vernon Gholston last year with the Jets, NFL teams might be a bit gun shy about a one-year wonder. I’m not a fan of Orakpo as I’ve blogged here before, but I do believe in Brown despite his lack of measurables.

But I admit I would not be disappointed at all with Cushing, provided someone like Connor Barwin was snapped up in the second round for the pass rush.

As for Pettigrew I couldn’t agree with you more. Picking him at 11 doesn’t appear like good value, but down around 20 is far more acceptable.

 

5. Chris,
 
What is your opinion on Connor Barwin as a DE selection? He appears to be more explosive, a little bigger, and a little stronger than Everette Brown.
 
Robert Featherstone

CB: I don’t know if Barwin is more explosive than Brown. He is a little bigger, but not really stronger if you look at Brown’s squat and dead lift numbers.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think Barwin has a lot of potential especially after just one season at DE at Cincinnati. But Brown has proven it over time and I know college production doesn’t always translate to the NFL, but having spoken to him at the Combine, there’s just this gleam in Brown’s eye that convinces me he’ll be a player at the pro level. Plus he’s got a fantastic last name.

But if they can’t get Brown or some other top flight pass rusher in the first round, I’d be targeting Barwin with their second pick, and if they got him I’d be satisfied with him with respect to improving the pass rush.


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

NFL.com’s Wyche has Bills taking DE Brown

Posted by Chris Brown on March 24, 2009 – 5:09 pm

Not exactly a surprise pick by NFL.com’s Steve Wyche in his latest updated mock draft as he has the Bills taking DE Everette Brown 11th overall.

Personally I’d be very happy with the pick. The only problem is way too many people are expecting Buffalo to take Brown at 11, which can only mean one thing. No way it’s going to happen.

I’ve liked Brown a lot and his numbers over the long haul are undeniable. I’m just getting concerned that with so many mocks pegging him as the Bills pick that it’ll prove too good to be true.

Alternatives with which I’d be happy if it’s not Brown at 11?

Boston College DT B.J. Raji, Penn State’s DE/LB Aaron Maybin, USC’s LB Brian Cushing, Ole Miss’ OT Michael Oher.

Beyond that I’m not crazy about too many other players at 11. I’m a believer in getting your big men early, so that’s why there’s a heavy OL/DL slant with the names above. Let me know who you like at 11 if it’s not Brown.


Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-20

Posted by Chris Brown on March 20, 2009 – 5:53 pm

The draft is only about a month away, but there are still some free agent questions out there from you the fan. In addition to answering some of the more popular questions here, I’ve also been responding (as much as possible) personally to your emails as well. I’m a bit behind on them, but plowing through them as best I can.

Remember you can always email me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net on anything Bills. Here we go.

1. Hello Mr.Brown,
 
I would like to know what you think about the Julius Peppers situation in Carolina! Do you think the Bills would be bold enough to sign him, if he is available? Also I was watching NFL network and Mayock said that the TE’s in this draft class are mostly good receiving TE’s not so much blocking classic TE’s, wouldn’t it be more advantageous to pick the best available Offensive Lineman? To help the run and also keeping Trent upright. Since Fine and Schouman, I feel performed okay when given the chance.
 
Regards,
Paul K.
Montreal,Q.C. Canada

CB: First, the Julius Peppers situation. I don’t see the Bills as a serious player because Peppers is likely to get upwards of $13-14 million dollars a year in a new contract. That’s too steep for a lot of teams including Buffalo.

I believe the Bills will address their pass rush in the draft.

As for the tight end position in the draft, Mayock is right, there are a lot more pass catchers than blockers at the tight end position. I think that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the Bills, who have rarely if ever had a dynamic pass catching threat at the position.

I think Schouman and Fine are both good all-around tight ends, but I think the team would like to add a game breaking threat in the passing game there. Of course the staff considered Royal their best blocking tight end last year, which is why he retained the starting role in 2008. So even if they take a pass catching threat at the position, they will likely still be looking for a true in-line blocking TE too.

I think that’s why so many mock drafters have Pettigrew going to the Bills because he fills both of those roles better than anyone else in the draft for Buffalo. But if Buffalo stays at 11, I’m not sure the value is right to take him there.

2. Chris,
My question to you is: What if the Bills are on the clock at 11 and Maybin, Brown and Orakpo along with Defensive Tackle B.J.Raji are gone and one of the top Left Tackles, Jason Smith out of Baylor for example, is available; could you see the Bills drafting him and trading Jason Peters for a 1st round draft pick to a team that may need one like Detroit (20th) and Philadelphia (21st or 28th)?  There is no doubt that Peters is a gifted athlete but with another off season of potential hold outs by him and his agent, do you think it would be beneficial to the team to stop these distractions and get down to business?

Sincerely,
Dan

CB: That’s a tricky scenario. Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe won’t be there, but I understand your point. Michael Oher and Andre Smith should be there at 11, and with the way things are going regarding an extension for Jason Peters, what you’re proposing is more realistic than some might think.

If the Jason Peters situation is still unresolved come draft weekend, I can see the team moving him for a first and middle round pick, maybe more, maybe less. Acquiring an additional first round pick should give the Bills the luxury of taking one of the top four offensive tackles in the draft at 11.

I’d prefer Michael Oher to Smith because Oher is arguably the most athletic tackle in the draft. His instincts still need to be developed, but his athleticism makes up for a lot of those shortcomings that should get better in time. Oher could play on the left side, Smith cannot at this level as I see it.

Now keep in mind that they could address another position at 11 like linebacker in this scenario and get one of the bet of the bunch, whoever they determine that to be and if they’re down in the early 20’s with their other first round pick as you suggest, they could grab Arizona State OT Eben Britton, but he is more of a right tackle at the NFL level according to most scouts.

Things could certainly get very interesting for the Bills on draft weekend.

3.  Hey Chris,
 
I have seen all your blogs and answers to Fan Friday Questions on Brown, Orakpo and Maybin. Just wondering what your thoughts were on 3 other pretty good prospects: Michael Johnson, Paul Kruger and Tyson Jackson. Are they all stretches at #11, or is it conceivable that one of them may still be available in Rd 2?
If they were, it is possible to go after Raji at #11, a DE in Rd2 and maybe trade up to get one of the top 3 TE’s, Coffman maybe? Talk about hypothetical!
 
Randy
NL, CAN

CB: I think that Johnson and Kruger will both be available in round 2, but Jackson will be gone before the Bills pick at 42. Jackson is more of a 3-4 end anyway.

Johnson has freakish physical ability, but is raw and inconsistent. As a result I don’t know if he’ll be able to handle a full time role as a rookie, so that keeps him out of the first round.

Kruger’s upside is a bit limited as I see it. He’s got great straight line speed, but I’m not certain that he’s strong enough right now to hold the point against the run in the NFL. He’s also not that elite explosive type end (ran a 4.79 and 4.83) so he is probably a late 2nd to early 3rd round prospect.

A guy I’d consider in the round two is Cincinnati’s Connor Barwin. He’s more of the quick-twitch athlete you’re looking for to boost a pass rush. I think he could come in right away and help on passing downs, which is what Buffalo needs.

4. Chris,

What are your thoughts on the restructuring of Jason Peters’ contract?  I believe that his holding out at the beginning of the year impacted the team in a negative way.  It seemed that it ruined the whole chemistry of the O-line.  As we all know, it wasn’t until the Monday night game when the run game started to get going.  I wasn’t impressed all season with the protection of Trent Edwards.  Honestly, I don’t know how Peters was elected to the Pro-Bowl.  Do you foresee a possible trade, renegotiation, no action, or something else? Thanks for your time. 
-Joe Maciag

CB: From what I understand the two sides have yet to close the gap on a new contract. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills still work to come to a resolution until the NFL draft, and if there is no progress my feeling is they may look into trading him prior to draft weekend. It’ll be unfortunate if it comes to that, but it takes two parties to make an agreement work and if the Bills can’t get some kind of compromise from the Peters camp it doesn’t leave them with too many other alternatives. And I don’t believe they’d be interested in dragging a contract renegotiation through another season.

5. Chris

I know DE is the considered the most pressing need but you and others
have mentioned how the top guys in the draft may not be able to stand
up to the run or are straight ahead rushers, etc.  I’m just another
hopeless Bills fan, but if BJ Raji is available at 11, I’d take him. 
(Full disclosure:  I’m a BC grad but that’s pure coincidence in this
case.) Raji looks like a safer bet and more of a sure-fire thing.  If
Stroud and Raji are pushing in, it might free up the current DE’s. 
I’ve gotten a little sensitive to how the Bills have used some earlier
picks.

Kelley Yost
Fairport

CB: I’ve got no problem with taking Raji at 11 if he’s there and a couple of the top speed rushers are already gone. In fact I think he’s the best secondary option to Everette Brown, though Aaron Maybin is tempting.

Your point about Raji and Stroud is valid, but I still think you could add talent at end in the second round with a Connor Barwin, for example if you took Raji at 11. So I’m not opposed to that approach at all. Heck I wanted Haloti Ngata back in 2006 (no offense Donte). I just believe in getting your big men early.

6. Chris,
Does JP Losman have any suitors or teams expressing interest?  I mean I always supported JP and was actually excited when he got a shot to play this past year but he did so awful.  Is it a possibility we might see JP in the CFL???
Thanks
RF

CB: From what I’ve heard the Denver Broncos were interested in J.P. as a backup, but Chris Simms signed with them before Losman’s agent could enter into any hard core negotiations with Denver. Other than that I’ve heard very little as to interest in him by other teams.

I think his physical ability will convince some team to bring him in as a backup.

You are right that his play last year didn’t do much to help his cause so I’m not confident he could be part of a competition somewhere for a starter’s job. I think he’s got to take a backup role somewhere and hope he gets a chance to step on the field to prove he’s capable.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Couple of big pro days Monday

Posted by Chris Brown on March 16, 2009 – 2:53 pm

Florida State and LSU are holding their pro days Monday, which will have some top flight prospects under the watch of several NFL scouts and coaches.

With a lot of LSU’s top prospects having disappointing senior seasons, many of them may work out again despite working out at the combine.

As for Florida State’s Everette Brown indications are he will at least try to improve on his vertical leap, which was 31 1/2″ at the combine.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Coming around to my way of thinking

Posted by Chris Brown on February 25, 2009 – 2:48 pm

I’ve been on the Everette Brown train for a while now, and though mock drafts are worth about the same as a paper napkin when it comes to predicting what will actually happen on April 25th and 26th, I have to admit that it’s nice to see the so called experts recognizing Buffalo’s need for a pass rusher.

Even better the mock draft of Charles Davis (NFL Network) and Pat Kirwan (NFL.com) have the Bills taking FSU DE Everette Brown with the 11th pick. Again, not saying it carries much weight, but at least these national guys have come to see the importance of a more potent pass rush for Buffalo.

Brown is undersized for end, but I just think he’s a special breed. And after defensive coordinator Perry Fewell stated that a top pick doesn’t necessarily have to be an every down player, it left me thinking that Brown could be a legitimate possibility at 11. And it’s hard to ignore his production.

Of course if the guy doesn’t pan out I’ll never hear the end of it. But how can I go against a guy with a last name like Brown!


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

D-line 40 times

Posted by Chris Brown on February 23, 2009 – 4:52 pm

Here is a sampling of some initial 40 times posted by some of the more notable defensive linemen at the Combine this morning. These times are unofficial.

DT B.J. Raji – Boston College – 5.13

DE Robert Ayers – Tennessee – 4.8

DE Connor Barwin – Cincinnait – 4.56

DE Paul Kruger – Utah – 4.84

DE Everette Brown – Florida State – 4.63

DE Brian Orakpo – Texas – 4.63

Obviously Brown and Orakpo ran well. Barwin was very fast and that 40 time will help him. Kruger was a bit disappointing at 4.84. Ayers was not expected to run a super fast time since he’s not considered an elite pass rusher, but more of an all-around prospect.


Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

DL and LBs up next at combine

Posted by Chris Brown on February 23, 2009 – 3:08 pm

The defensive linemen and linebackers are up next for workouts at the NFL Combine in Indy. We’ll try to keep you posted on how players fare throughout the day right here.

Among the prospects expected to test very well include Everette Brown, Aaron Maybin and Georgia Tech’s Michael Johnson.

Among the notable top prospects not participating is Ole Miss DT Peria Jerry.


Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Everette Brown declares himself best pass rusher

Posted by Chris Brown on February 22, 2009 – 6:01 pm

Bills VP of College Scouting Tom Modrak told us yesterday that Florida State DE Everette Brown was a sub 6’2″ end and Brown confirmed it Sunday announcing that he measured at 6’1 7/8″ and 256 pounds.

The amazing thing is how lean Brown looked despite being that height and 256 pounds. His body type compared to say a London Fletcher, who granted is 5’10″, is completely different.

If there’s an ounce of fat on him I’ll be surprised. Brown has long arms and long legs, which I believe could make up for his lack of height at the end position in a 4-3. Brown said he can be an end in a 4-3 at the NFL level and declared himself the top pass rusher in the class.

“I feel that I’m the best pass rusher in the draft,” said Brown. “I feel that my skills, my knowledge coming off the edge the way I utilize my speed against opposing tackles, running backs and tight ends… whatever schemes teams may draw up to stop me to try to block me, I feel I am the best pass rusher to use my speed, quickness and strength to get to the quarterback and create constant pressure all game.” 

I’ve loved this guy from the start. He’s not the prototype size player, but neither was Dwight Freeney. I’m just not confident he’s going to be at 11 if he tests here at the combine the way most expected him to.


Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

I still like DE Brown the most

Posted by Chris Brown on February 13, 2009 – 4:10 pm

I know there are conflicting opinions as to whether FSU DE Everette Brown could play DE in a 4-3 system at the NFL level, but he’s still my favorite DE option for the Bills at 11, that is if he’s there.

Brown is supposed to test well at the Combine next week, which will boost his draft stock, and some draft services already have him coming off the board at 5 to Cleveland.

But right now I’ve got Brown first, Maybin second (who I think could play LB or DE on passing downs for Buffalo) and though I’ve got Orakpo rated third, I’m not big on his inconsistent effort.

Talented yes, but not as polished as Brown and not as consistent when it comes to wreaking havoc.

If Brown and Maybin are both off the board at 12, I’d hope to grab Robert Ayers out of Tennessee in round two or Georgia Tech’s Michael Johnson.


Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

DE Ayers could be 2nd round option

Posted by Chris Brown on February 12, 2009 – 1:25 pm

One guy that really impressed me as a pass rushing defensive end option is Tennessee’s Robert Ayers. He was the Defensive MVP for the South team in the Senior Bowl and had a monster week.

I also like that he is 273 pounds. With more “sand in the pants” he can probably be a legitimate left defensive end prospect and hold up against the run. I asked Mel Kiper about him specifically and he thinks he could be there in round 2 for Buffalo.

“Ayers has really helped himself obviously a big week down in Mobile, had a very good year at Tennessee for a team that didn’t have a lot to brag about this kid did,” said Kiper. “He’s a second round pick right now. A lot of people I’ve talked to in the league are raving about Robert Ayers. I think he’s a guy that’ll go early to mid second round is a possibility. No question Robert Ayers is a guy that’s moved up.”

If Everette Brown or Aaron Maybin aren’t options in round one and the Bills have to go in another direction with the 11th pick it’d be great if they could land a guy like Ayers in round two.


Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Encouraging to hear

Posted by Chris Brown on February 11, 2009 – 5:44 pm

With all the talk lately from insiders and draft gurus that Everett Brown is a 3-4 OLB only, it was refreshing to hear that Mel Kiper believes Brown is strong enough to play DE in a 4-3. Now I’m not saying that Kiper knows better than some NFL scouts I’ve heard from, but he certainly does his homework.

The only thing is can he handle playing on the left side where the tight end usually resides and you have to hold the point of attack more often? 

Kiper also sees Penn State’s Aaron Maybin as versatile enough to play DE or OLB in a 4-3. He said so in an ESPN media conference call. I’ll have more on this Thursday on the home page.


Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills