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.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-27

Posted by Chris Brown on February 27, 2009 – 7:35 pm

With free agency in full swing it’s time to fire up another Fan Friday. You can send your questions to me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Here we go.

1. Hey Chris,
I was just wondering, how are the contract talks going with Peters? Although it took him a couple of games to get into game shape, he is the Bills best lineman, shouldn’t they have locked him up already?
 
Thanks, Ryan

CB: As I understand the Bills told him they would address his contract after the season was over. With the salaries of Derrick Dockery and Robert Royal now off the books (minus the $5.3M acceleration on Dockery) they have more money to re-invest in Peters, which I anticipate will happen eventually.

However, I don’t see a deal being consummated quickly. This is one that will take some time I believe. But it’s a good sign and hopefully Peters is more motivated to play his best and participate in all offseason activities moving forward.

 

2. Chris- Just curious on the draft status of Pittsburgh Panther Derek Kinder number 81.  Is he draft elgible and what round would he go in?  He’s a local product out of Albion NY, he’s the guy who blocked two guys on a special teams play that sprung Derelle Revis for a touchdown.
                                                                             Thanks Travis

CB: I thought Kinder did a nice job coming back from a torn ACL, which forced him to miss his entire junior season. I think his size and speed (4.54) is good enough to get him into a training camp, but I fear he will go undrafted, unless he has a monster pro day at Pitt on March 17. I’ll keep my eye out to see how he fares.

 

3. Hey Chris,
 
Just wondering your thoughts on this. Do you think it could come to a situation on Draft day that sees the Eagles want to move up so badly that they would give away the 2 first rounders they have, to get into the Bills spot, which is ahead of their division rival in Washington?
Could the Bills get away with a great DE and a TE and spot 21 and 28?
Do you think C Mack is still available at #42?
Thanks for your time and insight.
Randy
NL, CAN

CB: I think the only way the Eagles do that is if there’s an early run on the OTs and they want one of the top four (J. Smith, Monroe, Oher, A. Smith). If not I see them sitting where they’re at and hoping one of the top 2 backs falls to them (Moreno, Wells) and then scoop up a value player at 28. That’s usually the way they operate. They covet quantity of picks and trading up to 11 would cost them.

 

4. Chris,
 
I do understand the Bills need for a top pass rusher, but watching TE Brandon Pettigrew from OSU, I don’t see how anyone could pass him up if he’s still there at # 11. He’s a beast. Not only can he catch anything thrown at him, but he’s a great blocking TE. I’m no expert but the guy looks like he can come right in and start as a rookie. And the Bills defense showed they are good enough to win. It was the offense that needed help. Have you followed Pettigrew? What do think?
 
Jerry (Bills fan in FL)

CB: With the release of Royal (not that he was a long term answer anyway), the thin free agent crop and the desperate need to add a playmaker to the offense, Pettigrew is the only option in the draft where you could start him next to Langston Walker and feel somewhat comfortable. Due to that fact I think he’s a possibility at 11.

I’d still prefer a pass rusher, believing you have to get your big people early, but Pettigrew who I saw and spoke to at the combine is very impressive. Comes across well and is athletic enough to make a difference. I just maintain that unless you know he’s going to be a Tony Gonzalez type player you don’t take a tight end that high.

 

5. Chris,
I understand that there has been a lot of talk on whether or not we should try to re-sign Greer or not. First I was wondering who you think is the better cover corner Greer or McGee? In some of the games I saw this year, although they were limited since I live in Cincinnati, Greer seemed to be the better cover corner. I know Greer is one year younger than McGee and he doesn’t get the recognition that McGee does because McGee is such a good return man. Given all that do you think it would be smarter to re-sign Greer, give Corner and McKelvin one more year to develop and then let Parrish, McKelvin and Jackson handle the return game? I think that Greer will be cheaper this year than McGee will be next. Let me know what you think.
Thanks,
Brendan

CB: Your question is a very good one. For the Bills I truly believe that it is an either-or proposition. They either still try to get Greer signed and let McGee go after next season, or let Greer go now and get McGee extended before next season is over.

I think based on how things played out leading up to free agency this week, they’ve chosen the latter. Still your point that the market will likely be higher when they get around to doing McGee is a valid one. Salaries usually go nowhere but up.

I like both of them, but I think McGee is a bit better than Greer. I think he’s a stronger tackler, has comparable footwork and plays hurt. It’s my belief that the team values McGee a bit more, and not because of the return ability, but his ability as a corner, which has gone overlooked for a while in this league.

Greer is looking for between $7-9M. It’s likely that McGee will be looking for the same in less than a year. We’ll have to just see where the market goes to see if one was the better play financially than the other.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Smith’s AWOL routine will hurt

Posted by Chris Brown on February 21, 2009 – 9:01 pm

With Alabama OT Andre Smith going AWOL this morning here at the Combine before being eventually found, it’s going to raise more red flags about him.

NFL teams were already questioning his passion for the game with him leaning against not working out. There were also unconfirmed reports that he admitted in an interview with one NFL team that he hasn’t done anything to prepare for the Combine over the past four or five weeks.

You better believe teams will be investigating that. And if passion for the game is even a question mark, this guy could plummet to the bottom third of the first round. There are three other comparable offensive tackles in Jason Smith, Michael Oher and Eugene Monroe that teams will now prefer in light of this event.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Some bench press numbers

Posted by Chris Brown on February 21, 2009 – 3:49 am

By no means are these all the bench press numbers for the OL and TE positions, but here are some of the ones I’ve got courtesy of NFL Draft Scout.com.

Texas Tech guard Louis Vasquez had the high count of the day with 39 reps of 225. Other offensive linemen that fared well were Washington C Juan Garcia (34), BYU guard Travis Bright (34), UTEP C Robby Felix (33)Baylor OT Jason Smith (33), Penn State C A.Q Shipley (33), Ohio State OT Alex Boone (33) , South Carolina OT/G Jamon Meredith (31) and Oklahoma C Jon Cooper (31).

Ranked among the top centers Max Unger had 22 reps, one of the top tackles Eugene Monroe had 23 reps, Michael Oher had 21.

At tight end James Casey was impressive with 28 reps and was matched by Wisconsin’s Travis Beckum (28). WNY native and Maryland TE Dan Gronkowski had 26 reps. Cal’s Cameron Morrah (24), North Carolina’s Richard Quinn (24), South Carolina Jared Cook (23) and Brandon Pettigrew (22) all had respectable showings.

Perhaps the most impressive performance however, was that of USC kicker David Buehler. At 6’2″ and 219 pounds, Buehler put up 25 reps. Congrats fella.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

OT Jason Smith is a specimen

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2009 – 7:02 pm

Baylor OT Jason Smith, one of the top four tackles in the draft is a lean 309 pounds. If there’s more than 8 percent body fat I’d be shocked. The only thing I did notice is for a tackle he appears to have small hands.

That’s not the case for Virginia OT Eugene Monroe. The guy has got meat hooks at the ends of his arms.

Cal C Alex Mack looks to be strong through his lower body, which will be important in the NFL when it comes to anchoring down against the bigger DTs in the league, which seem to exist on every team in the AFC East.

More to come in subsequent blogs, the players are coming in here fast and furious for media interviews.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Early mocks favor TE for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on January 7, 2009 – 9:13 pm

After perusing some of the NFL Draft sites for some early mocks, which we all know will change an infinite number of times, I found that tight end is the position that most of the “gurus” feel will be addressed by Buffalo, and Oklahoma’s Jermaine Gresham is the overwhelming choice.

But I was able to find a couple of other choices including Georgia Tech DE Michael Johnson.  While he’s a freak 6’7″ 259 with uncommon speed for someone that size, I’m not sure he’s even a first-round pick so take these mocks with a grain of salt.

Here was an interesting pick from NFL Draft Blitz.

11. Buffalo Bills-Jason Smith, OT-Baylor

Bills’ fans have witnessed an amazing metamorphosis of Jason Peters from oversized college Tight End to Pro Bowl Left Tackle.  Peters, however, witnessed this as well and would like to be compensated.  He will price himself out of Buffalo and the fast-rising Smith will remedy that predicament.

While Jason Smith is certainly a talent and a likely first-rounder, 11 may be a bit high. But the take is certainly an interesting one.


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Posted in Inside the Bills