We’re about 10 days away from our Senior Bowl coverage here on Buffalobills.com, with the Bills staff coaching the South Team. Really looking forward to bringing you some great access from Mobile. For now let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 – Hi Chris,
Are the Bills a chance of getting compensatory picks for Owens, Incognito and perhaps Jonathan Scott.
I realize the science involved in awarding Compensatory picks is somewhat complicated, we really didn’t get much help from our 2010 UFA class and these players have performed
and started a number of games for their new teams.
CB: I don’t pretend to know all the ins and outs of the league’s formula for the awarding of compensatory picks by the NFL, but I do know that it starts and ends with a net loss of free agents. Contract size and performance of free agents lost comes into play after that. Unfortunately of the free agents that qualify, I don’t see the Bills with a net loss. I see them even.
Buffalo lost Owens, Incognito and Scott as you mentioned, but they also signed Cornell Green, Andra Davis and Dwan Edwards. Even though all three of Buffalo’s signings wound up on injured reserve they make the Bills even in the free agency plus-minus equation.
Furthermore they collectively were signed for more money than the free agents that were lost, and I’m not even sure that Owens would qualify in the league’s pre-determined free agent signing window, since he did not sign with Cincinnati until the first day of training camp. Sorry, but I don’t see the Bills getting anything in the way of compensatories.
2 – Chris,
Our front 7 is our weak spot – where do you see them trying to upgrade? My opinion on keepers: Dwan Edwards, Alex Carrington, Troup, Kyle Williams, Poz, Andre Davis, Moats. Kelsay has turned it up a couple of notches recently – but as a rush 4-3 DE. So not sure where he plays in the 3-4. Maybin is too green to count on. Stroud – not sure if he is in their plans next year. McCargo – likely gone. Spencer Johnson – possible rotation guy. Akin & Torbor – perhaps as depth. I think they need another impact DE and OLB. If they can get an upgrade at ILB – great.
Tim in Albuquerque (and formerly of Syracuse)
CB: I think your assessment is pretty spot on. With the defense expected to take on more of a multiple front look where 3-4 or 4-3 could be implemented based on their opponent week to week, I think adding another DE that is stout enough to play in a 3-4 and athletic enough to play in a 4-3 is essential. I’ve been on the Nick Fairley train since November. After watching him in the LSU game I was sold.
Unfortunately with Andrew Luck not in the draft pool, I’m not sure he’ll be there at 3. Alabama’s Marcel Dareus is another viable option, though third overall might be deemed a bit high.
The linebacker class this year is not strong, particularly at ILB. Illinois junior Martez Wilson just declared for the draft and is considered the best ILB, but is a late first early second rounder at best and is projected as a weak inside LB (play next to the Mike). Other than him the only other ILBs deemed worthy of going in the first three rounds is Michigan State’s Greg Jones and North Carolina’s Quan Sturdivant. LSU’s Kelvin Sheppard, who will be on the South Team at the Senior Bowl is projected as a fourth rounder.
2 – Do you think the Bills will get two tight ends, like the Patriots did in the draft? I’d like at least two more added. Nelson’s third year is like his first two…I don’t want to be without the two tightends we can have by way of draft.
CB: I don’t see tight end as a high priority. While Chan Gailey himself has stated that he’d love to have a game breaking tight end for the passing game, I believe Buffalo has enough weapons at receiver to lessen the need for a pass catching tight end that’s a mismatch. They have Roscoe Parrish and David Nelson to work the middle of the field.
DE, OLB, ILB and CB and S based on the free agents Buffalo has are the priority positions with QB and OT ahead of TE on offense.
3 – If conventional wisdom calls for a space eater at nose tackle in the 3-4 system and Kyle Williams is the only Bills lineman who can consistenly shed blocks and get penetration, why wouldn’t the Bills move Williams to DE and put a big body in at NT? A related question is what is each D-lineman’s primary responsibility in the 3-4 system employed by the Bills?
CB: Well the Bills did not play a conventional two-gap 3-4 system for most of the season with Williams at NT for exactly the reason you point out. Williams himself admitted that he played more of a three-technique (lined up on outside shoulder of the guard) this season and a one-technique (off shoulder of center) instead of head up on the center.
I believe the Bills staff shares your opinion so that’s why they’re going to a multiple look front in 2011, where they can choose to play more 3-4 or 4-3 depending on the opponent.
4 – Chris,
I noticed that Jason Watkins has been on the Practice squad most of the last two seasons. Can you tell us anything about his progress?
He seems to have outstanding size for a left tackle prospect.
CB: While Watkins played tackle in college at Florida, since the new staff has come in he’s played significantly more at guard. Unfortunately for him this team added a lot of talent at the guard position that they obviously feel is superior to that of Watkins. Kraig Urbik, Cordaro Howard and Chad Rinehart are the examples.
I expect him to be in the fold again at next year’s training camp, but he’s really going to need to step up his game if he intends to leapfrog the aforementioned linemen and make the active roster.
5 – Chris,
Do you have a list of all the Bills who are due to become UFA, RFA and ERFA this offseason? Different websites are giving me conflicting information and I’m not sure what is correct.
CB: Here’s the official list, but remember we don’t know for sure which players will be unrestricted for sure with no new CBA between the players and league. We’ll assume for argument’s sake that fourth-year players will be unrestricted, third-year players restricted and anything less exclusive rights.
LB Akin Ayodele, CB Drayton Florence, LB Keith Ellison, DL John McCargo, LB Paul Posluszny, S Donte Whitner, S George Wilson, OL Mansfield Wrotto, CB Ashton Youboty.
QB Brian Brohm, TE Scott Chandler, S Jon Corto, RB Quinton Ganther
WR Felton Huggins, LS Garrison Sanborn, TE Jonathan Stupar
Tags: 2011 NFL draft, compensatory picks, Fan Friday, Free agency, Jason Watkins, Kyle Williams
Posted in Inside the Bills
The Bills have signed a pair of future free agents.
LB Jammie Kirlew and OL Jason Watkins who spent the 2010 season on their practice squad were signed to future free agent contracts for 2011.
Kirlew (6’3″ 260) was signed to the Bills practice squad on Nov. 23rd, where he remained for the remainder of the season. Watkins has been with the club since 2009 when he was first signed as an undrafted rookie. Watkins has spent each of the past two seasons on Buffalo’s practice squad seeing time at tackle and guard.
Tags: Jammie Kirlew, Jason Watkins
Posted in Inside the Bills
OL Jason Watkins has left practice early
Athletic trainers spent a long time trying to loosen up his back, but it doesn’t appear to have made his condition any better.
He’s headed to the locker room.
Tags: Jason Watkins
Posted in Inside the Bills
Buffalo added a pair of linemen to the practice squad Wednesday on both sides of the ball. Both prospects are intriguing.
Rookie OT Jason Watkins (6’6″ 325) played his college ball at Florida and started at left tackle as a junior and right tackle as a senior for the Gators. What kept him from being drafted was his ability to redirect and recover according to some draft “experts.” But you’ve got to like his size and bulk. He’s considered pretty good at the point of attack, so it’s another young prospect to groom looking toward the future.
The DT Lonnie Harvey is a behemoth at 6’3″ and 342 pounds. Here’s a highlight video of his college action at Morgan State. Granted it’s a lower level of football, but he collapses the pocket an awful lot. And he’s got good hustle for a big man. He stays with the play and he moves his feet the whole time when he’s pushing the pocket. We’ll have to see how he does if he’s brought back this offseason.
Tags: Jason Watkins, Lonnie Harvey
Posted in Inside the Bills