Alright Bills fans this is the last Fan Friday before the NFL draft. The “hay is in the barn” as the scouts say, just got to wait and see how the board falls next week. Be sure to check out my 8th annual mock draft next Wednesday. It’ll be entertaining. Here now are your latest questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.
CB: It’s my contention that the Bills would be very interested in trading down. As I covered in my story this week, after asking GM Buddy Nix about trading down, there could be some players for the eighth overall pick if prospects like Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson or West Virginia WR Tavon Austin are both still on the board.
I don’t get the sense that they like the value there at eight for positions they’d like to address early (QB, WR) so I believe if they can move back to an area where they like the value better (late teens or 20’s) and add a draft choice they would do it.
@ChrisBrownBills Williams to Safety. Does this open up the possibility of CB at pick 8? Dee Milliner, if he falls, or Xavier Rhodes??
CB: I think with Aaron Williams moving to safety it raises the level of importance for addressing cornerback in the draft. Outside of Stephon Gilmore the Bills lack size at corner, so a tough, physical corner is needed out there. If Milliner falls to eight I wouldn’t rule out him being a consideration. At the same time I believe moving back and adding another draft choice could trump it.
But with Williams moving to safety I believe it has made adding a cornerback a necessity at some point in this draft.
3 – Chris,
With our needs at SS, ILB, OLB, WR and QB most likely to be addressed thru the draft, I find it really strange that there has been very little noise about bringing in some quality free agent guards for visits. It seems like a glaring hole (let’s not forget Rinehart is gone as well). Have you heard anything on Mr. Nix’s plans for this position? I would like to see our RBs continue to run hard and whoever are QB may end up being it would be nice for him to be in one piece after a few games.
CB: I’ll give you Mr. Nix’s exact thoughts about the team’s status at the guard spot. Here is a direct quote from the draft luncheon when he was asked if losing Andy Levitre and Chad Rinehart in free agency had altered their approach in the draft at all?
“Not at all,” said Nix. “Not at all, now having said that I know people have said we’re taking one of those top two guards. Our roster in house is better than I think we get credit for especially offensive line. We’re pretty deep there. We’ve got six guards and we think a couple of them can play. Now having said all that before you write that we’re not going to take a guard at number eight, it’s hard to pass up two players like the old boy at Alabama (Chance Warmack) and the kid at North Carolina (Jonathan Cooper). Both of those are great players so you have to give that a lot of thought when they come up.”
When asked as a follow up if he had enough confidence in the six guards on the roster to the point where if they did not draft a guard would he be fine, he said he would be.
To be clear the players they believe offer them ability at guard are starter Kraig Urbik and Colin Brown and Sam Young. Brown and Young rotated in with the starting unit at left guard. If there are no other additions at the position those two are likely to battle it out for the starting role.
Zebrie Sanders, who Doug Marrone views as a tackle first and guard second, could potentially be a part of that competition down the road when he’s healthy.
4 – Chris,
So I’ve been hearing that Tyler Bray has some of the best upside in the QB class I was wondering what you thought of him and if you think he’s worthy of our second pick. Also if you think that going after Patterson in the first round, Bray in the 2nd or 3rd to have some instantaneous chemistry on offense would be a good idea. Or do you see a prospect at QB worth it at eight and maybe go after the other Tennessee kid, Hunter in the second? I’d live to get some feedback on these thoughts.
CB: There’s no debating that Bray can throw the heck out of the ball. He is the only junior eligible in this QB class and is a bit unpolished. I’m a bit concerned about his capability of coming in and being a leader for your football team. He has the physical skills, but there are maturity issues that NFL clubs have been busy investigating.
I respect your thought of instantaneous chemistry, but it would be anything but instantaneous. Patterson is very green and might not be a big time contributor until his third NFL season. Likewise Bray is also not NFL ready right now. So while those two might have chemistry, I’m not sure you’d see it right away on an NFL field against NFL competition.
I do subscribe to your latter suggestion. In fact that’s what I believe will happen in this draft. I believe Buffalo goes quarterback in the first and receiver in the second. Now they may trade back in round one before taking the QB, but I believe there’s a good chance they do that and Hunter is a viable value in round two.
I’m also a fan of E.J. Manuel despite the naysayers.
5 – Chris,
With the Bills being deficient last year at WR (and getting rid of what little depth that they have by releasing Nelson and Jones) on top of not signing ANY free agent WRs this offseason, doesn’t it seem like there’s a VERY good chance they draft Cordarrelle Patterson with their 8th pick? I’m not even saying I want that, but what choice do they have? That position is looking thinner and thinner this offseason. This is assuming they can’t get their franchise QB in the first round…
PS- Go Bills
CB: I think your point is well taken. The Bills need to add an instant contributor at receiver. I believe this will happen in round two. There’s good value between rounds two and four where you can get a player that can help you sooner rather than later. The value at WR is not good in round one until the very end.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills took two receivers in the draft despite the fact that they have just six picks.
Tags: 2013 NFL draft, Aaron Williams, Andy Levitre, Buddy Nix, Chad Rinehart, Chance Warmack, Cordarrelle Patterson, Dee Milliner, Fan Friday, Justin Hunter, Lane Johnson, Ryan Nassib, Tavon Austin, Tyler Bray
Posted in Inside the Bills
The 2013 NFL draft is closing in. Pre-draft visits have wrapped up today. Let’s get to this week’s edition of questions from you the fan from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.
1 - CB,
Buddy had mentioned following the way the Bengals drafted AJ Green and Andy Dalton. Do you seen a scenario where the Bills go QB in round 1 and WR in round two? What do you think of the possibility of Geno Smith and Justin Hunter? I think these two are the might be the best players available when the Bills will pick in rounds 1 and 2. What are the scouts saying about Hunter, can he separate from DB’s at his size/speed?
CB: I’m at a point now where I getting the sense they don’t like any of the quarterbacks enough to take one at 8. I think that Buffalo doesn’t take a quarterback for sure at 8 if Geno Smith is off the board. So your scenario I believe is unlikely to transpire even though Buddy Nix did mention the desire to make those kinds of additions. I think a receiver is certainly a possibility in round two.
The value at the receiver position is very good between rounds two and four, so there’s also a window of opportunity there for Buffalo to wait on a receiver and address quarterback in round two and receiver in round 3. So what you’re proposing may happen, just in rounds 2 and 3 as opposed to 1 and 2.
As for Hunter specifically there’s no denying his deep speed, but he’s a straight-line speed guy. Having the combination of speed and quickness makes you a killer at wideout. He doesn’t possess both of those qualities, which is why he’s a second round prospect. He is a good route runner, which is what gets him separation. My only concern with him is his slight build. It makes me wonder if he’ll struggle early in his career with press coverage and the physical corners in the NFL. That also concerns me in terms of battling for the ball with DBs in the air.
2 – Chris,
Since Chris Kelsay has retired do you think Mario Williams will want his old number back? If so does the new Nike contracts require Mario to pay for all his unsold number 94 jerseys? Or how does the process work for changing numbers? Thanks for everything you do Chris!
-Fred M, Scotia NY
CB: It is my understanding that Mario is keeping number 94, but yes if Mario had changed to 90 he would’ve had to cover Nike for the outstanding inventory in terms of money.
3 – Chris,
With Levitre will the Bills get draft picks this year or next year, from Tennessee, for guard Andy Levitre?
If so, what round picks?
CB: The Bills will qualify for compensatory picks if they first and foremost have a net loss of free agents (sign fewer than they lose). That equation can prove difficult because some free agent signings and losses qualify, while others do not. I can say the size of Levitre’s contract would play in Buffalo’s favor, but again only if the Bills have a net loss of free agents or are even.
Determining the rounds is almost impossible at this point because the situations of the other 31 NFL clubs would have to be factored in.
4 – Chris,
Do you see the Bills taking Geno Smith or an OG over one of the very talented OLBs (Jarvis Jones or Dion Jordan) or one of the top tackles (Lane Johnson) with the 8th pick? Just don’t see the value of taking a QB at 8 with the inconsistencies shown by the current candidates. Also, what do you think of Nigel Bradham possibly moving inside? Adding his athleticism and speed inside might add significant flexibility as the team moves to a Hybrid structure.
Jim from Allentown Pa.
CB: I’m not convinced they like Geno Smith enough to take him at 8. I obviously do not have an expert opinion like the members of the Bills scouting department, but I do like Geno Smith a lot and would not have a problem with them taking him at 8 at all. I’m just doubting he’ll be there.
With that in mind I think the best defensive player on the board is the most likely outcome at 8.
Your assessment of Nigel Bradham is very astute. He has experience playing inside from his days at Florida State. So I would almost anticipate him moving there and being the three down linebacker.
5 – Chris,
With the new defensive coaching change, do you feel this will benefit A. Moats who lost his LB spot and then late season played some DE? What position do you see him competing for? Also, with Wilson and Levitre gone, any ideas for who’s going to be the next Show host? Do the fans have a say? Thanks again for all you do Chris!!
Dan in LA
CB: I anticipate Moats lining up in a couple of places, both OLB and ILB. Inside might be the best fit for him, but there is competition there. It’s a wait and see quite frankly.
As for our programming on Buffalobills.com concerning player involvement we’ve reached out to a couple of players, but feel free to provide suggestions. Obviously, participation in such a program is a commitment that a player has to make. We leave it up to them to decide if they want to do it, so please understand if your suggestion is not honored there’s usually a good reason why. Thanks for your viewership of our player programming on Buffalobills.com.
Tags: 2013 NFL draft, Andy Levitre, Arthur Moats, Chris Kelsay, compensatory picks, Dion Jordan, Fan Friday, Geno Smith, Jarvis Jones, Lane Johnson, Mario Williams, Nigel Bradham
Posted in Inside the Bills
1 - Hey Chris,
I have a few questions for you.
First, with reports of Brian Urlacher possibly hitting the Free Agent market, do you see him as someone the Bills would bring in to add veteran depth and leadership at ILB? Also, if the Bills were to add a WR in free agency, who would be most likely?
Finally, could we possibly see a similar situation to that of Washington last offseason and take two QBs in the draft? In my opinion, the chances are in your favor in that situation.
CB: Urlacher is on the decline. Not the same player. So no I don’t see him here. WR is a position that has limited top flight talent, so the guys at the top will be looking for big money. I don’t know that they can commit more big $$ at the position after handing out a big contract to Stevie last offseason.
I think affordable options that fit the mold of the big outside receiver that Buddy Nix is looking for are Braylon Edwards and Jerome Simpson.
2 - Hi Chris,
There continues to be serious concern regarding new contract negotiations with Andy Levitre and Jairus Byrd. Could you please update me with whatever progress is being made and how realistic is it that those two players will be on the roster in the fall.
CB: I respect the concern. We know that Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon and Senior VP of Football Administration Jim Overdorf met with the agents for both Andy Levitre and Jairus Byrd.
We’re about a week and a half away from the opening of free agency. Plus the new rule this year allows other clubs to talk to the agents of free agents from other clubs beginning March 9th, to open a dialogue on a possible contract. Only the team that had the player on their roster the previous season could sign said player however, prior to March 12th. The franchise tag is no longer an option effective at 4 pm on Monday.
I like both Levitre and Byrd as players, but if Levitre is asking for the moon I don’t see him back in a Bills uniform. As for Byrd I think if necessary the Bills would make use of the franchise tag at $6.79M. We’ll know by Monday afternoon for sure.
3 - Chris,
Is there any possibility of the Bills looking at Ryan Mallett from the Patriots? Seems like he was highly rated coming into the draft and slipped to the Patriots, you would have to think he’s learned a thing or 2 from backing up Brady the last 2 years. Of course the Patriots would have to be willing to give him to an intra division rival, if they even look at the Bills as that!
-Dan G in West Palm Beach
CB: The only way I see this as a remote possibility is if Matt Cassel is released by the Chiefs and signs back with New England where he began his career. That would make Mallett expendable, but even then I can’t see New England sending a player with potential to a division rival particularly at the quarterback position.
4 - @ChrisBrownBills Think Bills would consider going LT (Johnson/Fisher) at #8 and move Cordy Glenn to LG if they lose Levitre?
CB: I believe both of those offensive tackles are in the right area in terms of value. Lane Johnson is a rare athlete and Fisher has NFL feet and strength right now. Glenn did play some guard in college, but I think if a quarterback they like is off the board when they’re on the clock at eight that they’ll go with the best defensive player on the board.
5 - @ChrisBrownBills
Well now with Kelsay gone would we try to target a pass rusher? Jordan or Jones?
CB: I think the two are mutually exclusive. Kelsay’s retirement I don’t think would’ve had much bearing on whether they feel they need to add a pass rusher at OLB. What does have a bearing on it is where they feel that Mark Anderson fits. Knowing Buffalo’s defense is going to be a multiple front scheme is he a DE and OLB or just a DE? I would think they see him as a stand-up rusher in a 3-4 look. Now they could probably use another one in light of their deficiency at the position in general.
And as I said in the above response if there isn’t a quarterback there at eight that they like I think they’ll go with the best defensive player on the board. That could very well be a pass rusher.
Tags: 2013 NFL draft, Andy Levitre, Braylon Edwards, Buddy Nix, Dion Jordan, Eric Fisher, Fan Friday, Jairus Byrd, Jarvis Jones, Jerome Simpson, Lane Johnson, Ryan Mallett
Posted in Inside the Bills
Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson was a former quarterback, tight end and defensive end before becoming a very effective offensive tackle for the Sooners. So heading into the Combine some measure of athleticism was expected. But as we profile the Combine workout winners on the home page of Buffalobills.com we felt there needed to be more perspective put on the numbers turned in by Johnson.
NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock put Johnson’s numbers up against some familiar NFL players at the so called skill positions to help.
“Lane Johnson… his 40-yard dash time was faster than Anquan Boldin. His vertical at 34 inches was the same as A.J. Green – think about this, this is an offensive tackle at 300-plus pounds. He ran faster than Anquan Boldin, he jumped the same as A.J. Green and his broad jump at nine feet, 10 inches was the same as Stevan Ridley,” said Mayock. ”Think about those three things for a 300-pound offensive tackle and put that in perspective of what he can be.
“What was most important was at the Senior Bowl, he had a good solid week. So if you look at Lane Johnson’s tape Week One at Oklahoma versus the end of the year, it‟s very different. This is a guy where the sky is the limit.”
Tags: 2013 NFL draft, Lane Johnson, Mike Mayock, NFL Combine
Posted in Inside the Bills