Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 5-6

Posted by Chris Brown on May 6, 2011 – 11:24 am

Our first post-draft Fan Friday after a two week hiatus. There was just no way for me to turn around a Fan Friday on draft weekend with all the information we had to get out to you fans. So let’s get going with your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 - Hey Chris,

Thanks for all the great draft coverage, as always. Kelvin Sheppard seems like a great pick in the third round, but I was a bit surprised we didn’t take Martez Wilson, who everyone seemed to think we were going to draft back with the 34th pick. Couldn’t believe he was still there in the third. You appeared to be thrilled with the Sheppard pick as well but had been high on Wilson leading up to the draft. Can you compare the two, why you think Buddy went for Sheppard, and if/why you think that was the right call?

Thanks again,
Robert (Seattle)
CB: Wilson is more of a hybrid type linebacker. He has great length and is athletic, but he’s not a stuff the run type linebacker that Buffalo needed in the middle of their defense. He’s long and lanky with a lot of straight line speed. In fact the Saints are saying they’re going to use him as an OLB, which makes sense.

The Bills needed an interior run stuffer and Sheppard fits that profile better. I was very impressed with what I saw from Sheppard at the Senior Bowl. He’s got a better college resume than Wilson and better intangibles than him as well (leadership, instincts).

2 - Chris,
Leading up to the draft Jerry Jones claimed that 2 NFL teams have contacted him about trading up for the Cowboys #9 first round pick in this years draft.
    
Did you heard anything about teams interested in trading for the Bills #3 first round pick in this years draft?

It seems to me that the Bills need extra high draft picks to become a contender. Like the Patriots get every year. It might be to Buffalo’s advantage to trade the #3 pick for extra draft choices.

Lee D

CB: I understand your point and there were phone calls made to the Bills prior to the opening of the draft and during the early stages of the draft in round one. I’ll provide you with Buddy Nix’s description of it.

“We probably got 15 calls every round people wanting to move up or move back and offering picks,” said Nix. “I don’t say this is always the case because I don’t want to ever say never. Normally you won’t see us move back or swap picks just to be churning stuff. We kind of sit there and let what falls to us and take them and normally it’s worked out best. I’m not saying we wouldn’t ever do it. We might, but we’re not going to be big in that.”

Really what it comes down to is different philosophies. The Patriots love to move up and down the draft board and acquire picks for the future. This is admirable, but I also believe New England passes up some good opportunities and this year would be a good example.

They desperately needed a pass rusher. Their third down defense was worst in the league, and they had a chance with all their high picks to get an impact performer. They chose not instead trading away their 28th overall pick to New Orleans and their 60th overall pick to Houston. It can work for you and against you. I think this year it worked against the Patriots.

Sometimes less really is more and the Bills may have proven that in being one of nine NFL clubs that did not make a single trade in the 2011 NFL draft.

3 - Hi Chris,

I’d like to know what you think about the potential QBs in next year’s draft vs this year’s draft.  Any franchise material in that one?  Do the Bills look ahead to the seniors and possible juniors of the future or do they only focus on the current drafts prospects?  I’ve also seen a good idea about trading pick #34 for a 1st rounder next year to help us secure a franchise QB in that draft if one we like is there such as Luck, or another guy I like is Kirk Cousins from MSU.  Your thoughts please.

Thanks -Showtime.

CB: I’m not going to pretend to know any of these QB prospects for 2012, but here are some of the more highly-touted QBs for 2012. Andrew Luck (duh), USC’s Matt Barkley, Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, Arizona’s Nick Foles and your guy Kirk Cousins from Michigan State.

4 - Chris,

Could you give us a list of the prospects that have visited One Bills Drive?  I know you have been posting them as they come, but its hard to keep track of that, especially for those of us who simply cannot get to BB.com every day.

Thanks!

Jimmy (Fairport)

CB: I know the draft is over, but here’s the list of publicized names. I’ve been told there were a handful of others that were not made public.

Gabe Carimi
Von Miller
Kelvin Sheppard
Cam Newton
Marcell Dareus
Ryan Kerrigan
Christian Ponder
Justin Houston
Nick Fairley
Brooks Reed
Christian Ballard
Blaine Gabbert
Quan Sturdivant
Bruce Carter
Robert Quinn
Cameron Jordan
J.J. Watt
Da’Quan Bowers

 

5 - Hello Mr. Brown,
   What is the deal with Danny Batten? I know he was on I-R all last season, but does he have a shot at making the cut or even starting?
Thanks,
Bill

CB: The most recent comments from Coach Gailey are that there is a strong likelihood that Batten moves back to outside linebacker. That’s where he started in training camp before his torn rotator cuff injury required surgery.

He was still in the all the meetings while he rehabbed late in the season, and the coaching staff shifted him to inside linebacker to learn that position instead.

Now with the acquisition of Kelvin Sheppard and Chris White in the draft, Gailey sounds like he’s leaning toward putting him back outside.

I think it’d be a good move for Batten. He spent the majority of his college career as an edge rusher so he’ll likely feel comfortable out there.

As for a role on the team, there’s a lot more competition now with Shawne Merriman in the fold and fellow draft classmate Arthur Moats emerging in the second half of the season. He’s essentially a rookie having not played last year so we’ll see.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-15

Posted by Chris Brown on April 15, 2011 – 12:30 pm

Less than two weeks until the draft. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 - Ok I realize this is all new so we may not know, but hopefully you do.  Typically the draft picks are flown to the team that drafted them (or at least the high picks) and given a tour, meet the media, etc.  I know the draft will happen as scheduled but will the lock out stop the post draft trips by selected players?  I love watching interviews with the guys we pick and if ALL Players are locked out, does that include the once we just drafted?

Steven J. Huber

CB: From what I have been told, top draft choices can be brought to a team facility for publicity purposes, so we do anticipate having the opportunity to interview them when they arrive and have it for you on Buffalobills.com. So we hope to bring you the kind of draft coverage you’ve come to expect from Buffalobills.com. However, if the current labor situation still exists post-draft they will fall into the same category as the veteran players.

2 - Chris ,
Looking at QB’s this year you don’t hear much conversation about  TCU’s QB Dalton . The kid has done nothing but win every place he’s  played . A article on BB.com says he is a great anticipator & that he  was a 60 percent pass completion stat . If the Bills are looking for a QB of the future why wouldn’t someone with this type of background be more involved in these conversations? There has been some great talent come out of TCU , Schobel & LT both came from there didn’t they ? Given if he falls to the second round or later do you think he might be on Buddies radar any where ? He could be a great late round pick up!! Just seeing what you might think .

As always thanks & props for all you do
Mr. T from Ft. Myers Via Nashville
CB: Hopefully you’re referring to the story I wrote for Buffalobills.com earlier this month on Dalton. The guy is a winner. The reason he doesn’t get a ton of credit is because he played with the number one defense in the nation three years running. That and the fact that he doesn’t have an elite physical skill set. But he can play, he’s sharp as a tack, and he’s a winner. And he’s no late round pick. Most are figuring early second round. And thanks for the kind words.

3 - Hey Chris,
Kyle Williams is a consummate pro just not prototype 3-4 NT/space eater tying up 2 OL, anyway chance he could flex to 5 tech DE and draft a Phil Taylor/Kendrick Ellis type. Torell Troup isn’t that type either

Then get Martez Wilson or Kelvin Sheppard or what do u think of Nick Bellore from C.Mich later on? This would stop them from running on us

Ray in Kenmore.

CB: To answer your question about Kyle Williams I’m going to use a comment Buddy Nix made about him at the NFL combine when he was asked a question about whether the line is getting blurred with 3-4 defensive ends and if they don’t necessarily have to have measurables like being 6’5” or taller.

“A guy that’s 6’5” and can run a little bit, he can play out there for us,” said Nix. “You need range. There are always exceptions. I think you could take Kyle Williams and put him out there and he’d make plays for you. He would never be the pass rusher out there because of the huge tackles, but he’d make plays for you.”

I’ve asked Coach Gailey about possibly moving Williams outside to end as well and he made it clear that he feels that Williams is too much of a force inside that it outweighs the potential experimental value of putting him at end. Not saying you’ll never see it in small doses, but overall I’m not anticipating it.

I am a big fan of Phil Taylor after what I saw from him at the Senior Bowl. He was dominant. Kenrick Ellis has some off the field issues that teams will need to clear up having been kicked off the team at South Carolina. Taylor also had an off the field issue as a fraternity fight forced him from the Penn State program, but having put two solid seasons together since that incident while staying on the straight and narrow he’s been cleared by most NFL clubs.

I disagree with your assessment that Troup could not be a two gap nose tackle. He’s been busting his tail this offseason in the weight room and is up to a chiseled 325 pounds (up from 314 as a rookie). I believe he can play that role effectively for the Bills.

Martez Wilson is a versatile option at linebacker having played both inside and outside, while Kelvin Sheppard is a born leader type with tremendous instincts. Bellore is a better football player than he is an athlete. He doesn’t wow with measurables, but he does with his production.

Still he’s seen as a late round pick, so if the Bills take a flyer on him in the sixth or seventh I’m good with that.

4 – Chris

Thank you for the great job you do keeping us informed.

Question - Why would we take a QB in 1st 2 rounds when all analysts think there are no franchise QB’s this year and we have such a need for run defense? Why not take a big stud DL in first round and a big run stopper inside LB in the 2nd. Fitzpatrick is at least a good solid QB and the O line should be solid for the first time in years. Let’s build up the D

Ron from Greensboro  

CB: Once again I’ll turn to head coach Chan Gailey’s comment to explain why quarterback is a consideration both at 3 and at 34th overall.

“The advantage that we have in this is a rookie quarterback does not have to play. We have a good quarterback,” said Gailey. “That’s the best thing about our situation. You hope that you don’t pick three again for a very long time. So if there’s a guy that is sitting there that you believe is a so called franchise quarterback if you pass it up at this point for the long term best interest of the franchise, that might not be the best decision to pass that guy up. The quick fix is to try to go fix the defense and we understand that and we need to try to get some more impact players on defense if we possibly can. That would help us in the more immediate future, but if you’re looking at the long term and you believe the guy is a franchise quarterback, you bring him in, you let him learn and sit behind Fitz.”

5 - Do you see the Bills trading down?  With the Bengals suddenly in need of a QB, there are now at least 5 teams in the top 12 looking for a savior.  I would think the third overall pick, ahead of the Bengals & Cards, would look inviting to teams like Washington, Minnesota and Tennessee.  Even if the Bills drop to 12, Cam Jordan would still be there.  Of course this is a mute point if they draft Newton or Gabbert.  What do you think?

Pete Howell
Fairport
CB: You’re right the Bills could move down and still get a top flight defensive end with the depth at that position in this draft. In listening to Buddy Nix about this he said it’s not something they would close the door on, but if they did move down they’d like to stay in the top 10.

I think it is a possibility, but I think the Bills would have to be bowled over. Remember teams can only trade picks for picks unless there is a new CBA in place prior to the draft.

I will say that Nix is not a fan of hopping up and down the draft board. He generally likes to stay where he is and make his picks. I did a whole story on the merits of trading down with some very good insight from Nix on this subject.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-8

Posted by Chris Brown on April 8, 2011 – 12:59 pm

Let’s get right to your questions this week from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Hey Chris,
First off, just want to take a second and compliment you for all the work you do, as it really helps fans stay as up to date as possible with the Bills, even in the offseason. My question is about the new uniforms that are coming out for next year. Are there any more details out as to when exactly they will be unveiled? Like many fans I’m sure I cannot wait to move on from the old uniforms.
 
Thanks! Scott from Kenmore

CB: First, thanks for the kind words. With respect to the new uniforms, nothing concrete in terms of an unveiling has been passed along. I would imagine we would need to at least get past the NFL draft before any more information is distributed with respect to the 2011 unis.

2 – The tight end position seems to be ingored by the Bills for years. With Shawn Nelson hurt in much of his career, what is the future of TE position for next year? Chan rarely had tight ends run routes and stretch down the field. He mentioned he was looking for a all around TE ala John Mackey. But the Bills did meet with catching TE Virgil Green at the combine, scouted Rob Housler, and coached a number of them in the Senior Bowl. Do you expect the Bills to draft a pass catching TE in the middle rounds? Or will they go after one like Zach Miller in FA?

Thanks
Tyler

CB: With tight end not one of the team’s top 3 needs I think how or where they address that position is going to largely depend on how the draft board falls. Based on Chan Gailey’s comments that most of their nine picks are going to go to the defensive side of the ball coupled with more pressing offensive needs at tackle and quarterback, I just don’t see tight end coming up on day one (round one) or day two (rounds 2 and 3).

Even on day 3, unless an unexpected value falls in their lap at the tight end position I’m not certain they pull the trigger until the later rounds if at all. Buddy Nix said they are looking for an H-back type. Arkansas D.J. Williams, who was at the Senior Bowl on Chan’s South team roster is considered the best H-back in the draft class. He’s forecast as a fourth-round pick.

I know Buddy and Chan are high on Scott Chandler an in line tight end with some pass catching ability who they picked up mid-season last year. He’s a former fourth-round pick himself that Buddy picked for the Chargers back in 2008.

3 – Chris,
If Nick Fairley and Marcell Dareus are off the board before Buffalo is on the clock, who do you see the Bills taking?  I think Peterson can be a great asset to us and an immediate impact both in the secondary and another kick return option (with Spiller, McKelvin, McGee, and Peterson).  However, if we go that route we are leaving out our gaping hole at stopping the run.  Or do we take Bowers or Von Miller.  What is your take?
Rob Best

CB: I believe Von Miller makes the most sense there in that scenario. I really like Dareus a lot and he would be my top choice, but I’d be shocked if the Broncos pass on him. Miller is a pretty darn nice option ‘B’. Two years of proven production and a ridiculous ability to flatten himself out coming around the edge. An instant upgrade for the pass rush, which is needed after the Bills finished 27th in sacks last season.
4 – Hey Chris,
 
What are you thoughts on what we do with the first three picks?
 
1)      I think if Dareus is there, he’s a must take pick at three. He’s the BPA, safe, and fills an immediate need.
 
2)      As for the second round, is there any chance Martez Wilson is there at ILB? He also fills a need and is rated the best ILB in the draft.
 
3)     As for addressing the QB position, Kaepernick is definitely a project player, but who better to learn from than Fitz?
       
Coach Gailey loves mobile quarterbacks, and he could potentially be the new type of passer everyone is raving about, due to his ability to extend plays. Plus, you had to love his interview at the combine.
 
Kyle from PA  GO BILLS!!!

CB: As I stated above Dareus is my personal favorite at 3 if he’s there. The thought of him lined up with Kyle Williams and Dwan Edwards in a 3-4 front is very appealing.

I do think Martez Wilson could be there. I asked Mel Kiper personally where he sees him going and he said in the 33 to 45 overall pick range for what it’s worth. He also offers versatility as he could line up outside as well. Great athlete.

Kaepernick is an easy kid to like. Tons of production, smart, super athlete with the tools, just needs time on the job. Wouldn’t mind him on Buffalo’s roster at all.

5 – Chris,
First I wanted to say thank you for all your combine related articles. Great job.

Concerning the days of the NFL Draft what are the specific mechanisms for one team to contact another for the purpose of trading? Do they each have a telephone, do they use messengers, or some other method (Red or green lights)? Is there a form they both sign accepting the trade terms?
 
Very Respectfully,
Patrick M. Bald
MMC(SW) USN/RET

CB: Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated. Concerning making contact to discuss trades, each NFL club is provided with a draft room phone list for every other team in the entire league. Knowing time can sometimes be short between picks to make trade offers, they try to set up the most instanteous contact system possible.

Contact with another club is sometimes assigned to a member of the personnel staff. For the Bills it might not necessarily be Buddy Nix making the call. It could be VP of College Scouting Tom Modrak, it could be Assistant GM Doug Whaley, it could be Senior VP of Football Administration Jim Overdorf.

Buddy would presumably put an offer together and give it to whomever he wanted to make the call. If things were moving in the right direction he then would hop on the phone and finalize details in certain cases.

In terms of receiving calls, the assigned person would handle those as well knowing Buddy is busy keeping track of the board and where their preferences lie.

When deals are completed both teams talk to their representatives in New York City at the draft. Those reps write the terms of the trade down on a form and bring them up to the league desk. Once approved the trade is announced at the podium.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

LB, LB, TE in Kiper mock

Posted by Chris Brown on April 6, 2011 – 11:31 am

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has submitted his three-round mock draft and has the Bills taking a pair of linebackers in the first two rounds, followed by a tight end in round three.

In round one with Newton to Carolina and Dareus to Denver, Kiper (like Todd McShay) has Von Miller to Buffalo with the following explanation.

Few have seen their stock rise as much as Miller has since the season wrapped up. The pass-rush skills were there, as was a developed ability to drop and make reads. The tape shows a guy who can do anything on the football field, and do it explosively. Miller offers immediate help at one of the top two positions of need for the Bills. They simply can’t get enough value here in drafting an offensive lineman, and Miller will impact games next year more than any rookie in the draft if you asked me today.

Kiper then has Buffalo taking Illinois ILB Martez Wilson, widely regarded as the top inside linebacker prospect in the class. In round three he has the Bills taking Wisconsin TE Lance Kendricks (someone McShay has Buffalo taking in round three as well).


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Wilson compared to Miami LB

Posted by Chris Brown on March 25, 2011 – 7:45 am

Illinois LB Martez Wilson, largely ranked as the best ILB in this year’s draft class and profiled on the home page of Buffalobills.com today (Friday), has often been compared to a certain Miami Dolphins linebacker in terms of skills and playmaking ability.

Wilson has drawn comparisons to the Dolphins Karlos Dansby with a similar build and playing style. The Fighting Illini naturally doesn’t mind the comparisons.

“I’ve heard that a lot,” Wilson said. “I could definitely see myself as a similarity to Karlos. We’re both tall and got long arms. Actually our play styles are very similar. That’s a great comparison, he’s a great linebacker. Just to have that type of comparison, someone who is
in the NFL is just a great accomplishment.”

Much like Dansby did in the 2004 draft when he was taken 33rd overall, Wilson figures to go somewhere in the top of round two.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Illini stand on combine numbers

Posted by Chris Brown on March 16, 2011 – 4:22 pm

The top three draft prospects out of the University of Illinois are standing on their workout numbers from the NFL combine. DT Corey Liuget, ILB Martez Wilson and RB Mikel LeShoure only did position drill work for NFL clubs on hand at their pro day according to FightingIllini.com.

FightingIllini.com is reporting that 30 NFL clubs were represented including the Bills. Only Tampa Bay and Arizona were not in attendance and they even provided photographic evidence of what teams attended with a lineup of the scouts business cards who were on hand.

Below that is also a shot of Wilson going through an agility drill courtesy of the Illini website. Wilson had one of the more impressive combine workouts with a 4.49 40-time, 20 reps on the bench, 36-inch vertical and 10’4″ broad jump in Indy at almost 6’4″ and 250 pounds.


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LB Wilson may run at pro day

Posted by Chris Brown on March 15, 2011 – 8:20 am

Illinois ILB Martez Wilson, widely considered the best inside linebacker in the draft class this year, may run again at his pro day despite posting a very low 40 time at the combine.

After posting a 4.49 at 250 pounds, Wilson has been running around 4.4 flat according to DraftInsiders and may want to see if he can go sub 4.4 when Illinois holds their pro day Wednesday.

Wilson is forecast as an early 2nd round pick.


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ILB Wilson cements status

Posted by Chris Brown on March 1, 2011 – 10:49 am

Illinois’ Martez Wilson is seen as the consensus top inside linebacker in this year’s draft class. His workout, particularly his 40 time only helped.

Wilson had the top 40 time among all linebackers with a 4.49, which even bested Texas A&M OLB Von Miller who had a 4.53. Wilson is forecast as an early second-round pick, which could make him an option for Buffalo at pick 34.


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Posted in Inside the Bills