Inside The Bills

Trade up partner speculation

Posted by Chris Brown on April 26, 2012 – 8:24 am

With the report by NFL Network’s Charley Casserly that the Bills are trying to find a way to move up to land USC OT Matt Kalil, here’s an educated guess as to where they will look to move to get that accomplished.

First and foremost the Bills are unlikely to orchestrate a trade up to try to get Kalil unless he first slips past Minnesota at three. Buffalo would presumably have trade terms worked out beforehand, and if Minnesota slips past the Vikings they pull the trigger on it. But where is the safe place to move up to get Kalil?

Tampa Bay is a likely trade partner at 5. Here’s why.

Cleveland at 4 is unlikely to take an offensive tackle. They have a franchise left tackle in Joe Thomas and their offense desperately need playmakers, which likely means they’ll take Trent Richardson who is arguably the best skill position player in the draft.

St. Louis at 6 however, could take Kalil if he’s on the board. Even though the Rams drafted Jason Smith in the top 3 of the 2009 draft he’s been a disappointment and is their right tackle. Their second round pick in 2010, Rodger Saffold is their current left tackle and average at best. The Rams gave up a league-leading 55 sacks last season. So Kalil is a very realistic choice for the Rams.

That means if Buffalo in fact is trying to move up to land Kalil, the trade partner would have to be Tampa Bay at 5th overall.


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OT more important than WR

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2012 – 8:56 am

Bills GM Buddy Nix doesn’t pull many punches when asked questions about personnel and the way to build a roster. Appearing on the FAN590 Wednesday morning in Toronto, Nix was asked if he would rank offensive tackle or wide receiver as a more critical position to fill in general.

Here’s what he said.

“I think the left tackle is vital,” said Nix. “I don’t care how good your receivers are if you’re on your back you can’t throw it to him. You’ve got to protect your quarterback first I think.”

Nix also said that as he sees it about half the teams in the NFL need offensive tackle help. That’s why even if Matt Kalil slips past the Vikings at 3, the chances are still very slim that the USC OT is still on the board for Buffalo at 10.


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Kalil unlikely to slip to Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 24, 2012 – 10:25 am

There’s been some speculation that USC’s Ryan Kalil could slip all the way to the Bills at 10, with the growing belief that Minnesota will pass on him with the third overall pick. While I do believe the Vikings will pass on Kalil I can’t see the USC tackle falling all the way to 10.

SI.com’s Peter King brought up the idea of Kalil sliding in his Monday Morning QB column. I respect King as a journalist and his sources, but I just don’t see it happening. Apparently Mike Mayock doesn’t either. I asked him on a conference call late last week that if Kalil were to slip past the Vikings at 3 how far he could fall. Needless to say he knew what I was getting at.

“It depends a lot on what else happens, but I don’t think there’s any way in the world that he gets past seven,” Mayock told me. “Even if Tannehill goes, Kalil is one of the quote six blue chippers. So if Jacksonville is sitting there at seven and there’s a drop off in value between Kalil and whoever they have next on their board, they’ve got to take Kalil. I don’t think there’s any way he gets to 10.”

I agree with Mayock. Jacksonville’s new head coach Mike Mularkey is preaching toughness and hard-nosed play. Kalil is a pass protector first, but has some nasty to his game and can get to the second level with the agility to break down and lock onto D-Bs. Yes, the Jags have former first and second round picks manning their left and right tackle positions from their 2009 draft class in Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton. But Britton is coming off a back injury that landed him on I-R last season and the depth behind them is limited at best.

For a team that gave up the sixth-most sacks in the league last season (44) they would seemingly welcome an upgrade to a true franchise left tackle, especially with a young quarterback in Blaine Gabbert that’s going to need all the time he can get in the pocket in a new offensive system.

One last thing to keep in mind, Kalil has been a two-year starter at left tackle for USC. His teammate in 2010, who played at right tackle for the Trojans because Kalil was the left tackle, was Tyron Smith, who went ninth overall to Dallas in 2011 and then started 16 games at left tackle in the NFL as a rookie for the Cowboys and played well. Kalil will go sooner.

Final note, if I’m wrong and he’s on the board at 10, I’ll be doing a tap dance for the Bills.


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2 more pre-draft visitors for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 5, 2012 – 11:26 am

On Wednesday we reported that the Bills were hosting a quartet of draft prospects at One Bills Drive. Here on Thursday there were two more.

Buffalobills.com has learned that the club hosted two other top prospects in this year’s draft pool in USC OT Matt Kalil and Alabama CB Dre Kirkpatrick.

Kalil is the consensus top offensive tackle in the draft class as he’s clearly the most athletic in the group. Having a dad, Frank, (who was drafted by the Bills but played in the USFL) and a brother, Ryan, who currently plays for Carolina doesn’t hurt either.

“It’s definitely helped out,” said Kalil. “My brother has almost kind of laid the path for me. I started off coming out of Servite when he went to Servite (HS), going through SC and going through this draft process, I’ve always had my brother there to help me and telling me everything to expect and having that tool there to help me in any way possible has definitely been a big help.”

Kalil was joined on his visit to One Bills Drive by Crimson Tide CB Dre Kirkpatrick. Often compared to LSU’s Morris Claiborne, Kirkpatrick sees some similarities and differences with his SEC rival.

“I think our games are similar,” he said. “Only difference is I’m just a little taller. I’m very physical and want that physical play.”

Kirkpatrick is forecast as a late first-round pick.

 


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