Inside The Bills

When will the run start on RBs?

Posted by Chris Brown on May 9, 2014 – 3:59 pm

Running back was the only position besides guard and center that did not see a player come off the board in round one of the 2014 NFL draft. In rounds two and three it’s expected that a handful of running backs will come off the board. The question is when will the run begin?

Most of the NFL draft prognosticators believe Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde will be the first back off the board. Hyde was a pre-draft visitor of the Bills along with five other running backs including LSU’s Jeremy Hill, another highly touted prospect. Here’s who and when ESPN’s Mel Kiper believes a back will first come off the board.

“Carlos Hyde I love as a player. I think he’s a mid-second to late second and could be the first back off the board,” said Kiper. “He’ll block, he’ll catch, he’ll run hard. He’s physical. He can have a rookie year like Eddie Lacy did in Green Bay I believe.”

 


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Kiper: Where Shazier comes off the board

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2014 – 9:11 am

Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier is arguably the fastest linebacker in the draft after clocking a sub 4.4 40 time at his pro day and tweaking a hamstring in the process. As we profiled on Buffalobills.com today Shazier is the modern day linebacker capable of playing all three downs with the athleticism to handle multiple roles. So where does he come off the board? ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper had his take on when Shazier hears his name in the 2014 NFL draft.

“Ryan Shazier I like because he’s a run around guy. He doesn’t always want to take on, but he can sift through traffic, very instinctive,” said Kiper. “Gives you plenty of versatility, he can be a will and inside linebacker in a 3-4. I think he’s a borderline first, early second.”

Shazier was also a pre-draft visitor of the Bills and is a good bet to be a second round consideration for Buffalo if he’s still on the board.


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Kiper on draft range for LB Mosley

Posted by Chris Brown on April 28, 2014 – 1:46 pm

Alabama linebacker prospect C.J. Mosley, who was a pre-draft visitor at One Bills Drive last week, has been widely projected as a first round pick. ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper went a step further narrowing the range down as to where he thinks Mosley will come off the board.

“I would say C.J. Mosley which is why he’s seen as a first round pick somewhere between 8 and 21 in that area,” said Kiper. “He is a guy that has pretty good coverage. He doesn’t have great hands, but he’s a good coverage guy. I wish his hands were a bit better because he missed a couple of interceptions opportunities this past year.”

Seeing him in the eight to 21 range obviously puts him in Buffalo’s territory at ninth overall, but most believe that the Bills will add to the offensive side of the ball with their first round pick.


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Kiper mocks Bills 1st 3 picks

Posted by Chris Brown on April 3, 2014 – 2:44 pm

Mock drafts are flying in left and right this time of year as the 2014 draft is just over a month away. ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper has taken on the task of making mock picks for all 32 teams in the league through the first three rounds. His picks for Buffalo are pretty interesting as he addressed some of the perceived top positional needs for the team.

Here’s how things fell in Kiper’s mock picks for Buffalo.

Buffalo Bills
Top needs: RT, WR, S, TE

Round 1 (9) OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Round 2 (41) TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
Round 3 (73) WR Brandon Coleman, Rutgers

Analysis: I’d like to find a good matchup threat in the passing game for my young quarterback. But keeping him healthy is the first concern, and getting Lewan — who easily could have been a top-two pick last season in a thinner draft — at No. 9 is a good value at a position of need. The draft is deep with pass-catchers, and I take advantage of that in Round 2, taking Seferian-Jenkins even ahead of Jace Amaro. Scott Chandler is a pretty good player, but “ASJ” is at another level athletically, and his presence could also allow Buffalo to involve some two-tight end looks. I’m taking a shot on a big target in Round 3. At 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, Coleman provides great length and the ability to make plays over defenders. I also see safety as a need, but building around EJ Manuel wins out here based on how the board played out.


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Kiper’s latest mock goes OT for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 13, 2014 – 4:14 pm

Here’s the latest mock draft pick that ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper has for the Bills with the ninth overall pick.

Kiper has the Bills taking an offensive tackle. Here’s his pick and analysis.

No. 9 – T Taylor Lewan, Michigan
I like Cordy Glenn, but protection was still a problem for the Bills last year, so I have them placing a higher priority on keeping EJ Manuel upright and shifting their attention to the deep class of wide receivers in Round 2 or 3. I’ve said more than once that I think Lewan could have graded out as the top tackle last year if he chose to enter the draft, and while he has the prototypical length as a pass-blocker, he really gets after it as a run-blocker.

Kiper has Auburn OT Greg Robinson to the Rams at 2 and Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews to the Falcons at 6. He also has Clemson WR Sammy Watkins off the board at 7 to the Bucs.


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Kiper on depth at WR in 2014 draft

Posted by Chris Brown on February 6, 2014 – 4:26 pm

Certainly a bounty of underclassmen has helped to improve the depth in this year’s draft class at a bunch of positions, but none more so than wide receiver.

There are 20 extra receivers in the draft pool who are underclassmen led by Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, who is expected to be the first wideout off the board, most likely in the top five picks. But ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper thinks if a team has a couple of pressing positional needs, they might be able to wait on receiver.

“I think if you look at the wide receiver position because of the tremendous depth in that first round, you could see six to nine wide receivers go in the first round,” Kiper said. “A lot of them are underclassmen so you have to be conservative because they need to test well to be a legitimate first round pick.”

Testing will obviously come in a couple of weeks at the NFL Combine, but Kiper thinks some teams will address other positional needs first if they are not as deep as receiver, provided the value is right when they’re on the clock.

“There’s going to be an opportunity at wide receiver with guys in the third, fourth and fifth round who could get it done,” he said. “Wide receiver is a position you can maybe wait on.”

 


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Kiper: UB’s Mack could shine at Combine

Posted by Chris Brown on February 6, 2014 – 2:42 pm

UB OLB Khalil Mack is considered one of the top pass rushing prospects in the 2014 NFL draft class. Being an elite athletic prospect, ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper believes Mack could really wow NFL talent evaluators at the NFL Combine in a couple of weeks.

Kiper believes a strong workout performance by Mack, could potentially vault Mack into the top five or even top three territory.

“Mack could have an incredible Combine workout and could really shoot up (the board),” said Kiper on a national conference call Thursday. “I have him going seven right now to Tampa Bay, but he could shoot up into the mix at three very easily.”


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Kiper goes OT for Bills at 9

Posted by Chris Brown on February 6, 2014 – 11:34 am

It’s Mel Kiper’s second mock draft and he’s got Buffalo taking one of the top offensive tackles in the class with the ninth overall pick.

With Auburn’s Greg Robinson already off the board to the Rams at two, he has Buffalo taking Jake Matthews, the Texas A&M offensive tackle at nine. Here’s his breakdown on the pick.

9 - Buffalo Bills (6-10) – Jake Matthews
COLLEGE: Texas A&M
AGE: 22
HT: 6-5
WT: 305
POS: OT

Analysis: The injuries to EJ Manuel last season would make you think pass-blocking has to be a priority, but where the Bills’ offensive line was really bad was in creating any push in the run game. You don’t just protect a young QB by creating a pretty pocket, it’s also nice when he can hand the ball off with any reasonable sense of optimism. Matthews will help. I suspect he’d jump in right away at right tackle and succeed — he can play left or right — and his ability to finish as a run-blocker could pay early dividends.

Having watched four of Matthews games from last season he is one of the most technically sound tackles in the draft. He also is remarkably light on his feet and resets like he’s an NBA point guard.

I agree with Kiper that Robinson probably does have the most upside, but it’s hard not to like Matthews too. And there’s also Michigan’s Taylor Lewan. Bottom line is if the Bills want to go tackle early, they’ll have options.


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Kiper bumps up his 2013 draft grade for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on January 23, 2014 – 4:23 pm

ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper, to his credit, reviews his post-draft grades of each NFL club around this time of year when the first regular season for that draft class is complete. Kiper bumped up his grade for the Bills looking back on Buffalo’s 2013 draft class.

Kiper went from an initial grade of C- to a B. Here’s what he wrote.

Buffalo Bills

Round Pick Position Player College
(1) 16 QB EJ Manuel Florida State
(2) 41 WR Robert Woods USC
(2) 46 LB Kiko Alonso Oregon
(3) 78 WR Marquise Goodwin Texas
(4) 105 S Duke Williams Nevada
(5) 143 CB Jonathan Meeks Clemson
(6) 177 K Dustin Hopkins Florida State
(7) 222 TE Chris Gragg Arkansas

Post-draft grade: C-

Summary: Well, the Bills are due for a bump. Last April I summarized: “The Bills hit needs, I just think they made a major reach with the biggest need of all, so that value gained from the added picks was in some ways squandered on Manuel.” If you recall, the Bills traded down and added picks, but then they drafted Manuel at No. 16, which I simply thought was too high. Manuel had his moments, but he mostly just looked like a rookie QB and we’re still not sure if the Bills have a solution at the game’s most important position. But they clearly deserve a bump for value added later. Alonso was my top rookie of 2013 league-wide due to overall impact, Woods should be a pretty good No. 2 wide receiver and Goodwin added some value. They also get credit for Nickell Robey, one of the better undrafted signings in terms of early value. Decent return so far, but much is wrapped up in Manuel.

New grade: B


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Kiper has Alonso atop his rookie ranks

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2013 – 2:15 pm

The legend of Bills MLB Kiko Alonso is apparently still growing. He now sits atop the rookie rankings of ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper in his latest column.

Kiper wrote the following on Alonso below.

I wrote up Kiko Alonso in my 2013 draft guide as one of the top six inside linebackers in the draft. I thought he was hurt a little bit because, although he has outstanding athleticism, he didn’t work out at the combine, which inevitably provides a bump to the best athletes. He also had only one year as a full-time starter at Oregon. But one of Alonso’s great skills at Oregon was his ability to “sift through the trash” (scouting phrase) and deal with traffic. In other words, he was able to see the ball and make plays through blocking havoc and contact, maintaining his balance and quickness.

I think those skills have made the transition easier for him. The game, and the traffic, just doesn’t seem to move too quickly for him, just as it didn’t at Oregon. So far this season, the Buffalo Bills have benefited. Although Alonso might lack experience, he plays with great instincts and has that extra set of eyes to make plays amid all the chaos.

This week, he moves to the top of my Rookie Rankings, barely edging out another AFC East star.

1. Kiko Alonso, ILB, Buffalo Bills: Continues to perform at a consistently high level week in and week out. Through Week 9, he’s third in the NFL in total tackles, with 89 (just one behind leaders Vontaze Burfict and Sean Lee), and has four interceptions, which is most on the team, plus he gets a bonus because he literally has not come off the field for the Bills’ defense, so he has played nearly 700 snaps. He is not playing perfect football, but he’s been a huge part of the defensive rise for Buffalo.

For those that missed it Buffalobills.com had Alonso wired for sound in last week’s game against Kansas City. Robert Woods and EJ Manuel were listed in the ‘Next in Line’ category for Kiper, kind of like an honorable mention.

The other AFC East star that Kiper was referring to was the Jets’ DT Sheldon Richardson.

 



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Kiper likes LB Simon for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 11, 2013 – 3:44 pm

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has mocked out his draft to the third round. And his viable third round option for the Bills is DE/OLB John Simon from Ohio State.

Simon has a work ethic that parallels another former Ohio State LB in Chris Spielman. A two-time captain for the Buckeyes, Simon was the heart and soul of team. He had a minor bursa sac injury at the end of last season, but tested well running a 4.66 40-time at 6’2″ 257 pounds.

“You look at John Simon I like the way he plays the game,” said Kiper. “He’s got a lot of versatility. He plays with energy. You look at John Simon, you think early to mid third round. I project him to Buffalo, 71st pick overall. Energy, kind of like the old Mike Vrabel who came out of Ohio State, had a nice career in NFL. Plays down end, gives you some scheme versatility. Great kid. Tremendously hard worker, great passion for the game. I think John Simon solidly in the third round now.”

The only drawback to Simon’s game is his coverage ability.


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Round 2 could present high drama for QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on April 10, 2013 – 4:34 pm

A handful of NFL clubs are in the market for a long term solution at quarterback. Bills GM Buddy Nix has said as much since last fall concerning Buffalo’s situation at the position. But with a quarterback class that most so called experts believe doesn’t offer much in the way of top 10 talent, many of the teams looking to add a signal caller will wait until round two. Kiper sees that as a potentially risky scenario for those clubs.

“You have to be careful, or you can get lucky,” said Kiper. “Cincinnati waited for Andy Dalton. Everybody thought Cincinnati was going to trade up to get Andy Dalton or would have to trade up to get Andy Dalton. It didn’t work that way. San Diego, Drew Brees fell to them after they made the deal for Michael Vick to go to Atlanta that year and it allowed them to get LaDainian Tomlinson and then they got Drew Brees.”

Nix was a part of San Diego’s scouting staff at the time, and he was rewarded again for being patient in last year’s draft when Buffalo saw OT Cordy Glenn fall to them at 41.

“It has worked being patient and getting some good luck and some good fortune,” said Kiper. “But to get Nassib where (the Bills) are picking in the second round, that’s something you would have to say is debatable. That’s at 41 and he could very easily go before that.”

In round two the pick order goes as follows.

33 Jacksonville
34 San Francisco from Kansas City
35 Philadelphia
36 Detroit
37 Cincinnati from Oakland
38 Arizona
39 New York Jets
40 Tennessee
41 Buffalo

Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Arizona and the Jets are all clubs that could consider quarterback and all four pick in front of the Bills in the second round. Kiper, who assumes the Bills would covet Nassib, believes if the Bills truly want him they may need to move up the board.

“The strength of their conviction on the quarterback will determine a lot of that,” said Kiper of the Bills. “If they feel they have to get Ryan Nassib, then they’ll move out and move up.”

That could prove difficult with just six picks in Buffalo’s arsenal in this draft unless they elect to use future picks.

“That’s determined by their feelings,” said Kiper. “Are they hoping to just be lucky and have good fortune? Or are they going to be aggressive and move up to go get him? That’s one of the interesting scenarios in this draft.”


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Latest Kiper mock goes OLB for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 12, 2013 – 9:37 am

It’s been stated more than once that if Buffalo can’t land a quarterback they like that’s fitting of the value of eighth overall and they can’t find a willing trade partner to move down that they’ll take the best defensive player on the board. ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper has just that scenario playing out for Buffalo in his latest mock draft.

Kiper has Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones going to the Bills at eighth overall in round one. Here was his analysis on the picks, which also indicated the Bills anticipated measure of activity in the free agent market.

8 – Jarvis Jones *
Buffalo Bills (6-10)
COLLEGE: Georgia
AGE: 23
HT: 6-2
WT: 245
POS: OLB

Pick analysis: Want to guarantee an improvement in your pass rush? Here’s your safe pick. Jones has been exceptional for two years now against elite competition, and demands help when he comes off the edge. He’s not Von Miller in terms of his athleticism, but he has the chance to produce at a slightly lower level, making him a good value at this slot.

Free-agency factor: The Bills spent a lot in free agency last year, and won’t be as active this year. Quarterback could come into play at this pick because of the lack of options on the market. But if Arizona takes Smith, I don’t like the value here, and they’d be better served finding a QB in Round 2.

I tend to agree with Kiper’s assessment on QB value at 8. If Geno Smith is off the board, it’s probably best to either go best defensive player on the board or trade down to land a better quarterback value late in round one or early round two. In Kiper’s mock he has Arizona taking Smith at 7th overall.


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Kiper’s new mock has LB to Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on February 7, 2013 – 3:40 pm

ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper has just released his second mock draft. He makes special mention that he believes trades could happen for teams like Kansas City (1st) and Arizona (7th) where they move out of the top 10 since there are no quarterbacks that fit the value there. That’s why he also doesn’t select a QB for the Bills at 8.

Kiper chose Georgia LB Alec Ogletree for Buffalo at eighth overall. Ogletree had 112 tackles, 3 sacks and an interception in 2012. Here was his analysis.

8.  Buffalo Bills (6-10)

Alec Ogletree *

COLLEGE: Georgia
AGE: 21
HT: 6-3
WT: 237
POS: LB
Analysis
: Sticking with a linebacker here, but going with the higher ceiling. The Bills really need help at interior linebacker, where Kelvin Sheppard
is merely adequate. Ogletree was at one time a safety, and you see those kinds of instincts when he plays, because he simply flies to the ball. He’s a great pursuit player and a guy who will shoot gaps and make stops in the backfield, but that’s also because he has really good instincts. A big key with Ogletree is versatility. There’s no reason he can’t work on the edge, or inside. He has the ceiling of a player who can do it all.
 
Kiper did not have a quarterback coming off the board in the entire first round.

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Mayock: 3-4 QBs will go round 1

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2013 – 1:31 pm

nassib-senior-bowl-story

Just days after ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper chose not to put a single quarterback in his initial first-round mock draft, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock had a much different opinion.

Mayock during NFL Network’s Senior Bowl coverage said he expects as many as four signal callers to come off the board in round one come last April.

“It’s early in this entire process,” Mayock said. “Everyone says there’s no Andrew Luck, there’s no Robert Griffin III. … I guarantee you by the time we get to April, there will be three to four quarterbacks taken in the first round, and most of them are coming out of this game.”

Mayock made reference to four of the QBs participating at the Senior Bowl this week, including N.C. State’s Mike Glennon and Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib.


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Kiper’s grade for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2012 – 9:55 am

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has put out his draft grades. Here’s what he had for the Bills.

Kiper gave Buffalo a B- overall grade and a B grade for value. This is what he wrote.

Summary: I had the Bills selecting Stephon Gilmore in my final mock draft, and they ended up taking him. I didn’t see CB as the top need, but it’s a solid pick. Gilmore is ready to start immediately for a secondary that allowed 7.3 yards per pass attempt in 2011. The Bills pass defense should be better in 2012 when you put together an improved pass rush and the draft help in the secondary. Ron Brooks, a burner out of LSU, could stick as a slot cornerback. He lacks size, but can fly. I don’t share the opinion that Cordy Glenn can be a left tackle, but he was a total steal at No. 41. He was on my final Big Board at No. 14. If the Bills move him inside (or to right tackle), he’ll succeed. Zebrie Sanders was a steal in the sixth round. They got a wideout with T.J. Graham, as well as a pair of linebackers to bring in and battle for a spot. Pretty good weekend for Buddy Nix and the Bills.

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft2012/story/_/id/7823750/mel-kiper-gives-grades-every-nfl-team-draft


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Kiper: A lot of mixed opinions

Posted by Chris Brown on April 23, 2012 – 7:41 am

While there seems to be a general consensus that there’s a top six grouping of elite prospects in this year’s draft class, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper says there’s much debate about whether all six belong in the top tier.

“I think there’s a group up at the top that’s very much mixed opinion on,” Kiper said. “I think a lot of the talk about it always goes down so far.  Well, I can go down to seven and tell you people are kind of critical of some of those players and don’t think they deserve to be up there. The only consensus is really the two quarterbacks, Luck and Griffin. 

“So this perception going in or this feeling going in that everybody agrees with the tiering, they don’t.  You’ll talk to five teams, you’ll get five different tiers and you’ll get guys in the top seven of one team that the other team doesn’t even think three of those guys even belong in the top 15.  So there’s no consensus to seven, eight, nine, ten.  I can just tell you that.          

“There’s some people that have some concerns about Matt Kalil being in the top group.  There’s people that have concerns about Blackmon being up there.  Melvin Ingram, where do you play him?  Some don’t think he’s a defensive end, some think he’s an outside linebacker, mixed opinion there.  You talk about Michael Floyd, mixed opinion there, should he be up in the top ten?  Quinton Coples, should he be up there in the top 10 to 15?  Dontari Poe, defensive nose tackle, defensive tackle, should he be up there?          

“So it’s really a case where, like I say, I think the ones that I haven’t heard a lot, you could say Trent Richardson, but he’s a running back.  Is it enough?  I’ve said this for 30 years, is it enough value, should you take a running back in the top five when you can get great running backs down the road?”

All of the mixed opinion just serves as another reminder as to how varied draft boards can be from team to team, which is what makes the NFL draft so unpredictable in the first place. Of course that’s also the appeal. 

At the end of the day, opinions are still going to be all over the place, and I think tiering it is a dangerous way to go. 

 


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Kiper, Mayock: Tannehill needs time

Posted by Chris Brown on April 17, 2012 – 8:04 am

Despite all the hype about Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill’s so called rocketing draft stock, some of the more notable draft analysts aren’t sold on him coming and helping a team right away. Tannehill is making a pre-draft visit with the Bills today (Tuesday).

“I can see all the attributes of a (Jake) Locker in Tannehill,” said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock. “He’s a big, strong kid that can push the ball down the field. He’s athletic. I like everything about him except for the fact that on tape, I think he stares his receivers down and waits for them to come up before he rips it. That’s typical of a young quarterback without a lot of starts. I look at him and say kind of like Jake Locker. He’s going to take a little it of time. It’s going to take a year or so.”

“I think there are some questions about Tannehill in terms of how quickly he’ll be able to play,” said ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper. “I thought last year that Blaine Gabbert wasn’t going to be ready to play in an NFL offense, but that was based on the offense he ran at Missouri. With Tannehill its lack of experience. Against Oklahoma 50% comp pct., Kansas St. 58.7%, Texas 40.8% with 3 picks, 3 picks against Oklahoma, 3 picks against Oklahoma State 59.6%. So against those better teams he struggled. Versus ranked teams only 59.8% with 9 picks. He is spectacular in the red zone. 63.5% 18 TDs and one INT. You like the potential and talent. So he’ll go high.” 

If Tannehill is going to come off the board as high as the mock drafters have him forecast, the likelihood of him sitting a year are pretty remote. A quarterback draft in the top 15 picks is largely expected to come in and start right away.


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Kiper on Luck and RG III

Posted by Chris Brown on January 31, 2012 – 2:57 pm

On a nearly two-hour conference call ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper answered just about everything under the sun with respect to the 2012 NFL draft class. Naturally the subject of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III came up. Kiper was asked if there’s any way that RG III overtakes Luck for the top spot in the draft. I think everyone knows the answer.

“Andrew Luck is the best quarterback grade I’ve given in 35 years of doing this,” Kiper said. “Andrew Luck is viewed as a more athletic Peyton Manning. You cannot pass on Andrew Luck. I haven’t given a grade as high as Luck since 1983 and that was John Elway.”

As for Griffin it seems the only questions on him involve his true measured height per Kiper.

“I thought he was a quarterback all along,” Kiper said. “I think the fact that he can throw that deep ball so accurately, he’s a straight line guy in terms of mobility. He was a hurdler. He’s not Michael Vick. He doesn’t change direction and isn’t as explosive in and out of his cuts as Vick. Vick is the best running quarterback I’ve ever seen, but RG III is a much better passer. That’s why he has such a high grade.

“His mobility is excellent. He can make people miss. He’s not as dynamic a runner as Vick. Certainly his intelligence, character and game management is all excellent. His height isn’t ideal, he’s listed as 6’2”. If he’s not then there won’t be that buzz. It is what it is.”


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Kiper’s Bills assessment

Posted by Chris Brown on June 2, 2011 – 8:28 pm

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper did what he labeled a summer audit of the AFC East clubs and he had some interesting comments on the Bills.

He had some praise for the draft class they put together, but felt there are a couple of areas still to be addressed. Kiper pointed to the offensive line and the pass rush.


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