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Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 3-28

Posted by Chris Brown on March 28, 2014 – 11:45 am

Pre-draft visits will begin next week. We’ll have you covered here at Buffalobills.com as the draft is just over a month away. Now we turn to some of your latest questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Hey CB,

Why are more people not talking about Martavis Bryant?  I saw his combine numbers and at 6 foot 5 I though they were quite impressive.  He was projected by some to go in the late 2nd or 3rd round and I was just thinking.  Wouldn’t that be a steal to get him in the 3rd round?  The bills need a tall receiver that can be a red zone threat.  Thank You

Morgan

CB: There’s no question that Bryant is an athlete after clocking a 4.42 at the NFL combine along with a 10’4” broad jump and a 39-inch vertical. His linear speed is unquestioned, but dropping his weight and getting in and out of breaks is still a bit of a question mark for him. He’s also considered a raw prospect, who wasn’t asked to run a full route tree at Clemson.

My biggest issue with him is his playing strength. Even though he had an impressive 16 reps on the bench it’s difficult to find that strength off the line or in traffic on the playing field in his game. He needs to add muscle to his frame as he goes just 211 pounds and has a slight build. Against the physical cornerbacks of the NFL he’s going to get knocked around. He’s probably a late second or early to mid-third round pick in a deep receiver class.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Do you believe his lack of “body of work” will lower the #Bills interest in Mike Evans? He just started playing ball.

rockydm92

CB: I think what intrigues most NFL clubs with Mike Evans is his amazing production despite still being young in football. As most talent evaluators see it there is a very high ceiling there knowing when he does gain more experience his production could be even better at the NFL level.

And the reason teams are happy to wait on that potential is because right now even in the NFL he’s a size mismatch and he should be able to produce just off his measurables to start. Then as he hones his game he’ll be an even greater asset to a team’s passing attack.

 

3 -  Chris,

With Jairus Byrd now in New Orleans, do you anticipate the Bills are happy with their current S depth with: Aaron Williams, Searcy, Meeks, Duke Williams?

Also a random question, do you know why the NFL football is nicknamed “the Duke”??

-Jim

CB: As you probably saw this week with our coverage of the league meetings in Orlando, led by our own John Murphy, head coach Doug Marrone is considering lining Corey Graham up at safety as part of the competition. It sounds like he’ll compete for a role there, in addition to cornerback, with Duke Williams, Jonathan Meeks and Da’Norris Searcy. Aaron Williams is a lock at one of the safety spots already.

As we outlined in our story on this development this week, Graham isn’t completely foreign to safety.

As for your question about NFL footballs being nicknamed ‘The Duke,’ here’s the history behind it courtesy of the Wilson Sporting goods website.

In honor of the late New York Giants owner, Wellington Mara, one of the most beloved and respected figures in professional sports history, the Official Football of the NFL is called “The Duke”.

Wellington Mara, who spent 81 years with the New York Giants and made numerous contributions to the NFL, was named Wellington by his father, Tim Mara, after the Duke of Wellington. He was given the nickname “The Duke” as a youngster by Giants players.

The NFL first used a ball in honor of Wellington Mara called “The Duke” in 1941 at the suggestion of George Halas, as Tim Mara (Wellington’s father) had helped him arrange for Wilson Sporting Goods Co. to become the league’s official supplier of game balls.

“The Duke” ball was used through 1969 but was discontinued prior to the 1970 season, the first to be played post NFL-AFL merger. The NFL and AFL continued using a Wilson football, but with a new design and no official name. In 2006, the NFL returned the name of “The Duke” to the ball after Mara’s passing in October, 2005.

 

4 – Chris,

I think the two best prospects the Bills should consider are Khalil Mack and Sammy Watkins. Which do you think fits the team better? They would bit the best player available. What chances to you think they might make it to 9? How should the Bills protect a team jumping up to 7 or 8th pick if they find a player they love?

Josh

CB: I don’t disagree that Mack and Watkins are two of the best prospects in the class, but I’d be surprised if either are available at nine. If either one gets past the fifth pick I think a few teams will be making efforts to move up to six or seven to grab them. If both are still on the board when Tampa Bay is on the clock at 7, I think it’d be very tempting for Buffalo to swap spots with Minnesota at 8 to ensure they would get at least one of them. Still, parting with picks is not what the Bills typically do. Then again it’s Doug Whaley’s first draft and we don’t have a track record to work with concerning his approach in a fluid draft situation.

 

5 – Hi, Chris!

What criteria did the Bills and New York Giants, and the rest of the NFL teams qualify to be the selected matchup for the annual NFL HOF Game? Does both the PFHOF in Canton, OH, and the NFL decide which teams to play, is the selection if teams always announced in February, especially after the Super Bowl? Thanks. Llewellyn.

CB:  The league doesn’t have a specific criteria, but the fact that both NFL franchises have some of their most popular all-time players being inducted in this year’s Hall of Fame class in Andre Reed and Michael Strahan does play a factor. The NFL also takes into account the likelihood of fans from the respective teams traveling to the game. Knowing that fans of the Bills and Giants will already be on hand for the induction ceremony, there’s a strong likelihood that many of them will make a full weekend of it and take in the Hall of Fame game Sunday as well.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

WR Evans shows well

Posted by Chris Brown on March 27, 2014 – 2:32 pm

He certainly wasn’t the focal point of Johnny Manziel’s personal pro day at Texas A&M, but wide receiver Mike Evans impressed as well on Thursday.

Evans caught just about everything that was thrown to him. The deceptive thing about Evans is he doesn’t appear to be running fast, but the ground he covers is remarkable. NFL.com’s Gil Brandt, who was a personnel executive for the Dallas Cowboys for 30 years, made a pretty big statement concerning Evans’ catching ability.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

McShay mocks OT to Bills at 9

Posted by Chris Brown on March 6, 2014 – 11:15 am

The momentum of an offensive tackle for the Bills keep building among NFL draft prognosticators. ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay is the latest to do so.

In his third mock draft he has the Bills taking offensive tackle Jake Matthews out of Texas A&M. What’s interesting is in his synopsis he opens the door to the possibility of Buffalo taking a college teammate of Matthews in WR Mike Evans.

9 Jake Matthews
Buffalo Bills (6-10)
COLLEGE: Texas A&M
AGE: 21 HT: 6-5 WT: 308 POS: OT

Analysis: Eric Ebron would be an interesting pick here, as would Mike Evans, because both guys are big-play weapons in the passing game with their size and ball skills. Both of whom would help young QB EJ Manuel. But I think in this scenario they’d go with a guy who can help protect Manuel in Matthews. He is versatile enough to play either tackle spot, and he’s a great value here as one of the top 10 and maybe one of the top five prospects in this draft.

Evans certainly raised his draft stock in the eyes of NFL draft analysts after his performance at the NFL combine. Most of them believe Evans has moved into the top half of round one as a result.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Latest mock goes WR for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on February 27, 2014 – 12:38 pm

In one of the newest mock drafts, this one by USA Today, they project a wide receiver to the Bills, but it’s not the one you think.

USA Today projects Clemson WR Sammy Watkins to be off the board and to the Raiders with the fifth pick. So at ninth overall they’ve got Buffalo getting Texas A&M WR Mike Evans. Here’s their analysis.

9. Buffalo Bills — Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: The 6-5, 231-pounder could be the perfect solution to Buffalo’s passing woes. Most importantly, he’d be a major upgrade in the red zone for a team that didn’t have anyone catch more than three TDs in 2013.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Lofton working with WR prospect Evans

Posted by Chris Brown on February 3, 2014 – 9:31 am

Bills Hall of Fame WR James Lofton has been a wide receivers coach in the NFL. Right now he’s a successful broadcaster as he was part of the Super Bowl radio broadcast Sunday. He’s also still tutoring young players like NFL wide receiver prospect Mike Evans out of Texas A&M.

Widely considered a top 15 draft pick by prognosticators, Lofton confirmed in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 that he’s been coaching up the tall and productive Aggies wideout.

“He turns 21 in August. He is a talented young man and I’ve had a good time working with him the last few weeks,” said Lofton. “I’ll keep working with him until he gets to training camp. I don’t know if the Bills are drafting high enough to get him.”

Buffalo has the ninth pick in the 2014 NFL draft.


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Posted in Inside the Bills