Inside The Bills

Gilmore signing one of quickest

Posted by Chris Brown on May 17, 2012 – 12:39 pm

The Bills and every other club in the league has the new Collective Bargaining Agreement to thank for the rapidity with which draft choices in general and specifically first-round picks have signed. It’s less than a month since the 2012 draft and Buffalo’s top pick is already signed along with six others across the NFL. That hasn’t happened in Buffalo in a long time.

Taking a look back as prior Bills first-round picks, I’ve only found two that I can verify signed prior to Gilmore’s May 17th date.

WR Jerry Butler, who was one of two first-round picks in 1979, signed his contract on May 9th, just six days after the NFL draft was held that year (May 3rd).

The only other Bills first-round pick since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger that I’ve found to sign before Gilmore was TE Reuben Gant in 1974. He has the earliest signing date of March 26th, but it comes with an asterisk because back then the draft was held in late January instead of late April.

The most recent early signee was OL Ruben Brown in 1995, who signed his rookie deal on June 20th 17 years ago.

It’s undoubtedly a welcome departure from the past couple of decades of lengthy negotiations and holdouts.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 11-5

Posted by Chris Brown on November 5, 2010 – 1:44 pm

I don’t know what it is, but there’s a good vibe going through this building this week. I’m not promising anything, but I feel good about the Bills getting off the schneid this week against the Bears. On to your questions from

1 – Hey Chris ,

With things at One Bills Dr looking as though a corner may have been turned as far as the offense & all of the other changes that have taken place this year as far as — GM , schemes , personnel , & coaching philosophy , how are the players reacting to it all ?? I’ve always heard that in order for a team to be successful they need to buy into what the coach & staff is selling . Although it looks as though Coach Gailey is definitely doing a lot of good things to change the culture of our beloved Bills , how does it look on the inside ??? Do the players seem to recognize that the changes that are being made are for the better & buying what the coach is selling in spite of the teams record to this point ??

As usual thanks for all you do !!
Mr. T from Ft. Myers via Nashville

CB: I’ll just say that this locker room believes in Coach Gailey and his staff. He’s done a good job of maximizing the talents of individual players and units as well. One example individually is Roscoe Parrish and what he’s done as a receiver. A unit example is the offensive line and what they’ve done the past seven weeks in the run game, going from 87 yards rushing per game to over 114 and improving the yards per carry average from 3.6 to 4.5 in that time.

The players can see Gailey and his staff are making this team a better one week by week. And despite all the losing Ryan Fitzpatrick explained it best concerning Gailey’s ability to lead.

“He’s a guy that with us he’s always positive,” said Fitzpatrick. “He’s trying to get us going. He always talks about the talent in the room and what we’ve done this year and what we’ve done successfully. He’s been good. He’s been a guy who keeps us going and I think he’s done a really nice job of that.”

2 –  Hi Chris,   
Last season when the Eagles signed Michael Vick they said that there was 2 teams that were in talks with his agent and him.  Also on the program The OT with Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison, Tony had said that he believed that Vick would sign with the Bills after the one year deal and the team option for a second yr at 5.2 million.

I guess my question to u is, do you believe that in this upcoming offseason that the Bills will try to sign Vick so that we have a proven QB that is only getting better as he is maturing at his position? I would also like to have a QB that is proven and only adds another threat for this team with his legs and he definitely has the arm to play in the conditions that Buffalo presents.
Jon in Tampa (former Lockportian)

CB: I don’t disagree that Vick would be an exciting addition, and you have a better idea of what you would be getting since he’s been playing the past two years, but I just don’t see it happening.

I don’t have any evidence to tell you why he wouldn’t be signed. I just can’t see the Bills bringing him in should be become a free agent. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if the Eagles locked him up long term.

3 – Chris,
I know the Titans were the ones that were awarded Randy Moss, but they were the only team to put in a claim. Why not sign Moss and trade him? Is this something that theoretically would work?  My understanding is based on the way teams get dibs on someone like Moss being cut would be worst record first, and then best record last.  So for example if Pittsburgh wanted him it would be to their benefit to work out a deal w/ Buffalo and give them a 3rd round pick (or whatever he’s worth) to get him.  Most likely any other scenario wouldn’t allow Pittsburgh to get him … theoretically.

CB: Claiming Moss only to trade him would not work because the trade deadline passed in mid-October. I suppose had it been before the league’s trade deadline something like that could potentially happen, but I’m going to have to check to see if that’s even permitted by the NFL.

4 – Chris – Since the Bills picked up Shawne Merriman off waivers do they hold all the rights the Chargers previously did?  If he produces as hoped could the Bills control his destiny next year by placing the franchise tag or even the transition tag on him?
Denver, CO

CB: Yes, they do hold all the rights to him. He’s Buffalo’s property now as long as he’s under contract. The Bills inherit his current contract which runs out after this season and pay the pro-rated portion of his salary ($1.7M).

I’m not sure about a franchise or transition tag however, because we don’t know what the rules will be concerning free agents until a new CBA is reached between the NFL and the Players Union. Under the old CBA, yes the franchise and transition tag would be options at Buffalo’s disposal, but that’s all up in the air now.

5 – Hey Chris,
I know Ralph has said QB is the top priority this offseason and that really worries me that we will desperately take whoever is the best QB available at our pick in the draft,whether or not he is necessarily deserving of the pick. Personally I think Andrew Luck is the real deal and would take him first overall no question, but if he stays in school like he’s said he will then we take a QB just to take one?

I think Mallett is a little inconsistent and have had character questions and that Locker is far too inaccurate and raw to cut it in the NFL.

I would say to take a tackle but it doesn’t seem as though there’s an elite tackle at this point. If we can’t take Luck, do you think it would make more sense to take a defensive impact player such as Bowers from Clemson or Fairley from Auburn, maybe even Peterson on LSU, a tackle in the second and try to get Luck or someone like a Matt Barkley whenever they declare? Thanks.

CB: I think you’re getting way ahead of yourself. I know a lot of Bills fans already have their eyes on the draft for obvious reasons, but until we know who declares early in mid-January I think we’re all just wasting our breath on what the Bills should, would, could do.
That being said I too prefer Luck.

I’m watching Christian Ponder at Florida State more closely of late. I think his shoulder still isn’t right after a severe separation last season, but in time that arm will heal up and there is no questioning this kid’s toughness and leadership. Need to see more of him though.

One other thing, I love the Fairley kid from Auburn. The guy is a beast on that Tigers D-line.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Why Thurman appreciates Glanville

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2010 – 8:36 am

Bills Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas has a soft spot for former Houston Oilers head coach Jerry Glanville.

As he mentioned in his draft day memories of 1988, leading up to the draft Glanville was pushing the Oilers hard to draft Thomas, which would’ve been fine with the Houston native.

“Being a hometown guy every time I see Jerry I thank him for pushing the Oilers to have an opportunity to draft me,” said Thomas.

Thomas remembers all the doubters that were out there that weren’t sure if Thomas’ knee would hold up over the long haul after partially tearing his ACL his junior year. So he appreciates the guys that believed in him before he did anything in the NFL.

Of course the Oilers ultimately passed on Thomas in round one of the 1988 draft, choosing instead to take RB Lorenzo White, one of seven to come off the board before Thomas.

Had Thomas been taken by Houston he likely would’ve had 700 receptions in his career in the Oilers’ run and shoot offense, but Thomas wonders about his rushing totals.

“Yeah I probably would’ve caught a lot more passes in that kind of attack, but I also wouldn’t have 12,000 career rushing yards had I played most of my career there,” said Thomas. “They were throwing the ball 40 or 50 times a game. There’s no way I’d be getting 20 carries a game too.”

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Junior DT could be there for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on January 7, 2010 – 10:13 am

It’s already a great class for defensive tackles in the 2010 draft, but a UCLA DT just made it better.

Junior Brian Price, who wreaks havoc on the field, just declared himself eligible for the draft. At 6’2″ 300 pounds he’s so low to the ground that he’s difficult to move and the guy gets consistent penetration and makes plays as evidenced by his seven sacks this past season and 23 1/2 tackles for loss.

He’s widely considered the third best DT prospect behind Ndamakong Suh and Gerald McCoy. Mel Kiper has Price 10th on his Big Board, which would make him available to the Bills at 9.

I realize that offensive tackle and QB are more pressing positions, but I don’t know if there’s a QB worthy of the 9th pick overall. Price could be a worthwhile option.

I think DT is close third behind OT and QB for Buffalo, and you’ve got to get your big men early. Draft is a long way off. We’ll see.

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Another LT prospect in draft pool

Posted by Chris Brown on January 7, 2010 – 10:00 am

A good offensive tackle class just got a bit better with a junior eligible forgoing his senior season.

Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year, Bryan Bulaga declared for the draft.

The Iowa product is 6’6″ 315 and has been compared to former Iowa OT Robert Gallery. Now I know that might cause some to wince, but no one is saying Bulaga is going to be the 2nd pick in the draft.

I’m not going to pretend that I know a lot about Bulaga yet, but I do know this guy makes the tackle pool deeper which is important for the Bills who need an offensive tackle in the draft and free agency.

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QB Clausen to have toe surgery

Posted by Chris Brown on January 4, 2010 – 9:04 pm

Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen, who declared himself eligible for the NFL draft this spring won’t be doing much at the NFL Combine in late February.

At that point he’ll be too busy rehabbing his toe as he’s scheduled to have surgery Tuesday morning to repair two torn ligaments according to ESPN. The injury happened all the way back on Sept. 19 in a game against Michigan State. He played the rest of the season with the injury.

His prognosis is three months with Clausen not expected to throw for scouts until early April.

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QB to Bills in CBS mock draft

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2009 – 1:00 pm has Buffalo taking a quarterback with the eighth overall pick.

I’ll have to check to see if their draft order is up to date after Sunday’s games, but Draft analyst Rob Rang has the Bills taking Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen with the eighth pick.

The only quarterback he has going before Clausen is at pick number six where he has the Washington Redskins taking Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford.

Defensive tackles are the first three picks off the board in his mock in Ndamakong Suh, Gerald McCoy and Derrick Morgan.

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Bills will have top 10 pick

Posted by Chris Brown on December 28, 2009 – 12:13 pm

With the best possible record for the Bills being 6-10, Buffalo has clinched a top 10 pick with one game to play.

The Bills are currently 5-10 along with two other teams (Oakland, Seattle) and Chicago, which plays Monday night is 5-9. With no other teams in the league with six wins these four teams can’t catch any one of the teams with seven wins, unless the Bears win tonight.

Tiebreakers for these teams will be determined by strength of schedule. If your strength of schedule is weaker and your team and another team have the same record, you would pick higher under the thinking that your team had an easier schedule and still couldn’t win more games.

So at this point Buffalo will pick anywhere between 7 and 10 in the 2010 NFL draft.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Oregon St. QB not impressive

Posted by Chris Brown on December 23, 2009 – 11:39 am

Oregon St. QB Sean Canfield was a guy that was thought by some draft experts as a senior signal caller that could help his cause in the draft with a good showing in the Las Vegas Bowl Tuesday night. After his performance in windy conditions, I don’t know that I’d have him as a consideration for the Bills.

On a windy night in Las Vegas, Canfield, who doesn’t have a big arm to begin with, struggled big time. He completed just four passes in the first half as the Beavers fell to BYU 44-20. Canfield was 20-41 for 173 yards and an INT.

He still has the postseason games to make a name for himself and help his draft stock, but those blustery conditions were a good indication as to how he might handle a November day in Buffalo and it didn’t go well.

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ESPN’s McShay likes OT class

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2009 – 6:26 pm

ESPN’s Todd McShay in a national conference call for media assessed the 2010 draft class at the offensive tackle position. Here was his take.

“It’s shaping up to be a good group when you look at a couple of these underclassmen that have already said they are coming out, or we’re hearing reports that they’re leaning that way,” said McShay. “Russell Okung from Oklahoma State is not at that exceptional level like Jake Long out of Michigan a couple years ago, but I do think he’s in the first half of the first round type prospect. … Trent Williams from Oklahoma is the same. Williams struggled this year, but he also made the shift from right tackle to left tackle. When you look at him just physically he had the tools and he was so dominant at right tackle a year ago… I think both of those seniors will be in the first half of the first round. 

“I think one of the most talented tackles in the country is Anthony Davis from Rutgers. He comes with a little bit of baggage, but from a skills standpoint he’s 6’5”, 325 pounds and he can move. If teams clear him and have no concerns about his maturity and the way he’s going to handle the NFL — if you just look at it from a pure talent standpoint — I think Davis has a chance to be the first offensive tackle taken, in the top five to 10 picks.”

McShay had the Bills taking Davis with the 10th overall pick in his first mock draft. With no clear cut top flight QBs in this year’s draft class, offensive tackle would be the next logical place for the Bills to look positionally.

Posted in Inside the Bills

ESPN’s McShay on the QB class

Posted by Chris Brown on December 22, 2009 – 4:40 pm

ESPN’s Todd McShay gave his take on a national conference call for media members this week on the 2010 QB draft class. Here’s what he had to say.

“With (Jake) Locker out, it will be interesting now to see how the quarterback position shakes out,” said McShay. “You have Sam Bradford coming off the injury who is very talented and certainly from a skills standpoint and potential standpoint belongs in the top 10 to 15 picks. Then Jimmy Clausen from Notre Dame, who I’m not as high on as some other people seem to be. I think he’s well-coached and has enough physical tools but I don’t think he’s exceptional physically. I think his arm strength is just adequate. I think he’s thrown a lot of balls up for grabs and he’s not going to get away with that in the NFL. And from everyone I talk to in the scouting community, there are questions about his leadership and how good of a teammate he is and do you want him to be the face of your organization.

“I think its going to be very interesting watching the quarterback position with those two as the first-rounders. Then, where does Tim Tebow go and where does Colt McCoy go? Two of the most decorated college football players in the history of the game. With those four quarterbacks at the top, there’s going to be a lot of buzz about the position, but we may only have one that goes in the first half in the first round which makes it even more interesting.” 
There are some other underclassmen that still may declare for the draft like Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett, who is a third-year sophomore. The other guy that I’m interested in watching is Oregon State’s Sean Canfield. He’s playing tonight in the MAACO bowl against BYU. He’s 6’4″ 214 and he’s a southpaw. He doesn’t have great arm strength, but he’s completed 70 percent of his passes and thrown for over 3,100 yards along with 21 TDs and 6 picks.

Beavers head coach Mike Riley has see Derek Anderson and Matt Moore (Carolina starter last week) come through his program, but some experts maintain that Canfield could be even better than those two. How much better is the question.

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Another OT enters draft pool

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2009 – 10:08 am

A junior at the University of Maryland, offensive tackle Bruce Campbell has declared himself eligible for the 2010 NFL Draft, electing to forgo his senior season with the Terps.

The 6’7″ 310-pound tackle has been told by the NFL Advisory Board that he could be drafted anywhere between the middle of the first to the middle of the second round this spring.

ESPN’s Scouts Inc has him ranked as the 24th best prospect overall. He’s still considered a bit of a work in progress by ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay, but had a good 2009 season and his upside is promising.

Another junior that scouts are waiting on is Rutgers OT Anthony Davis, who ranks 14th overall on the Scouts Inc. prospect rankings list.

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McShay has OT going to Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on December 15, 2009 – 1:32 pm

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has the Bills taking an offensive tackle in his first mock draft.

Of course the draft positions have not been set yet with three games to play, but the Bills are projected to pick 10th overall in his mock draft where he has Buffalo taking Rutgers OT Anthony Davis.

Davis (6’5 1/2″ 328), who has elite athletic traits for the left tackle position, is only a junior and has not decided whether he will forgo his final college season and enter the draft.

Mel Kiper says if he waits a year Davis will be a top 5 pick, otherwise he’ll go in the 10-15 range of round one this year. Kipier has him as his top rated junior tackle. The fear with Davis if he does come out is he’s still a bit raw, and would need solid coaching to develop quickly and be a starter on the blind side right away.

Unfortunately the Bills need help that is NFL ready, which is why I’m thinking they might be best served to get a veteran tackle in free agency.

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Jake Locker update

Posted by Chris Brown on December 14, 2009 – 4:03 pm

Bills fans who were hoping to see a 2010 NFL draft class deepen at the quarterback position are no doubt going to be disappointed with the decision reportedly made by Washington Huskies QB Jake Locker.

According to the Associated Press, Locker has chosen to return to school next year for his senior season instead of declaring for the draft.

Locker has first round talent, but does not have a long track of success at the collegiate level. Washington went just 5-7 this season despite Locker throwing for 2,800 yards. But another season under Steve Sarkisian will do him well. He’ll only get better. For the Bills sake however, I wished he was part of this year’s draft class.

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QB Locker still deciding future

Posted by Chris Brown on December 9, 2009 – 1:02 pm

Washington junior QB Jake Locker is still trying to figure out whether to forgo his final year of college eligibility and declare for the draft.

The Tacoma News Tribune provided a list of factors weighing into his decision.

Locker is widely forecast as a top 10 pick in next spring’s draft should he decide to make himself eligible for the 2010 draft.

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Sooners QB to address future

Posted by Chris Brown on October 20, 2009 – 7:00 pm

Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford will address the media about his football future on Wednesday.

According to the Tulsa World, Bradford, who has twice injured his throwing shoulder in this his senior season, will address what his plans are moving forward with respect to his football career.

There’s speculation that he may opt for surgery thereby ending his college career in an effort to be fully healthy in time for the 2010 NFL Draft. But we’ll know for sure Wednesday.

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3 day NFL Draft was inevitable

Posted by Chris Brown on July 23, 2009 – 10:15 pm

The NFL announcing that the draft will now be a 3-day event instead of 2 is anything but a surprise.

With all the draft crazy people that email us at the website alone it was obvious the NFL was going to take advantage of the ever growing fan base that rabidly follows the draft process from the declaration of junior eligibles in January to the draft itself in late April.

“We continue to look for ways to make the draft more accessible to more fans,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a league statement. “Moving the first round to prime time on Thursday night will make the first round of the draft available to fans on what is typically the most-watched night of television.”

I like that it starts on a Thursday and that the 1st round is made into a marquee attraction, especially since its the longest round time-wise anyway.

Saturday however, when they run rounds 4-7 will be for the die hards.

My question for all you fans is whoever is hosting the draft party better have the sleeping bags ready and the guest room and pull out couch ready to accommodate their buds. Either that or house hop with each guy hosting for a day. Get creative fellas.

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Contract parameters for Nelson

Posted by Chris Brown on June 18, 2009 – 3:26 pm

Contract parameters are in place for Bills fourth-round pick Shawn Nelson.

Nelson was the 121st overall pick toward the bottom third of round four with the pick Buffalo acquired from Philadelphia. Taken right after him by Houston was N.C. State tight end Anthony Hill.

Hill signed a 4-year $2.206M deal on Wednesday. Starting points for rookie contracts involve what the player drafted in that spot the year before got and what percentage increase is expected the following year. But when players around your draft pick are signed it can also influence negotiations.

It should be noted though that sometimes having a player at the same position signed one slot behind your draft pick can be a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing if another NFL club overpaid in terms of signing bonus money or other part of the contract.

What that will do is convince the representative for your draft pick that his client should see the same kind of increase percentage-wise. However, if that increase is higher than what your team had budgeted it can make things more difficult concerning negotiations.

Still in most cases there is some underlying benefit when a player who plays the same position, and is drafted right before or right after your draft pick is signed. 

To this point (morning June 18th) none of the Bills eight draft picks have signed.

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Fan Friday 6-12

Posted by Chris Brown on June 12, 2009 – 5:26 pm

Fan Friday 6-12
Well minicamp is wrapped up and now begins the six week hiatus until training camp. Something tells me it’s going to move quickly. Let’s get going with the latest installment. Thanks for your questions. Keep them coming at
1. Do you see the Bills extending the deals of any more players on their roster like they did with Stroud? Guys like McGee, Josh Reed, Denney, Whitner, Poz and a few others only have 1-2 years left on the deals. Getting a few of them locked up would be a good move.

CB: I believe that on the list of guys you have that McGee is top priority. He’s still in the prime of his career and has been an outstanding performer for the Bills from day one. He’s a model professional, plays hurt and keeps his nose clean.

That’s the kind of guy the Bills typically lock up long term (see Lee Evans) so I expect that to get done before the 2009 season is over.

As for Reed and Denney the situation is a little different. Reed has had back issues through the course of his career and to his credit he’s fought through them and performed. Knowing how much Trent relies on Reed it wouldn’t surprise me if he was extended, but with some promising young receivers on the rise (Hardy, Johnson), I’m not sure you can say he’s a lock to get an extension.

Denney is in a similar boat. A solid, steady performer, but with the team invested in Chris Ellis and Aaron Maybin I’m not sure he’s re-signed long term.

Whitner and Poz I anticipate will be taken care of eventually, but probably not this calendar year.


2. Do the Bills believe Bell is ready to step in and contribute at this time? Going to have to have the O-line do a lot of work to get them to work together for this year with all the new players….also, I wonder if Walker can hold up at left tackle for 16 games? Your thoughts????

CB: I don’t think there’s any doubt that the biggest question mark entering the season will be how far the offensive line can come with all the new pieces.

As for Bell I don’t anticipate him challenging Walker or Butler to start, but I do think the staff believes he’s ready to handle the swing tackle role if he’s able to win that job over Kirk Chambers, who has held it the past two seasons.

Walker’s strength as a tackle is in pass protection, which might surprise some people looking at him. That’s a good thing knowing he’s going over to the left side, but he will be facing some top flight pass rushing talent with the schedule this season.


3. Chris,
Its my understanding that Aaron Maybin weighed about 250lbs. at Penn States pro day, at which he displayed consistant 4.6 speed.  Is it likely the Bills will have him continue his growth atleast 10 more pounds, and if so does his quickness remain the same?

CB: Talking to Aaron about this very subject you need to understand he just turned 21 in April so his frame is still just filling out. He said he’d like to be around 255 by his second NFL season, which I think is sufficient. He’s confident he can maintain his speed at that weight.


4. Hey Chris,
How are contract negotiations going with the rookies? I just saw that Sanchez got his contract and I was just wondering when our rookies are going to be signed. Thanks!

David Rieth
Rochester, NY

CB: Negotiations are just in the preliminary stages with some of Buffalo’s later round picks. I don’t see signings beginning for at least another week or so. However, with San Francisco (which picked ahead of the Bills in most rounds) setting the market by signing players right around Buffalo’s picks early it might grease the wheels a bit. We’ll see.


5. Hi Chris,
I was just curious if the Bills are looking to upgrade the outside linebacker position with what’s still left in the market or are they content with the youngsters they have on the roster.  I also am curious if you know the status of Derrick Brooks?  Is he still looking for work or did he decide to hang it up?  If he is still looking for a contract, do you think the Bills should take a 1 year chance on him until they can develop Nic Harris or Al Bowen?

CB: I believe the club will stand pat at OLB heading into camp. Injury could change that, but I don’t see them pursuing Derrick Brooks, though it makes sense with his familiarity with the system. I think the coaching staff has a lot of faith that Alvin Bowen and Nic Harris can be legitimate competition for Keith Ellison and from what I’ve seen I would agree.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills not alone in coveting Byrd

Posted by Chris Brown on May 5, 2009 – 1:32 am

As different stories emerge from draft weekend, it appears the Bills decision to select Jairus Byrd in round two was timely since there was a team right behind them that had their eyes on him.

According to’s John Clayton the 49ers were going to take Byrd with the 43rd pick, the one right after Buffalo’s at 42, but the Bills picked the Oregon ballhawk off the board and San Fran promptly traded out of the pick allowing the Panthers to surrender a first round pick in 2010 to get Everette Brown.

Buffalo got the luck of the draw in round two. The Bills and Niners had the same record last year (7-9), but because the Niners had a weaker schedule than Buffalo and still only won 7 games they got to pick ahead of the Bills in round one.

But the rule states that the two teams rotate back and forth by round, with Buffalo selecting 10th in round two and San Fran 11th. And that continues to alternate round by round through the draft.

If that rule wasn’t in place, Byrd would have been there for San Fran to scoop up at pick 42.

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