Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 4-22

Posted by Chris Brown on April 22, 2011 – 12:30 pm

The 2011 NFL draft is so close you can taste it. Let’s get to your last set of questions before the Bills are on the clock from AskChris@bills.nfl.net !

1 - Hi Chris,

I know the Bills wanted to have a special fan event presentation to announce the new uniforms and that it might not be for awhile.
But, what uniform would the first round pick of the Bills hold up after he’s drafted?  Will it be the old navy/home uniform or the new one that we haven’t seen yet?

Thanks!
Sincerely,

Brenda from Colorado

CB: The jersey held up by the Bills top draft choice is a league operation. From what I have been told the draft is NOT when the new jersey will be unveiled despite a lot of speculation to the contrary. The unveiling of the 2011 uniforms will be later in the offseason.

So the league will use the current jersey when the Bills first draft choice is introduced, provided he’s in New York at the draft.

2 - Hi Chris,

Do you know if the players have talked about any plans for the off season regarding the lockout? Can Coaches and players put together plans or not? If you were the head coach, what would you do? We might get in trouble for doing this but I would send out my playbook for this coming season to my signal callers and have them practice. Is this illegal and what are the possible ramifications?

Best,
Stephen A. Naetzker

CB: There are a handful of players from different teams organizing practice sessions amongst themselves. Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald is one of the more recent examples that has been reported. I did catch a radio interview with Stevie Johnson recently and he did say that a few of Buffalo’s receivers planned to work with Ryan Fitzpatrick in his native Arizona.

This is all conducted by the players on their own behalf. Coaches cannot have any contact with the players under the NFL rules with the lockout. And yes your playbook idea is illegal.

3 – Hey Chris, do you think the Bills will have a chance at drafting Patrick Peterson, Cameron Heyward and Kelvin Sheppard with their first three picks? 

Thanks

Alexander Toronto
CB: I do believe Peterson will be there at third overall. He’s a dynamic player, but I think the front seven is where Buffalo’s defense needs the most help heading into the draft. Cameron Heyward could still be on the board in round two. Kelvin Sheppard is a tough one to call in round three. If there’s one team in round two that loves him they’ll scoop him up.

4 – How many opening day (2011) starters do you think Buffalo can draft with 9 picks?

Care to guess the offensive/defensive split of those 9 picks?

I think it is a 7-2 split on the picks (7 defense, 2 offense).
Jim Wickens

CB: Chan Gailey himself has said he expects them to use more of their picks on the defensive side of the ball. Predicting the split is next to impossible because come the later rounds it’s more about the value there than which side of the ball. So I’ll account for one value pick and say six defense and three offense.

As for opening day starters most NFL GMs believe that picks in the first three round should eventually become starters. At third overall the guy should start from day one. Buffalo’s second pick, which is practically a late first rounder should be starting caliber as a rookie as well. Third round pick should be a starter in a year or so. Of course what could trump the number of starters would be a quarterback prospect that might sit for a year. So I’ll conservatively say two.

5 - Hi Chris,
 
Thanks for your great work and keeping us Bills fans in the know. But my question is about Aaron Maybin. Why is he still a Buffalo Bill? Just seems to me that if coach Gailey and Buddy Nix didn’t think there was something there, they would’ve waived him a long time ago. That just leads me to think that they feel strongly that there is alot of untaped potential there that can be developed. I know he’s still really young. What have you heard and/or what are your thoughts on that situation?
 
Thanks again,
Jerry (Bills fan in FL)

CB: I’m going to defer to a recent comment by Coach Gailey on this.

“Aaron is under contract and we’ll see if he can learn what to do and be a player for us,” said Gailey. “He has great speed, he understands about rushing the passer, not everything. He has some work to do there. He has to play the run a little bit better. He’s got a chance. The ball is in his court. He’s got to go make it happen. Potential only lasts so long. He’s run out of that potential time and he needs to now go and make it happen.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Tight race in fan CB choice

Posted by Chris Brown on April 1, 2011 – 8:53 am

In our tightest race ever Bills fans had one top cornerback prospect ahead of two others that tied for second as they voted for the best cornerback fit for Buffalo from our Countdown to Draft Day position previews.

Bills fans picked LSU’s Patrick Peterson as the best fit for the team giving him just over 38% of the vote. Tied for second were Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara and Miami’s Brandon Harris who both pulled down just over 23% of the vote.

Up now is the all important quarterback position preview, so take a look and pull out your cell phone to vote for which quarterback you believe is the best fit for the Bills. Watch the Countdown to Draft Day QB preview and follow the texting instructions at the end of the preview to have your choice count!


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kirwan: Bills take CB, QB

Posted by Chris Brown on March 28, 2011 – 1:42 pm

NFL.com’s Pat Kirwan just put together his newest two-round mock draft and he’s got Buffalo taking a cornerback followed by a quarterback.

Kirwan has Buffalo taking LSU CB Patrick Peterson third overall after he has Marcell Dareus and Da’Quan Bowers going to Carolina and Denver. Here’s his line of reasoning for the pick.

Patrick has Charles Woodson-like qualities as well as terrific return skills. With Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, the Bills can afford to wait until the second round for a quarterback. With Tom Brady in the division, the Bills need a shutdown cornerback.

Then in round two he has Buffalo taking QB Ryan Mallett. This might be the first time I’ve seen Mallett predicted for the Bills in round two. Former Arkansas and Bills QB Joe Ferguson offered this comment on Ryan Mallett to Buffalobills.com.

“Ryan Mallett has got all the talent,” Ferguson said. “He’s 6’7” and weighs about 250 and has a very strong arm. His mobility is the negative that he may have, but there have been a lot of great quarterbacks that couldn’t run around very much and played the game a long time, like Dan Marino. He’s got that caliber arm. Depending on the team he goes to if they can help him with a good running game and a good defense I think he’ll be a good quarterback.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

King on prospects Bills like

Posted by Chris Brown on March 28, 2011 – 1:35 pm

SI.com’s Peter King in his Monday Morning QB column mentioned a couple of players that he believes the Bills are high on in round one.

In his 10 truths portion of his weekly MMQB column number four dealt with the Bills and read as follows.

The Bills like Von Miller and Patrick Peterson a lot. Not saying they’ll take either. Just saying they’re high on both, and even though GM Buddy Nix has been at every top quarterback’s workout, Buffalo-watchers think it’s more likely the team will go defense.

While the note is far from surprising, knowing how many NFL clubs are enamored with the abilities of Peterson and Miller, both widely forecast as top five picks, it’s the second part of his blurb that is perhaps even more interesting.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

LSU pro day

Posted by Chris Brown on March 14, 2011 – 8:46 am

Monday may as well be LSU day as far as NFL scouts and personnel executives are concerned. It’s the only major program on the pro day slate today (Monday).

Patrick Peterson, Terrance Toliver, Drake Nevis, Kelvin Sheppard and others will be participating in Baton Rouge. Peterson, largely projected as a top five pick has wowed scouts to this point. It’ll be interesting to see if he works out fully or picks and chooses among the test drills. Nevis meanwhile is an interesting DT prospect that could be a second to third round consideration.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Casserly mock, CB to Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 10, 2011 – 12:17 pm

NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly has the Bills taking a defensive back third overall in his top 10 mock draft.

After Da’Quan Bowers to Carolina and Marcell Dareus to Denver, he has Buffalo taking LSU’s Patrick Peterson. Calling him one of the top three talents in the draft Casserly says he can’t see him falling out of the top 3.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Peterson runs low 4.3

Posted by Chris Brown on March 1, 2011 – 12:01 pm

LSU CB Patrick Peterson just ran his first 40 and didn’t quite hit his goal of running a 4.2.

Peterson ran an unofficial 4.32 according to the NFL Network. Peterson is forecast as a top five pick.

UPDATE: His second 40 time was an unofficial 4.37.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Peterson wants to blaze in 40

Posted by Chris Brown on February 27, 2011 – 3:14 pm

LSU CB Patrick Peterson, largely considered a top 5 pick, has a pretty low figure in mind for his 40 time on Tuesday.

“I definitely want to run a 4.2. If not, then in the low 4.3s.”

Peterson said the last time he ran a timed 40 was last week and he ran a 4.29, so it would seem getting under 4.3 is a real possibility.

Peterson measured 6’0″ and 219 pounds, and is considered one of the best athletes in the draft class. He feels going against the likes of Alabama’s Julio Jones and Georgia’s A.J. Green multiple times in his college career has him as prepared as possible for the NFL.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-18

Posted by Chris Brown on February 18, 2011 – 3:46 pm

A reminder that our NFL combine coverage from Indianapolis begins on Thursday here on Buffalobills.com and runs through the weekend. So be sure to check the blog, the home page and the media center for stories, one-on-one interviews and comment from the top NFL prospects. Now to your questions.

1 – Chris, 
I’m delighted to see that you are intrigued about Colin Kaepernick – a guy I have had my eye on as a prime prospect for the Bills.  Buddy Nix says he likes to see consistent success at the college level and here’s a guy who has passed for 2,000 yards and run for over 1,000 for three straight years – the only player in NCAA history to do that.  He clearly needs work on his throwing motion, but he was already at 67% accuracy with his current motion.  What would he be like with some good coaching to get him to release the ball correctly?  But the best thing about him is his intelligence, leadership and character.  The intangibles don’t get much higher.  And he did lead his team to a #11 ranking in the final AP  poll. Let us know what you think.

Dan Singal
Rochester

CB: Kaepernick is intriguing to me because he has prototype size, arm strength and athleticism. What’s between the ears is what is going to be key in his evaluation. When NFL teams put him on the board and ask him to come up with answers for certain coverages or test his rate of retention with plays in the course of a 15-minute interview it’s designed to get a better handle on how he can adapt to a sophisticated NFL offense.

He ran a pistol offense at Nevada and in talking to him he’s well aware that he has to show that he can operate from under center. But more importantly he has to convince NFL decision makers that he can leaern, process and execute a complex NFL offense. All that being said I think at best he’s a late second-round pick.

2 – Chris,
I’ve been thinking about all of the people’s questions to you about getting a “slash” QB in the draft. Personally, I think we need more of pocket passer if we were going to get a QB early on in the draft. I was thinking that they go with a DE or a CB in the first pick, and then maybe trying to shoot for a Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Mallet, or, Jake Locker in the 2nd pick if they are still there, so he can be a backup for a year or two under Fitz’s Guidance. Your thoughts?
 
Thanks,
Zack
Vernon NY

CB: Gabbert is widely considered a top 10 pick. I’m not sure I’m ready to be convinced of that, but most draft analysts see him gone by Arizona’s pick at 10 at the latest. Locker or Mallett could slip into the second round if they don’t show much this week at the combine or their pro day or do not fare well in the interviews with NFL clubs. Locker and Mallett have inconsistencies in their game and Gabbert has questions as well. Of those three Mallett is the only true pocket guy. The other two are mobile so I’m not sure they fit your criteria.
Personally I think the Bills only take a QB in the first two rounds if they believe he can be a franchise QB in a year or two, otherwise I see them going defense.

3 - Hi Chris,
In some mock drafts that have Fairley going to Carolina, I see some people giving us Patrick Peterson.  I loved what I saw from Marcell Dareus and think he would make more sense and help our run defense immensely.  Do you think the Bills would go with more talent in Peterson or a bigger need in Dareus?

-John
Fredonia

CB: I’m not privy to their preferences or draft grades, but my thinking is if they’re down to a decision at 3 between Peterson and Dareus, and their grades on them are close, I believe Dareus would be the pick. Peterson is a special talent, but Dareus helps to answer your biggest problem, which is your run defense. I don’t see that going unrecognized in that kind of a debate.

4 – Chris,
Every since the Bills announced Doug Whaley as Assistant General Manager/Director of Pro Personnel he has kept a pretty low profile with the media.  His hiring was hailed as a great move but I think the jury is still out.  What are your thoughts?  Also could you detail how the Pro Personnel department is structured (personnel-wise) and what are everyone’s duties.  We constantly hear about Tom Modrak and his scouts preparing for the draft but how does the Pro Personnel department spend their time throughout the year?  Do they maintain a video library on every single player in the NFL or do they rely on other team’s pro departments for help when they need it?  Could you do an in-depth explanation sometime in the future?
 
Thanks,
Go Bills!

CB: Doug doesn’t mind keeping a low profile. He just likes to go about his business, which deals primarily with the pro personnel side of things. He the head guy on the pro side of the ledger and did a pretty good job in his first year bringing in talent like Kraig Urbik, who stands a good chance of starting at right guard next year if Wood goes to center permanently. He brought in Chad Rinehart, who is a capable reserve interior lineman. And Erik Pears, who was acquired late in the year could be the starting right tackle next season. Akin Ayodele to fortify a position hurt by injury were all good pickups.

I think his ability to secure talent at times of the year when talent is sparse speaks to his expertise. Buffalo is in good hands on that end of the roster building business.
5 - Hi chris,
How important is it to upgrade at right tackle this offseason?  Is it high on the priority list and do you see the bills bringing in a GOOD veteran or a higher draft pick rookie?  I was wondering your thoughts on the tackles in the draft and if any of them like Nate Solder would fit into a right tackle role for us, or if we even have a shot at him? 
 
Thanks – Showtime.

CB: I don’t see right tackle as high on the priority list. It’s fourth behind DL, LB and QB as I see it. The reason why is because of the aforementioned Erik Pears. He was a two-year starter for Denver before he fell out of favor there and bounced around since then. Is he a long term solution? That’s up to the coaches, but he’s at least a proven player at that position in the league and can hold the fort until they cultivate more talent.

I’m not saying they won’t draft a tackle. In fact I hope at some point they do just for capable depth, but with the needs so great on defense I don’t think it’s a lock to happen.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

CB to Bills in mock draft

Posted by Chris Brown on February 7, 2011 – 3:58 pm

The latest mock draft from Pro Football Weekly has a cornerback going to the Bills with the third overall pick and does not have Nick Fairley off the board until pick #6.

PFW has Buffalo taking LSU CB Patrick Peterson third overall after Carolina takes Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers and Denver takes Alabama DL Marcel Dareus. They don’t have Auburn DL Nick Fairley come off the board until pick #6 to the Browns.

I suppose there could be some concern on the part of scouts that Fairley came out of nowhere this year for the Tigers as a JUCO transfer and is a player that’s been dominant for just one season. So I guess it’s possible he could slide out of the top 5, but I just don’t see it. Fairley dominated in the most talented conference in college football and had some of his best games against the best that conference has to offer in competition in games against LSU and Alabama.

In my mind the kid is just scratching the surface of what he’s capable of, which is a scary thought.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-4

Posted by Chris Brown on February 4, 2011 – 12:25 pm

Hall of Fame selection weekend. Best of luck to Andre Reed. Now to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 – Chris,
it seems that going to an 18-game schedule is a foregone conclusion, unfortunately. But I haven’t seen anywhere where those two extra games will come from.

In the Bills’ case, would it be two extra games against NFC teams, or two non-divisional AFC opponents? I’m assuming we wouldn’t play a third game against two divisional rivals, but I guess I shouldn’t rule that out. Has the NFL announced how it would work?
 
Thanks, and Go Bills!
Tom in Austin
 
CB: I don’t know if I’d call an 18-game regular season schedule a lock, despite what Bill Polian has gone on record saying regarding it being a “done deal.” To my knowledge determining the two extra opponents for each of the 32 teams would also prove to be no easy task for a couple of reasons. Two added games would obviously not be enough to play your division opponents a third time through.

My guess is they’d take a similar approach to what they do now with the last two games in which you play the teams in the two intra-conference divisions that you don’t face in the rotational schedule format that finished in the same place as you did the previous season.

So much like the Bills will face the last place finishers in the AFC South (Tennessee) and AFC North (Cincinnati), I would think the league would have teams square off against interconference division teams that also finished in the same place in their division.

For example, for Buffalo they play the NFC East next season, so to add two more regular season games my guess is they would add a pair of NFC opponents from two of the other three NFC divisions that also finished in last place in 2010 (Arizona, Carolina, Minnesota).
Even by adding two more interconference opponents, 12 of their 18 games would still be against the AFC (two-thirds).  

I have read that if the 18-game schedule goes through in a new CBA that it would not take effect until the 2012 season.

2 - Hi Chris,
My question is why do you think the Bills had such a hard time rushing this season? I know Fred did pretty good for not starting the season, but there were a lot of games that the average up the middle runs went for one or two yards. Fred had a monster season the year before and the line hadn’t changed that dramatically. Ironically their pass protection improved greatly, but I was under the impression run blocking was easier and more enjoyable for an offensive line.
 
Dan
Western MA

CB: Believe it or not the Bills rushing offense was not that bad up the middle as they averaged just over four yards per carry on 153 rushes (4.03 yards). As a team their average yards per carry ranked a respectable 13th in the league (4.3).

Blocking on the edges is where things proved difficult, though the averages wouldn’t suggest it. Part of that problem was due to Demetrius Bell’s compromised state of readiness for the season coming off of major offseason knee surgery. He also told me personally that one area of his game that needs the most improvement is his run blocking. Also the state of flux at right tackle throughout the season with a handful of players starting there in 2010.

The main reason the pass protection was better was due mainly to Fitzpatrick’s ability to get the ball out quickly or adjust the protection to fit the blitz or rush scheme coming at him. Chan Gailey’s play calling also helped. You likely saw the difference when Fitz was not in the lineup in the season finale.
3 – Chris,
I have a couple predictions for the Bills offseason moves.   I see them letting Donte Whitner and Drayton Florence go if reasonable deals can’t get done.  For that reason, I see Patrick Peterson being our pick at #3.  I hope Buffalo goes after front 7 help, buy if Fairley is off the board, I think Peterson is the next best talent.  (also, Buffalo has history of neglecting front seven help with their top pick)

I also felt the Bills were strong contenders to draft Tim Tebow last year.  Now that Denver has had changes in the front office and their coaching staff, how likely do u see Tebow being traded to Buffalo?? 

I get the impression Brohm/Brown aren’t the long term fix.   It makes sense to me (assuming Elway and Fox aren’t sold on Tebow).  Any thoughts?

Thanks
Jim Eimer

CB:  If Whitner and Florence are not in the fold come draft weekend, I think Peterson is a distinct possibility. With Terrence McGee 30-years old and Leodis McKelvin still trying to find consistency with his game and Ashton Youboty also a free agent it’s not unrealistic to see that happen. I do believe that Denver with the 2nd pick is also going to take a long look at Peterson themselves with Champ Bailey not expected back in 2011.

Even though there is talk straight from Team President John Elway that Kyle Orton could still start next year at QB  for the Broncos, I do not see Denver moving Tim Tebow, so to me he’s not an option. 

GM Buddy Nix mentioned at the Senior Bowl that they do intend to add a quarterback, but I’m not certain it will be in the draft. If there is some kind of free agent period prior to the draft because a new labor agreement is in place, then I think Miami free agent Tyler Thigpen is a possibility knowing his history with Chan Gailey in Kansas City.

I believe the Bills would prefer to go with a signal caller with some NFL experience rather than another young player knowing they already have that in Levi Brown.

4 - Chris,

1.   I heard that the Ravens DL Haloti Ngata, who was the guy the Bills should have picked when Levy took Donte Whitner in the 1st round, that he is a free agent this year. Do you think that the Bills could sign him? If so, that and if Buffalo could draft Nick Fairley this year, and with a healthy Lights Out Merriman playing LB, would improve the Bills defense 100%. They would get well in a hurry.
2.  If the Bills cant pick Fairley or Bowers with the 3rd pick in this years draft, what do you think they should do? Draft A J Green? Trade down and try to get extra picks? Or draft the best QB or offensive lineman available?
3.  C J Spiller was a disappointment this year. Both as a runner and as a kick returner. Made too many fair catches. It looks like the Bills made the wrong pick in the 1st round once again. Do you think Spiller could be a wide receiver? He seems to have good hands and speed.

regards
LeeD

CB: Ngata is expected to be given the franchise tag by the Ravens between Feb. 10th and the 24th when it can be used, so he won’t be available, unless the NFLPA’s argument that the tags can’t be used are upheld. Even if they can’t use the tags we’ve heard Buddy Nix say that going after high-priced free agents in not part of their plan to build this team back into a contender.

I’m not anticipating Nick Fairley to be available either. I think he’ll go first or second to Carolina or Denver. If he is there at three I’d take him in a second.

I’m not crazy about Bowers for Buffalo’s defense, but if he and Fairley are both gone, I’d entertain Patrick Peterson as a pick. There’s talk he could be the next Charles Woodson and Woodson went fourth overall. I’d also be inclined to take DL Marcel Dareus there too. There are no offensive linemen worthy of the number three pick and in my opinion I don’t believe there’s a QB worthy either.

As for C.J. I think you’re giving up on him way too early. Take a look at Jamaal Charles’ numbers his first NFL season. They’re very similar to C.J.’s and they have a similar skill set. Charles was second in the league in rushing this season, his third in the NFL. I think in due time Spiller will be the impact player the Bills believe he can be.

5 - Chris,
With the number of guard possibilities that we now have, has there been any thought to trying Andy Levitre at RT. He played some tackle in college.
 
Mark
Ashburn, Va

CB: While I don’t dismiss Andy’s ability to kick out to tackle in a pinch, I believe the Bills feel they have at least a short term solution at right tackle in Erik Pears, who was signed late in the season. Pears is a former two-year starter for the Denver Broncos and showed well in the time he got down the stretch in 2010. In my mind he’s the odds on favorite to start at right tackle in 2011, not only because of his steady play, but because he adds a valuable veteran presence to the line.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Denver leaning CB at #2?

Posted by Chris Brown on February 4, 2011 – 10:58 am

There’s little question that the Denver Broncos need a ton of help for their defense, which ranked last in the league in 2010. What is up for debate is the direction they choose to take with the second overall pick. There’s a prevailing thought outside the Broncos organization that LSU CB Patrick Peterson would be the pick.

That’s because Champ Bailey is not expected back per the Denver Post. Not only is he a free agent and set to turn 33 in June, but apparently there was a deal in principle for an extension and it was pulled off the table by the Broncos. Add in the fact that he stated that he will go to where he feels he has the best chance to win a Super Bowl and Denver becomes less and less likely.

With Elvis Dumervil, a premier pass rusher who missed the 2010 season with a torn pectoral muscle, expected back, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Denver pass on a big man in favor of a corner that’s been described as the next Charles Woodson. April however, is a long way off.

Denver’s decisionmaking obviously has a great impact on the direction the Bills take with the third overall pick.


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LSU’s Peterson draft bound

Posted by Chris Brown on January 10, 2011 – 4:23 pm

LSU CB Patrick Peterson made an expected announcement Monday declaring himself eligible for the 2011 NFL draft.

Peterson (6’1″ 222) decided to forgo his senior season shortly after LSU’s victory in the Cotton Bowl over Texas A&M, as he’s projected to be a top five pick this spring, and widely considered the best cornerback in this year’s draft class.

“I might not ever be in this position again,” said Peterson as his press conference. “I thought it was a no-brainer to enter the draft now.”

Peterson also revealed that his father’s favorite team is the Miami Dolphins, but he’s hoping he isn’t drafted by Miami (he’s a Pompano Beach, FL native).

Voted SEC Defensive and Special Teams Player of the Year, Peterson returned a pair of punts for touchdowns and averaged better than 29 yards on kick returns. He also had four interceptions on defense where he was routinely assigned to cover the opponent’s top receiving threat.


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Posted in Inside the Bills