The film reviewers and stat crunchers at ProFootballFocus have put together a list of suggested free agent targets for the Bills this offseason as they try to assess some of the team’s most glaring positional needs.
PFF goes into their assessment under the assumption that Buffalo’s defense will largely be a 3-4 scheme, which if you heard anything from defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, is not a safe assumption. He’s preached being multiple and explained that in this day and age you can’t definitively be a 4-3 or 3-4 front defense.
In any event they list OLB, DE and TE/slot WR as the positional needs that could most effectively be addressed in free agency. Among the players they list are Baltimore’s OLB Paul Kruger, NY Jets DL Mike DeVito and NY Jets TE Dustin Keller as options to fill those roles.
Kruger had a solid season, but benefited from opponents keying on Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs after he returned to the lineup in 2012. DeVito is a solid, dependable run defender. Keller is an interesting option knowing it’s very iffy as to whether Scott Chandler would be ready to return by training camp coming off ACL surgery.
Tags: Dustin Keller, Mike DeVito, Mike Pettine, NFL free agency, Paul Kruger
Posted in Inside the Bills
The draft is only about a month away, but there are still some free agent questions out there from you the fan. In addition to answering some of the more popular questions here, I’ve also been responding (as much as possible) personally to your emails as well. I’m a bit behind on them, but plowing through them as best I can.
Remember you can always email me at AskChris@bills.nfl.net on anything Bills. Here we go.
1. Hello Mr.Brown,
I would like to know what you think about the Julius Peppers situation in Carolina! Do you think the Bills would be bold enough to sign him, if he is available? Also I was watching NFL network and Mayock said that the TE’s in this draft class are mostly good receiving TE’s not so much blocking classic TE’s, wouldn’t it be more advantageous to pick the best available Offensive Lineman? To help the run and also keeping Trent upright. Since Fine and Schouman, I feel performed okay when given the chance.
CB: First, the Julius Peppers situation. I don’t see the Bills as a serious player because Peppers is likely to get upwards of $13-14 million dollars a year in a new contract. That’s too steep for a lot of teams including Buffalo.
I believe the Bills will address their pass rush in the draft.
As for the tight end position in the draft, Mayock is right, there are a lot more pass catchers than blockers at the tight end position. I think that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the Bills, who have rarely if ever had a dynamic pass catching threat at the position.
I think Schouman and Fine are both good all-around tight ends, but I think the team would like to add a game breaking threat in the passing game there. Of course the staff considered Royal their best blocking tight end last year, which is why he retained the starting role in 2008. So even if they take a pass catching threat at the position, they will likely still be looking for a true in-line blocking TE too.
I think that’s why so many mock drafters have Pettigrew going to the Bills because he fills both of those roles better than anyone else in the draft for Buffalo. But if Buffalo stays at 11, I’m not sure the value is right to take him there.
My question to you is: What if the Bills are on the clock at 11 and Maybin, Brown and Orakpo along with Defensive Tackle B.J.Raji are gone and one of the top Left Tackles, Jason Smith out of Baylor for example, is available; could you see the Bills drafting him and trading Jason Peters for a 1st round draft pick to a team that may need one like Detroit (20th) and Philadelphia (21st or 28th)? There is no doubt that Peters is a gifted athlete but with another off season of potential hold outs by him and his agent, do you think it would be beneficial to the team to stop these distractions and get down to business?
CB: That’s a tricky scenario. Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe won’t be there, but I understand your point. Michael Oher and Andre Smith should be there at 11, and with the way things are going regarding an extension for Jason Peters, what you’re proposing is more realistic than some might think.
If the Jason Peters situation is still unresolved come draft weekend, I can see the team moving him for a first and middle round pick, maybe more, maybe less. Acquiring an additional first round pick should give the Bills the luxury of taking one of the top four offensive tackles in the draft at 11.
I’d prefer Michael Oher to Smith because Oher is arguably the most athletic tackle in the draft. His instincts still need to be developed, but his athleticism makes up for a lot of those shortcomings that should get better in time. Oher could play on the left side, Smith cannot at this level as I see it.
Now keep in mind that they could address another position at 11 like linebacker in this scenario and get one of the bet of the bunch, whoever they determine that to be and if they’re down in the early 20’s with their other first round pick as you suggest, they could grab Arizona State OT Eben Britton, but he is more of a right tackle at the NFL level according to most scouts.
Things could certainly get very interesting for the Bills on draft weekend.
3. Hey Chris,
I have seen all your blogs and answers to Fan Friday Questions on Brown, Orakpo and Maybin. Just wondering what your thoughts were on 3 other pretty good prospects: Michael Johnson, Paul Kruger and Tyson Jackson. Are they all stretches at #11, or is it conceivable that one of them may still be available in Rd 2?
If they were, it is possible to go after Raji at #11, a DE in Rd2 and maybe trade up to get one of the top 3 TE’s, Coffman maybe? Talk about hypothetical!
CB: I think that Johnson and Kruger will both be available in round 2, but Jackson will be gone before the Bills pick at 42. Jackson is more of a 3-4 end anyway.
Johnson has freakish physical ability, but is raw and inconsistent. As a result I don’t know if he’ll be able to handle a full time role as a rookie, so that keeps him out of the first round.
Kruger’s upside is a bit limited as I see it. He’s got great straight line speed, but I’m not certain that he’s strong enough right now to hold the point against the run in the NFL. He’s also not that elite explosive type end (ran a 4.79 and 4.83) so he is probably a late 2nd to early 3rd round prospect.
A guy I’d consider in the round two is Cincinnati’s Connor Barwin. He’s more of the quick-twitch athlete you’re looking for to boost a pass rush. I think he could come in right away and help on passing downs, which is what Buffalo needs.
What are your thoughts on the restructuring of Jason Peters’ contract? I believe that his holding out at the beginning of the year impacted the team in a negative way. It seemed that it ruined the whole chemistry of the O-line. As we all know, it wasn’t until the Monday night game when the run game started to get going. I wasn’t impressed all season with the protection of Trent Edwards. Honestly, I don’t know how Peters was elected to the Pro-Bowl. Do you foresee a possible trade, renegotiation, no action, or something else? Thanks for your time.
CB: From what I understand the two sides have yet to close the gap on a new contract. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bills still work to come to a resolution until the NFL draft, and if there is no progress my feeling is they may look into trading him prior to draft weekend. It’ll be unfortunate if it comes to that, but it takes two parties to make an agreement work and if the Bills can’t get some kind of compromise from the Peters camp it doesn’t leave them with too many other alternatives. And I don’t believe they’d be interested in dragging a contract renegotiation through another season.
I know DE is the considered the most pressing need but you and others
have mentioned how the top guys in the draft may not be able to stand
up to the run or are straight ahead rushers, etc. I’m just another
hopeless Bills fan, but if BJ Raji is available at 11, I’d take him.
(Full disclosure: I’m a BC grad but that’s pure coincidence in this
case.) Raji looks like a safer bet and more of a sure-fire thing. If
Stroud and Raji are pushing in, it might free up the current DE’s.
I’ve gotten a little sensitive to how the Bills have used some earlier
CB: I’ve got no problem with taking Raji at 11 if he’s there and a couple of the top speed rushers are already gone. In fact I think he’s the best secondary option to Everette Brown, though Aaron Maybin is tempting.
Your point about Raji and Stroud is valid, but I still think you could add talent at end in the second round with a Connor Barwin, for example if you took Raji at 11. So I’m not opposed to that approach at all. Heck I wanted Haloti Ngata back in 2006 (no offense Donte). I just believe in getting your big men early.
Does JP Losman have any suitors or teams expressing interest? I mean I always supported JP and was actually excited when he got a shot to play this past year but he did so awful. Is it a possibility we might see JP in the CFL???
CB: From what I’ve heard the Denver Broncos were interested in J.P. as a backup, but Chris Simms signed with them before Losman’s agent could enter into any hard core negotiations with Denver. Other than that I’ve heard very little as to interest in him by other teams.
I think his physical ability will convince some team to bring him in as a backup.
You are right that his play last year didn’t do much to help his cause so I’m not confident he could be part of a competition somewhere for a starter’s job. I think he’s got to take a backup role somewhere and hope he gets a chance to step on the field to prove he’s capable.
Tags: Aaron Maybin, Andre Smith, B.J. Raji, Brandon Pettigrew, Brian Orakpo, Chris Simms, Connor Barwin, Derek Fine, Derek Schouman, Eugene Monroe, Everette Brown, Fan Friday, Haloti Ngata, J.P. Losman, Jason Peters, Jason Smith, Julius Peppers, Michael Johnson, Michael Oher, NFL Draft, NFL free agency, Paul Kruger, Trent Edwards, Tyson Jackson
Posted in Inside the Bills
Here is a sampling of some initial 40 times posted by some of the more notable defensive linemen at the Combine this morning. These times are unofficial.
DT B.J. Raji – Boston College – 5.13
DE Robert Ayers – Tennessee – 4.8
DE Connor Barwin – Cincinnait – 4.56
DE Paul Kruger – Utah – 4.84
DE Everette Brown – Florida State – 4.63
DE Brian Orakpo – Texas – 4.63
Obviously Brown and Orakpo ran well. Barwin was very fast and that 40 time will help him. Kruger was a bit disappointing at 4.84. Ayers was not expected to run a super fast time since he’s not considered an elite pass rusher, but more of an all-around prospect.
Tags: B.J. Raji, Brian Orakpo, Connor Barwin, Everette Brown, NFL Combine, Paul Kruger, Robert Ayers
Posted in Inside the Bills
Utah DE Paul Kruger has declared himself eligible for the draft. A fourth-year sophomore (served a 2-yr Mormon mission) Kruger had 8 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss.
He was recruited to Utah as a QB, but quickly adjusted to the defensive side of the ball. He runs a 4.68 40-time and is already 23-years old. He’s projected by some scouting services as a borderline 1st-2nd round pick.
Tags: NFL Draft, Paul Kruger
Posted in Inside the Bills