Inside The Bills

Don’t dismiss those who didn’t visit

Posted by Chris Brown on April 19, 2012 – 8:39 am

The Bills had a total of 30 prospects make pre-draft visits to One Bills Drive. While it certainly demonstrates interest on the Bills’ part to know more about those players, Bills GM Buddy Nix warns that prospects that weren’t on that visit list shouldn’t be dismissed as prospects of interest.

Appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Thursday morning, Nix said whoever the 10th pick is they most likely will have visited with them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a pre-draft visit.

“At the number 10 pick there’s a 99 percent chance we have visited with him,” said Nix. “The difference is we visit with them at a lot of different times. When we’re at the Combine there is a room set up with tables for each team. Every player is scheduled to be in that room when he’s not working out or getting medical. He has to be in that room. All of our position coaches are in there at the table with a couple of scouts getting players for them. They bring them in and set them down at the table and the coaches interview them. That takes care of all the players at the Combine. Then at night we pick 60 guys that they bring in to our room at the hotel and we interview those 60.

“Then when we come back home we’re allowed to bring in 30 guys. Plus when I go to workouts I’ll have a set time to meet with guys one-on-one and we go 30 minutes and our scouts do the same thing. I don’t think we’ll miss more than one prospect every two or three years.”

Nix was then asked about whether he met with Iowa OT Riley Reiff and Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd, who were not on Buffalo’s pre-draft visit list at One Bills Drive.

“I spent time at the Combine with both of those guys,” said Nix. “I went to Notre Dame and visited with him for practice and to do tape on him. I talked to everybody about him. You can’t rule a guy out because we haven’t done this or that. We know Michael Floyd and we know Riley Reiff. Just because a guy wasn’t on the 30 visit list doesn’t mean you can rule him out.”


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Another OT for Bills in mock

Posted by Chris Brown on April 12, 2012 – 1:31 pm

Yet another mock draft with another offensive tackle pick, but what is most interesting is what they listed as an alternative selection.

This one put together by draft site Walterfootball.com has Buffalo taking a Big 10 offensive tackle with the 10th pick. Here’s what they wrote. What I find most interesting is the listing of Boston College LB Luke Kuechly as an alternative. Kuechly has not been seen much on the mock radar for Buffalo. That being said the only way I think he’s a consideration for Buffalo at 10 is if the value at OT or WR doesn’t fit for the Bills at that point in round one.

10. Buffalo – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

I’ve slotted a defensive end here for the past billion or so updates, but it doesn’t appear that the Bills will be going that way anymore after signing Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. General manager Buddy Nix can now look elsewhere.

The left tackle position has to be addressed. They paid tons of money to Ryan Fitzpatrick this past season, so protecting him is their No. 1 priority now that they’ve shored up their pass rush.

*** OTHER 2012 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***

1. Michael Floyd, WR – The Bills also have to make sure they give Fitzpatrick as many weapons as possible.

2. Luke Kuechly, OLB – Buffalo needs a third linebacker to pair with Nick Barnett and Kelvin Sheppard.


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Kiper: OT, WR in mock for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 4, 2012 – 6:02 pm

Mel Kiper just put out his fourth mock draft installment and it goes two rounds. In it he has Buffalo going offensive tackle followed by wide receiver in round two.

Kiper has Buffalo taking Iowa OT Riley Reiff in the first at 10 and then Appalachian St. WR Brian Quick in the second. Here’s what he wrote about both choices.

10 – Buffalo – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Buffalo has passed on offensive line options in recent years, but Reiff would be a good option to buck the trend. The Bills have made big strides on the defensive side of the ball this offseason, and that allows them to focus on shoring up the offense. Reiff will help protect, but is a complete player and will provide a spark in the running game as well.

41 – Buffalo – Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian St.
A favorite of mine, Quick has big-time size and can stretch the field. Buffalo lacks a true deep threat.

Quick ran a 4.55 40-time at the Combine, but is a huge target at 6’4″ 220 pounds. Some have him projected in the third round instead of the second like Kiper. Reiff remains a popular pick at 10 by prognosticators.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Latest mock staying OT for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 2, 2012 – 3:10 pm

The Bills need at offensive tackle is apparently too great for most mock draft makers to ignore. In the latest installment NFL.com’s Chad Reuter still has Buffalo taking an offensive tackle.

Here’s what they wrote.

Pick No. 10 – Buffalo – Riley Reiff – OT – Iowa
Reiff might not be a top-10 pick in some years because he is not the prototypical athletic left-tackle prospect, but the Bills’ deep need at the position might force their hand.
 
I think this pick is becoming somewhat realistic. Many believe that the Dolphins will take a tackle, but having lost top WR Brandon Marshall to trade and now unlikely to have a remote chance at Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill they’ll need to add a playmaker outside. I think it’s believable to think at Reuter does in this mock that Miami would take Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd.
 
With respect to Reiff apparently Reuter’s opinion is a shared one. Here’s what ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay had to offer on Reiff.
 
“I gave him a mid-first round grade,” said McShay. “The problem is he’s going to go in the top 10. Last year Tyron Smith went nine to Dallas and he’s just so much better than Riley Reiff in terms of athleticism and potential and came in right away and showed that he belonged. Riley Reiff is a good player, but he’s not at that level in terms of athleticism. I just think he’s going to be solid across the board. There’s nothing wrong with that. I just don’t know that he’s going to be an elite left tackle in the NFL.”

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2 round mock goes OT, WR for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 27, 2012 – 9:38 am

One of the latest two-round mock drafts has Buffalo taking an offensive tackle at 10 and then a big WR with pick 41.

The Sideline View’s Mark Zierlein has the Bills taking Iowa OT Riley Reiff, a popular pick of late among draft prognosticators. Then in round 2 he’s got Buffalo taking Rutgers WR Mohamed Sanu.

Sanu (6’2″ 211) recently made up for a poor 40-time at the NFL Combine (4.67) with a 4.41 and 4.48 at the Rutgers pro day last week. His accurate 40 time is probably somewhere in between those two (4.45 or so). Most believes that solidifies him as a second-round pick, so there’s a good chance he’s on the board when the Bills are on the clock in round 2.

Sanu set a school record last season at Rutgers with 115 receptions for 1,206 yards and 7 touchdowns.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Latest mock goes OT

Posted by Chris Brown on March 26, 2012 – 1:08 pm

In one of the latest mock drafts, Pro Football Weekly targets the offensive line for the Bills.

With the 10th overall pick, Pro Football Weekly has Buffalo taking Iowa OT Riley Reiff. Here’s their explanation for the pick.

10. Buffalo Bills 
Riley Reiff  | OT  | Iowa  [ Jr. ] 
Chan Gailey can scheme around average protection, but with the addition of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, the defensive line has been vastly upgraded. That allows GM Buddy Nix to concentrate on fortifying the O-line for Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Being a converted tight end, Reiff certainly has the feet to play left tackle and comes from a program where offensive linemen are well schooled on technique.


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Fan Friday 3-23

Posted by Chris Brown on March 23, 2012 – 11:19 am

The NFL draft is just about a month away. Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.

1 - Hey CB,

Thanks for all of your hard work reporting on the Bills–it’s really appreciated.  I was just wondering if you could layout the off season calendar from OTAs to Training camp and explain the new guidelines under the new CBA opposed to years past? 

Thanks,
Aaron
NYC
CB: You can find all the OTA and minicamp dates right here. As far as OTAs go players can only go against “air.” In other words no offense vs. defense, no kickoff team vs. kick return team. Team drills can only be run against air and there are no one-on-one drills allowed either. Also during the first phase of OTAs there are no helmets worn and obviously no pads or shells without any live contact.

In the second phase of OTAs helmets can be worn, but there is still no live contact and therefore no pads or shells. A maximum of 10 practice days can be scheduled over this three week period, with no more than three days over each of the first two weeks.

For the mandatory minicamp coaches can have two-a-days on two of the three total practice days, but there are still no contact drills or use of pads allowed.

So in summation contact drills, unit vs. unit drills and one-on-one drills are now prohibited.  

And per the CBA each team is required to film all of these OTAs and minicamp practices and hold onto them until a month into the regular season in case the league wants to review them to make sure the rules are being followed.

2 – Chris,

I could use some clarification on how the salary caps works under the new CBA.  My understanding is that the salary cap is the most that a team is allowed to spend on player contracts, and under the new CBA that was reached last year, every team has to spend up to 99% of the cap beginning in the 2012 season.  I also understand that teams that were under the cap last year have the ability to roll that money over to next season to spend extra money.

Any additional info on this topic would be greatly appreciated. 

-Brendan
Las Vegas

 

CB: The way it was outlined in the new CBA was confusing to a lot of people because the league talked about collective team spending and then in the next breath individual team spending. It kind of muddied the waters with respect to what each team has to commit to spending-wise. I’ll try to present it as simply as I can (no easy task).

League-wide there has to be commitment to cash spending of 99 percent of the cap in 2011 and 2012. That means all the teams collectively. If the league’s 32 teams fail to reach the 99 percent level then the league has to make up the difference.

In 2011 and 2012 there is no salary cap floor (minimum). That does not kick in until 2013. At that point each individual club is committed to cash spending of 89 percent of the cap from 2013-2016 and 2017-2020. 

For the 2013-2016 seasons, and again for the 2017-2020 seasons, the clubs collectively will commit to cash spending of at least 95 percent of the cap. Again if the 32 teams do not reach that figure the league makes up the difference.

So starting next offseason there is technically a salary cap floor for all NFL clubs (89% of cap), but as far as the higher percentage, that’s a figure the league’s teams have to reach collectively.

The most important thing to remember is it’s not cap space, it’s cash spent by the clubs. That adds up a lot quicker than cap space knowing contracts with respect to the cap can be spread out over the length of the deal. Hope that all makes sense.

 

3 - Chris,

These two months of speculation of the draft are like sitting in a closed room, watching the walls of its paint dry. I am impressed with your tenacity for finding new information and working your sources for the fans of the Bills. I wonder how many Bills fans are aware that we could have picked Ron Gronkowski in the second round of 2010, instead we picked DT Torell Troup. Belichick had the next pick and he rewarded his Pats with what turned out to be the best TE in the business. I’m sure Buddy hasn’t forgotten that snafu as another draft approaches.

There are some really good quality picks for TE in the early second round. Did you think Buddy will take a chance on one of them? And who do you think is the best pick between Dwayne Allen, Orson Charles or the Stanford TE? It’s high time the Bills paid respect to a such versatile position with a huge upside.

Go Bills!
Buffalo Bill

CB: First, I wouldn’t call taking Torell Troup a snafu. Yes, Gronkowski has panned out to be a tremendous talent, whose value has largely been maximized by a very good coach and outstanding quarterback. Troup has been mired by a persistent back problem his first two seasons, but with his back issues rectified I think he’ll prove to be a solid contributor. Only time will tell.

As for the TE position this year, Stanford’s Coby Fleener is the most complete. After clocking a 4.45 at his pro day he’s probably not going to be there in round two. That leaves Dwayne Allen from Clemson and Orson Charles from Georgia. Both are lacking a bit in size, and some NFL scouts consider them H-backs more than true tight ends.

I believe Allen’s hands are a little better than Charles’, but both are pretty good blockers. Allen looks a bit stronger physically than Charles. Both have good intangibles. I think it’s going to come down to whether a team wants a more versatile TE or not. If they want versatility I think Charles can line up in more places than Allen. Allen however, is stronger and a more natural pass catcher.

Both could come off the board in round 2.

 

4 - Chris,

Love the Bills’ coverage year round. There seems to be changes in the wind with the 10th pick. It appears they might lean towards Left Tackle. But at that spot, is that the best player available? Reiff and Martin both have concerns. I know they would like to add a tackle but both players have just as much risk as Ingram, Coples, and Upshaw. I would like to see them trade down or draft Floyd from ND. A sure handed big receiver with speed. Floyd would be a great addition across from Stevie and give Fitz targets. What’s your assessment on Floyd, LT.  Need vs value at pick 10?

CB: This is the great debate for the Bills heading into the draft. Reiff and Martin are widely viewed as players worthy of coming off the board between 10 and 15. Floyd has enhanced his overall stock with a solid Combine workout and squeaky clean senior year off the field.

Truthfully the debate isn’t need versus value. They need a starting left tackle and a number two wide receiver. The question is what is Buffalo’s draft grade on Martin, Reiff and Floyd? If the grades are close I think they pull the trigger at left tackle because they need a starter there. It’s harder and harder to find a capable starting left tackle with each passing round. This draft is deep at receiver and you can arguable get a quality player in round three, though he won’t have 4.47 speed that Floyd possesses.

What we also need to remember is if the grades on Martin, Reiff and Floyd are not close to that of the 10th pick Buffalo could trade down from there and re-group presumably armed with an additional pick.

 

5 - Hi Chris,

I know that Buddy and Chan want a deep threat that is open even when he isnt, and they dont see a pass rusher at 10, would it not make sense to go after Mike Wallace, if they gave him enough money in year 1 Pittsburg wouldn’t be able to sign him and they would have the scariest deep threat in the league, which should open things underneath for everyone else to shine even brighter
                                       
Thanks from North of the Border

CB:  I think the premise of your thought is a good one. You know what Mike Wallace is being a proven deep threat in the NFL. However, where things get sticky is in the money you would have to commit to Wallace. After committing number one receiver dollars to Stevie Johnson there’s no way they’d be able to do the same with Wallace, who will absolutely be looking for big, big money.

When you consider the fact that the Bills told Robert Meachem to take the four-year $25.9M deal from San Diego, it was an indication that $6.5M per season for their number two receiver is too steep a price as they see it. You’re not getting Mike Wallace for less than $6.5M per season so it makes giving up the 10th pick not worth it. I’m sure the Bills would love to have Wallace, but I don’t see Buffalo willing to accommodate Wallace’s contract demands after what went down with Meachem.


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Fan Friday 2-24

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2012 – 6:56 pm

Here’s the special NFL Combine edition of Fan Friday with your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Sorry it took so long, but we’ve been a little busy out here at Lucas Oil Stadium. Let’s get going.

1 - Hi Chris,

If Riley Reiff drops in the draft or Jonathan Martin was available when the  Bills pick at 10, Could you see the team addressing the left tackle spot instead of more pressing needs on defense?

I think the Bills would potentially have one of the best young O lines in the league when healthy if that was the case, and the infrastructure in place to build a strong offense. A common theme with this lost decade + of losing is the weak play of the offensive line.

Love your Work 

Regards
Matt 

CB: Thanks for the kind words. I think there is a distinct possibility that the Bills go offensive line in round one at offensive tackle. There could be a couple of options for them there at 10 and you’re on the money with Reiff and Martin.

I was particularly impressed with Martin after hearing him address the media Thursday here in Indy. He worked under a blue collar coaching staff (Harbaugh) that ran a pro-style offense at Stanford. He’s just so broad shouldered it looks like he’s wearing shoulder pads when he doesn’t have any on. He’s a solid pass protector and I like his finish.

The Bills are talking to Demetrius Bell, who I think they believe can handle the left tackle position, but his injury history is likely a concern. So I think tackle at 10 is realistic. Also I get the sense that the elite pass rusher the Bills would covet is not on their board at 10, meaning there isn’t someone of top 10 value at that need position in their opinion. That would only reinforce the possibility of an OT being taken there.

2 - Hi Chris
 
Big Bills fan from Dorset, England, love all the updates and news you provide us
 
People have been saying we need a speedster in the WR ranks, Im unsold on Clowney, if he hit FA would the Bills look to Desean Jackson at all?
 
Also what do you think of and where would you put Vinny Curry of Marshall, i think he could be a good pick for the Bills and maybe he could fall to the second round, if we got Couples at 10 and Curry in the 2nd round that would be solid wouldnt it?
 
Matt
Dorset, England

CB: All indications from the Eagles are that DeSean Jackson would be franchised if a long term agreement can’t be reached. At age 25 they don’t want to lose him for nothing knowing he has value on the open market.

Either way I don’t see him as the type of receiver the Bills are targeting. Yes, they want a deep speed threat, but they also want that receiver to have some measure of physicality to him (a bit bigger than Jackson).

I think a sleeper free agent for that kind of role might be Robert Meacham the New Orleans free agent.

 

3 – Chris,

I know Stevie wants to stay in Buffalo and I know Nix wants him back, but what is the status of renewing his contract? Also, are the Bills aiming for Vincent Jackson? With him and Stevie, we could actually be a contender.  How are Fred and C.J. going to share time? Is it going to be like the Saints’ backfield with a lot of good ‘backs who just switch every down?  And finally my biggest concern- this season, the league was predominately run by QB’s and defense. The bills have a QB but no healthy defense. That being said, can the bills make a smart #10 first pick and take Upshaw or Coples and not take an OT. -andrew marshall.

CB: Rapid fire answers. There was progress on a new contract for Stevie made here in Indy on Friday. How close is it is tough to gauge right now. Wanting Vincent Jackson as well might be a lot to ask, but the latest is the Chargers aren’t going to franchise him. His the size, speed addition that could work, whether the dollars do is another story.

As for Fred and C.J., Chan Gailey said there will be instances where they’re on the field at the same time and C.J. and Fred will also split out wide in certain down and distance situations. The way Chan put it is he wants to keep them both fresh while also making full use of their talents.

With their #10 pick, I’m not convinced they’re going pass rusher there, you can read more about that on the home page Saturday, which could mean pursuing a free agent pass rusher.

 

4 – Chris,
The Bills need a SAM right now badly. As well as a rush DE. We didn’t see much of Morrison and all his 4-3 experience has been at MLB, do you think the Bills would consider he or even a FA like Stephen Tulloch at SAM. I was shocked Tulloch only got a 1 year deal but adding him to Shep and Barnett would be nice if he can transition to outside because it seems the coaches don’t think Sheppard can be anywhere but in the middle.

CB: The Bills have been in contact with Kirk Morrison about being an answer at SAM backer. It makes sense from the Bills perspective because he could also back up Shep in the middle. My guess is Morrison wants to consider other options on the open market, so I’m not certain he’ll just blindly return to the Bills after finding it hard to get on the field last season.

Tulloch is more of an ILB so I don’t know that playing SLB is necessarily a fit for him. He’s a little on the short side to play out there (5’11”).

 

5 - Chris,

As you know Marcus Easley has been dealt a rough hand since being drafted by the Bills. Has he fully recovered from his illness and will he have a shot at making the Bills No. 2 receiver? Or will he compete at all? At face value, he has at least the proto type body (6’4) of a big receiver that the Bills need in the red zone. Not only could he contribute to a much need depleted receiver core, if he secures one of the WR positions, they the Bills could devote their draft to other areas of need. So I am hoping Bills fans can see what potential Easley has a big receiver and we will have one less area to address with our draft picks.

William Aiken, Schenectady, NY

CB: Easley has been medically cleared to resume his football career. He’ll be back on the field this spring with no limitations as far as I understand it. Now the Bills aren’t counting on him despite the fact that they’re eager to see what he can bring to the offense. He is the prototype size, speed combo that they want opposite Stevie Johnson, but since the first two seasons of his career have been washouts it’s hard to count on him. That’s why they’ll seek other options to add to the competition pool.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

OT the pick in latest mock

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2012 – 11:18 am

It seems that in most early mock drafts that the pick for the Bills at 10 addresses either the pass rush or offensive tackle. This latest mock went O-line.

Football’s Future has Buffalo taking Iowa OT Riley Reiff (pronounced ‘reef’). Here’s their blurb on their pick.

Buffalo – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
The Bills have needed a left tackle upgrade for years, and they finally get their man with this selection.

I’m inclined to think in this particular mock with Courtney Upshaw, Andre Branch and Melvin Ingram all still on the board that there will be heavy consideration for each one of those pass rushers.


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Let the mock drafts begin!

Posted by Chris Brown on January 4, 2012 – 11:39 am

Well it was only a matter of time before the mock draft engine was fired up. Just days into the offseason the National Football Post got the endless string of mock drafts rolling. Here’s who they’ve got the Bills taking with the number 10 pick.

NFP has Buffalo taking Iowa OT Riley Reiff, a converted TE with top flight athleticism and coaching from the likes of Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz. Here’s the write up on the reasoning behind the pick.

10. Buffalo Bills: Iowa OT Riley Reiff
Reiff is an athletic tackle with good range off the edge, natural change of direction skills and has the ability to sit into his stance on contact. He needs to get stronger and fill out a bit more. However, this former tight end recruit has the type of athleticism and demeanor to mature into the kind of blind side protector the Bills are looking for.

While a pass rusher is a primary need, if one worthy of being a top 10 pick is off the board, the Bills could very well look for a definitive answer at left tackle once and for all. NFP had Alabama pass rusher Courtney Upshaw going one pick earlier to Miami. I think UNC’s Quinton Coples and South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram could both merit consideration there too.


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