Inside The Bills

Kiper not against Cushing to Bills at 11

Posted by Chris Brown on April 16, 2009 – 4:03 pm

With knocks on most of the top flight pass rushing DEs in the draft (Orakpo – work ethic, Brown – size, Maybin – one year wonder) I’ve gone on record (NFL Network Path to the Draft) as saying that USC LB Brian Cushing may prove to be a safer option for Buffalo at 11. Mel Kiper apparently isn’t opposed to that either.

When asked by Allen Wilson of the Buffalo News what he thought of Cushing going to the Bills at 11 he said the following.

“Cushing is a good football player,” said Kiper. “The need at defensive end is what you have to look at. I would say that supercedes the outside linebacker a little bit. This team could use a tight end too. That’s why I had Pettigrew in there at one point. Cushing wouldn’t be bad. He’s a good football player. You want to bypass Ayers, you want to bypass Everette Brown or Aaron Maybin, you could and Cushing figures to go in the mid-first round area.”

Kiper said he had OLB as Buffalo’s third most pressing need behind pass rushing DE and TE, but he could understand that move.

I really feel if the Bills have some reservations about Brown or Maybin that Cushing makes the most sense. We’ll see.


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Good picks for Bills in NFP 3 round mock

Posted by Chris Brown on March 31, 2009 – 1:24 pm

In the latest mock draft from the National Football Post, I like the picks they’ve got marked down for the Bills. However, I’m not confident their third round selection will still be on the board.

In round one they have Buffalo taking the still rising Robert Ayers, who reportedly has impressed in interviews as much as he has on the field. The general feeling among NFL clubs is that his one big year of production as a senior starter is just the tip of the iceberg as opposed to being a one-year wonder. Most talent evaluators feel he’s only going to get better.

In the NFP mock Aaron Maybin is already off the board at 9 to Green Bay so Ayers wouldn’t be a terrible pick at 11. I like Ayers as a player, but 11 seems a bit high for a guy that doesn’t come across as a big pass rush guy. He’s capable, but not dominant. I’m using the 11th pick on a dominant guy.

In round two they’ve got Buffalo taking Duke Robinson from Oklahoma, the consensus top guard in a weak guard class. I wouldn’t be opposed to that in light of hole at left guard right now. The offensive line does have to be shored up.

In round three they’ve got the Bills taking TE Shawn Nelson out of Southern Miss. I like Nelson’s game breaking ability a lot, but I don’t see him on the board in round 3 for Buffalo at pick 75.

That’s why if the Bills get their DE in round one, they’re going to have a big decision to make in round two. Do they address the interior of their offensive line, knowing that there’s not a lot of depth at guard, or do they go for the best of the game breaking talent at tight end?

Personally I’d address the guard position, whether it’s Duke Robinson or LSU’s Herman Johnson. I’m a big believer in getting your big men early.

And the tight end class is deep this year. I still think you can get an athletic tight end at 75 like a Chase Coffman (Missouri) or Cornelius Ingram (Florida), two talented pass catchers coming off injuries.  

Without a stable offensive line, this offense goes nowhere fast, even with T.O. and company. What would you do in round two?


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Ayers to Bills in recent mock draft

Posted by Chris Brown on March 16, 2009 – 7:30 pm

There are a myriad of selections that have been made for the Bills with the 11th pick in this spring’s draft, but this is one of the first appearances by Tennessee DE Robert Ayers in that spot that I’ve seen.

The National Football Post, which posts updated mock drafts on a seemingly bi-weekly basis, has Ayers shooting up to 11 and going to the Bills. Ayers is a bit of a one-year wonder having not earned a starting job until his senior year at Tennessee. He’s also not a premier pass rusher, which is kind of a requirement for anyone being taken that high to fill that position.

So though I like Ayers as a player, I don’t know that he’s the answer to what Buffalo is looking for at 11 and to me would be a better value down in the 20′s. Ayers is a solid all-around end. The Bills need a guy that can create some pressure all the time.

In the second round they have Buffalo taking Southern Miss TE Shawn Nelson, which wouldn’t be a bad pick in round two at 42, but I wonder with the addition of Terrell Owens, if the need for a playmaking tight end has dropped off a bit.

So I’m not convinced that TE will be the play in round two as much as I did prior to the Owens signing.


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DE Ayers does full workout at Tennessee pro day

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2009 – 11:58 pm

After running an impressive 4.77 at the NFL combine it was assumed Robert Ayers wouldn’t do a full workout at Tennessee’s pro day Wednesday, but he did everything again. That according to NFLDraftScout.com.

That reportedly went over well with NFL scouts, knowing Ayers didn’t have much more to prove. Don’t have times and figures yet on his workout to see if he improved anywhere, but here’s what he had to say courtesy of WVLT-TV in Knoxville.

“I wanted to come out and show that I’m athletic enough to play in space and that I’ve got good hips and flexibility,” said Ayers. “From talking to the coaches, they feel like I did a good job. Every coach I talked to said they liked what they saw.”

Gotta like this kid’s approach to the game. Some having him going late first round now.

The news was not as positive for Oklahoma St. TE Brandon Pettigrew who bypassed working out due to a hamstring injury. He is going to reschedule and have a personal pro day in two weeks or so in an effort to improve his 40 time at the combine (4.85).


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Pro day hotspots

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2009 – 3:34 pm

The top destinations for NFL scouts and coaches as far as the college pro day circuit goes Wednesday will be at Alabama (C Antoine Caldwell, OT Andre Smith among others), Maryland (WR Darius Heyward-Bey, WNY native Dan Gronkowski), Oklahoma St. (Brandon Pettigrew) and Tennessee (Robert Ayers among others).

A better 40-time for Ayers would help him even though he’s not considered a premier pass rusher and Alabama’s Smith obviously has a huge day ahead of him.

I don’t know if Pettigrew will do much after a pretty good combine workout. Maybe try to lower his 40 time.


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D-line 40 times

Posted by Chris Brown on February 23, 2009 – 4:52 pm

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.


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DE Ayers will also work out as a LB

Posted by Chris Brown on February 22, 2009 – 7:52 pm

Despite being 6’3 1/8″ and 272 pounds Tennessee DE Robert Ayers is going to work out as both a defensive lineman and linebacker during workouts here at the NFL Combine.

“From my understanding I’m going to be doing some 3-4 linebacker stuff and some position drills with the defensive linemen,” said Ayers. “A lot of teams are going to work me out that way. I’m just looking forward to it really.”

When asked what were the best offensive tackles he went against Ayers mentioned Andre Smith and Michael Oher.


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Mayock has DE Ayers in his top 20

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2009 – 3:42 pm

Tennessee DE Robert Ayers has been known as a fast riser since his Senior Bowl performance and color NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock impressed.

“He’s the fastest riser in the draft I believe,” said Mayock. “I watched him at the Senior Bowl and his explosion and quickness just blew me away.”

Mayock thought Ayers best game was against Alabama.

“He handled Andre Smith and they even kicked him inside to play some three technique,” said Mayock. “I think he’s the perfect 4-3 end. I’ve got him in my top 20 now.”

Ayers was considered a high second round pick, but might move into the lower third of the first round. If the Bills don’t see a good value at 11, trading back and scooping up Ayers somewhere between 17 and 20 might prove to be a good move.


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I still like DE Brown the most

Posted by Chris Brown on February 13, 2009 – 4:10 pm

I know there are conflicting opinions as to whether FSU DE Everette Brown could play DE in a 4-3 system at the NFL level, but he’s still my favorite DE option for the Bills at 11, that is if he’s there.

Brown is supposed to test well at the Combine next week, which will boost his draft stock, and some draft services already have him coming off the board at 5 to Cleveland.

But right now I’ve got Brown first, Maybin second (who I think could play LB or DE on passing downs for Buffalo) and though I’ve got Orakpo rated third, I’m not big on his inconsistent effort.

Talented yes, but not as polished as Brown and not as consistent when it comes to wreaking havoc.

If Brown and Maybin are both off the board at 12, I’d hope to grab Robert Ayers out of Tennessee in round two or Georgia Tech’s Michael Johnson.


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DE Ayers could be 2nd round option

Posted by Chris Brown on February 12, 2009 – 1:25 pm

One guy that really impressed me as a pass rushing defensive end option is Tennessee’s Robert Ayers. He was the Defensive MVP for the South team in the Senior Bowl and had a monster week.

I also like that he is 273 pounds. With more “sand in the pants” he can probably be a legitimate left defensive end prospect and hold up against the run. I asked Mel Kiper about him specifically and he thinks he could be there in round 2 for Buffalo.

“Ayers has really helped himself obviously a big week down in Mobile, had a very good year at Tennessee for a team that didn’t have a lot to brag about this kid did,” said Kiper. “He’s a second round pick right now. A lot of people I’ve talked to in the league are raving about Robert Ayers. I think he’s a guy that’ll go early to mid second round is a possibility. No question Robert Ayers is a guy that’s moved up.”

If Everette Brown or Aaron Maybin aren’t options in round one and the Bills have to go in another direction with the 11th pick it’d be great if they could land a guy like Ayers in round two.


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Senior Bowl standouts

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2009 – 10:17 pm

By no means did I watch every snap of practice during the week, but I focused on the centers and defensive ends as much as I could.

I liked Oregon’s Max Unger at the center spot. There was some mixed opinion out there on just what kind of week he had, but I thought he fared well in the one-on-ones and showed some versatility at guard.

I wasn’t as impressed with what I saw of Cal’s Alex Mack. For a guy ballyhooed by some draft experts as the best in the draft, I just didn’t see it. I’m hoping the reps I saw in the practices were an aberration rather than the norm. The deeper the center class the better for the Bills.

At defensive end there were a couple of players I thought did well. Tennessee’s Robert Ayers stood out in practice almost as much as he did in the game. And at 273, he’s a pretty effective pass rusher despite carrying a little more than a lot of the other speed rushers as there are a handful of tweeners in this class.

That being said I was impressed by Northern Illinois Larry English’s burst off the ball. He did well in one-on-ones throughout the week.

I also thought UCONN’s Cody Brown did pretty well too.

At DT B.J. Raji (Boston College) and Peria Jerry (Ole Miss) were the most dominant interior D-linemen.


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