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Inside The Bills

Wideout depth plentiful

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2012 – 2:08 pm

As many as three or four receivers could come off the board at the top of round two before the Bills are even on the clock at 41, but it doesn’t sound as though that will prompt any alarm bells at One Bills Drive.

As Bills GM Buddy Nix sees it there will be receiver value to be had in round 3.

“Even beyond that,” said Nix of the receiver value. “There are still some good players. It’s deep. I think we can get some help there. We think we’ve got good players (on our roster), but we’d like to add one to it.”

The Bills currently have 10 receivers on their roster.

Among the WR prospects that could go before Buffalo picks are Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill and LSU’s Rueben Randle.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-20

Posted by Chris Brown on April 20, 2012 – 12:32 pm

Well fans next week at this time we’ll be tuning up for day of the 2012 NFL draft. Should be interesting as always. Don’t forget my seventh annual mock draft will be up on Buffalobills.com on Wednesday morning this coming week, not that I know any more than the next prognosticator. In any event on to your questions.

1 - Chris,

I assume that with Demetrius Bell gone, the Bills will use pick #10 for an offensive left tackle.  Despite the best efforts of Chris Kelsay, I thought that our outside linebacking last season was very poor.  Do you see the Bills selecting a linebacker in the second round and, if so, who might that be?

Paul B.
Lancaster


CB:
I’m having trouble convincing myself that any of the top offensive tackles beyond Matt Kalil will be considered worthy (value-wise) of the 10th pick. I don’t debate the Bills need to add a starting-caliber left tackle to the roster, but Buddy Nix doesn’t stray from his board. If they don’t believe the value is right for a Cordy Glenn or Jonathan Martin at 10 they’re not going to take him.

That being said I think a real option for them at 10 is Boston College LB Luke Kuechly. There is a noticeable drop off after him. Now the history of linebackers drafted in the top 15 has not been kind in recent years, with Jerod Mayo the only true success story. But this guy looks like a pretty safe pick and is capable of playing all three linebacker positions in Buffalo’s defense according to Nix.

Offensive tackles you might be able to get in the second round include Ole Miss’ Bobby Massie and Iowa State’s Kelechi Osemele. Linebackers in the second round Nebraska’s Lavonte David, Utah State’s Bobby Wagner and maybe Boise State’s Shea McClellin though he might sneak into the first.

 

2 - Hi Chris,

Obviously, as a Bills fan I am ecstatic about the acquisition of Mario Williams. He is a huge piece to the puzzle that is our defense. Also, with Williams coming to the defense, that allows Buffalo to go a lot of different directions with their first pick in this year’s draft. And I know that everyone will have their opinion about what they should do. My question is: I know the philosophy is a “best player available” approach, but what do you think the possibility is that they would maybe trade back and maybe pick up an extra pick or 2 and to not “reach” for a player they are interested in? 

Thanks for all of your coverage of the Bills. It’s a lifesaver for those not in the WNY area.

Thanks,
Chris from Orlando

 

CB: I asked Buddy whether they would pursue the option of trading down or let teams come to them. He told me there has been dialogue with other teams, but did not divulge whether the Bills were the ones doing the calling. If Miami passes on Ryan Tannehill at 8, then Buffalo’s pick becomes a lot more attractive to teams with a quarterback need that are further down in the round. At this point I’d be surprised if they didn’t take Tannehill, knowing his former head coach at A&M is the offensive coordinator for the Dolphins now (Mike Sherman) and will be running the same offense.

But the way Buddy put it to me is they’ll consider it. Just keep in mind, Buddy by nature doesn’t like to move up and down the board. He likes to sit where he’s at and make his picks. Talking to him this week he feels pretty confident they’re going to get a very good player at 10.

 

3 – Hi Chris,
I congratulate the Bills for their aggressiveness in obtaining two very good football players on defense. My concern is the fact that they have ignored their need for a good number 2 receiver opposite Stevie Johnson. Buddy Nix said after they had acquired Mario Williams, that they had good receivers. Is it possible that they are waiting for the draft? Looking at the upcoming draft, and the WR draft candidates, it appears that maybe Brian Quick from Appalachian St, and Rueben Randle from LSU would fit the Bills needs ( I do not see the Bills getting Justin Blackmon). In addition, even though Ryan Fitzpatrick is the unquestioned starter, would it be fair to say that the Bills should draft a quarterback? G.J. Kinne from Tulsa looks like he could be a Ryan Fitzpatrick clone. What are your thoughts?

Tony, Daytona Beach, Fl

CB: I think a WR will be drafted somewhere in the first three rounds. Randle and Quick are both players I believe the Bills see as fits in their offense along with a host of other prospects. Buddy said at the draft luncheon that he’d like to draft a QB every year if there weren’t other more pressing needs. I think there’s a realistic chance they take one, but if it’s before round 3 I’d be very surprised. Believe round 4 is where it’ll happen. Just a guess.

 

4 - Hey Chris – Are the Bills really going after an Offensive Line player in the 2012 draft?

It seems like a wasted pick, especially in a top 10 situation.  What teams go to the superbowl drafting Offensive Lineman in the first round.?

Take for instance Miami who drafted Jake Long #1 overall.  Sure Jake is a great player, but in 2012 Miami was 3rd in the league in sacks allowed in Jakes 3rd year.  Miami could have drafted Matt Ryan in at least been a playoff contender.  I think lineman on the offensive side can be picked up late in 1st round or 2nd and 3rd… not a top 10 pick.  Come on man. 

With so much talent out there at WR , DE, CB  .. I just dont think that’s a smart choice for Buffalo at #10, when they need more Big time play makers. 

What do you think Buffalo should do at #10  .  are they really serious about OL ?

Thanks
- Scott

 

CB: The need at left tackle would appear to indicate the urgency to take one at 10. I’m okay with them taking a tackle like Jonathan Martin or Cordy Glenn there, but I’m not convinced they have them graded that high. So I don’t think it’s a lock by any means that they take a tackle at 10.

I think the other positions in play at 10 for Buffalo will be CB, LB and possibly WR, though I’m not convinced they have Floyd graded as top 10 worthy either.

One wild card I’d like to offer as well is S Mark Barron. I think if he’s on the board he’s a realistic consideration for Buffalo at 10. He’s not at a need position, but he’s considered one of the best safeties to come along in a while. If the Bills hold true to their best on the board philosophy I think he’s in play at 10.

 

5 - Hi Chris,
Big Bills Fan here from NJ,,,,I’m thinking Bills are looking to take a LT at #10,,I like Mike Adams out of Ohio St,,,He’s a big kid at 6’7 325 could a new addition to our o-line,,,I’m also thinking of the Bills moving Andy over at LT ..and maybe draft David Decastro OG from Stanford,,,,Myself . I’m thinking Upshaw from Bama ,we also need LB esp, OLB,,,,what do you think ,,,Thanks

CB: I don’t see Adams, DeCastro or Upshaw as options at 10 for Buffalo. Adams and Upshaw are not fitting of the value at 10. In fact at best both will be last first round picks. Adams could even slip into round 2 despite prototype measurables. There are no plans to put Levitre at LT full time.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

WR Randle helps his cause

Posted by Chris Brown on March 22, 2012 – 12:52 pm

There was a bit of concern on the part of NFL talent evaluators when they saw LSU WR Rueben Randle put up a 40 time of 4.55, but he improved that number considerably at the LSU pro day in Baton Rouge.

Randle ran a 4.42 and a 4.43 according to the school’s website. Widely considered one of the top five receivers in this year’s draft class, the deep threat wideout may sneak into the late first round area and at worst go early in the second. Randle averaged 16.5 yards a catch in 2010 and 18.1 last season.


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Fan Friday 3-9

Posted by Chris Brown on March 9, 2012 – 11:36 am

Here we go with another week of your most pressing questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Let’s get to it.

1 - Chris,

I wanted to offer another take for the Bills draft this year. Perhaps in the first round the Bills could draft a wide receiver since they need a deep threat. In the second round what are the chances of waiting for a top defensive end prospect like Chandler Jones out of Syracuse.
Thanks for all of your ongoing coverage and time. 

Josh
CB: I think the only receiver worthy of going in the top 10 is Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon. Some might argue Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd, but with rare exceptions like A.J. Green last year wideouts have been coming off the board later and later.

In the 2008 draft there wasn’t a single receiver taken in round one. Knowing there’s good receiver depth in rounds two through four I think teams will be even less inclined to fill a need early at receiver. I suppose if the Bills don’t land a wideout in free agency it’s possible, but I say if they do address wideout in the draft it’ll be between rounds two and four.

As for Chandler Jones I think he’s a pretty good prospect. Not a pure speed pass rusher by any means, but comes from good stock with a brother in the league and another brother being a UFC fighter. Due to the fact that he’s not a ‘bend the corner’ defensive end I think he will be there in the second round. I think he could be a consideration for Buffalo among some of the other DE prospects that are in that second to third-round range.

 

2 - Hello Chris,

I’m a longtime fan of your work with the Bills, thank you so much for keeping us informed on all of the comings and goings with the team.  My question for you is simple, do you expect to see Alex Carrington trimming down to around 280-285lbs. (His college weight) to become more of pashing rushing DE, rather a 5-technigue 3-4 DE likes he has been the last two seasons?  I like he could excel in that position at the right weight. 

Warm Regards,
Ryan

 

CB: Ryan, this is going to be one of the more interesting questions as spring OTAs unfold in May. I’m not sure there’s a definitive answer as to just what is the best fit for Alex Carrington in Wannstedt’s new 4-3 front. His body frame screams 3-4 defensive end, but if he can trim down he could play defensive end in a 4-3 like he did at Arkansas State. His size however, might project him to a left defensive end role. He’s never been a pass rusher that has relied on speed (4.92 40-time). His game is power.

But I’m just as curious as you as to whether or not he comes in slimmed down for the new scheme.

 

3 - Hello Chris,
 
Thanks for all the coverage of the team, you do a terrific job of covering the team and I enjoy reading what you have to say. I understand that a big part of the offseason plan is to continue building the defense because it is needed, but my question is the QB situation. I strongly believe that if this team has a chance to win in the future the team needs a QB because although I believe in Fitzpatrick, he’ll be 30 years old and I’m not sure he can win the team a Super Bowl.

I understand the team won’t be in position to draft Luck or Griffin this year. I was wondering if the team might chase after a guy like Kirk Cousins out of Michigan St.? He is young, played 4 seasons in school, is a very intelligent and accurate QB. Cousins could be had later in the draft and isn’t looked at among the top QB’s in this draft even though he has the size and ability to play. He didnt’ put up the biggest numbers because of the ability to run the ball at Michigan St. I think he could be a value pick in the 3rd or 4th round and could learn the offense quickly and be the future QB.

Are Nix and Gailey set in their ways that they will only take a QB if they can get one of the top guys? Or could the team look at Cousins or another QB that can be had later in the draft? Thanks again for your coverage
 
Sean Riley

CB: I wouldn’t rule anything out when it comes to the draft and Buddy Nix. I think the C.J. Spiller pick caught a lot of people off guard, but it’s proof positive that Nix and the Bills stay true to their board. That being said I’ll point to a comment made by Buddy back in January concerning the potential of drafting a quarterback.

“Maybe so, yeah,” said Nix. “If there’s one there at the right time, I don’t mean that to be that vague an answer but yeah, we’d take one.”

Basically Buddy is saying if the board falls a certain way and they have a quarterback rated as the best prospect at the time they would take one. Could that be Cousins? Certainly possible.

 

4 - Hi Chris,

To me, draft season is the best time of year to be a bills fan, and this year I’m snoop dogg high on South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery. Many of the mock drafts I’ve seen have him dropping into the 2nd or even 3rd round, but to my eye he’s by far the best receiver in this class. Respect to Blackmon and the kid from ND, but if he’s sitting there at pick 10 do you think the bills would pull the trigger? Although a pass rusher may be more of a need, that position seems to be one of relative depth in this class; and while they are all impressive prospects, I don’t see a huge difference on tape between Upshaw, Ingram, Perry, Mercilus, Coples,  or Branch. It stands to reason that one of those guys would be there in the 2nd, and Jeffery will open eyes at the combine. He has what Buddy Nix has referred to as the ability to be open even when hes covered. You can see the competitiveness in his game bursting through the low resolution on youtube. Do you get the sense around one bill’s that another option for Fitz may be at least as coveted as a pass rusher? Do you think Jeffery is worth a top 10 pick?

Warm regards from LA,

Owen Beck

 

CB: I think Alshon Jeffery made some amazing plays at South Carolina and used his body well in shielding defenders to make plays on the ball. The problem with Jeffery is it’s hard to think his game as it is currently constituted is going to immediately translate to the NFL level. The reason why is he is a giant target, but he had trouble getting off press coverage in the SEC. And he doesn’t get consistent separation.

That’s going to be even harder in the NFL. Could he develop that part of his game? Sure, but he’s going to struggle coming out of the gate knowing how much more physical corners are at the NFL level. I think he’s a second-round pick. Another big receiver that I prefer over Jeffery is LSU’s Rueben Randle. He didn’t run well at the Combine, but I’m hoping for better things at his pro day.

Randle got better every year at LSU, most notably improving as a route runner, has extremely strong hands and welcomed blocking in LSU’s run first scheme during the 2010 campaign. He’s got rock solid intangibles as well with a strong work ethic. So he’s my guy if the Bills want to get a receiver early. Only thing is they may have to trade back into the bottom of round one to get him.

 

5 - Hey Chris,

After seeing Brad Smith pick up more than a handful of 3rd and short conversions early in the season last year, it seems as though the offense scrapped that formation because of the lack of depth at the WR position and need for smith to line up there (and reducing  wins dramatically).  Are the Bills planning on using the “wild bill” formation again for short yardage for the upcoming season.  Also after showing lots of potential at the outside receiver last preseason, is Marcus Easley healed and ready for this season? 

Thanks,
Lou

CB:  Your point is well taken. I too noted those 3rd and short conversions by Smith early in the year. It certainly helped to keep the offense on the field. I asked Chan Gailey your very question at the NFL Combine a couple of weeks ago. Here was his response.

“I think the best thing that Brad does for us right now is create indecision on the defense’s part,” said Gailey. “Is he coming in as a wideout? Is he coming in as a Wildcat quarterback? We lost that a little bit with the kickoff return because of the new rule and we lost some because he was playing so much wide receiver late in the season that he couldn’t play special teams as much. We hope to let him to be a three-headed monster as some receiver, some Wildcat quarterback, some special teams threat. Yes to all of the above.”

That’s kind of an open-ended answer, but I think it’s safe to say with a full offseason to better incorporate Smith into the offensive playbook that Gailey will find more use for him in the offense in 2012.

As for Easley he told me himself his medical condition has been rectified and he can resume his career. Let’s hope for the best because I think this kid can really help the passing game.


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