Inside The Bills

Central Florida OLB Griffin gets Combine invite

Posted by Chris Brown on January 30, 2018 – 2:49 pm

He impressed at the Senior Bowl last week, but had yet to be invited to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis at the end of February. That is until now. Central Florida OLB Shaquem Griffin announced on his Twitter account that he has been invited to the NFL Combine.

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Griffin is the draft prospect, who at age four had to have his left hand amputated due to a condition called amniotic band syndrome, but he has overcome the perceived deficiency to become a productive college player. Coaches lined up Griffin at DE, LB and S at the Senior Bowl practices last week.


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Report: Mayfield “meets extensively” with Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2018 – 3:30 pm

By no means were the Bills the only team who spent time with Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield at the Senior Bowl, but according to SI.com Robert Klemko, Buffalo was one of four teams he met with extensively.

Two of the other teams he met with at length were in Buffalo’s division, the Jets and Dolphins, who both pick ahead of the Bills in round one. Here was Klemko’s reference to Mayfield’s meetings in Mobile.

Mayfield is here to meet with teams that might actually draft him, and he’s had extensive meetings with four of them; the Saints, Bills, Jets and Dolphins. And they put him through the ringer, teaching him some of their offensive concepts and asking him to recall them an hour later.

“That’s the only upside for me [being here],” Mayfield says of the meetings with teams. “I’m confident I can show exactly what I’m about, how much I care about football and how I’d do anything to win. And not just that. Put me on a board and let me show you how much I know about the game. Let me show that I can pick information up, take it and run with it. Getting in front of these people was so important, even bigger than the three years of film I put together.”

Mayfield likely won’t be the only quarterback prospect with whom the Bills meet between now and late April. In fact Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph confirmed he had a meeting scheduled with the Bills in Mobile this week. It’s part of their due diligence, and their extensive time with Mayfield only helps to complete the evaluation.


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Top TE prospect out at Senior Bowl

Posted by Chris Brown on January 23, 2018 – 11:18 pm

It happened in the first practice with the South team. TE Dallas Goedert is a small-school prospect out of South Dakota State, who had tremendous production over the last two years. The challenge this week was to see if his play could translate against top flight talent at the Senior Bowl. Unfortunately that opportunity has vanished.

Goedert came up hobbling with an ankle injury early in Tuesday’s practice and is now out for the rest of the week. Joining him is fellow TE Adam Breneman out of UMASS. Short a pair of tight ends, the Senior Bowl has brought in Western Kentucky TE Deon Yelder. He’ll wear jersey number 86.

Goedert is forecast as a second-round pick.


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Mayfield’s arrival at Senior Bowl delayed

Posted by Chris Brown on January 23, 2018 – 7:03 am

He’s expected to be at the North Team’s practice today at 3:30, but Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield’s arrival at the Senior Bowl was delayed.

Mayfield, according to Senior Bowl Executive Director, Phil Savage, was delayed due to a personal family matter. The Oklahoma QB went home to Austin, Texas over the weekend.

He was scheduled to arrive in Mobile in time for practices, but fellow QB prospect Josh Allen, who is also on the North Team said at his press conference last evening that he had yet to meet him.

The Denver Broncos requested more time with Mayfield when he arrived as he presumably needed to meet with the Denver Broncos coaching staff to get prepared for today’s practice. The Broncos are coaching the North team this week.

Mayfield will be the first Heisman winner to participate and play in the Senior Bowl since Tim Tebow in 2007.


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Players who impressed at Senior Bowl day 3

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2017 – 8:50 pm

Thursday was the last padded practice of the week before a Friday walk through and the game on Saturday. Here’s who impressed on Thursday.

RB Corey Clement – Wisconsin – Clement looks like the best running back in Mobile this week. The part of his game that impressed me the most Thursday was his pass protection. Clement was the only back consistently winning battles in those one-on-ones earning the praise of the Bears coaching staff. He’s not an elusive back at 5-11 and 227 pounds, but he keeps his legs churning and has good vision.

CB Rasul Douglas – West Virginia – At 6-2 and 203 pounds, I don’t know if Douglas bends well enough to be a full-time corner in the NFL. He might be best transitioning to safety. But on Thursday he was consistently around the ball and defended very well on comeback routes. His long arms are an asset as it helps to make up for his lack of quick-twitch agility to change direction fluidly.

G Dan Feeney – Wisconsin – Feeney has the heaviest hands of the interior lineman in Mobile. He just stuns defensive tackles with his punch. Not many defensive tackles beat him this week and the case was no different on Thursday.

DT Ryan Glasgow – Michigan – Glasgow isn’t going to wow anyone with his athleticism. The Wolverine wins with leverage, technique and proved he has a nose for the ball on Thursday. During the run periods is where Glasgow excels the most. He clogs things up inside and forces backs to routinely re-route their runs, which usually results in a tackle for loss.

WR Josh Reynolds – Texas A&M – Earlier in the week he was fighting the ball a bit, but Reynolds saved his best practice day for last. He was a terror during a red zone team period Thursday. His huge catch radius was on display as he was plucking balls outside his frame with regularity. He was more aggressive Thursday and simply out jumped defensive backs to make plays.


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Players who impressed at Senior Bowl day 2

Posted by Chris Brown on January 25, 2017 – 7:39 pm

More players flashed at Senior Bowl practices on Wednesday. Here’s who looked good to us.

CB Damontae Kazee – San Diego State – He’s far from a finished product, but he has the natural catch-up speed to make plays even if he’s initially beaten. That being said there weren’t many receivers successfully gaining separation against him Wednesday.

ILB Haason Reddick – Temple – Reddick read plays quickly and was closing on the ball consistently faster than his fellow linebackers during team periods. He also proved very tough to handle in 1-on-1 pass rush drills with the running backs and tight ends.

WR Fred Ross – Mississippi State – Ross plays to his size (6-2, 205) and made a handful of plays in traffic Wednesday. Ross also offers some run after catch ability. Has experience in the slot where teams are putting bigger wideouts lately, but showed he can play outside too.

TE Jonnu Smith – Florida International – He flashed a couple of times on Tuesday, but was even more noticeable on Wednesday. Smith made plays in 1-on-1s against linebackers both in receiving and in pass protection. He anchored well and has enough speed and size to work the intermediate areas in the pass game.

WR Trent Taylor – Louisiana Tech – Another smurf receiver much like UNC’s Switzer, Taylor gets in and out of his breaks fast, but has shown an ability to run the route tree and adjusts well to the ball despite his small catch radius. Consistent, doesn’t have drops.

 


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Players who impressed at Senior Bowl day 1

Posted by Chris Brown on January 24, 2017 – 10:09 pm

There were some pretty good showings on the first day of Senior Bowl practices. Here’s who caught our eye.

OT Antonio Garcia – The Troy product made standing up guys at the line of scrimmage look easy. A long 6-7 and 302 pounds, Garcia locks defensive ends out of run plays completely and effortlessly flipped to right tackle. In pass pro he routinely rides pass rushers wide of the play.

TE O.J. Howard – The Alabama tight end looked like a man amongst boys on the first day. He burned a safety for a long touchdown and then inexplicably had a linebacker on him initially in a combo coverage. He easily got separation from the linebacker and the safety help was late for another TD.

OT Zach Banner  – The USC product wasn’t perfect, but his feet were better than I expected and he finished plays. He had a pancake when he pulled inside and flattened the linebacker in the hole on a run play. Giant man with good movement for his size.

WR Cooper Kupp – The FCS receiver from Eastern Washington might be the most fundamentally sound player on hand. Quick off the line, runs sharp routes, knows leverage. It enabled him to consistently win in one-on-ones versus defensive backs.

WR Ryan Switzer – The diminutive North Carolina receiver might be the quickest guy in Mobile. Gets in and out of breaks in a hiccup. He needs genuine separation however, to get yards after the catch.

S John Johnson – The Boston College product was surprisingly fluid in his movements. Whether it was dropping to the far sideline to track a ball, flipping his hips or changing direction, Johnson was among the smoothest at the safety position in reverse. I also fully expect his vertical leap to easily be over 30 inches. A lot of spring in his jump when he was high pointing balls. Impressive physically. We’ll see if his play is equally good in the coming days.


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Darby supporting HS teammate at Senior Bowl

Posted by Chris Brown on January 29, 2016 – 12:25 pm

Bills CB Ronald Darby never played in the Senior Bowl, since he declared for the 2015 NFL draft as a junior eligible. But he made it down to Mobile this week to support a former high school teammate.

Maryland CB Tavon Young had a strong week at the Senior Bowl practices as he broke up several passes. Young went to high school with Darby in their native Maryland.

“He and I played DB together, also on offense at Potomac High School in Maryland,” Darby said. “He’s one of my closest friends, and we both play the same positon. So through college, we’d talk each other up, criticize each other, trying to get each other better. We also ran track at school. Our track team we broke the Maryland state record in the four by 100, we won the four by 200, I won the 100 and the 200. We had a real good track team. We won the states.”

Darby was one of the fastest players in the country when he came out of high school in 2012. Darby went to Florida State while Young enrolled at Temple.

Young is forecast as a mid to late round draft choice due mainly to his stature. Despite being a feisty player, who can play press and isn’t afraid to support the run, his 5-9, 180-pound frame has him being typecast as a nickel or dime defender only. Darby however, doesn’t see that as a negative.

“Even if you’re like 5-8, 5-9, the nickel is like a starter now,” said Darby. “You have three wide receivers on the field most of the time now, so the nickel is a starting position.”

 

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QB Wentz: playing in Senior Bowl was no brainer

Posted by Chris Brown on January 29, 2016 – 9:10 am

The Senior Bowl will air on NFL Network Saturday at 1:30 pm. One of the headliners will be North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz. Coming from an FCS school the opportunity to play against the best in the senior class was something Wentz wanted to do as soon as the invite was made.

“From the day I got the invite, I knew I wanted to play in this game,” Wentz said. “I’m a competitor, and I wanted to come out here and compete and show what I was capable of doing. The only thing was making sure I was going to be healthy. With the wrist injury in the middle of the season, I had to make sure I was healthy. But it was a no brainer.”

Wentz also said at this point it’s his plan to throw at the NFL Combine next month in Indianapolis.

“That’s the plan. We’ll see what happens,” he said. “I’ll talk to some people and make some decisions. But knowing myself, I’m going to push to do everything.”

Wentz is forecast to come off the board in the top half of round one this spring.


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Where Stanford QB Hogan has an edge

Posted by Chris Brown on January 28, 2016 – 10:15 am

Senior Bowl participant and former Stanford QB Kevin Hogan is seen by most as a mid to late round draft prospect, but there is one advantage he has en route to the NFL in the eyes of NFL talent evaluators.

Hogan has operated in a pro-style offense at Stanford for the last four years, which isn’t something most college quarterbacks can say.

“It’s definitely an advantage having played in that offense, the West Coast offense at Stanford,” said Hogan. “I’ve been in the huddle, I’ve called a play, I’ve gone up to the line of scrimmage and made checks at the line and it’s definitely helped me prepare.  I feel so much more comfortable out here doing it now.”

Hogan has an unusual throwing motion, which will be heavily scrutinized in the Senior Bowl practices this week, but he’s more focused on a different aspect of his personal game.

“Scouts have seen my tape and that’s who I am. There are definitely things in want to work on-I want to work on my lower half, my feet, my base, make sure I always have my feet on the ground and I’m ready to throw at any point,” he said. “Those are just the main things.”

Hogan has received favorable reviews from the high-ranking members of Buffalo’s personnel department.


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Senior Bowl director on QB crop on hand

Posted by Chris Brown on January 28, 2016 – 9:09 am

Senior Bowl director and former NFL GM Phil Savage brought in a larger quarterback contingent than normal for the North and South rosters at the Senior Bowl this week. In his opinion the class is deep, but with a variety of skill sets. Here’s Savage’s take on the eight signal callers in Mobile.

“We took eight quarterbacks this year which is something that’s never been done here before,” said Savage. “Part of the reason is we felt like there’s such a disparity between college and pro football and there’s so many differences at that position, we felt like this is such a deep class, that why not instead of six, let’s bring eight.

“I thought the clubs would really want to be in front of the players, find out what they know, how much did they run at the line of scrimmage, how much freedom did they have within their scheme. And not only evaluate them on the field, but off the field, so here we are. This year, we could have gone 10,11,12 deep in terms of trying to determine who would be here in Mobile.”

Bills GM Doug Whaley believes the senior class offers a deep group of quarterbacks that show the potential to develop, but few who are elite and ready to be impact players right away.


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Where the 2016 draft class is deepest

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2016 – 2:53 pm

There will be a number of opinions on this year’s draft class between now and the end of April. Here’s where Buffalo’s chief personnel men believe the draft is deepest.

“Overall it’s deep on the defensive line,” said GM Doug Whaley. “It’s really deep on the defensive line. It’s deep at quarterback so we’re excited about that. Also at receiver, it’s not top heavy at receiver, but it’s deep there. So I think it’s going to be a really excellent draft for some of the areas where we could use some backups and help.”

At the Senior Bowl specifically, Bills Director of College Scouting Kelvin Fisher also likes the D-line and QB.

“I would say D-line, quarterback-this is probably best group of quarterbacks that has been at the Senior Bowl since I’ve been here,” Fisher said. “But the d-line is pretty deep and the offensive line is pretty deep.”

“I like this roster,” said Bills Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos. “It starts off with some good quarterbacks. Some good D-linemen, good O-linemen, some playmakers. A couple of linebackers are intriguing so I think it’s a good class.”


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If No. 2 WR can’t be added, Bills to go with mix

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2016 – 9:04 am

For the Bills adding a true number two wideout opposite Sammy Watkins that has size and commands attention from opposing defenses would be ideal, but in a draft year where talent at receiver is good, but size isn’t the Bills may have to choose a different approach in addressing that role.

Bills GM Doug Whaley, who will appear on the John Murphy Show tonight from Mobile, commented on how they would fill the No. 2 WR role if a single player can’t be acquired to step into it.

“We’d love to (have a bona fide No. 2 receiver), but we think with the mix of guys we have we can generate a number two receiver, between (Marquise) Goodwin, (Robert) Woods, (Greg) Salas who we signed. Leonard Hankerson if we can get him back and then Greg Little that we signed. So we’ve got a mix of guys who might not be a bona fide number two, but we can use those guys in different roles and have a complementary number two just by mixing some guys in.”

Buffalo also signed Jarrett Boykin this month to try to improve the size at the position.


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Talent level solid at this year’s Senior Bowl

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2016 – 4:06 pm

The Senior Bowl practices are underway in Mobile and the level of talent on hand is impressive. Bills GM Doug Whaley believes the Senior Bowl just gets better and better with each passing year, despite the fact that the number of underclassmen declaring for the draft increases almost annually.

“I think it’s good,” Whaley told Buffalobills.com of the Senior Bowl talent. “There’s definitely depth here we didn’t have last year.  We’re excited about the guys we’re going to be able to see, not only on offense but on defense. It’s cyclical. Sometimes you’ll have some years where it’s top heavy and sometimes you’ll have some years where it’s depth here. I think there’s a lot of depth here at the Senior Bowl this year.”

Whaley said areas of depth in this year’s draft class include defensive line, quarterback and receiver.


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Senior Bowl rosters released

Posted by Chris Brown on January 21, 2016 – 1:08 pm

The Reese’s Senior Bowl will begin practices next week and Buffalobills.com will be there to cover the goings on as the pre-draft season gets underway in Mobile. Officials released the North and South rosters Thursday.

Among the more notable names participating in Senior Bowl week and the game on Saturday are North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz and Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott. On defense some of the big names include Alabama LB Reggie Ragland, Ohio State LB Josh Perry and Louisville DT Sheldon Rankins.

The John Murphy Show will also be broadcasting live from the Senior Bowl next week.

Here’s a look at the North and South team rosters.

North Team roster

South Team roster


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Quality of QB prospects a matter of opinion

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2015 – 12:47 pm

In the opinion of most draft gurus this year’s class of quarterbacks is not a strong one. Bills Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos said the quality of the quarterback class is ultimately a matter of opinion.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Monos was asked if the outside opinion on the quarterback class resonates with the Bills personnel department.

“Everybody is assuming quarterback for us obviously because we only have two on the roster in EJ (Manuel) and Jeff Tuel,” said Monos. “We are going to be doing work on every quarterback and if it’s strong or not strong that’s up to us. Hopefully we do our work and find somebody who is good, or find somebody nobody else is talking about because we aren’t picking that high.”


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Monos: Senior Bowl talent review

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2015 – 12:44 pm

Senior Bowl week came to a conclusion last weekend. Here are some players that Bills Player Personnel Director Jim Monos felt helped themselves during the practices and the game in Mobile.

In an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Monos was asked about offensive linemen and quarterbacks. He mentioned a guard from Duke and a tackle from Penn State.

“Laken Tomlinson had a great week of practice down there from Duke,” Monos said. “(Donovan) Smith the tackle from Penn State had a good week, who I’m looking at right now (on tape). He’s a big guy. We watch every position not just offensive line and we evaluate every position the same as if we need every position. I thought (QB) Bryce Petty from Baylor and (QB Garrett) Grayson from Colorado State had nice weeks.”

Smith is Cordy Glen big at 6-5 and 340 pounds. Here’s a look back at what happened in the Senior Bowl game over the weekend.


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Whaley on scouts meeting with Rex

Posted by Chris Brown on January 21, 2015 – 10:30 pm

Bills new head coach Rex Ryan met with the Bills personnel department in Mobile Tuesday evening. On Wednesday GM Doug Whaley provided an update on how things went in an interview on the John Murphy Show live in Mobile.

Whaley wanted the head coach to meet his scouts to help explain the type of players he needs for his team to be the best it can be. But Ryan made it very easy for Buffalo’s college scouts.

“He just said, ‘Get me people that love football and that are playmakers,’” said Whaley. “So that opens up the whole board for us and gets us really excited so we don’t have restrictions on the type of guys that we’re looking for.”

Whaley said Ryan’s personality is infectious and had the scouting department fired up when the meeting was over.

“No doubt about it. It’s contagious,” said Whaley of Ryan’s demeanor. “He’s got a personality that people gravitate to and you want to work for him and want him to succeed. For him to succeed he lays out the ground work and they’re easy to work with, like I said before, guys that love football and guys that can make plays. He doesn’t want to say, ‘Hey I want a specific guy, a 6-5 guy that runs 4.6.’ He said, ‘That’s great everybody wants that guy, but find me good football players.’”


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Auburn QB flipping to CB

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2015 – 2:47 pm

Auburn QB Nick Marshall was invited to this week’s Senior Bowl to play… quarterback, but on Tuesday he announced that he has plans to make it in the NFL on the other side of the ball.

Marshall, who played cornerback earlier in his football career, apparently has interest from all 32 NFL clubs as a defensive back prospect. That according to Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage.

“It’s second nature,” Marshall told AL.com. “I’m a born natural athlete and it’s something that the Lord blessed me with. I’m blessed to have that and I’m going to take full advantage of it.”

Marshall was an 11th hour addition to the South team roster at the Senior Bowl as a quarterback. He was given the option to play at cornerback by Savage, but chose not to be thrown into the fire at such an important audition for NFL scouts this week.

Presumably Marshall in interviews this week will express his willingness to make it in the NFL as a DB. From there workouts will likely be scheduled with Marshall during the latter stages of the pre-draft process.


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Buffalobills.com & JMS in Mobile

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2015 – 2:29 pm

Buffalobills.com and the John Murphy Show are again on location at the Senior Bowl this year in Mobile. Here’s some of the coverage you can expect Tuesday.

On camera interviews with new QBs coach David Lee and head coach Rex Ryan, who was taking in practice Tuesday in Mobile.

On the John Murphy Show tonight live from Mobile (7-9 pm), you’ll hear from head coach Rex Ryan as he discusses the value of being on hand for Senior Bowl practices and his plans for this evening as he meets Buffalo’s scouting department.

The aforementioned quarterbacks coach David Lee will also be stopping by as he talks EJ Manuel and Geno Smith from his previous coaching stop.

And Bills Roundup on all the action that took place with the North and South squads.

It’s all on Buffalobills.com this week and on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550.

 


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