Inside The Bills

NFP’s Bowen on Senior Bowl QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on January 25, 2013 – 9:42 am

Former NFL safety and National Football Post correspondent Matt Bowen wrapped up his trip to Mobile with 10 observations from the Senior Bowl. He began with the questions at the quarterback position.

Bowen, who often speaks with NFL scouts during the week he’s at the Senior Bowl got a very interesting variety of opinions on the signal callers that were practicing this week and put it in his top 10.

1. Questions at QB: I asked three pro scouts who had the best week of practice in Mobile and I got three different answers: Ryan Nassib, Mike Glennon and E.J. Manuel. My take? I’m going with Nassib. The Syracuse QB will need to develop his overall game, but the skill set was the best I saw on the field. Without Geno Smith and Matt Barkley (both opted out of the Senior Bowl), this group didn’t have one QB that stood above the rest.

What I found most interesting with this comment was no mention of Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson, who was getting some positive reviews in Mobile this week.

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Some QBs MIA at the Senior Bowl

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 25, 2013 – 9:00 am

The six quarterbacks at this year’s Senior Bowl have had a week’s worth of practice to showcase their talents, and the game tomorrow to complete their argument. But the QB class of 2013 is missing a couple of pretty big names, according to NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock.

Mayock is a draft expert and the color analyst on the NFL Network’s broadcast of Thursday Night Football. He’ll appear as a guest tonight on The John Murphy Show podcast.

Mayock says West Virginia QB Geno Smith and USC’s Matt Barkley were obviously missed at the Senior Bowl this year. Smith chose not to attend, and Barkley continues to rehab a shoulder injury. Mayock says the pair will have something to say about the quarterback picture come draft day.

“I’m disappointed in Geno Smith, he declined the invitation to come here,” Mayock said. “He’s one of seven guys that declined it at different positions. And I thought that had he come in here, and put on a show like the Central Michigan left tackle (Eric Fisher), he all of a sudden could have been a top ten pick like the Central Michigan left tackle is. I think Geno Smith, who has first round ability but highly inconsistent, he could have come in here put on a show and confirmed high first round status. I think he lost an opportunity here.”

“Matt Barkley is another guy. Now , he had a shoulder and that’s why he isn’t here. Everybody was kinda running crazy on Matt Barkley this year. I think once we get done all the homework and look at all the junior and senior tape on him, as we get closer to the draft I think Matt Barkley will be rising up boards.”

The complete interview with NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock will air tonight on The John Murphy Show podcast available at

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WNY’er missed his shot at the Senior Bowl

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 24, 2013 – 7:00 pm

He got the invite, but Cornell offensive lineman J.C. Tretter has been unavilable to practice this week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile.

The Akron, NY native has been here all week, but he’s walking around with big brace and bandage on his nose. Tretter broke the nose last Friday, just hours before he was scheduled to fly to Mobile for the week’s worth of practices.

“Down at IMG where I’m training, we were doing some one on one pass-pro last Friday, non padded,” Tretter told The John Murphy Show.

“I had the kid locked out, he tried to spin. He slipped, and the back of his head caught my nose, and the head’s a little denser than the nose is, so he shifted it over. I had to get rushed to the emergency room and get it shifted back. I’m not able to participate this week, which is very unfortunate.”

Tretter has spent the week in Mobile meeting with different NFL coaching staffs in the night time interviews. But he knows he missed a major opportunity this week, a chance to convince NFL scouts and coaches that the Ivy Leaguer can compete at the top level.

“It was definitely a huge disappointment,” Tretter said. “This is both an honor and an opportunity, the Senior Bowl. It’s an honor because you’re getting recognized as one of the top players in the nation, but it’s an opportunity because when you’re from a small school, you get a chance to play against the big schools and the big time prospects. This was a huge disappointment for me not to be able to go out and show all the scouts what I’m capable of.”

Tretter will get his chance. He’s cleared to resume working out next Monday, and he’s just about a month away from attending the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

The 6-2, 302 lb offensive lineman is a legitimate NFL prospect. And he was a standout in football and basketball during his high school days in Akron, NY. He remains Akron High School’s all time leader in points and rebounds.

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Sleepers in Saturday’s Senior Bowl game

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 24, 2013 – 6:20 pm

Bills fans interested in the April NFL draft will get an eyeful Saturday, when the Senior Bowl kicks off at 4pm Eastern. And most of the attention will naturally be directed at the quarterbacks in the game.

But NFL Network analyst Charles Davis says there are several undheralded players to keep an eye on in the North vs. South game Saturday. He spoke with The John Murphy Show in Mobile, Alabama this week.

““It’s easy to say the quarterbacks. For me I’m a big wanting to know what we’re getting wide receiver and cornerback wise. So far I think Markus Wheaton from Oregon State has been terrific out at wide receiver. I think Desmond Trufant, has been terrific on the corner for the North squad. On the South squad there’s a kid named Robert Alford from Southeast Louisiana that no one is really talking about. I think he’s a heck of a football player so I’m going to keep an eye on him too.”

The entire interview with Charles Davis can be heard tonight on The John Murphy Show podcast, which is available at

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QB Tyler Wilson = Kirk Cousins?

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 24, 2013 – 5:39 pm

The practices for Saturday’s Senior Bowl are winding down–four practices for each of the teams in total this week. And observers who’ve been watching the quarterbacks work are drawing their own conclusions about how they stack up.

Former DB Charles Davis is an analyst for the NFL Network who’s part of their “Path to the Draft” coverage. He’s been here in Mobile, Alabama all week long watching the quarterbacks work out.

The consensus among the media seems to be that Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson has been the steadiest of the six QB performers this week. And Davis agrees.

‘“He has all of the intangibles and in a lot of ways he reminds me of Kirk Cousins from last year,” Davis told The John Murphy Show at the Senior Bowl.

“He’s one of those guys that has great leadership skills, understands the big picture, has a toughness about him. He has to dispel some myths about how many times he’s been hurt and concussions because there are a lot of myths about it because there has only been one.”

Davis says Wilson persevered through a rough senior year at Arkansas and is better for it.

“This past year was just so difficult with the way that everything went down with the coaching change and all. I think he ended up trying to do too much. It was very similar to what Drew Brees went through. When Sean Payton is not there the leader is gone and so Drew is not just quarterbacking he’s trying to make sure the offense is right and it takes some time to settle in and react to that and I think that’s what happened to Tyler this year.”

You can hear the entire interview with NFL Network analyst Charles Davis tonight on The John Murphy Show podcast available at

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Nix back at South team practice

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 24, 2013 – 11:22 am

It’s a sparse crowd of scouts and coaches this morning for the South team practice at the Senior Bowl. But Bills GM Buddy Nix is on the sidelines this morning keeping a close eye on the QBs.

Many NFL personnel execs have moved on from Mobile with the practice s winding down for the week. The South team is going through a glorified walk through under brilliant blue skies and temperatures in the mid sixties.

Nix is eyeballing QBs EJ Manuel, Tyler Wilson and Landry Jones for the South. Wilson has been the most consistent performer of this weeks QB prospects

We’ll have more from the Senior Bowl tonight on The John Murphy Show podcast available at

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Bills scout’s view of Senior Bowl LBs

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 24, 2013 – 11:00 am

The Bills have been talking for months about their need to upgrade the linebacker spot. And what better place to start the process, than the Senior Bowl this week.

There are a total of 14 linebackers on hand at the premier All Star showcase for draft eligible players this year, six on the North squad and seven on the South. And Bills Assistant General Manager Doug Whaley talked about the most impressive linebackers at the Senior Bowl so far, during an appearance Wednesday night on The John Murphy Show.

“One of the best guys I’ve seen out there is Vince Williams of Florida State,” Whaley said on the radio show. “He has shown some physicality out there, knocking a couple of guys on their behinds, offensive linemen twice his size. He’s doing a good job hitting the running back in the hole.”

The Bills Assistant GM went on to talk some other linebackers who have impressed in the first three days of Senior Bowl workouts.

“Sean Porter an outside linebacker from Texas A and M. He’s shown an ability to close on the ball and did some good things in coverage, so he’s been pretty impressive.

“Chase Thomas of Stanford—he’s a high energy high effort guy. He may be a little limited physically, but he tries to make up for it with his hustle and heart.

“John Simon of Ohio State—he’s a guy that has a good upside. He’s got to get used to playing inside, they played him at a lot of different positions at Ohio State. He’s got some upside.”

The entire interview with Doug Whaley is available on The John Murphy Show podcast on

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Bills Doug Whaley on Senior Bowl WRs

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 24, 2013 – 10:30 am

It’s a talented and deep class of Wide Receivers at the Senior Bowl in Mobile this week. And the Assistant General Manager of the Bills, Doug Whaley, says several of the wideouts have already made favorable impressions.

In an appearance on The John Murphy Show Wednesday night live from Mobile, Whaley talked about the wide receivers who have caught his eye during the first three days of Senior Bowl practices.

“Quinton Patton (Louisiana Tech). He had a great day today catching the deep ball,” Whaley told host John Murphy. “And Cobi Hamilton of Arkansas has done a good job of making contested catches. Tavarres King of Georgia had an outstanding day Tuesday. Those guys have been pretty impressive.”

“You’d have to say Marquise Goodwin (Texas). He’s a speed guy, he’s going to have some trouble, he’ll need to work on getting off the press. Aaron Dobson from Marshall is another guy that has a nice combination of size and speed and can judge and go get the deep ball. He’s been pretty good. And Aaron Mellette from Elon—a big guy that’s smooth. 6-0 204-pounds. He’s got some size and he’s smooth. Coming from a small school, he’s stepped up and he’s shown that this isn’t too big a stage for him.”

The entire interview with Bills Assistant GM Doug Whaley is available on The John Murphy Show podcast on

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Bills scouts ready for juniors

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 24, 2013 – 10:00 am

The Buffalo Bills scouting staff has been hard at work all week, looking over the prospects at the Senior Bowl in Mobile. But starting tomorrow, they will utilize their scouting combine, BLESTO, to dig into the juniors who have been declared eligible for the April draft.

Seventy three juniors will join the seniors in the NFL draft this year, most of whom are not able to attend this week’s Senior Bowl. But Bills Assistant General Manager Doug Whaley says he and GM Buddy Nix will sit down with the BLESTO scouts Friday in Mobile, to get their assesments of the crop of juniors coming into the draft in three months.

“Since the official declaration of the juniors eligible for the draft was January 18th, those guys (BLESTO) have been working on those juniors since the 18th hit,” Whaley said, during an appearance Wednesday night on The John Murphy Show live at the Senior Bowl.

“What they (BLESTO) do is give us a breakdown on what each of those juniors is about, and how they categorize those guys draft wise. And that will help us narrow our focus.”

Whaley says the actual meetings with the BLESTO scouting combine scouts starts Thursday night, with BLESTO’s reports on late additions to the Senior class of draft prospects, players that, for whatever reason, jumped up and made themselves draft-possible prospects in their senior year.

“There’s guys that may have looked at over the fall that may not have started, or started to have a good year, that they upgraded,” Whaley said. “And that’s what we’ll go over on Thursday night. We want to see any seniors that had a good year, guys that they say, hey, we didn’t have them rated that high last spring.”

“The BLESTO scouts will give us his information, here’s his lineage, here’s how he played , here’s what we thought about him when he played. Obviously, we had some scouts in on him, but we like to use that information resource as well, to get as much information on the players.”

The entire interview with Bills Assistant GM Doug Whaley is available on The John Murphy Show podcast on

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Bills’ Doug Whaley on Manti Te’O

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 24, 2013 – 9:30 am


While much of the football world, and much of America for that matter, is following the Manti Te’O situation with heightened anticipation, it seems like the Buffalo Bills are sitting back, waiting for the dust to settle, and then moving forward to evaluate Te’O as a football player first.

Bills Assistant GM Doug Whaley talked about the Notre Dame linebacker Wednesday night, during an appearance on The John Murphy Show from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Te’O is embroiled in a controversy regarding a non-existent girlfriend whom he talked about last fall, indicating that she had passed away.

But the Bills are first and foremost interested in learning more about Te’O as a player.

“We always say you grade the player as a football player,” Whaley told host John Murphy. “All the off field stuff, we’ll decide on that when we sit down with Russ and Buddy and see how that guy’s character would affect him being a Buffalo Bill. You don’t want to discount his talent because of his character, because if you do that, you start putting guys that are less talented above him. That’s why we want to make sure as a player we get him right.”

Whaley had high praise for Te’O as a player, despite his struggles in the BCS Championship game against Alabama earlier this month.

“I think he’s a productive guy that has made some plays to win some games,” Whaley said. “Everybody says he had a bad game against Alabama. It’s tough to play against that level. But against Southern Cal, to get them to the National Championship, that goal line stand, he was an integral part of that. The interception to win the game at Oklahoma, he made that play. Michigan State–another interception.”

“He’s a playmaker. We’d like to get his exact measurables, height, weight, etc. And I think another big thing for him will be his forty time at the combine.”

The entire interview with Doug Whaley is available on The John Murphy Show podcast on, or by listening above.

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Dobson known for tough catches

Posted by Chris Brown on January 24, 2013 – 9:08 am

Marshall WR Aaron Dobson, who we profile on the home page of this morning, made more than his share of difficult catches during his college career. Perhaps the most popular is his one-handed backhanded grab against East Carolina in 2011.

It was just a 13-yard touchdown reception, but the degree of difficulty was pretty significant considering his back is to the ball.

Watching some of his route running he has a somewhat unconventional style. I’m not saying he’s Stevie Johnson, but he’s a bit unorthodox at times like Stevie. He’s certainly an interesting prospect that’s likely to be a mid-second round pick according to most draft prognosticators.

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South on the field for Wednesday workout

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 23, 2013 – 3:21 pm

A few more clouds in the sky for the South team practice at the Senior Bowl in Mobile Wednesday afternoon. Not only do the players have to perform for NFL scouts and coaches but the NFL Network is here for complete live coverage of the workouts (picture below).
With the Bills interest in linebackers, we”ll be keeping an eye on the LB talent including a couple that Bills GM Buddy Nix singled out for praise this week: Nico Johnson of Alabama and Vince Williams of FSU. Another LB, Jake Johnson of South Alabama had to be carted off the field after injuring his lower right leg early in today’s practice.
Speaking of injuries, still no sign of Akron,NY native J.C. Tretter on the field yet. He broke his nose a couple of weeks ago and has been held out of practice. We’ll get the story straight from him when he joins us on The John Murphy Show live from the Senior Bowl tonight.


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Manuel: I bring versatility

Posted by Chris Brown on January 23, 2013 – 12:48 pm

E.J. Manuel played in more of a pro-style offense at Florida State, which stretched the field and differed from the more popular spread and read option attacks in college. But Manuel feels his athletic ability makes him a fit for that kind of offense as well should it be the one he has to execute in the NFL.

“I think the fact that I can do the read option as far as reading the end and doing the run off of it or throwing the bubble (screen) outside,” said Manuel after practice at the Senior Bowl. “We had the vertical game, we did a lot of that at Florida State, plus you have to have some quick guys around you and I had that at Florida State. So we didn’t run the same exact offense as far as the option or the spread, but I know I could do it and it would be an easy transition for me.”

Manuel met with the Eagles and their new head coach Chip Kelly, who also recruited Manuel out of high school.

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Wednesday Senior Bowl-North practice

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 23, 2013 – 12:01 pm

Another picture perfect football day in Mobile as the Senior Bowl practices continue. The North squad is on the field this morning at Ladd-Peebles stadium under pristine blue skies with the temps in the low 60s. It looks like day three of practice means the QB rotation is shuffled again with Miami’s Zac Dysert getting the first reps followed by Ryan Nasib of Syracuse, then Mike Glennon of N.C. State. Michigan’s Denard Robinson is getting his first work of the week at wide receiver. He struggled with a couple of drops on individual and 7 on 7 work. Robinson is still recovering from an elbow injury. One of the best receivers this week has been Marshall’s Aaron Dobson. At 6-2 203 lbs he’s got the size the Bills are looking for. He’s fast enough and seems to run fluidly. Dobson’s draft stock has been rising steadily and many observers think he’s moved into the first round.
We’re on the air at 7pm tonight with The John Murphy Show live from the Senior Bowl. Bills Assistant GM Doug Whaley will be our guest


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FSU’s Manuel hoping for chance to start

Posted by Chris Brown on January 23, 2013 – 11:32 am

Florida State QB E.J. Manuel, who is participating for the South team at the Senior Bowl practices this week realizes an NFL team will pick him, not the other way around. But the eager senior signal caller would prefer to go to a team with more uncertainty at the quarterback position.

“It would be (more appealing),” said Manuel. “To be able to go in and obviously still work hard because nobody is going to give you a position. Every team still has good players with veterans there, and those are the guys I would learn from, but whatever situation I go into I’m going to go in and work hard.”

Manuel met with the Bills earlier this week, just like the other five quarterbacks participating at the Senior Bowl.

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A Bills fan’s guide to the Senior Bowl

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 22, 2013 – 11:30 pm

seniorb-bowl-storyFor Bills GM Buddy Nix, a trip to Mobile for the Senior Bowl in January is an established routine. Nix says he’s been coming to the Senior Bowl for at least the last thirty years.

But for fans who are just starting to plug into the showcase game for college seniors, and maybe just starting to look ahead at the NFL Draft in April, the Bills top football decision maker has some advice.

In an appearance on The John Murphy Show Tuesday night, Nix offered some scout’s guidelines on what Bills fans should look for, when they watch Senior Bowl practices on the NFL Network, or the game itself this Saturday. The Bills GM has said all along the club’s top priorities in the draft are QB, WR and LB. So he tailored his advice to those three positions.

“When you’re looking at linebackers, I think that’s changed now,” Nix told host John Murphy. “You want a guy who can run and cover and can match up against a slot or a tight end. See if that guy ‘s got enough mobility in space to cover.”

“The receivers, obviously we want a guy who can go up and snatch tne ball, that he’s open when he’s covered. See if they’ll go up and high point the ball and get it,” he continued.

“Quarterbacks, I think the big thing with them is can they win the game? Do they do something to win the game? Can they play good in the fourth quarter, in the last three or four minutes.”

Nix and his scouting staff will spend the rest of the week in Mobile to assess the 110 or so prospects on hand. And they’ll do the same thing next month, when the draft class convenes at the Combine in Indianapolis.

The John Murphy Show will broadcast live from the Senior Bowl in Mobile Wednesday night. The show airs weeknights from 7-9pm on the flagship station of the Bills, WGR Sports Radio 550.

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Nassib: Bills would be match made in heaven

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2013 – 11:09 pm

Bills play-by-play man John Murphy caught up with Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib at the Senior Bowl for an interview with Prior to extolling the virtues of Bills head coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, Nassib was asked for his thoughts about the possibility of joinng his former coaches in Buffalo come late April if it were to happen. Suffice to say Nassib would be good with it.

“That would be a great situation, I love the city of Buffalo,” Nassib said. “I’m  a Central New York guy, that type of weather, and going to Buffalo with all those Syracuse guys there, that would be a match made in heaven.”

Nassib did remind everyone in the next breath that as a draft prospect you don’t get to pick your team, they pick you.

“That would be a great situation for me, but you don’t choose the team you go to, so if I’m fortunate enough to get picked by them, great,” he said. “But if not, I’m going to make the best of the situation with some other team.”   

Nassib, a native Philadelphian, is considered blue collar to the core. It’d be hard to blame him for wanting to come to Buffalo. He’d walk in the door knowing the offense better than any other player in the building, not unlike Ryan Tannehill did for the Dolphins last year after he followed his college head coach Mike Sherman from Texas A&M to Miami.

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Bills meet with all six Senior Bowl QBs

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 22, 2013 – 11:00 pm

The Bills have made no secret of their interest in drafting a quarterback this year. And they got right to work on digging into the background of each of them at this week’s Senior Bowl in Mobile.

In an appearance Tuesday night on The John Murphy Show at the Senior Bowl, GM Buddy Nix said the team’s scouts and Head Coach Doug Marrone sat down with all six quarterbacks Monday night to get background and insight into each of them. The group includes Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib, North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon, and Miami of Ohio’s Zac Dysert from the North squad, and Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson, FSU’s E.J. Manuel, and Oklahoma’s Landry Jones from the South.

Nix says he and his scouting staff typically meets with draft prospects each night at the Senior Bowl from 830pm to 1130pm. And it’s not just the quarterbacks, they’ll meet with all the different position groups.

And if that’s not enough, the Bills GM says they’ll conduct interviews with many of the same prospects next month at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

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Marrone had different purpose in Mobile

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2013 – 10:44 pm

As reported in Bills Focus on by play-by-play man John Murphy on assignment at the Senior Bowl, Buffalo head coach Doug Marrone made a pitstop in Mobile on Tuesday, but his primary purpose wasn’t to get more familiar with the draft prospects on hand.

Marrone’s main aim was to meet the Bills scouting staff as a group.

“It was important, the one part of the organization I hadn’t met yet was the scouts,” Marrone told “I just wanted to make sure I got down here and introduce myself to them and get a feel, and for them to get to know me a little better. I wanted to tell them how I excited I am, and the coaches, to be working with them, so we had a meeting.  Then coming out here, and I’m trying to get a feel for the rest of the young players that we have out here.”

Marrone is already back in Buffalo after departing from Mobile Tuesday afternoon. While he recognizes the importance of the Senior Bowl, with his staff and team in a transitional stage it’s more important to assess the talent that’s already on his roster rather than the prospective talent that could be added in late April.

“We have a lot of work up in Buffalo,” he said. “I think we’re ahead in a lot of different areas, but we wanna get back up there. We finally have the full staff together.

“We’re excited about the players that we have on our football team. We’re looking at them and evaluating them and that’s a process, that takes a while. It’s not like you just watch a bunch of tape and then you go ahead. So we’re doing that, but we’re getting a lot of things set up—we’re getting our schedule set up for minicamps and OTAs and things like that, getting our daily schedule set up, getting our playbooks, making sure they’re organized and getting them together.  That’s what  really going on right now.”


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Nix: Senior Bowl is key to evaluating players

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 22, 2013 – 10:23 pm

It’s a process, the road to the April NFL Draft. And this week’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama is just one step in the process.

But according to Bills General Manager Buddy Nix, the Senior Bowl is the most important event leading up to the draft, once the college football season ends. Nix was a guest Tuesday night on The John Murphy Show live from Mobile, Alabama, the site of the Senior Bowl.

“I think this is the most important,” Nix said, comparing this week’s events in Mobile to the other offseason events: the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, and individual “Pro Day” workouts for players.

“This is my third bowl game in two weeks. But the Senior Bowl is coached by NFL coaches, so they know what you’re looking for. They make sure you see what you’re looking for. And these guys are going against the best competition. It makes it easy to evaluate. The hard part is evaluating a guy against somebody that you think is inferior or much better, then it makes it tough. But all these guys are pretty equal.”

Nix thoughts were echoed by Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson, who says he considers the Senior Bowl the best chance he has to impress NFL scouts.

“It’s one of the three hurdles as a prep player coming into the professional ranks,” Wilson says. “This is a big week for me, I want to come out here and compete, and meet a lot of these guys that I’ll be playing with on the next level. I look forward to it. I’ll use it as an opportunity for me, and then continue to train down at IMG and prepare for the combine.”

Nix says he was happy to see the competition level ramped up during Tuesdays padded practices at the Senior Bowl.

“They put the pads on today and they went really hard. I think you can really see if a game’s too big for a guy, or too fast for them, which is hard to tell sometimes doing college tape,” he said.

The John Murphy Show
will broadcast live from the Senior Bowl Wednesday night from 7-9pm, on the flagship station of the Bills, WGR Sports Radio 550.

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