The Jets just named second-round pick WR Stephen Hill as the starter opposite Santonio Holmes in their offense on Wednesday. One day later he landed on the team’s injury report.
Hill is listed as a full participant for Thursday’s practice, but apparently sustained an undisclosed leg injury. Whether he practices Friday remains to be seen. We’ll monitor Friday’s developments on that front and if it affects his likelihood for playing on Sunday.
Tags: AFC East, Bills-Jets, Stephen Hill
Posted in Inside the Bills
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.
Tags: 2012 NFL draft, Buddy Nix, Rueben Randle, Stephen Hill
Posted in Inside the Bills
Happy Friday the 13th everyone. More of your draft questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net. Let’s get to them.
1 - Hey Chris,
First off, I’d like to say hello from England and thanks for keeping me up to date on the Bills! It’s wonderful having such great coverage!
Anyway, my question is this: I was browsing the nfl website as I do when I came across a video of Sporting News writer Matt Hayes saying the Bills should really look into trading up to take QB Ryan Tannehill, a view apparently shared by the guys on the panel, due partly to Tannehill’s incredible talent and athleticism, but also partly due to Fitz’ 23 interceptions last year.
I was just wondering whether the Bills would consider something like this, or are they set on Fitz as their starter for the duration of the contract, also: can we expect Fitzpatrick’ interception total to drop in 2012?
Cheers from across the pond, Matt.
CB: Appreciate the kind sentiments. I think the Bills consider anything and everything, but Tannehill only had 20 starts in his college career at quarterback. To me that means he’ll need time to develop at the NFL level because he simply hasn’t had the time on the job in college to progress to the point to be ready for the NFL game.
The Bills made a long-term commitment to Ryan Fitzpatrick for a reason. They believe he can get them to the playoffs. That doesn’t remove them from drafting a quarterback. I’d just be surprised if they took one with their first pick at 10 in round one, which is the only place they’d have a chance at Tannehill.
2 - Hi Chris,
Great Job with all of the Mario Williams coverage, those were a nerve racking couple days. My question is about the receiver spot opposite Stevie, I am holding out hope Easley plays as well as I saw him in the one home preseason game he played in last year. That being said it doesn’t seem like something that is for certain and we really could still use that speed guy opposite Stevie. I haven’t heard anything of it but Lee Evans was released by Baltimore, his one really good quality was getting deep and catching the bomb. Is there any chance this would be something that could be explored to open the underneath stuff open more?
Thanks, Go Bills!
CB: I think the receiver position will certainly be addressed, but it won’t be in the form of Lee Evans. Buffalo parted with him because although they appreciated his professionalism, they also felt his game was on the decline. The Bills ideally want to have a roster with a majority of players whose games are still on the ascent or peaking.
I have no doubt the Bills will draft a receiver, the question is when? In round one at 10, their best option will likely be Michael Floyd, assuming Justin Blackmon is gone. In round two there should be a host of options. I was hoping LSU’s Rueben Randle would be there for them at that point, but indications now are that some team might scoop him up late in the first. Fortunately the receiver depth is pretty deep this year in the draft and I think a capable player could still be had in round three (e.g. – A.J. Jenkins, Brian Quick).
3 - Hi Chris,
After reading the scouting reports on Stephen Hill it seems that he has everything the Bills are looking for in their number 2 receiver position. If available after the first round do you think the Bills may target a receiver like Hill, or pass on him because he is more of a potential rather than production prospect and lacks the of body of work which Buddy prefers?
Love your Work
CB: I think Hill could be a possibility, but I believe Buffalo’s scouting department typically likes to see a bit more body of work. There’s no questioning Hill’s athletic ability and speed, but playing in that triple option offense at Georgia Tech hurt him.
He didn’t get a chance to really develop his game and that forces scouts to project more, something they don’t love doing.
Hill could be an option in round two for Buffalo at pick 41, but all it takes is one team to fall in love with Hill’s speed. Either way I’d prefer a player with a bit more of a resume like a Rueben Randle or Mohamed Sanu.
4 - Chris,
Now that the Bills have their pass rushing DE Mario Williams – do you think that they might be interested in the top linebacker in the draft, Luke Kuechly, for the no. 10 pick in round# 1?
I understand that Kuechly is considered more of an inside linebacker, but I also read that he played outside linebacker originally in college.
I hear rumors that the Bills are going to take an offensive tackle in round# 1 -or a wideout, but it seems to me that they still need more help on defense. They re-signed Derek Hagan @ WR, who played well for Buffalo at the end of last season. Not to mention Marcus Easley, who is supposed to be healthy now. There is more need on defense.
CB: I don’t disagree with you. In fact I like Kuechly a lot at 10 because I believe he’s very fitting of the value at that pick. In my estimation he’s a plug and play type player for your defense. I think he would be in direct competition with Kirk Morrison at strong side LB, a position he is more than capable of playing. I think his skill set is perfect for Dave Wannstedt’s defense, and there are no question marks on him, which seems to be the case with a lot of the offensive tackles projected in that range.
I’d like to see them grab an offensive tackle in round 2. Of course the danger with that is on average five offensive tackles are taken in the first round because it’s such an important position. What you expect to be available in the second round often isn’t. So it’s a tough spot for Buffalo, but I can’t see how Kuechly isn’t in that 10-15th overall pick range on every team’s board. That’s why he makes sense to me.
5 - Hi Chris:
With the Mario Williams signing, and with Fred Jackson’s potential extension later this summer, will there be money to lock down next year’s free agents in advance? I’m thinking about Byrd, Levitre, Urbik, and Rinehart in particular. I’m wondering if the Bills are holding off on spending more now (for available free agent wide receivers, etc) in order to leave money for re-signing some or all of next year’s free agent crop prior to the end of next season.
Paul in Beijing
CB: Good to hear from Bills fans in China! Wow. Anyway, the Bills are always fiscally responsible when it comes to handing out contracts. Williams cap figure next year granted is almost $12M, but for players like Byrd and the three linemen you listed they don’t play at high-priced positions so their cap figures on long term deals should be manageable.
Fred Jackson’s extension I’m not expecting to be cost prohibitive concerning future contracts either.
Tags: Andy Levitre, Chad Rinehart, Fan Friday, Jairus Byrd, Kraig Urbik, Lee Evans, Luke Kuechly, Ryan Tannehill, Stephen Hill
Posted in Inside the Bills
The NFL draft is approaching fast. Here’s the latest edition of your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1 - Hey Chris,
Do you see Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech being a reach at 10? 6’4″ Wide Receivers that run 4.3′s are a rare commodity and I can’t help but think that Gailey’s ties to Georgia Tech could play a huge factor. I know the Mock Drafts have us going DE but all of the top tiered ones should be gone by the time we hit the clock. Hill seems like a possible Megatron Junior that when lined opposite Stevie could give us a WR tandem not to be wreckoned with! What are your thoughts?
Eric from Rochester, NY
CB: From a physical measurables standpoint, you’re right, there aren’t many 6’4” receivers that run a 4.3. The problem with Hill is he never had much of an opportunity to put his receiving skills on display in Georgia Tech’s triple option offense.
He ran mostly deep go routes and slant and go’s and so projecting exactly how polished and versatile a receiver he can be proves more difficult for NFL personnel people.
I think in most scouting circles he’s a first-round pick, but top 10 is a stretch because you can’t be as sure about him due to the lack of exposure to his full potential as a route runner. So I would be surprised if at 10 the Bills make him their top pick.
Now if Buffalo moved back into the late teens or early 20’s the value is better knowing the risk. For every Willie Gault there’s also a Matt Jones.
2 - Hey there Chris,
Thanks for everything you do for the Bills. You do a great job of keeping the fans informed. I have some questions regarding the draft and free agency and how those will affect one another.
From what I gather from you and the interviews with Nix and Gailey, the Bills are not going to draft a DE or LB with the 10th pick. When there are so many questions about their NFL potential and there is so much quality later in the draft, it makes since to go in another direction.
What position do you think they will likely address with the 10th pick?
Also, I’m from Virginia and I love the possibility of drafting Cam Johnson or Chase Minnifield. Think there’s a chance they end up as a Bill?
CB: I think the Bills are in a very interesting position at 10. I tend to agree with ESPN’s Todd McShay, who believes the caliber of player between 10 and 20 is marginal. That can make for a wide range of options at the top of that range at 10.
Some draft experts claim that certain players if taken at 10 would be a reach because if a draft “guru” thinks they’ll still be on the board at 20 the team didn’t get good value. What we all need to remember is each club has all of these prospects graded differently, and every personnel executive in the league could care less what the draft analysts think.
The Bills have always claimed to be a proponent of taking the best player on their board, unless there are two players whose draft grades are so close that they feel they can lean toward positional need. Only the Bills know who is the best value to take at 10.
I think it’s safe to say that OT and WR are their top positional needs, but I wouldn’t lock the Bills in to those two positions in the first two rounds. It just doesn’t work that way.
As for Cam Johnson and Chase Minnifield, both are considered a bit stiff in the hips at their respective positions. Both are seen as mid-round picks, with Minnifield’s speed having some clubs projecting him to safety. Johnson doesn’t have the athleticism to transition to an OLB spot so he’s strictly a DE. Though he has great burst off the line, his long chase speed is not elite (4.81 40 time). Both should be off the board no later than early day 3 (4th round).
3 - CB,
Thanks for keeping us all up to speed. Always love your reports. I have a question about Merriman. When asked about him the coaches seem to just say ‘we have to get him healthy and see what he can do’.
From your talks with the coaches or with Merriman, do you think the coaches are even considering him as a possible SAM or is he strictly a DE in a 4-3?
CB: Shawne sounds like he’s going to be strictly a DE in Dave Wannstedt’s 4-3. I don’t know this, but this is what I expect. Knowing that Merriman is still rehabbing from Achilles surgery, the coaching staff is not counting on him yet. As such I almost expect his role to be that of a pass rush specialist first. Provided he comes along and can handle an increased workload then I believe they take advantage of his abilities as a run stopper, which are very underrated. But knowing it’s a wait and see I think the coaching staff takes advantage of what he does best (rush the passer) and then put more on his plate as the season wears on if his body responds favorably.
4 – Chris,
What are the chances that the Bills will draft a quarterback (a fairly decent one maybe in the third round)? Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick is the franchise quarterback, but if he goes down with an injury during the season, the Bills would be in trouble. Tyler Thigpen is NOT the answer, and Brad Smith doubles as a receiver. Also, the Bills need another receiver to complement Stevie Johnson. As always, I look forward to your response.
Tony, Daytona Beach, Fl
CB: Buddy has gone on record as saying if the right one is there when they’re on the clock they’ll draft a quarterback. That being said I wouldn’t expect one any earlier than round 3 unless some signal caller they had a high grade on slips to round 2, which is unlikely knowing how inflated quarterback value gets on draft day.
I believe the Bills will make wide receiver a focus in the draft and knowing they want a prospect capable of getting on the field early they are likely to address the position sooner rather than later. Again the value has to be right when Buffalo is on the clock.
5 - Dear Chris,
I am very excited about the signing of Mario Williams. This is a huge boost for the defense, which already has studs like Kyle Williams, Marcel Dareus, and even Shawn Merriman. With those players already in the mix, and Williams now in the mix, I am still thinking defense for the draft.
A lot of talk I’ve heard and seen online are that the Bills will focus on an offensive tackle or a stud wide receiver if he is available at ten. However linebacker still concerns me. I really like Courtney Upshaw. I love his, style of play, and that he was a teammate of Marcel Dareus. Do you see the Bills taking him at ten if he is available, or concentrating on other needs?
Thanks for your time. Take Care and God Bless.
Brian (From Hamburg)
CB: I don’t see Upshaw as an option at 10 because first and foremost I don’t think he’s fluid enough to play linebacker in a 3-4 or a 4-3. He’s what scouts call stiff in the hips in my opinion, so his lateral agility and ability to drop in coverage are substandard for the position at the NFL level. I don’t believe he can be an OLB. So that reduces him to being strictly a DE as I see it. Knowing Buffalo has capably filled that positional need with Williams and Mark Anderson I don’t see him as a viable option at 10 for the Bills.
Furthermore I don’t think he fits the value of being a top 10 pick. Nice player, and probably a first-round pick, but I don’t think he’s top 10 material. What the Bills think of him is anyone’s guess.
Tags: 2012 NFL draft, Cam Johnson, Chase Minnifield, Courtney Upshaw, Fan Friday, Mario Williams, Shawne Merriman, Stephen Hill
Posted in Inside the Bills
Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill put his speed on display this morning at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Hill clocked in with an unofficial 4.30 and 4.31 in the 40, which topped the wideout position group. Hill (6’4″ 215) is widely considered a second-round pick. Though he played in a triple option offense speed like that could push him up the draft board even further.
Tags: NFL Combine, Stephen Hill
Posted in Inside the Bills