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Inside The Bills

Report: Lewan to be charged in alleged assault

Posted by Chris Brown on March 20, 2014 – 2:00 pm

Michigan OT Taylor Lewan, forecast as a top 15 pick in this year’s NFL draft, will reportedly be charged with assault and battery stemming from a December altercation with a couple of Ohio State fans.

That according to an MLive and Ann Arbor News report. The incident allegedly occurred  on Dec. 1st after Ohio State had beaten Michigan where two Buckeye fans allege they were assaulted by Lewan.

Lewan was asked about the alleged incident in his NFL combine press conference and maintained that he was a peacemaker in the incident.

“I wasn’t in any fight of any kind,” he said. “I was actually breaking something up and some guy said that I slugged him. But that’s not who I am off the field, that’s not the kind of person I am. I might seem that way because of the way I play football, but that’s not who I am as a person.”

Lewan is scheduled to be arraigned on April 8th, which is right in the middle of NFL pre-draft visits.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

New mock has new OT at 9 for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 19, 2014 – 1:01 pm

Of late Michigan’s Taylor Lewan has been the popular offensive tackle pick projected to the Bills with their choice at ninth overall. One of the newer mock drafts, however, has Buffalo getting one of the other top three offensive tackles in the class.

CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco has Buffalo taking Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews. Here’s his assessment.

9. Buffalo Bills – Jake Matthews, T, Texas A&M: I will stick with the idea that Matthews is their guy. They could move Cordy Glenn to the right side.

I disagree that Glenn will be on the move. Doug Marrone has said he was very pleased with Glenn’s play last season, so I’d be surprised if they decide to move him for 2014. If the Bills draft a tackle I tend to think he will line up on the right side if he’s able to overtake incumbent starter Erik Pears.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Could ’14 draft be repeat of ’13 at OT?

Posted by Chris Brown on March 19, 2014 – 11:42 am

As we profiled in first installment of our On The Clock series driven by Michelin and Dunn Tire this morning – The Rise of the Right Tackle - the 2013 NFL draft saw four tackles go off the board in the first 12 picks and all three started their careers at right tackle. This spring three offensive tackles could all come off the board before the draft is out of the top 10. Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews, Michigan’s Taylor Lewan and Auburn’s Greg Robinson are the three prized prospects to anchor down important edge roles for NFL offenses.

Many consider Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews to be the most polished of the top three tackles, something Matthews doesn’t mind hearing.

“Being considered a polished player, someone who’s done a lot and played well in my life, I’ll take that as a (compliment),” he said. “At the same time, I still feel like there’s a lot I can get better at. Definitely wouldn’t say I’m at my peak – a lot more I can learn, a lot more I can get better at. So all those things (are) stuff that’s motivating me, and I’m just trying to prove I am capable of being the best lineman.”

Though Auburn’s Greg Robinson is considered raw by comparison, some believe his ceiling as an NFL tackle is higher than Matthews.

“I’m not at full potential right now. I still have a lot to go,” he said. “I started last year was my first season starting. Like the guys they have ahead of me like Jake Matthews, he started since he was a freshman. That’s just something I feel I need to prove.’’

And Michigan’s Taylor Lewan is more athletic than given credit for, though more are coming around to his agility and power combination following a strong combine workout. Many also like his on field demeanor as he brings a nasty demeanor to his game.

“I like to think I’m very consistent and I play through the whistle,” said Lewan. “That’s one of my weaknesses, too, as everybody likes to comment on. But no doubt about it, I like to play through the whistle and do whatever I can to put people in the dirt as much as possible.”

It was thought that a fourth tackle could go in the top 15 as Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio was considered a dark horse for the top half of round one, but concerns surrounding a knee surgery may change that.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kiper’s latest mock goes OT for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 13, 2014 – 4:14 pm

Here’s the latest mock draft pick that ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper has for the Bills with the ninth overall pick.

Kiper has the Bills taking an offensive tackle. Here’s his pick and analysis.

No. 9 – T Taylor Lewan, Michigan
I like Cordy Glenn, but protection was still a problem for the Bills last year, so I have them placing a higher priority on keeping EJ Manuel upright and shifting their attention to the deep class of wide receivers in Round 2 or 3. I’ve said more than once that I think Lewan could have graded out as the top tackle last year if he chose to enter the draft, and while he has the prototypical length as a pass-blocker, he really gets after it as a run-blocker.

Kiper has Auburn OT Greg Robinson to the Rams at 2 and Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews to the Falcons at 6. He also has Clemson WR Sammy Watkins off the board at 7 to the Bucs.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Latest mock goes OT for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 4, 2014 – 2:48 pm

Here’s the latest mock draft from CBSSports.com’s Pat Kirwan. He’s got an interesting trade in the top five and an offensive tackle going to Buffalo at nine overall.

Kirwan has Michigan OT Taylor Lewan going to the Bills at nine. Here’s his synopsis.

9. Buffalo Bills – Michigan OT Taylor Lewan: Doug Marone is an offensive line coach by trade and he knows 6-foot-8 offensive tackles with athletic ability and a nasty streak don’t come along that often. EJ Manuel will be better with Lewan on the field.

Kirwan had Cleveland trading up from four to two to take UCF QB Blake Bortles.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Mayock felt top 3 OTs held their own

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2014 – 4:00 pm

They’re probably all back home by now as the agenda for the offensive line at the NFL Combine is complete, but the top three offensive tackles in this year’s draft all fared well as NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock sees it.

“When linemen have big days like that, I get excited and I love it but it doesn’t change my rankings really,” he said of Taylor Lewan, Greg Robinson and Jake Mattews. “It shows me he’s is athletic which I already thought he was. I think all three of those tackles are probably better than the tackles as a group that we had last year and they went one, [two] and four. So it’s a different draft class but in my opinion those three tackles are top-10 talents.”

Lewan and Robinson were first and second in the 40 among offensive linemen while Matthews was ninth. Robinson and Lewan were seventh and ninth on the bench press. Lewan and Matthews tied for third in vertical leap and Robinson was 12th. Lewan and Robinson was first and third and Matthews was 11th in broad jump. And Matthews and Lewan were second and fourth in the three cone drill.

Of the three Lewan had the best rankings overall, holding the best 40 time, top 10 on the bench, third in vertical leap and first in the broad jump.

For more Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts, click here.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Mixed bag of picks in 4 CBS mocks for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on February 19, 2014 – 7:05 pm

The draft analysts at CBSSports.com have put together their mock drafts on the eve of the NFL Combine and all four have different picks for the Bills at nine.

CBSSports.com’s Rob Rang, Dane Brugler, Pete Prisco and Pat Kirwan all selected different players for Buffalo at ninth overall. Rang and Kirwan picked offensive tackles while Brugler chose a tight end and Prisco took a linebacker for the Bills. Here were their assessments.

Rang’s pick

9. BUFFALO BILLS

(6-10)
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: Cordy Glenn has quietly starred at left tackle, but upgrades could be had at right tackle and left guard. Matthews warrants a top 10 grade in part because of his versatility. Powerful and technically sound, Matthews is as pro-ready as it gets.

Brugler’s pick

9. BUFFALO BILLS

(6-10)
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: The Bills need to add a big, physical presence in the receiving game, whether at wide receiver or tight end. Ebron is a freak athlete who will instantly help the Bills offense and second-year quarterback EJ Manuel.

Prisco’s pick

9. BUFFALO BILLS

(6-10)
C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama: They need speed next to Kiko Alonso. Mosley will be a 10-year starter.

Kirwan’s pick

9. BUFFALO BILLS

(6-10)
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: The Bills head coach is a former offensive line coach and he knows the Bills need better people up front. Lewan is sliding in the eyes of some, but Michigan has produced a lot of NFL linemen.

Of the four players listed here I’d probably be happiest with Jake Matthews. He’s the most athletic and technically sound lineman in this draft class and is the most NFL ready. Plus his NFL bloodlines don’t get much better with a Hall of Fame OL for a dad in Bruce Matthews.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Football Outsiders peg OT as top Bills need

Posted by Chris Brown on February 14, 2014 – 10:24 am

The Football Outsiders have put their number crunching to good use when it comes  to draft needs. And when considering what Buffalo could use most to help their team right away in 2014 they peg offensive tackle as the team’s top positional need.

I feel much the same way and knowing that a few of the teams in front of Buffalo in round one have a quarterback need there’s a very good chance that one of the top three offensive tackles in the draft reaches the Bills at ninth overall. Those are considered to be Auburn’s Greg Robinson, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews and Michigan’s Taylor Lewan.

Below is the analysis of Football Outsiders to justify OT as the team’s top positional need, which astutely points out that although the Bills were second in the league in rushing last season, their runs outside were considerably less productive than up the middle, to the point where Buffalo ran mostly inside. The 48 sacks surrendered were also tied for fourth-most in the league last season.

No one ran the ball more in 2013 than Buffalo with 546 runs, but the offense only ranked 14th in yards per carry (4.2) and 17th in DVOA. Run blocking was not a strength of the offensive line, especially to the outside, and right tackle Erik Pears in particular could be the player replaced in the draft by a top prospect like Greg Robinson (Auburn) or Jake Matthews (Texas A&M). Left tackle Cordy Glenn was a second-round pick in 2012 and his starting job should be safe, but he must play better. Buffalo had such little success when rushing outside last season that a league-high 71 percent of runs came up the middle or guard.

Not only does Manuel need some insulation from a consistent running game, but he could use better protection so he does not have to scramble as much and risk more injuries. Buffalo’s offensive line ranked 28th in adjusted sack rate (8.5 percent). Only 28 of the 48 sacks surrendered came with Manuel taking the snap, but if he’s going to stay on the field and get better, then the blocking must improve.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kiper goes OT for Bills at 9

Posted by Chris Brown on February 6, 2014 – 11:34 am

It’s Mel Kiper’s second mock draft and he’s got Buffalo taking one of the top offensive tackles in the class with the ninth overall pick.

With Auburn’s Greg Robinson already off the board to the Rams at two, he has Buffalo taking Jake Matthews, the Texas A&M offensive tackle at nine. Here’s his breakdown on the pick.

9 - Buffalo Bills (6-10) – Jake Matthews
COLLEGE: Texas A&M
AGE: 22
HT: 6-5
WT: 305
POS: OT

Analysis: The injuries to EJ Manuel last season would make you think pass-blocking has to be a priority, but where the Bills’ offensive line was really bad was in creating any push in the run game. You don’t just protect a young QB by creating a pretty pocket, it’s also nice when he can hand the ball off with any reasonable sense of optimism. Matthews will help. I suspect he’d jump in right away at right tackle and succeed — he can play left or right — and his ability to finish as a run-blocker could pay early dividends.

Having watched four of Matthews games from last season he is one of the most technically sound tackles in the draft. He also is remarkably light on his feet and resets like he’s an NBA point guard.

I agree with Kiper that Robinson probably does have the most upside, but it’s hard not to like Matthews too. And there’s also Michigan’s Taylor Lewan. Bottom line is if the Bills want to go tackle early, they’ll have options.


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Posted in Inside the Bills