Fan Friday 4-17

Posted by Chris Brown on April 17, 2015 – 12:03 pm

The second week of the voluntary offseason conditioning program is in the books. Veteran voluntary minicamp is a couple of weeks away. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Let us talk hypothetically.  TE-OL-LB are obvious needs.  But, should (UCLA QB Brett) Hundley still be on the board for the Bills in round 2, what do you think?

Jim (Skaneateles)

CB: I think GM Doug Whaley will keep all options open in round two knowing he can truly take the best player on the board with few holes on the roster. That being said beyond the first two quarterbacks (Winston, Mariota) I get the feeling that the general consensus around the league is none of the remaining quarterbacks are at a point in their development where they can help right away.

I don’t know for a Bills team trying to win right now that Hundley is a pick worth making in round two. I think they’d rather have a player that can step in and help as a rookie in the event of an injury or push an incumbent starter for the starting role at their respective position.

Naturally we have to see what is left on the board at pick 50, and that’s obviously very hard to predict. I think there will be enough quality talent at Buffalo’s need positions that you listed to convince them to go in that direction more than QB.

 

2 – Chris,

After reading Collision Low Crossers, the book about the 2011 Jets, it seems like Rex values a shutdown corner to take away part of the field, then blitz.

I assume Gilmore is close to being that type of player. Do you think McKelvin can hold up? What players off radar could come in and make plays on the defense where he likes to give all the players playing time (i.e. Robey, Cockrell, Johnson, Meeks, Charles). How do the reserves fit into his defense and which one you see making a big jump in 2015?

CB: First, yes I think McKelvin can hold up as a press corner. He’s coming off the two-best seasons in his career under secondary coach Donnie Henderson. Furthermore Ryan believes he has three capable outside press corners with Corey Graham being the third.

In terms of a reserve player on defense who could make a jump I believe Duke Williams is a prime candidate to start in the safety role vacated by Da’Norris Searcy. He got a good deal of playing time there last season, is a ferocious hitter and has a nose for the ball. The other players you mentioned are only going to take steps forward as well, which speaks well for the depth on defense.

 

3 – Chris,

I am not convinced Matt Cassel is the answer at QB we’ve been waiting for all these years. Will the Bills go after Colin Kaepernick? And if not, why not? He would make sense as a solid franchise QB with a winning track record who fits with a run first offense. I see him as a perfect fit.

Cordially,
Bradley Kaye

CB: While I don’t deny that Kaepernick had success in Greg Roman’s offense in San Francisco, to acquire him he has to be available. With all of the talent that the 49ers have lost this offseason (Crabtree, Gore, S. Johnson, Iupati, Culliver, Skuta, Borland, Willis) I cannot see them parting with the player they handed franchise quarterback money.

 

4 – Chris,

With the team spending lots of money for the 2015, wondering how it will play out in 2016 when they have other players to lock up. Dareus will command a huge contract. Gilmore will need his option picked up. Cordy Glenn and Nigel Bradham is set to be a free agent as well. These are core guys they like how is it possible to keep them? Next year is big for future free agents. Are they spending too much money now they may have to let one of those guys walk next year? As of now the Bills aren’t done spending and could add more.

Josh P.
CB: I think your concern is a valid one. They’ve already picked up the option on Stephon Gilmore, per Doug Whaley’s comments at the owners’ meetings, so that buys them some time with him. They are interested in extending Nigel Bradham and it would not surprise me if Glenn were on the list as well. Right now Marcell Dareus is the primary focus regarding an extension. After seeing the money that Ndamukong Suh got in Miami, I think we all know that it’s going to be a complicated deal to broker.

Knowing the money involved with be large, it puts a hold on the other players who are in line for extensions because in all likelihood the Bills will need to get creative to make Dareus’ extension work. That deal will undoubtedly have an impact on how and what they can offer to their other young core players.

The good news is that the salary cap continues to go up and up and up. So more room will be created just with the dawn of a new calendar year.

 

5 – Chris,

What positions do you expect the Bills to target? With RB out of the way, do you see tight end as logical choice? Given they are trying to win this year it would make sense to draft someone to plug n’ play to start. The Bills could use depth on defense but it is more likely they will target a guard or tight end? Or where do you seem them going elsewhere with #50?

Sean R.

CB: I think the offensive line is a distinct possibility at 50, but not knowing what will still be on the board makes it difficult to pin down. I think guard or tackle are possibilities there. If the right tight end prospect is there in round two I don’t think you can rule it out, but Buffalo has their starter in Charles Clay. Now if they plan to have two tight ends on the field at the same time, which in Greg Roman’s offense is likely a good amount of the time, they might look to find one on day two (rounds 2 & 3).

I see LB depth being acquired later in the draft.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Jim Kelly to announce Bills draft pick

Posted by Chris Brown on April 14, 2015 – 8:55 pm

Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly will be one of eight former NFL players who will be at the 2015 NFL draft in Chicago to announce a draft pick on day two of the draft. 

According to an ESPN report Kelly will announce one of Buffalo’s day two draft choices in round two or three. 

Other former Bills including fellow Hall of Famer Andre Reed and Bills Wall of Famer Phil Hansen have announced Bills draft choices at the draft in the past. 

Among the other seven former players who will reportedly attend the draft in Chicago includes Bears HOF LB Dick Butkus and former Lions and Bills LB Chris Spielman. 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-10

Posted by Chris Brown on April 10, 2015 – 2:33 pm

The preseason schedule is out with the 16-game regular season slate soon to follow. More on that below. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills

#bills when will the 2015 regular season be out?

bailey_pinkston

CB: The precursor to the regular season schedule, the preseason schedule was released this past Thursday. It often signals that the release of the regular season schedule is coming soon. All indications are that the league will release the regular season schedule some time during the week of April 19th.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills

Petty or Grayson would be the perfect game managers for Buffalo’s new offense. Thoughts please???

mattgolden03

CB: Bryce Petty and Garrett Grayson are in that second tier of quarterback prospects after the top two. Both could merit consideration in round two. While I like Petty’s football IQ I still think there will be a steeper learning curve for him than Grayson, who played in a pro-style offense.

Grayson has had to read coverages and progressions. Petty has not. And while I don’t doubt that’s something Petty has been working on it’s just not the same as when the real bullets are flying.

If you believe one of them could come in as a rookie and effectively execute Buffalo’s new offense, which has a myriad of pre-snap shifts, motions and formations I think you might be expecting too much.

Frankly for 2015 you’re better off with either Matt Cassel or EJ Manuel in my opinion, which is why I’d be surprised if Buffalo invests in the quarterback position high in the draft, if at all this spring.

 

3 – Chris,

Given the current coaching staff’s desire to build a tough running team and a physical team,  do you see Justin Blalock as a possible signing to fortify the offensive line now that he is a free agent? Also, what are your thoughts of giving money to signing Mark Ingram over say resigning Spiller. Ingram has shown he can move the chains with power, rip off long runs with quickness and catch the ball.

Thanks,
Patrick

CB: While Blalock is a more than capable veteran guard I don’t believe the Bills want to add any more veterans up front. They have three veteran guards right now in Incognito, Urbik and Chris Williams. It wouldn’t surprise me if they felt that adding another would compromise the growth of a younger player like Cyril Richardson. So if they do add at the guard position I believe it’ll be in the draft, even though I see offensive tackle as a position more in need of depth than anywhere else on the line.

 

4 – Chris,

The Kouandjio article was encouraging to see.  I like to know that some players are working all year to be better and hope it works out for the kid.

What was his problem exactly last training camp?  Was he out of shape? Difficult time reacting? Diagnosing?  You would think his college experience gave him good game speed experience.  Thanks and can’t wait for this season to start!

Steve K
Kenmore, NY
CB: Yes, John Murphy’s article, which followed an interview with Kouandjio by phone certainly painted a picture as to how hard the second-year lineman is working. He was training out in Arizona all winter working on his techniques and getting coaching from former NFL OL LeCharles Bentley.

Kouandjio didn’t place blame anywhere but on himself for how his rookie season went. He said he didn’t think he had a strong enough mindset as he began his NFL career. To a certain degree that’s understandable. He turned 21 just last July and is still young in the game. Stepping up to the NFL level was probably a bit different even than what he experienced as a starter at Alabama in the SEC.

In the conversations I’ve had with him he sounds like his whole approach to the game has changed and he’s going full bore into his second NFL season. Add in the fact that he has hit it off quickly with new offensive line coach Aaron Kromer and he’ll be an interesting player to watch in training camp when the pads go on.

 

5 –  Chris,
FIve years ago I wanted the Bills to draft Ryan Mallett. He was a 1st round prospect, a Heisman candidate, a coach’s son, and a big QB like Big Ben. He fell to NE in the 3rd round, what happened? Why did the Bills not bring him in as compaction with EJ?

Tim Scouten

CB: There’s no debating that Ryan Mallett has a rocket arm for a quarterback. His over the top delivery looks great. Here’s the problem with his game. First, his accuracy. His career completion percentage of 53.2 percent is an issue, which shouldn’t happen for a quarterback with superior arm strength. His decision making is also suspect, especially when he has to get rid of the ball quick. Now every QB is subject to a bad decision or two when hurried. His have been more frequent over the years.

Perhaps the most important skill he’s lacking for Buffalo’s offense is the ability to extend the play. He is a pocket quarterback only. If the pocket breaks down and he can’t get rid of the ball the play is dead. That is not the case with each of the quarterbacks currently on Buffalo’s roster. It leads me to believe that offensive coordinator Greg Roman prefers some measure of mobility in his QBs to extend plays if and when protection breaks down.

Finally, there’s even less of a book on him than EJ Manuel. He’s played in just seven NFL games to EJ’s 14 career starts. If you bring in another unknown quantity at QB you run the risk of not finding out about exactly what he or Manuel can be.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills GM Whaley making the pro day rounds

Posted by Chris Brown on April 1, 2015 – 1:29 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley is a scout at his core, so the personnel evaluator naturally gets to as many pro days as possible. So it was not surprising to see his name listed among the front office executives at the University of Miami pro day.

NFL Network reporter Lindsay Rhodes reported that Whaley is on hand at Miami’s pro day in Coral Gables today among a host of other GMs and coaches.

Among the more notable prospects in this year’s draft class from the U are OT Ereck Flowers, TE Clive Walford (who pulled his hamstring and is not running), LB Denzel Perryman, RB Duke Johnson, WR Phillip Dorsett and CB LaDarius Gunter.

Here’s a shot of Whaley observing at the Miami pro day from Dolphins beat reporter Omar Kelly.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kiper projects QB Petty in 2nd round

Posted by Chris Brown on March 31, 2015 – 10:16 am

Baylor QB Bryce Petty is the latest prospect profiled on Buffalobills.com as our countdown to the 2015 NFL draft continues. Will Petty be on the board through the early stages of round two? ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper isn’t so sure.

“Bryce Petty there’s a chance… a chance, maybe late first if somebody trades back in, but I’m projecting him more as a two,” Kiper said. “The teams that could be looking at quarterbacks in the second round could be Kansas City. They might be one of those. Teams that don’t take one in the first might take one like him in the second. Perhaps the Jets if they don’t take Mariota.”

Petty’s learning curve in adapting to a pro-style system will be the factor that NFL clubs will evaluate and project differently thereby giving him a range of value from one team to the next.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

For QB Petty calling play in huddle is new

Posted by Chris Brown on March 31, 2015 – 9:00 am

There will be an awful lot of things that Baylor QB prospect Bryce Petty will need to learn on the fly as he’s drafted to an NFL club this spring. While most everyone knows that he never really operated under center in the Bears’ offense, most may not realize that in Art Briles’ offense he never even called a play in the huddle.

“It was a little different. We were a signal system at Baylor,” said Petty. “I love Baylor. I wouldn’t change it for the world. If I had to go back and do it all again, I’d do it the same exact way. With coach Briles, he’s an outstanding coach. I love him to death. The teams we had were great and really prepared me for what I’m doing now. It’s a learning curve a little bit going from what we were doing at Baylor to where we are now. But it’s all part of the process, so you’ve got to enjoy it. You’ve got to love it, really, and I do love it.”

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has said more than once that making this kind of projection on a college quarterback, going from a spread system to a pro-style is among the toughest for NFL scouts. He also doesn’t see Petty as a potential target for the Bills in round two, in light of the fact that they’re still trying to develop EJ Manuel into a bona fide starter. He doesn’t see why they’d be interested in bringing on another development project.

“The quarterback thing is hard,” Mayock said. “Talking about pick number 50, I believe for Buffalo in the second round. Petty or Brett Hundley, one of those two could be there, if not both of them they’re both projects. You’ve already got a project in Buffalo right now who probably has as much talent as those two kids. So I’m not a big believer in investing in a position just because you think you have a need.”

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills 2015 draft picks in total

Posted by Chris Brown on March 25, 2015 – 9:13 am

With the compensatory picks now awarded to the NFL clubs who qualified, we now know not only what slot the Bills will pick in each round they have a choice, but the pick overall as well. Here’s a rundown of Buffalo’s 2015 draft choices.

The Bills have six choices in all, but they are without a first-round pick and a fourth-round pick. They have a pair of draft choices in round six, with one coming from the Minnesota Vikings in the Matt Cassel trade.

Round 1 – no pick
Round 2 – 50th (18th in round)
Round 3 – 81st (17th in round)
Round 4 – no pick
Round 5 – 155th (19th in round)
Round 6 – 188th & 194th (12th – from Minn. & 18th in round)
Round 7 – 234th (17th in round)

Buffalo’s 9-7 record was tied with three other NFL clubs, Kansas City, San Diego and Houston. The Bills were last among those four clubs based on tiebreakers. The rules are with each round the four tied clubs rotate up, with the top club rotating to the bottom.

So for example, in round one Houston picked 16th, San Diego 17th, Kansas City 18th and Buffalo 19th. Come round two, Houston moves to the bottom of the group (19th) and the other three clubs slide up a spot, which is why Buffalo picks 18th in round two.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

No compensatory picks for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 24, 2015 – 9:59 am

The Bills draft pick total remains at six after the league handed out their 32 compensatory draft picks for the 2015 draft Tuesday. The 32 compensatory picks were handed out to just 14 NFL clubs.

To initially qualify for compensatory picks a team must have a net loss of free agents from the previous offseason. Buffalo did not have that with the signing of Corey Graham, Brandon Spikes, Chris Williams, Keith Rivers and Boobie Dixon last spring.

Their biggest free agent loss last offseason was Jairus Byrd, and the size of his contract in New Orleans might have qualified Buffalo to land a seventh this year, had there been extra picks to go around provided the Bills were near even on their free agent balance sheet.

But with 10 of the 14 NFL clubs this year being awarded multiple compensatory picks due to their net free agent losses, the 32 compensatory selections were distributed to qualifying clubs in short order. Here’s a look at the teams that are benefiting now after losing some quality talent in the free agent market last offseason.

Kansas City Chiefs: 3rd round (98), 5th round (172), 5th round (173), 6th round (217)
Denver Broncos: 4th round (133), 6th round (208), 7th round (250), 7th round (251)
Seattle Seahawks: 4th round (134), 5th round (170), 6th round (209), 6th round (214)
Baltimore Ravens: 4th round (136), 5th round (171), 5th round (175)
Houston Texans: 5th round (174), 6th round (211), 6th round (216)
New England Patriots: 3rd round (97), 7th round (253)
Cincinnati Bengals: 3rd round (99), 4th round (135)
San Francisco 49ers: 4th round (132), 7th round (254)
Carolina Panthers: 5th round (169), 6th round (213)
Green Bay Packers: 6th round (210), 6th round (212)
St. Louis Rams: 6th round (215)
Pittsburgh Steelers: 7th round (252)
Indianapolis Colts: 7th round (255)
Arizona Cardinals: 7th round (256)


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Michigan St. CB tops in the 40

Posted by Chris Brown on February 23, 2015 – 3:21 pm

There weren’t too many sub-4.4 40 times turned in by the defensive backs on the last day of on field testing at the NFL Combine, but Michigan State’s Trae Waynes, considered one of the top corners in the draft class did not disappoint.

Waynes posted the fastest 40-time with a 4.31 Monday. Here’s a look at the top 10 40 times by the DBs.

1 – CB TRAE WAYNES – MICHIGAN ST. – 4.31
2 – FS JUSTIN COX – MISSISSIPPI ST.- 4.36
3 – CB RONALD DARBY – FLORIDA ST.- 4.38
T4 – CB CHARLES GAINES – LOUISVILLE – 4.44
T4 – CB DORAN GRANT – OHIO ST.- 4.44
T4 – CB CRAIG MAGER – TEXAS ST.- 4.44
T4 – CB JOSH SHAW – USC – 4.44
T8 – FS ERIC ROWE – UTAH – 4.45
T8 – CB D’JOUN SMITH – FLORIDA ATLANTIC – 4.45
T10 – CB SENQUEZ GOLSON – MISSISSIPPI – 4.46
T10 – FS DAMARIOUS RANDALL – ARIZONA STATE – 4.46

Buffalobills.com Combine coverage is presented by NAPA Auto Parts.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: QB Glennon again a Bucs trade option

Posted by Chris Brown on February 9, 2015 – 5:22 pm

Armed with the number one pick in the 2015 NFL draft and a veteran in Josh McCown, speculation continues to grow that Tampa QB Mike Glennon could be dangled as trade bait this offseason.

That according to the Tampa Bay Tribune, which cites the Cleveland Browns as a potential suitor for Glennon. The report suggests that it would take all of a third or fourth-round pick to secure Glennon, as the Bucs are likely to take one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft this spring with the first overall pick.

Glennon was part of trade rumors last year, with GM Jason Licht admitting he spoke to some teams about a possible trade including Arizona. With the Browns top two QBs from last year’s squad a free agent to be (Hoyer) and in rehab (Manziel), Cleveland may choose to pull off a deal.

The Browns hold the 12th and 19th picks in round one this spring, and there is some speculation they may try to move up to number one to take a QB as another course of action.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-23

Posted by Chris Brown on January 23, 2015 – 1:11 pm

The new coaching staff is coming together. If you missed any of our Senior Bowl or Pro Bowl coverage check it out on Buffalobills.com. Now for your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

I don’t think Hughes, Urbik, Lawson, Spiller, Spikes or Rivers will return next year as the money will be spent in other areas. I think the Bills will soon extend the contracts of Dareus and Glenn.  Do you have any insight on this?

Thanks,
Joe

CB: I think the Bills will work hard to bring Hughes back into the fold. Spiller is expected to have other suitors. Urbik, Lawson and Rivers are all still under contract. Rex Ryan in a conference call this past season said Spikes was a player he liked because he has a grit and attitude to his game that appeals to him, for whatever that’s worth.

As for Dareus and Glenn, the Bills typically address free agents first before worrying about players that are still under contract, so while Dareus and Glenn are seen as long term building blocks for the franchise I don’t see them getting done in short order.

 

2 – Hi, Chris

Looking for help in understanding what has happened to the offensive line over the past three years.

Fact: Four of the current five starters were also starters on the O-Line in 2012.
Fact: The rushing game produced over 2200 yards in 2012; less than 1400 this year.
Fact: Now former coach Marrone has publicly stated that the problem with the run game is not Coach Hackett’s schematics.

So — if the line has basically the same players, with the same talent, with a couple years more experience, and the techniques and schematics are correct and being taught properly — why has there been such a marked regression in performance, culminating in last Sunday’s horrific 13 yards gained on 13 attempts?

You are close to the scene and obviously can sense better than we fans what is going on.  Please help.

Thanks much,
Jim D.

CB: There were a number of factors at work. First and foremost you had your top two running backs injured for a stretch of the season. Spiller missed seven games. I think anyone on the offensive line in 2014 would tell you that their play regressed from the year before.

In 2012 their offensive scheme ran out of a spread formation, which created bigger running lanes for the backs. That was not the case in 2014 as they chose to run between the tackles more often than not. I don’t know that the approach offensively always fit the backs they had carrying the ball. That combined with an offensive line that took a step back led to the lowest rushing total in team history in a 16-game season.

 

3 – Chris,

All Bills fans are disappointed, but so are the fans of the Ravens, Chiefs, Saints, Eagles, a few of them have $100 Million Quarterbacks !! There will be cries for EJ. You get better by practicing your skills, and proving in practice you’re ready to play. Do you feel EJ has shown he’s ready, how about Kouanjio and Richardson?
Jim in Florida

CB: I think the 12 weeks that Manuel had to focus on his personal game served him well over the last three quarters of the 2014 season. He also learned how to effectively prep yourself as a QB watching Kyle Orton get ready for games each week. From watching him the last month of the season in practice I felt his accuracy was improved. He was no longer thinking and concerned about throwing the perfect ball. He was just throwing.

I’m interested to see him as part of a competition for the starting job next year. Has he shown he’s ready? I don’t think we’ll know until we see him at training camp this summer.

As for Cyrus Kouandjio and Cyril Richardson they worked to make the most of their reps. It sounds like Kouandjio will be given real consideration at the guard position, even though it’s very new to him. I also believe competition will be brought in to battle the youngsters for roles on the roster.

 

4 – Hi Chris:  I understand that the Bills offense has been unbalanced between run and pass this past year.  What I’m unsure of is the major cause.  Could it be that the running backs were banged up this year?  Could it be that the offensive line never jelled?  Or could it be that most defenses dared us to throw by overloading the box and our pass game didn’t respond as well as hoped?  Like everything in life, there’s usually more than one reason.  But I was wondering if you could shed some light on what might be the most significant factor(s).

Warm wishes for the New Year!
Paul in Portland (Formerly Paul in Beijing)

CB: I hate to give a token answer, but I think it was all of the above. The running backs were banged up this year. There were times when defenses loaded up the box with extra defenders. The offensive line did struggle to jell at the start of the season due to Cordy Glenn’s undisclosed illness, which kept him out of the majority of the preseason. There was also a move by Erik Pears from tackle to guard, there was a rookie at right tackle and starting LG Chris Williams missed half the preseason due to a recurring back injury.

I also think at times the offensive approach moved away from the strengths of their skill position players in an effort to protect the football with more conservative play.

5 – Hello Chris,

First I’d like to say Happy New Year! Thank You for your news and blogs that us Bills fans love to get answers and info from.. your passion for the Bills is the same that we fans have, and you help us to believe.

My question is about the Offensive line.. I am sure most are wanting to know about the QB, but a big fix we need is on the O-line.

I am wondering what your thoughts(and i’ll get the fans thoughts in the comments section after) on

shifting around the line a bit. What about Buffalo using either their 2nd or 3rd round pick on one of the top 2-3 Centers in the 2015 Draft.. like Dismukes from Auburn, Grasu from Oregon, or Gallik from BC. We can then move Wood back to RG where he did well for us in his first 2 years before moving to Center.. he can still call the protections and he shows the ability to move around to run block very well and the aggression.

Then Chris Williams(we lost a lot when he got hurt) coming back to be the LG.. again, we hope he stays healthy. Glenn as the LT and putting the sophomore slump that seems to bite so many and bouncing back. And then Kouandjio and Henderson fighting for the RT position.

So.. LT Glenn, LG Williams, C Best avail in 2015 Draft, RG Wood, RT Henderson/Kouandjio

NE did something like this with a new Center this year in Stork and they seemed to find a good rhythm in the season… and we could even if need be bring in whomever is not the starter at RT out once in a while to line up next to the starter giving us a 6th Lineman as protection if need be.

Just looking for your thoughts.. as far as where instead of going out to get 2 new G’s in FA and maybe in the draft where a good Center can change it all up and be giving us depth also.

Thanks.. have a nice weekend watching the post season.

Brian Moss

CB: I think your thought about moving Eric Wood out to guard, where he began his NFL career is an interesting idea. However, I think the only way it happens is if the Bills bring in a veteran center, not a rookie by way of the draft. If they add an offensive lineman in the draft I would expect it to be more of a guard. But knowing they have a second-year guard in Cyril Richardson and possibly a second guard option in Cyrus Kouandjio they may elect to add a veteran guard as they did last year (Chris Williams).

I think Seantrel Henderson can only improve in his second season if he takes to good coaching with the new staff and his athleticism alone gives him a leg up on Kouandjio for the right tackle job.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kiper: Pass rushers aplenty in 2015 draft

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2015 – 1:14 pm

ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper is already expressing opinions on the 2015 NFL draft class and he espoused on the deeper positions he sees in this year’s crop of talent.

“In terms of pass rushers there are a lot of them,” said Kiper. “That’s probably the strongest position in this draft, those combo guys who can get after the quarterback.”

That’s not necessarily a bad thing concerning the Bills. Sure they have linebacker talent and pass rushing talent, but one of those pass rushers is a free agent in Jerry Hughes. If Buffalo somehow can’t bring Hughes back into the fold, it sounds like there is good depth in the draft at that position.

“Early on you’ve got Randy Gregory (Nebraska) and Shane Ray (Missouri), but you also have some guys like Nate Orchard at Utah, who is more of a second or third rounder. Trey Flowers at Arkansas, Lorenzo Mauldin at Louisville is another who would fall into that category. Alvin “Bud” Dupree from Kentucky, who is a good pass rusher. So this is the kind of year if you want those types of players they’re out there in high numbers this season.”

Kiper also said the running back class is deep thanks in large part to the junior eligibles who declared for the draft.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Whaley undaunted by no 1st rd. pick

Posted by Chris Brown on January 22, 2015 – 1:10 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley is well aware that there are fewer draft picks in his arsenal this spring for the 2015 NFL draft. With no first-round pick and no fourth-round pick, Buffalo has just six total (2 in the 5th). But Whaley and his scouting staff like the challenge of having to find players when they don’t have a premium pick.

“It’s exciting. It’s a challenging time and everybody that knows me knows I’m not afraid of a challenge,” Whaley told Buffalobills.com. “Our scouting staff feels the same way. Unfortunately we’ve been drafting high recently and that’s a little easier than drafting lower. We want to get to that point where we’re drafting low consistently so that for us is a challenge and we’re up for the challenge and excited about it.”

Buffalo gave their original fourth-round pick with their first rounder in the Sammy Watkins trade. They got a fourth back in the Stevie Johnson trade, but then shipped that to Philadelphia for Bryce Brown. They did acquire a second fifth-round pick from Tampa in a day three trade last year.

“We also look at it this way, we think Bryce Brown is worth a fourth-round pick,” Whaley said on the John Murphy Show. “Any back we get in the fourth round would be just like Bryce Brown. With Sammy Watkins people say we gave up two number ones. But to have a number one wide receiver for the next 10 years we would’ve have had to maybe draft two wide receivers to come up with that. So we think the value is there for both of those and we’re excited about what we can accomplish.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fewer underclassmen in 2015 draft pool

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2015 – 3:01 pm

The numbers had been steadily rising when it came to the number of eligible underclassmen each year in the NFL draft, but after a giant increase last year to 98 the figure dropped for the first time in six years.

This year the number of eligible underclassmen for the 2015 draft is just 74, down two dozen from 2014. Here’s a look at the last several years and the number of underclassmen eligibles.

Yr Players Granted Special Eligibility   Yr Players Granted Special Eligibility
2015 74 2010 53
2014 98 2009 46
2013 73 2008 53
2012 65 2007 40
2011 56 2006 52

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Official eligible underclassmen for 2015 draft

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2015 – 2:55 pm

Here is the official list of eligible underclassmen for the 2015 NFL draft, to be held in Chicago.

Player Pos.
1 Nelson Agholor WR Southern California
2 Jay Ajayi RB Boise State
3 Kwon Alexander LB Louisiana State
4 Javorius Allen RB Southern California
5 Arik Armstead DE Oregon
6 Malcom Brown DT Texas
7 Alex Carter DB Stanford
8 B.J. Catalon RB Texas Christian
9 Tevin Coleman RB Indiana
10 Jalen Collins DB Louisiana State
11 Landon Collins DB Alabama
12 Amari Cooper WR Alabama
13 Xavier Cooper DT Washington State
14 Christian Covington DT Rice
15 DaVaris Daniels WR Notre Dame
16 Ronald Darby DB Florida State
17 Mike Davis RB South Carolina
18 Stefon Diggs WR Maryland
19 Lorenzo Doss DB Tulane
20 Mario Edwards DE Florida State
21 Durell Eskridge DB Syracuse
22 George Farmer WR Southern California
23 Max Flores LB Northern Colorado
24 Ereck Flowers T Miami
25 Dante Fowler DE Florida
26 Devin Funchess WR Michigan
27 Jacoby Glenn DB Central Florida
28 Eddie Goldman DT Florida State
29 Melvin Gordon RB Wisconsin
30 Dorial Green-Beckham WR Missouri
31 Deontay Greenberry WR Houston
32 Randy Gregory DE Nebraska
33 Todd Gurley RB Georgia
34 Chris Hackett DB Texas Christian
35 Eli Harold DE Virginia
36 Chris Harper WR California
37 Braylon Heard RB Kentucky
38 Gerod Holliman DB Louisville
39 D.J. Humphries T Florida
40 Danielle Hunter DE Louisiana State
41 David Irving DT Iowa State
42 Jesse James TE Penn State
43 Duke Johnson RB Miami
44 Matt Jones RB Florida
45 Tyler Kroft TE Rutgers
46 Ellis McCarthy DT UCLA
47 Benardrick McKinney LB Mississippi State
48 Patrick Miller T Auburn
49 Tyler Moore G Florida
50 Rakeem Nunez-Roches DT Southern Mississippi
51 Andrus Peat T Stanford
52 Breshad Perriman WR Central Florida
53 Marcus Peters DB Washington
54 Jordan Phillips DT Oklahoma
55 Darius Philon DT Arkansas
56 Bradley Pinion P Clemson
57 Jaquel Pitts WR Trinity International
58 Jeremiah Poutasi T Utah
59 Darien Rankin LB North Carolina
60 Shane Ray DE Missouri
61 Josh Robinson RB Mississippi State
62 James Sample DB Louisville
63 Jean Sifrin TE Massachusetts
64 Jaelen Strong WR Arizona State
65 Shaq Thompson LB Washington
66 Max Valles LB Virginia
67 Easton Wahlstrom LS Arizona State
68 Trae Waynes DB Michigan State
69 Leonard Williams DE Southern California
70 Maxx Williams TE Minnesota
71 P.J. Williams DB Florida State
72 Trey Williams RB Texas A&M
73 Jameis Winston QB Florida State
74 T.J. Yeldon RB Alabama

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-9

Posted by Chris Brown on January 9, 2015 – 11:44 am

The season is over and the head coaching search is underway. Now for your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Chris,

Can you give Bills fans an update on the picks we get for the Stevie Johnson and Bryce Brown trades and where the picks could be for both players based on their playing time? Is it a 3rd for both players if they have a certain amount of games?

Josh

CB: Both trades were in exchange for conditional fourth-round picks. What most are not aware of is Buffalo was using one trade to facilitate the other.

While I don’t have the exact terms that would have bumped both picks to third-round selections I do know that both the pick acquired in the Johnson trade remained a fourth-round pick, as did the pick Philadelphia is owed by Buffalo.

Since the Bills original fourth-round pick in 2015 was traded to Cleveland in the Sammy Watkins deal, the fourth-round pick acquired from San Francisco for Stevie Johnson must be sent to Philadelphia for Bryce Brown.

So this spring the Bills do not have a first or fourth round selection. They have a second, third, two fifths, sixth and seventh.

 

2 – Hey Chris,

Thanks for the great coverage and all that you do.  A lot has been made around the NFL about the NFC South and one of those teams making the playoffs with a record less than .500.  My question is that with the Bills finishing with a better record than the NFC South champion (Carolina 7-8-1) will they pick after them in the draft?  The draft normally goes by record but do things change once a team makes the playoffs?  Thanks for the response.

J-P from Corning, NY but now in Frederick, MD
CB: Yes, by rule playoff teams pick after non-playoff teams. So the Bills first-round pick at 19, which is owned by Cleveland comes before Carolina. In fact even the playoff teams with better records who were eliminated Wild Card weekend will pick ahead of the Panthers. The best Carolina can do if they lose to Seattle this weekend is the 25th pick in round one.

 

3 – Chris,

Watching the Bills this season always leaves me thinking how many games would they have won if we had a top QB. Despite some games that Orton played well, he is surely not the guy to lead the Bills to the playoffs. I was wondering if picking up Sam Bradford would be a possibility and keeping EJ as a backup. I was also thinking that even though our offensive line has struggled this year, would we take a QB with our 2nd round pick this year?

-Bennett

CB: Sam Bradford is an interesting consideration. He has more than three times the experience of EJ Manuel in terms NFL starts with 49 on his NFL resume, but what is of concern to me is his completion percentage. It’s 58.6 percent, which is exactly the same as EJ Manuel.

I think the Bills need better than that if they decide acquiring a veteran quarterback is the route to take again this offseason. Now I’ll admit it is slim pickings in terms of the free agent market, and Bradford might be seen as one of the better options available.

Buffalo has limited capital to offer in a trade for a QB knowing they’re without a first and fourth-round pick this year.

The plan going forward concerning the quarterback position is certainly going to be one of the more intriguing developments for the Bills this offseason. And as for taking a QB in round two of the draft I don’t think anything can be ruled out at this point, but I do believe quarterback might be addressed before the draft rolls around.

 

4 – Chris,

How do you assess the prospects of OGs Kouandjio and Richardson? Do they have a chance to start on the Bills’ O-line  or will the Bills be shopping for guards in free agency and the draft next year.

Thanks,
Bob

CB: I think Cyrus Kouandjio and Cyril Richardson are still seen as long term investments by the organization. As I’ve written here before Kouandjio is still very young in football. He turned 21 during training camp last summer and has not played football his entire life. There is talent there. I just think what he needs is time on the job. Richardson has the physical tools, but they need to be refined more.

With that in mind I think it would be prudent for the Bills to seek NFL ready help at the guard position, especially with Erik Pears a free agent this offseason. The draft is another possibility, but it would have to be addressed early (2nd, 3rd round).

 

5 – Hi Chris,

My question pertains to re-signing several key players. I’ve read that there is some questions about whether or not we can sign Jerry Hughes, and renegotiate CJ and Marcel’s deals to keep them here long term, while also finding some key free agents and solid draft picks. Don’t we have a considerable amount of dead money coming off the books at the end of this year (Fitz, Stevie, Anderson, Lindell)? Overthecap.com says that it is about $21.6 million. With that money freed up, and the expansion of the salary cap don’t we have enough room to work with to bring back Jerry and give Marcel and CJ a raise?

(If this doesn’t make the list of questions on the blog post I would still love to hear your thoughts about where we stand financially going forward and how we can keep our defensive and offensive playmakers in Buffalo.)

Kevin

CB: You’re right there is a good amount of dead money coming off the books. I have seen the dead cap number closer to $24M. Per GM Doug Whaley – they will make every effort to bring Jerry Hughes and C.J. Spiller back into the fold.

There are reports that NFL clubs are expecting the cap to go up about $10M this year, which helps as well. It’s certainly possible that Dareus’ contract will be addressed to reduce his $8M cap figure this year and extend it.

However, I don’t think Dareus’ contract has to be extended in order for the club to formulate competitive offers for Hughes, Spiller and possibly Da’Norris Searcy.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

State of the 2015 draft

Posted by Chris Brown on May 11, 2014 – 10:29 am

The Bills made a handful of trades in the 2014 NFL draft, some of which affected their pick total in 2015. Here’s a look at where things stand right now.

2015 draft picks traded away
1st round pick – to Cleveland
4th round pick – to Cleveland
Possible conditional pick to Philadelphia (Bryce Brown trade)

2015 draft picks added
4th round pick – from San Francisco (Stevie Johnson trade)
5th round pick – from Tampa Bay

So at this point Buffalo has a total of seven picks for the 2015 draft (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th, 6th, 7th), but they could lose one if certain statistical figures are attained by Bryce Brown for the Bills in the 2014 season.

They do have the potential to have eight total picks in 2015 if Stevie Johnson hits certain statistical marks in San Francisco in 2014 because the fourth rounder they received from the 49ers will turn into a third and the conditional pick they would owe Philadelphia (4th rounder) would move ahead to 2016.

 


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills trade first 5th-round pick to Tampa

Posted by Chris Brown on May 10, 2014 – 2:28 pm

The Bills have traded their first of two fifth-round picks to Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers gets the Bills fifth-round pick at 149 overall. In exchange the Bills get Tampa’s seventh-round pick at 221 overall and the Bucs fifth-round pick in 2015.

Buffalo still has another fifth-round pick at 153 overall.


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Posted in Inside the Bills