Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 4-29

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2016 – 5:15 pm

Day two of the NFL draft. Right now the Bills hold the 49th and 80th picks. What do they do tonight? Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Hey Chris, who do you expect with be their at pick 49?

ryan marx 

CB: I think it’s hard to know what’s going to be left if the Bills stay put at 49 overall. If the value on defense keeps getting pushed down they could go on that side of the ball again. Players like Myles Jack, Reggie Ragland and Jarran Reed all figure to go early tonight in round two. But there’s still good talent after that like Kevin Dodd, A’Shawn Robinson and Kamalei Correa. On offense you’ve got Connor Cook, but he’ll probably go in the top two picks tonight.

I took a look at the best talent that’s on the board that might be a good fit for the Bills.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills any chance bills trade up to select a top remaining linebacker?

Zach @ZWinterberg

CB: I don’t think you can rule anything out with Doug Whaley at the wheel. He’s not afraid to make a deal if it makes sense for the team. Based on the old trade value chart the Bills would have to give up a third-round pick to get up to the top of round two tonight from their current spot at 49.

There’s also going to be competition to move up that high with reports that Dallas wants to get up there, probably to take a shot at Connor Cook. Myles Jack and Reggie Ragland would be great for Buffalo, but the price to go to the top of round two might be too much.

Perhaps they choose to wait to see how the first few picks unfold and if one of their top players is still on the board they make some calls.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills any chance Bills move Manny Lawson to MLB now that Shaq is starting OLB opposite Jerry Hughes?

Matt Dermod

CB: Since we saw that transpire late last season I think it’s an option. Manny Lawson is a player that is valued by Rex Ryan. He’s stated more than once that he’s one of the smartest players he’s ever coached. He can fill roles at OLB, DE and inside at LB. His versatility gives the Ryans options.

So while I don’t think it’s the most likely scenario, it’s possible. Personally I think Lawson takes on a jack of all trades role because mentally he’s more than capable of playing different roles week to week.

 

4 – Hey Chris,

Not much is mentioned about Robert Woods and his future with the Bills.  I know he is going into his contract year and has some to prove in 2016.  Do you think the Bills will want to get him under another contract?  I know he had a down year in 2015 due to a groin injury but I think Robert is a very underrated receiver and I would really hate to see him leave the team.  Thanks for all your insight.  Jillian

CB: It’s pretty clear to everyone that the contract extension priorities on the roster are Tyrod Taylor, Cordy Glenn and Stephon Gilmore. I like Robert Woods and I too believe he’s underrated. To his credit he played hurt last season and almost had a 50-catch season.

Unfortunately with the other players in front of him on the list for extensions it’s probably a wait and see situation for him.

 

5 – Chris,

With all the talk about Tyrod Taylor as the starting QB for the Bills and talk about the Bills drafting a QB this year, what has been going on with EJ Manuel?  I have been a big EJ fan since he came in the league and I would like to know what the Bills staff’s plans are for him and what are the chances he will be with the team after his contract is up next year?  What is really preventing him from Starting for the Bills?

CB: Manuel is expected to serve as the backup this season, the final under his rookie contract. What happens beyond that I believe is tied to the other quarterback the Bills acquire, presumably through the draft. If the hypothetical rookie makes a lot of progress and convinces the offensive staff he could handle a backup role in 2017 then Manuel probably is not re-signed. If the progress isn’t happening at a rate the staff feels comfortable with, perhaps EJ is brought back on a short term deal.

As for your last question on what is preventing him from starting for the Bills, it’s Tyrod Taylor. The seventh-highest rated quarterback in the league, a 3.33:1 touchdown to interception ratio and a solid deep passing game.


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Day 2 mocks for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2016 – 5:01 pm

As if round one mock drafts weren’t enough, we’ve got day two mock drafts of where the so called experts think the Bills are headed tonight.

The Buffalo Bills have picks at 49 and 80 and guessing who they pick is just that, a guess.

Marc Sessler – NFL.com writer

The depth in the front seven is evident and many of those prospects are rolling over to day two. Sessler sees the Alabama duo, A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed, quickly departing off the boards in round two.

“It’s a surprise that neither of Alabama’s stellar defensive tackles were taken in Round 1. Look for a steady run on “hog mollies” starting early Friday. Clemson end Kevin Dodd won’t last long, either.”

In his article, he writes who are the best prospects where he ranks these two in third. Then he follows up with it by saying the respective players perfect fit, where in this case is at One Bills Drive.

“Coach Rex Ryan isn’t finished adding depth to a line that let him down last season. Either one of these big -bodied defenders would make the Bills coach a happy camper.”

Lance Zierlein – NFL Media draft analyst

There’s mock drafts aplenty on the internet and Zierlein has Buffalo picking Jonathan Bullard. The defensive end is a 6-foot-3 defensive lineman who had a knack to stuffing up the middle and at times got to the quarterback.

“Not a sexy pick, but has the ability to play along the line of scrimmage and can get to the other side of the line,” Zierlein said of the pick.

This addition would add security behind Kyle Williams. Williams only saw the field for six games and isn’t getting any young as he enters his 11th year in the NFL.

Evan Silva – NBC’s Rotoworld writer

With the 49th pick, Silva has the Bills selecting Bronson Kaufusi from Brigham Young University. The defensive end has the stature needed for the position. He stands at 6-foot-6 and is a force against the offensive line at 285 pounds.

However, he is projected by some, like NFL.com, to be a later round pick like 4 or 5. He’s questioned to be unable to become a major threat to the quarterback and not as versatile to being a linebacker.

Ryan’s defensive scheme is based around the front seven and the deception between who’s blitzing and who may drop back into coverage. Picking Kaufusi at 49 has a risk, but then again there’s no sure thing as a safe pick.

The second pick, barring a trade, is at 80. The Bills could use this pick as a filler for some of the holes in the roster. One position is at quarterback due to Tyrod’s contract ending after this season, the Bills may not want all their eggs in one basket.

Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg is who Silva has for Buffalo in round three. The quarterback would be the fifth selected in his draft with Connor Cook, of Michigan State, going before him at pick 67.

Hackenberg brings a lot to the table. But like many college athletes, there’s much to learn to translate success to the NFL.

“Christian Hackenberg from Penn State has a ton of talent,” said NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock… “He’s going to be a wild card because his upside from a skills perspective is he has starter skills, but his tape is poor.”

Justis Mosqueda – Featured Columnist for Bleacher report

A needed position for any NFL team is at left tackle. This position is famous for protecting the blindside. Currently, the Bills have four-year-pro Cordy Glenn and through his prediction, he has Joe Dahl at 80. This pick may not be to replace Glenn, but maybe to transfer to the other side which has been an insecurity for the Bills in recent past.

“He’s fairly similar to David Bakhtiari coming out of Colorado, a left tackle prospect from the Pac-12 who many had pinned as an interior offensive lineman, even a top-end center prospect, because of his size. Dahl is a solid developmental, flexible piece of a zone blocking scheme.”

Day two of the NFL draft is difficult to pin down who picks who when each team has different needs. Every General Manager has their own views on talent. NFL draft prospect Correa summed it up best in his tweet last night.

This post was put together by Contributing Correspondent Andrew Kuczkowski


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Rams taking offers for 2 QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2016 – 4:51 pm

Rams QB Case Keenum was a player on the L.A. roster who was rumored to be on the trade block earlier this week. Apparently their other quarterback is too.

No, not Carson Wentz. Nick Foles is up for grabs if any team is interested. That according to NFL Network’s Mike Silver.

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Presumably the Rams would take the best off they can get for one of them and keep the other.


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2nd rd. mock predicts Bills trade & QB

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2016 – 2:32 pm

ProFootballTalk put together a round two mock draft in advance of tonight’s actual round two and they have the Bills moving up the board to take a quarterback.

PFT had the Bills moving up from their pick at 49 to pick 36 with Baltimore. With that 36th pick they have the Bills taking Michigan State QB Connor Cook. Here’s a look at their rundown for round two with their most interesting trade being Jacksonville trading up to 32 with Cleveland and taking UCLA LB Myles Jack.

32. Jaguars* (projected trade): Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

33. Titans: Andrew Billings, NT, Baylor

34. Cowboys: Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson

35. Chargers: Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas

36. Bills* (projected trade): Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State

37. Chiefs: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

38. Browns* (projected trade): Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State

39. Buccaneers: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State

40. Giants: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana

41: Bears: Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama

42. Dolphins: Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor

43. Titans: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State

44. Raiders: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama

45. Titans: Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

46. Lions: A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

47. Saints: Jonathan Bullard, DT, Florida

48. Colts: Kamalei Correa, OLB/DE, Boise State

49. Ravens* (projected trade): Noah Spence, OLB, Eastern Kentucky

50. Falcons: Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State

51. Jets: Le’Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech

52. Texans: Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State

53. Redskins: Austin Johnson, DT, Penn State

54: Vikings: Nick Martin, OL, Notre Dame

55: Bengals: Tyler Boyd, WR, Pitt

56. Seahawks: Su’a Cravens, LB, USC

57. Cowboys* (projected trade): Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

58. Steelers: Darian Thompson, S, Boise State

59. Chiefs: Caleb Benenoch, OL, UCLA

60. Patriots: Joshua Perry, LB, Ohio State

61. Patriots: Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech

62. Panthers: Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

63. Broncos: Kentrell Brothers, LB, Missouri

 


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Lawson refutes Schefter report

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2016 – 1:14 am

ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter reported that Bills first-round pick Shaq Lawson would need to undergo shoulder surgery for the right shoulder injury that forced him to return to Indianapolis for the combine medical re-check. The man who has lived through the shoulder injury refuted that report Thursday night after the Bills made him a first-round pick.

“No, there is no truth to Adam Schefter’s report,” said Lawson. “The report about me having surgery I don’t know where that comes from. I guess he just wanted to put something out there. If I didn’t have surgery my freshman year why would I need surgery now? I can still play ball.”

The Bills medical staff cleared Lawson, who said he’s never had surgery for the injury he suffered freshman year.

“I never had surgery on it,” said Lawson. “I don’t know why it is coming up in question I am ready to play football. Having surgery is not in my question right now.”


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Clemson’s 1st round run in Buffalo

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2016 – 1:11 am

It started way back in 1975 with when a wide receiver was made the fifth overall pick in the draft by Buffalo. Then in 1982 another Clemson wideout was selected with the 19th overall pick (like Shaq Lawson). Since then three more of Buffalo’s first round picks have pulled talent out of the South Carolina football powerhouse in the last seven drafts.

Here’s a look at all of Buffalo’s first-round picks to come out of Clemson.

1974 – WR Jerry Butler – 5th overall
1982 – WR Perry Tuttle – 19th overall
2010 – RB C.J. Spiller – 9th overall
2014 – WR Sammy Watkins – 4th overall
2016 – DL Shaq Lawson – 19th overall


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Bills HOF’er & Pro Bowler to announce day 2 picks

Posted by Chris Brown on April 28, 2016 – 5:00 pm

The Bills will have one of their Hall of Famers and one of their 2015 Pro Bowlers at the lectern in Chicago Friday night to announced their day 2 draft picks.

Bruce Smith will be announcing Buffalo’s second-round pick Friday night. He’ll be followed by Bills Pro Bowl center Eric Wood, who will announced the team’s third-round pick.

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Both Smith (1985) and Wood (2009) were former first-round selections of the Bills.

Smith was the first overall pick in 1985.


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Report: If you want QB Lynch must be in top 10

Posted by Chris Brown on April 28, 2016 – 3:15 pm

It’s only one NFL personnel man’s opinion, but the hunt for the consensus third-best quarterback in the draft, Memphis QB Paxton Lynch, will apparently require interested teams to get themselves up into the top 10.

That according to CBS Sports NFL draft analyst Benjamin Allbright, who quoted an NFL source that he was in touch with about where Lynch will come off the board.

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Among the teams listed as quarterback needy are the 49ers, Jets and Broncos.


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Some Ryan, Whaley draft history

Posted by Chris Brown on April 28, 2016 – 3:07 pm

With round one of the 2016 NFL draft tonight we thought we’d take a look back at the first round picks of the two organizations where both Rex Ryan and Doug Whaley worked prior to teaming up in Buffalo.

Whaley was a pro scouting coordinator for Pittsburgh (1999-2009) while Ryan was head coach with the Jets (2009-2014). How much say each of them had in who was ultimately selected is debatable at best. Still, here’s a look at the first round picks of those organizations during their tenures with those respective clubs.

Jets 1st round picks with Ryan as head coach
2009 – QB Mark Sanchez
2010 – CB Kyle Wilson
2011 – DT Muhammad Wilkerson
2012 – DE Quinton Coples
2013 – CB Dee Milliner, DE Sheldon Richardson
2014 – S Calvin Pryor

Three out of seven picks were defensive linemen and three out of seven were defensive backs.

Steelers 1st round picks with Whaley on staff 
1999 – WR Troy Edwards
2000 – WR Plaxico Burress
2001 – NT Casey Hampton
2002 – G Kendall Simmons
2003 – S Troy Polamalu
2004 – QB Ben Roethlisberger
2005 – TE Heath Miller
2006 – WR Santonio Holmes
2007 – LB Lawrence Timmons
2008 – RB Rashard Mendenhall
2009 – DT Ziggy Hood

Three out of 11 picks were receivers. Two of 11 were defensive linemen.


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Andre Reed with advice for draft choices

Posted by Chris Brown on April 28, 2016 – 12:43 pm

He’s a former fourth-round pick and Division II college player, and all he did was make seven Pro Bowls, win four AFC titles and get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Reed, who made an appearance recently on a Tampa radio station (WDAE) offered some advice to the prospects who will essentially be starting their pro careers tonight.

“I would say that everybody has an opportunity and it’s up to the prospect to take the opportunity they’re given and then make it even better,” said Reed. “They drafted you for a reason. They think there’s something about you that’s going to make their franchise better and you have to go out and prove that regardless of what round you were drafted in. A lot of kids don’t listen and to play in this league for a long time you have to be able to take instruction every day. It can be tedious and monotonous, but it’s your job now and that’s the way you’ve got to handle it.”


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Late riser at safety

Posted by Chris Brown on April 28, 2016 – 11:42 am

The NFL draftniks call them late risers. The truth is they were probably high on the board for most NFL clubs already and the draftniks are just late to the party. That being said there is one safety in this year’s class who is meriting strong consideration early on day two, who wasn’t getting much publicity.

Clemson S T.J. Green is a defensive back with elite measurables. That alone will have a player in the conversation at the high end of the draft provided he demonstrates either good football instincts or quality production.

Green according to some scouts may not either in plentiful supply at this point in his career, with low production on the ball (1 INT, 4 PBUs in his career) and a knock on him being a step late with play recognition at times according to some NFL talent evaluators. Still, ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper says some NFL clubs can’t resist his physical skill set.

“I think Green is getting momentum because he’s an athlete,” said Kiper. “Anytime you have that ability that he does athletically and the range that he does, you talk about the height at safety being a negative. He’s 6’2 1/2″ – 6’3″ and 210 to run the way he did at 4.34 with a vertical at 36″ you’re going to go pretty high. You got all that athletically ability you figure to keep getting better and the improvements to keep coming in the NFL. That’s why he’s in that early to mid second round. I should say late first, but I’m saying more early to mid second.”

Another thing to consider is at 6-2 1/2 he might be viewed as a hybrid safety/linebacker candidate who could make a transition similar to Mark Barron and Deonne Buchanon in the NFL.


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The top 5 players mocked to the Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 28, 2016 – 10:51 am

We’ve been bringing you installments of the mock draft picks taking place for the Bills through a vast number of media outlets online over the last couple of months. Our final mock draft watch went up on draft day number one this morning. Below is a compilation of the most common picks for Buffalo for their first round selection at 19.

Here are the top five most popular selections for Buffalo at 19th overall by mock draft pickers.

DL Robert Nkemdiche – 18
DE/OLB Noah Spence – 15
LB Darron Lee – 11
DL Sheldon Rankins – 11
DL Shaq Lawson – 11

While I believe each of the last three are realistic picks for Buffalo, I don’t have a lot of confidence that Rankins or Lawson will still be on the board when the Bills are on the clock. Even Lee is a maybe to be there at 19.

Most people who follow the draft know there are off the field concerns and some on the field issues with Robert Nkemdiche and off the field stuff with Noah Spence. Whether that pushes them out of the first round completely remains to be seen. Both are very talented and without some character background issues they’d be sure fire first-round picks. I just wouldn’t be surprised if they’re not part of the discussion in round one for the Bills or a host of other teams due to risk.


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Mayock weighs in on Jets at 20

Posted by Chris Brown on April 28, 2016 – 9:22 am

The Bills have division rival Miami up ahead of them on the board at 13, but the bigger concern is the Jets, who sit right behind them at 20 in round one of the draft.

Most of the speculation surrounds whether or not the Jets would sit at 20, and whether or not they’d take a quarterback early knowing their contract negotiations with Ryan Fitzpatrick remain unresolved. They have a major bargaining chip in Muhammad Wilkerson, who was franchised, but is also at odds on a long-term agreement with the club.

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock offered his two cents on the possible options for the Jets if they stay at 20.

“It’s interesting because I think even if they sign Fitzpatrick, I don’t know how long a term they’d be talking about,” said Mayock. “He’s 34 years old. Is he the long-term answer for Maccagnan and Bowles? So I think they’ve got to be evaluating the heck out of Paxton Lynch, and I think Paxton Lynch makes a ton of sense there, especially if they had a veteran quarterback he could sit behind for one year. So I think Paxton Lynch has to be the first consideration.

“Are we going to try to be in the ballpark or in the game for that kid? That’s to me first and foremost. After that you start to look around at 20 and say, ‘Okay, is our edge linebacker need going to — are we going to get a better player at edge linebacker or an offensive lineman? (Left tackle) Ryan Clady has had a history of injury; (Nick) Mangold is 32; (Right tackle Breno) Giacomini is 31. That offensive line needs some attention.

“I think when you get to 20, you’re looking at your board, and you’re going, ‘Okay, what do I like here? Do I like Ryan Kelly? Do I like Taylor Decker? Who’s the top edge rusher? How do I feel about Shaq Lawson or Emmanuel Ogbah? Can I go in the second round and get an offensive tackle, or do I want to get a tackle in the first round and get an edge guy?’

“If so, I think there’s a big conversation here, and I think the corners, which I haven’t even mentioned, also kind of fit into that thing, and depending on how they feel about Dee Milliner and his future.”

For what it’s worth I have the Jets taking Lynch at 20th overall a pick after Buffalo in my mock draft, but it’s likely that Lynch comes off the board prior to that point. That would necessitate a trade up for the Jets, which could happen if there’s a team interested in paying big money to Wilkerson.


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Prospects attending 2016 NFL draft

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2016 – 3:59 pm

For those that may not have seen it, here are the 25 confirmed NFL prospects who will be in attendance in Chicago for the 2016 NFL draft.

1) Apple, Eli CB Ohio State
2) Bosa, Joey DE Ohio State
3) Butler, Vernon DT Louisiana Tech
4) Coleman, Corey WR Baylor
5) Conklin, Jack T Michigan State
6) Decker, Taylor T Ohio State
7) Doctson, Josh WR Texas Christian
8) Dodd, Kevin DE Clemson
9) Elliott, Ezekiel RB Ohio State
10) Goff, Jared QB California
11) Hargreaves, Vernon CB Florida
12) Jack, Myles LB UCLA
13) Jones, Chris DT Mississippi State
14) Lawson, Shaq DE Clemson
15) Lee, Darron LB Ohio State
16) Neal, Keanu S Florida
17) Nkemdiche, Robert DT Mississippi
18) Ragland, Reggie LB Alabama
19) Ramsey, Jalen CB Florida State
20) Reed, Jarran DT Alabama
21) Robinson, A’Shawn DT Alabama
22) Stanley, Ronnie T Notre Dame
23) Treadwell, Laquon WR Mississippi
24) Tunsil, Laremy T Mississippi
25) Wentz, Carson QB North Dakota State


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Host of kicker prospects in draft class

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2016 – 2:06 pm

It’s been widely described as a bumper crop of kicker prospects. There’s no debating that Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo is at the top of the list, but there are a handful of quality place kickers this year.

ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper provided a quick synopsis of some of the better prospects.

“In terms of the kickers he’s the number one kicker,” said Kiper of Aguayo. “He would’ve had a higher grade last year, but he had some misses this year and was more accurate last year, so he wasn’t graded as high as he would have been. He’s the number one kicker. Zach Matics of Appalachian State is right in there. Brad Craddock from Maryland. Ka’imi Fairbairn from UCLA. Jaden Oberkrom from TCU. Ross Martin from Duke. There’s a lot of kickers that have ability this year, but I think he’s the best of the group. I’d say probably third to fifth round for Aguayo.”

As many as four kickers could be selected in the draft this year. Aguayo, Fairbairn, Martin and Liberty’s John Lunsford have the best chance of being drafted.


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Mayock on where he sees the OT run in draft

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2016 – 11:03 am

As we’ve seen in past NFL drafts, there are often runs on a position at a certain point in the draft where all of a sudden there are three players at the same position taken in the span of five picks, leaving a team just outside that range out of luck. Offensive tackle is a position that could have up to five players come off the board in round one. So if a team really wants one there won’t be a whole lot of opportunity to wait.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock speculates that the run on offensive tackles will happen around the middle of round one.

“If Stanley and Conklin are off the board (before the middle of round one), as they probably will be, Taylor (Decker) is probably next. I think he’s going to go right in that range. Indianapolis is at 18, they could use a tackle. Germain Ifedi from A&M who is both a tackle and a guard is in the conversation in the first round. Then in the second round I think the conversation starts with Jason Spriggs who could even go late one, but I’ve got him in two. Le’Raven Clark from Texas Tech who has the wing span of a pteradactyl, that is seven offensive tackles, and that’s about average for the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, and I think they’re the right guys.”

Offensive tackle is a potential option for Buffalo at 19 if they don’t like what’s there for a front seven defensive player in terms of value, but based on Mayock’s analysis none of the top four offensive tackles will still be on the board at 19. If that proves to be the case, it’s very likely the Bills explore their options to trade back.


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Picking fits for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2016 – 10:33 am

The film room junkies and number crunchers at Pro Football Focus have picked what they believe are the best scheme fits for the Bills and the league’s 31 other clubs for each of the first three rounds of the 2016 NFL draft.

Their picks for Buffalo are interesting as there is a heavy O-line  and linebacker focus throughout their choices. Here’s a look at their perceived fits.

Round 1 (19th overall)

Jack Conklin, OT Michigan State

Conklin is a dominant run-blocker who should thrive in Buffalo’s power scheme, and he’s no slouch in pass protection, either, allowing only 25 pressures the last two seasons. Conklin can slide in as the Bills’ starter at right tackle and be an immediate upgrade over incumbent starter Seantrel Henderson, who has an awful minus-46.8 overall grade in his first two seasons.

Cody Whitehair, G Kansas State

Whitehair was the highest-graded OT in the FBS last season, but he projects as more of a guard at the next level. Regardless of where he ends up slotting in, however, the right side of the Buffalo line needs help at either spot.

Leonard Floyd, DE/OLB, Georgia

Floyd was our highest-graded 3-4 OLB last season, and he also led the group in pass-rushing grade. The Bills need an edge rusher to pair with Jerry Hughes, and Floyd is one of the best in the class.

Round 2 (49th overall)

Su’a Cravens, LB USC

Cravens played both safety and linebacker at USC (but is probably more linebacker than safety at the next level) and would provide Buffalo with a dynamic chess piece on the defensive side. Cravens is strong against the run — his run-defense grade in 2015 ranked seventh among safeties in this draft class, and his run-defense grade in 2014 was tops among the same group. He also has sound instincts in coverage.

Joshua Garnett, G Stanford

Garnett was our second-highest-graded guard in the class in 2015, and his run-blocking grade was tops among the group. Garnett is a devastating pull blocker who is excellent at locating defenders while on the move. He has the potential to be one of the league’s best run-blockers in Buffalo’s scheme.

Scooby Wright III, LB Arizona

Wright was second among all FBS linebackers in 2014 in overall grade, and he should step into the league and be a force against the run. He has innate instincts against the run, is always balanced and under control, and has NFL-caliber lateral quickness. Preston Brown and Nigel Bradham combined for a very poor minus-32.3 run-defense grade for Buffalo in 2015.

Round 3 (80th overall)

Kyler Fackrell, DE/OLB, Utah State

Fackrell has the versatility that should fit well with Buffalo’s 3-4 scheme. He has excellent hands as a pass-rusher and he also dropped into coverage 192 times last year and finished the season with a positive coverage grade. 

Kamalei Correa, DE/OLB, Boise State

Correa is an athletic, slippery rusher who wins with movement over hands and strength. He possesses good closing speed and should be able to track down QBs along with backs and receivers in space. He frequently played with his hand on the ground at Boise State, but projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.

Kyle Murphy, OT, Stanford

After the top tier of tackles come off the board, there is nobody in this class who has a higher floor than Murphy. He is technically sound with his punch and he keeps his hands high and tight in pass protection. He isn’t the most athletic prospect in the draft, but his consistency and technique should allow him to become a competent starting NFL tackle.

Personally I don’t believe Floyd or Conklin will be on the board at 19 for Buffalo in round one. I think Scooby Wright is graded too high here. I do like each of the third-round options they’ve chosen though.


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Bills rank high in recent draft value history

Posted by Chris Brown on April 26, 2016 – 1:19 pm

Whether it’s draft pick value over the past three years or the past five years, the Bills are one of the few teams in the NFL who sit above the trend line. Though it hasn’t translated into playoff football yet, that is a good thing. Sooner or later their successful draft practices will allow the Bills to reap rewards.

According to Rotoworld’s examination of the past five years of drafting by NFL clubs and the past three years of drafting, the Bills are one of a handful of teams that exceeds the average in terms of the average value per pick made.

Here was Rotoworld’s assessment of Buffalo’s recent draft history.

The teams that appear above both trend lines are Carolina, Minnesota, Buffalo, Dallas, Tampa Bay, Arizona, San Diego and the Rams. Even squeezing the time frame down to the past three years, Carolina still maintains the top spot in terms of AV per pick while making the fewest amount of total draft picks.

It’s hard to say that a team that hasn’t made the postseason since 1999 has been doing anything positive, but the Bills have done well in selecting viable NFL players.  Even with the selection of E.J. Manuel, Sammy Watkins,Stephon Gilmore and Marcell Dareus were the other first round picks made by Buffalo over the past five years and are arguably in the top tier of their respective positions. While Cordy Glenn, Preston Brown, Aaron Williams and Nigel Bradham aren’t yearly Pro Bowlers, they have played noteworthy ancillary roles for the team.

The club that trended the highest over the past five years was Seattle thanks to the drafting that landed them Russell Wilson, Bruce Irvin, Russell Okung and Bobby Wagner among others. However, over the last three years Green Bay prevails as the team with the best average value per draft pick made.


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Mayock: Have to be 3-down LB to go high

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2016 – 2:22 pm

With the passing game growing with each passing year in the NFL the demand on defensive players has shifted in terms of priorities and that can negatively impact players at the second level in particular.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock believes there will be some linebacker prospects, who lacking the necessary coverage skills, will see their draft stock drop as a result.

“The NFL has been evolving the last four or five years more closely paralleling the development of college football,” Mayock said. “There’s been a blurring between the safety position and the outside linebacker. They’re almost becoming often the same kind of guy, fitting the same type of role.

“Then the inside linebacker, talk about an off the line, inside linebacker typically playing one or two downs. So the role has been diminished. Unless you’ve got a guy like Luke Kuechly. If you’ve got Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, now you’ve got a different conversation, but because of nickel and dime packages, the role of the inside linebacker has evolved. So in a lot of cases, unless the guy can play on third down, his value has moved down.”

One of the most debated ILB prospects is Alabama’s Reggie Ragland. There are some clubs that believe he can play all three downs and handle certain coverage responsibilities, while others see him as a two-down prospect.


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Pro-style QBs exist in 2016 class

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2016 – 1:44 pm

Anyone who follows college football is wholly familiar with the explosion of spread offenses. It’s put a lot of NFL talent evaluators in a bind when it comes to projecting college QBs to the pro game knowing they’re not asked to do a lot of the same things at the position. But this spring there is at least a handful of quarterback prospects who ran pro-style systems in college.

ESPN Scouts Inc.’s Kevin Weidl broke down some of the more notable pro-style QBs in this year’s class.

“I think this is one of the deeper quarterback classes that we’ve seen, and there’s a lot of size who translate to the NFL level well,” said Weidl. “Pocket passers and guys that have come from pro-style systems. It’s getting more and more of these spread quarterbacks, but this year there are more of the Connor Cooks, Jacoby Brissetts, Brandon Allen from Arkansas, Kevin Hogan from Stanford, who have played in pro-style systems making pro-style reads and working from under center. That can give a prospect an advantage in terms of how quickly they can develop when they go to the NFL level.”

We profiled Connor Cook in particular with respect to his pro-style experience in Michigan State’s offense.


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