Inside The Bills

Nix on Newton & Gabbert

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2011 – 6:05 pm

Bills GM Buddy Nix was interviewed on 103.3 FM the Edge Wednesday afternoon on the Shredd and Ragan show and was naturally asked about the top two QB prospects in Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert. Nix was either pretty revealing or pretty deceiving just a day before the draft.

Nix was asked about the merits of taking a quarterback when you are up high in the draft order knowing you may not be up there again.

“I think there’s a lot of argument for that,” said Nix. “You can help your team in a lot of other ways a lot quicker, but you can also in the long run help your team more by getting a franchise quarterback. Now the key is this. Is there a franchise quarterback there that you feel very confident about?”

“I think about when we drafted Phillip Rivers in San Diego there wasn’t any question in our mind that he’s a guy you build your team around. If you feel that way about anybody in this draft then you should take him with the third pick if he’s there.”

Co-host Ted Shredd then appropriately asked, ‘Do you feel that way about anybody in this draft?’

“That’s a little different question,” said Nix. “We do think that Gabbert and Cam Newton have a better than average chance of being a franchise guy. There are obviously arguments both ways and you can make a case either way you want to go. But at some point you have to go with your gut feeling and take the guy and make it work.”

It’s tough to tell whether Nix is couching his true opinion so as not to tip Buffalo’s hand, whether he and his personnel dept. truly feel that the two signal callers have a better than average chance or if he’s just taking advantage of his last chance at pre-draft deception.

Nix did just say a few weeks ago that with pre-draft talk only 10 percent is truth, so take these comments for what they’re worth.

He did however go into greater detail about his take on Newton, which was as follows.

“I think the upside is unlimited with him,” said Nix of Newton. “The things you can do with him. We’ve sepnt an awful lot of time with the top quarterbacks. He’s a guy that can adjust to whatever you’re doing offensively.

“People say that at Auburn it was simple, well he learns whatever offense he’s in. He did at Florida. He went to Blinn junior college and learned what they do, and very quickly I might add, and he went to Auburn and learned what they do. It’s what they ask him to do and I think he can do that again.” 

Nix when asked about possible quarterbacks in round two referenced Andy Dalton and Christian Ponder as signal callers that they found appealing.

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More mock QB picks for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 26, 2011 – 9:27 am

Two more mock drafts and two more choices of quarterback for the Bills at third overall. had two of their draft analysts put mock drafts together and they both selected the same quarterback for Buffalo with the third pick.

Chad Reuter had Buffalo taking Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert with Cam Newton and Marcell Dareus already off the board. Rob Rang’s top 3 was identical. When there tends to be a popular opinion for the Bills I usually believe it’s not going to happen. So I’m skeptical of the Gabbert pick for the Bills at three, which has appeared in several other places as well.

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Posted in Inside the Bills mock has QB to Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2011 – 12:44 pm’s Don Banks has put out the fifth installment of his mock draft and he’s got Buffalo taking a quarterback.

After he ships Cam Newton to Carolina and Marcell Dareus to Denver, he’s got Buffalo taking Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert with the following reasoning.

Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller seems to have emerged as the consensus choice for the Bills in NFL mockdom, but I still see Buffalo reasoning that it’s the right year and the right draft slot to take a franchise quarterback. You could take Gabbert and still play Ryan Fitzpatrick most of this season, following the Jon Kitna/Carson Palmer model in Cincinnati, circa 2003.

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2 rd. mock QB, OLB for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2011 – 10:53 am

The National Football Post has just released their latest two-round mock draft and they’ve got Buffalo taking a quarterback first and an outside linebacker second.

With the third overall pick they have the Bills taking Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert after Cam Newton and Marcell Dareus go first and second overall respectively.

In round two they have the Bills taking Arizona OLB Brooks Reed. Ironically Gabbert and Reed made a pre-draft visit to One Bills Drive on the same day together.

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Chan compares Newton-Gabbert

Posted by Chris Brown on April 11, 2011 – 3:13 pm

Appearing on Sirius NFL Radio late Monday morning, Bills head coach Chan Gailey was asked to compare and contrast QB prospects Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert, by hosts Adam Schein and Rich Gannon. Here was his assessment.

“They’re both extremely talented,” said Gailey. “They’ve been in two different types of offenses. Neither of them have been in a pro-style offense. One of them was in a spread and ran the football out of the spread and was a little bit more throwing the ball one-on-one at times instead of reading a bunch of coverages. The other one was in the spread, four wides, five wides most of the time, in the gun the majority of the time and was reading a few more coverages, throwing a few more concept routes. You have concept routes in the NFL and a little bit more experience in that. They just come from different offenses. Both of them are going to have an adjustment period once they get to the NFL.”

Gabbert does have the advantage of throwing more of the intermediate routes in the 11-20 yard range in his offense, the kinds of throws that are very common in the pro-style offenses of the NFL. So if there is one area where Gabbert may have a leg up on Newton it’s there. But Gailey believes both will have learning curves to travel before being NFL ready so to speak.

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Newton way ahead of Gabbert

Posted by Chris Brown on April 1, 2011 – 12:45 pm

In the M&T Bank Draft Day Challenge Bills fans are still of the belief that Cam Newton will be Buffalo’s pick at third overall in the 2011 NFL draft, as he is outpacing Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert, who is visiting One Bills Drive today (Friday).

Newton still leads all vote getters with 24% of votes by Bills fans trying to predict who Buffalo takes at 3. Gabbert has just one third of Newton’s vote total with 8% of the vote. You can sign up for the M&T Bank Draft Day Challenge anytime between now and April 25th and make your prediction.

You’ll have a chance to win a Bills Gameday Experience including pre-game sideline passes prior to a Bills home game and receive an official Bills helmet. So register now

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Nix confirms QB visits

Posted by Chris Brown on March 28, 2011 – 6:09 pm

Bills GM Buddy Nix confirmed that Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder will all be in for pre-draft visits.

At the State of the Bills event in downtown Buffalo, Nix and head coach Chan Gailey both confirmed that Newton was in town and will visit the facility Tuesday.

Nix also said that there could be more quarterbacks and several other position players like defensive linemen and linebackers.

More on later this evening.

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McShay not seeing starting QB

Posted by Chris Brown on March 23, 2011 – 10:06 am

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay felt very good about the future of quarterback prospects like Matt Ryan and Sam Bradford when they came out the past couple of years. He doesn’t have that same feeling about the class of quarterbacks this year.

“I don’t think there’s a Matt Ryan or a Sam Bradford in this class,” McShay said in a conference call Wednesday. “At the time when those quarterbacks came out I had no doubt in my mind that those guys were ready mentally and physically to contribute in the NFL and handle everything that went on were prepared to do so from a scheme standpoint coming out of college and a physical standpoint in terms of their overall mechanics.”

McShay has Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert as his top QB prospect, but he has his reservations about him in terms of plugging him in as a starter right away.

“As much as I like Blaine Gabbert and I do think he can become maybe not Aaron Rodgers, but somewhere in that ballpark a few years down the road,” he said. “I think we have to take a step back from the last few years and go back to the old mentality of maybe sitting a guy for a year and developing him. Blaine Gabbert comes from a system that doesn’t translate perfectly to the NFL.

“He can certainly take drops and has the footwork, but he has to be more consistent throwing the ball down the field and I think there is going to be a learning curve coming from that system to the NFL. Does he have it? I think absolutely. I think he has it mentally. I think he has the work ethic and most importantly he’s accurate enough to be a very good starting quarterback in the NFL. He’s the only quarterback in this class that I would draft in the top 10.”

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High Gailey praise for QBs

Posted by Chris Brown on March 22, 2011 – 10:28 pm

In a countless number of mock drafts out there in cyberspace the Bills have been projected to take either Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert with the third overall choice. There have been several other mock defensive choices as well, but Chan Gailey’s high praise for both Gabbert and Newton at the league’s owners’ meetings might convince one that Buffalo is ready to take a QB.

“I can tell you right now there is no question they have outstanding skill sets — both of them,” Gailey said Tuesday at the league meetings to among others. “Not average, not above average, outstanding — to play early and long.”

Gailey also openly weighed both sides with respect to the decision to either take a QB at three or pass or roll with Fitzpatrick in 2011 without a future prospect waiting in the wings.

Obviously if the Bills believe one of them is a true franchise type QB they’ll take him, but if they have any doubts at all they’ll almost certainly be going defense.

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Nix at Gabbert pro day

Posted by Chris Brown on March 17, 2011 – 7:58 pm

With virtually the entire league at Blaine Gabbert’s pro day Thursday, it’s no surprise to see the reports that Bills GM Buddy Nix was there as well.’s Gil Brandt reported that Nix was in attendance along with a handful of NFL head coaches from other clubs. Brandt, who said after Cam Newton’s workout that he should be the number one pick, now admits he’s not so sure after witnessing Gabbert’s pro day performance.

He considered just one of Gabbert’s 49 passes uncatchable.

DE/OLB Aldon Smith also solidifed himself as a mid-first round pick with his workout.

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Accurate day for Gabbert

Posted by Chris Brown on March 17, 2011 – 2:16 pm

Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert was very accurate at his highly anticipated pro day Thursday as he completed 44 of 49 passes according to reports.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reported that three of the five incompletions were catchable balls. The figures are impressive when one considers that he didn’t have his Missouri receivers available.

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Bills dine with Gabbert

Posted by Chris Brown on March 17, 2011 – 10:45 am

The Bills had dinner with Cam Newton the evening before his pro day at Auburn. They’ve now gone and done the same with Blaine Gabbert whose pro day is today (Thursday).

That according to’s Gil Brandt, who said Bills GM Buddy Nix along with a few other Bills reps had dinner with the Missouri signal caller last night. He also provided a laundry list of high ranking NFL coaches and executives that are already in Columbia, Missouri for Gabbert’s pro day workout.

When Nix took the GM job with the Bills on Dec. 31st 2009 he said he’s a scout at heart and he believes in getting up close to prospects to “smell their breath.” Looks like he takes that expression literally, though we can’t say how close Buffalo’s GM was sitting to Gabbert.

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McShay mock has QB for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 16, 2011 – 5:55 pm

ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay has issued his fourth mock draft installment and has the Bills taking a quarterback.

After sending Marcell Dareus to Carolina with the top pick, he has Von Miller going to Denver at two and Blaine Gabbert going to Buffalo third overall. Here is his reasoning behind the pick.

The Bills’ biggest need is at offensive tackle, where they have not drafted a player earlier than the fifth round since taking Mike Williams in the first in 2002, but there isn’t a tackle prospect in this class worth the No. 3 pick. There are also needs along the defensive front seven but it will be tough to pass up the opportunity to significantly upgrade the quarterback position. Gabbert has a higher ceiling than current Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, and with his football intelligence, accuracy, size, arm strength and mobility Gabbert has all the tools to become a very good starter in the NFL. There is a lot of talk about Buffalo taking Auburn QB Cam Newton here, but I believe strongly that Gabbert is not only the safer choice but the better quarterback.

The pick is unchanged from his last mock draft a month ago when he also had Gabbert to Buffalo at 3. Gabbert has his pro day Thursday in Columbia, Missouri. The pick he had for the Bills in his second mock installment was Von Miller.

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Latest NFL Network mock

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2011 – 4:02 pm

Another mock from the endless stream of analysts on the NFL Network. This time Brian Baldinger takes his crack with a mock draft top 10 and has Buffalo taking a QB.

After sending Patrick Peterson to Carolina first overall and Marcell Dareus to Denver at two, Baldinger selects Blaine Gabbert for the Bills at three and offers the following comment as to why.

“The ghost of Jim Kelly haunts Buffalo to this day, so Blaine Gabbert gets drafted there,” said Baldinger. “Chan Gailey gets a chess piece. You can still start Ryan Fitzpatrick and let Gabbert learn the pro game.”

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Mock picks QB for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2011 – 9:35 am

The Carolina Panthers have the first overall pick this year, which is why the mock draft put together by the Charlotte Observer is an interesting one. They’ve got a QB going to Carolina in the top spot and the Bills taking one at 3 as well.

After they select Cam Newton for the Panthers first overall, they send Marcell Dareus to Denver and the Bills taking Blaine Gabbert at 3. Here’s their synopsis on the Gabbert pick.

He has all the tangibles. As one scout said recently: “He’s 6-5, 235, good arm, quick release, … Those guys go in the first round.”
But can he play? The offense he ran in college doesn’t translate to the NFL, and his 6.7 yards per attempt scares me. The Bills need a quarterback, and he’s the next guy up. Not saying I think it will work …

For the record Gabbert is the only quarterback in the class that NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock thinks is a top 10 pick.

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Kirwan mock has QB to Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on March 3, 2011 – 9:29 am’s Pat Kirwan’s mock draft has a quarterback going to the Bills at 3, but not the one everyone is talking about.

After picking Da’Quan Bowers for Carolina at one followed by Nick Fairley to Denver at two, Kirwan has the Bills taking Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert third overall. Here’s his reasoning behind the pick.

Some will say Ryan Fitzpatrick is just fine, and that might be true, but you never pass on a franchise quarterback. Gabbert would not have to play right away, which is ideal. Still, with Tom Brady and Mark Sanchez in the division, it might be time to get a talented youngster for the position. This could turn into the spot Cam Newton goes, but I will go with things I heard at the combine at this point. If teams like San Francisco or Washington want a QB they might have to move up.

Even more interesting is Kirwan has Cam Newton coming off the board with the pick right after Buffalo for Cincinnati knowing Carson Palmer seems dead set of never playing for the Bengals again.

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Gabbert & Ponder fishing buds

Posted by Chris Brown on February 25, 2011 – 7:07 pm

Two of the better quarterbacks in the 2011 draft pool have bonded the past couple of months.

Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder have both been preparing for the NFL combine and their respective pro days at a sports performance facility in Arizona. As is usually the case, spending several weeks doing nothing but training with the same guys players develop friendships. Gabbert and Ponder appreciate having a fellow quarterback to go through the pre-draft process with on a daily basis.

“It’s been great for the both of us,” said Ponder. “We’ve become pretty close and it’s hard to find someone that you’re so similar to. We work out together, go fishing together, do a lot of things off the field. I’ve enjoyed it and at the same time we’re competing against each other. But we’ve formed a close bond in a short time and we’re there to support each other.”

“Christian is an awesome guy,” said Gabbert. “We’ve become really good friends and just having another quarterback to relate to really helps the whole process. Just bouncing ideas off him and working out together and then we have some of the same interests off the field. We’ve gone fishing a few times at a few mountain lakes up there. So we’ve got a close bond and we’re good buds.”

When Ponder was asked who the better fisherman was he answered quickly.
“I am,” he said. “When we went I caught twice as many fish as he did. So obviously me.”

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Why Gabbert isn’t throwing

Posted by Chris Brown on February 25, 2011 – 2:33 pm

Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert isn’t throwing here at the combine and explained why.

“My agent is Tom Condon of CAA and Tom’s philosophy in the past is not having quarterbacks throwing at the combine,” Gabbert said. “I trust him with his advice and we have a plan set up and I’ll be throwing at my pro day on March 17th.”

Gabbert is one of the few QBs not throwing here in Indy, but he pointed to QBs that came before that chose not to throw here and went on to have successful careers.

“Of course Sam (Bradford) had his injury to his arm and didn’t throw until his pro day. Matt Ryan, Matt Stafford, these guys only selected to throw at their pro day and they were extremely successful in doing that,” he said. “It’s more of a controlled atmosphere. You have a script. I’m not shying away from competition or anything. I’m just throwing at my pro day and that was about it.”

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Newton to throw, Gabbert won’t

Posted by Chris Brown on February 22, 2011 – 9:59 am

According to the Associated Press, Auburn QB Cam Newton will throw and participate in all drills at the NFL combine later this week. Meanwhile one of his competitors to be the first QB off the board, Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert will forgo the opportunity to participate in drills.

Newton plans to fully participate and told the AP he wants “to be transparent” through the whole draft process. A smart move in light of the off the field questions that surrounded him this past college season.

Gabbert will reportedly skip all throwing drills, but Washington’s Jake Locker and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick will participate.’s coverage of the NFL combine begins on Thursday.

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Fan Friday 2-18

Posted by Chris Brown on February 18, 2011 – 3:46 pm

A reminder that our NFL combine coverage from Indianapolis begins on Thursday here on and runs through the weekend. So be sure to check the blog, the home page and the media center for stories, one-on-one interviews and comment from the top NFL prospects. Now to your questions.

1 – Chris, 
I’m delighted to see that you are intrigued about Colin Kaepernick – a guy I have had my eye on as a prime prospect for the Bills.  Buddy Nix says he likes to see consistent success at the college level and here’s a guy who has passed for 2,000 yards and run for over 1,000 for three straight years – the only player in NCAA history to do that.  He clearly needs work on his throwing motion, but he was already at 67% accuracy with his current motion.  What would he be like with some good coaching to get him to release the ball correctly?  But the best thing about him is his intelligence, leadership and character.  The intangibles don’t get much higher.  And he did lead his team to a #11 ranking in the final AP  poll. Let us know what you think.

Dan Singal

CB: Kaepernick is intriguing to me because he has prototype size, arm strength and athleticism. What’s between the ears is what is going to be key in his evaluation. When NFL teams put him on the board and ask him to come up with answers for certain coverages or test his rate of retention with plays in the course of a 15-minute interview it’s designed to get a better handle on how he can adapt to a sophisticated NFL offense.

He ran a pistol offense at Nevada and in talking to him he’s well aware that he has to show that he can operate from under center. But more importantly he has to convince NFL decision makers that he can leaern, process and execute a complex NFL offense. All that being said I think at best he’s a late second-round pick.

2 – Chris,
I’ve been thinking about all of the people’s questions to you about getting a “slash” QB in the draft. Personally, I think we need more of pocket passer if we were going to get a QB early on in the draft. I was thinking that they go with a DE or a CB in the first pick, and then maybe trying to shoot for a Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Mallet, or, Jake Locker in the 2nd pick if they are still there, so he can be a backup for a year or two under Fitz’s Guidance. Your thoughts?
Vernon NY

CB: Gabbert is widely considered a top 10 pick. I’m not sure I’m ready to be convinced of that, but most draft analysts see him gone by Arizona’s pick at 10 at the latest. Locker or Mallett could slip into the second round if they don’t show much this week at the combine or their pro day or do not fare well in the interviews with NFL clubs. Locker and Mallett have inconsistencies in their game and Gabbert has questions as well. Of those three Mallett is the only true pocket guy. The other two are mobile so I’m not sure they fit your criteria.
Personally I think the Bills only take a QB in the first two rounds if they believe he can be a franchise QB in a year or two, otherwise I see them going defense.

3 – Hi Chris,
In some mock drafts that have Fairley going to Carolina, I see some people giving us Patrick Peterson.  I loved what I saw from Marcell Dareus and think he would make more sense and help our run defense immensely.  Do you think the Bills would go with more talent in Peterson or a bigger need in Dareus?


CB: I’m not privy to their preferences or draft grades, but my thinking is if they’re down to a decision at 3 between Peterson and Dareus, and their grades on them are close, I believe Dareus would be the pick. Peterson is a special talent, but Dareus helps to answer your biggest problem, which is your run defense. I don’t see that going unrecognized in that kind of a debate.

4 – Chris,
Every since the Bills announced Doug Whaley as Assistant General Manager/Director of Pro Personnel he has kept a pretty low profile with the media.  His hiring was hailed as a great move but I think the jury is still out.  What are your thoughts?  Also could you detail how the Pro Personnel department is structured (personnel-wise) and what are everyone’s duties.  We constantly hear about Tom Modrak and his scouts preparing for the draft but how does the Pro Personnel department spend their time throughout the year?  Do they maintain a video library on every single player in the NFL or do they rely on other team’s pro departments for help when they need it?  Could you do an in-depth explanation sometime in the future?
Go Bills!

CB: Doug doesn’t mind keeping a low profile. He just likes to go about his business, which deals primarily with the pro personnel side of things. He the head guy on the pro side of the ledger and did a pretty good job in his first year bringing in talent like Kraig Urbik, who stands a good chance of starting at right guard next year if Wood goes to center permanently. He brought in Chad Rinehart, who is a capable reserve interior lineman. And Erik Pears, who was acquired late in the year could be the starting right tackle next season. Akin Ayodele to fortify a position hurt by injury were all good pickups.

I think his ability to secure talent at times of the year when talent is sparse speaks to his expertise. Buffalo is in good hands on that end of the roster building business.
5 – Hi chris,
How important is it to upgrade at right tackle this offseason?  Is it high on the priority list and do you see the bills bringing in a GOOD veteran or a higher draft pick rookie?  I was wondering your thoughts on the tackles in the draft and if any of them like Nate Solder would fit into a right tackle role for us, or if we even have a shot at him? 
Thanks – Showtime.

CB: I don’t see right tackle as high on the priority list. It’s fourth behind DL, LB and QB as I see it. The reason why is because of the aforementioned Erik Pears. He was a two-year starter for Denver before he fell out of favor there and bounced around since then. Is he a long term solution? That’s up to the coaches, but he’s at least a proven player at that position in the league and can hold the fort until they cultivate more talent.

I’m not saying they won’t draft a tackle. In fact I hope at some point they do just for capable depth, but with the needs so great on defense I don’t think it’s a lock to happen.

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