Inside The Bills

Fan Friday 4-20

Posted by Chris Brown on April 20, 2012 – 12:32 pm

Well fans next week at this time we’ll be tuning up for day of the 2012 NFL draft. Should be interesting as always. Don’t forget my seventh annual mock draft will be up on on Wednesday morning this coming week, not that I know any more than the next prognosticator. In any event on to your questions.

1 – Chris,

I assume that with Demetrius Bell gone, the Bills will use pick #10 for an offensive left tackle.  Despite the best efforts of Chris Kelsay, I thought that our outside linebacking last season was very poor.  Do you see the Bills selecting a linebacker in the second round and, if so, who might that be?

Paul B.

I’m having trouble convincing myself that any of the top offensive tackles beyond Matt Kalil will be considered worthy (value-wise) of the 10th pick. I don’t debate the Bills need to add a starting-caliber left tackle to the roster, but Buddy Nix doesn’t stray from his board. If they don’t believe the value is right for a Cordy Glenn or Jonathan Martin at 10 they’re not going to take him.

That being said I think a real option for them at 10 is Boston College LB Luke Kuechly. There is a noticeable drop off after him. Now the history of linebackers drafted in the top 15 has not been kind in recent years, with Jerod Mayo the only true success story. But this guy looks like a pretty safe pick and is capable of playing all three linebacker positions in Buffalo’s defense according to Nix.

Offensive tackles you might be able to get in the second round include Ole Miss’ Bobby Massie and Iowa State’s Kelechi Osemele. Linebackers in the second round Nebraska’s Lavonte David, Utah State’s Bobby Wagner and maybe Boise State’s Shea McClellin though he might sneak into the first.


2 – Hi Chris,

Obviously, as a Bills fan I am ecstatic about the acquisition of Mario Williams. He is a huge piece to the puzzle that is our defense. Also, with Williams coming to the defense, that allows Buffalo to go a lot of different directions with their first pick in this year’s draft. And I know that everyone will have their opinion about what they should do. My question is: I know the philosophy is a “best player available” approach, but what do you think the possibility is that they would maybe trade back and maybe pick up an extra pick or 2 and to not “reach” for a player they are interested in? 

Thanks for all of your coverage of the Bills. It’s a lifesaver for those not in the WNY area.

Chris from Orlando


CB: I asked Buddy whether they would pursue the option of trading down or let teams come to them. He told me there has been dialogue with other teams, but did not divulge whether the Bills were the ones doing the calling. If Miami passes on Ryan Tannehill at 8, then Buffalo’s pick becomes a lot more attractive to teams with a quarterback need that are further down in the round. At this point I’d be surprised if they didn’t take Tannehill, knowing his former head coach at A&M is the offensive coordinator for the Dolphins now (Mike Sherman) and will be running the same offense.

But the way Buddy put it to me is they’ll consider it. Just keep in mind, Buddy by nature doesn’t like to move up and down the board. He likes to sit where he’s at and make his picks. Talking to him this week he feels pretty confident they’re going to get a very good player at 10.


3 – Hi Chris,
I congratulate the Bills for their aggressiveness in obtaining two very good football players on defense. My concern is the fact that they have ignored their need for a good number 2 receiver opposite Stevie Johnson. Buddy Nix said after they had acquired Mario Williams, that they had good receivers. Is it possible that they are waiting for the draft? Looking at the upcoming draft, and the WR draft candidates, it appears that maybe Brian Quick from Appalachian St, and Rueben Randle from LSU would fit the Bills needs ( I do not see the Bills getting Justin Blackmon). In addition, even though Ryan Fitzpatrick is the unquestioned starter, would it be fair to say that the Bills should draft a quarterback? G.J. Kinne from Tulsa looks like he could be a Ryan Fitzpatrick clone. What are your thoughts?

Tony, Daytona Beach, Fl

CB: I think a WR will be drafted somewhere in the first three rounds. Randle and Quick are both players I believe the Bills see as fits in their offense along with a host of other prospects. Buddy said at the draft luncheon that he’d like to draft a QB every year if there weren’t other more pressing needs. I think there’s a realistic chance they take one, but if it’s before round 3 I’d be very surprised. Believe round 4 is where it’ll happen. Just a guess.


4 – Hey Chris – Are the Bills really going after an Offensive Line player in the 2012 draft?

It seems like a wasted pick, especially in a top 10 situation.  What teams go to the superbowl drafting Offensive Lineman in the first round.?

Take for instance Miami who drafted Jake Long #1 overall.  Sure Jake is a great player, but in 2012 Miami was 3rd in the league in sacks allowed in Jakes 3rd year.  Miami could have drafted Matt Ryan in at least been a playoff contender.  I think lineman on the offensive side can be picked up late in 1st round or 2nd and 3rd… not a top 10 pick.  Come on man. 

With so much talent out there at WR , DE, CB  .. I just dont think that’s a smart choice for Buffalo at #10, when they need more Big time play makers. 

What do you think Buffalo should do at #10  .  are they really serious about OL ?

– Scott


CB: The need at left tackle would appear to indicate the urgency to take one at 10. I’m okay with them taking a tackle like Jonathan Martin or Cordy Glenn there, but I’m not convinced they have them graded that high. So I don’t think it’s a lock by any means that they take a tackle at 10.

I think the other positions in play at 10 for Buffalo will be CB, LB and possibly WR, though I’m not convinced they have Floyd graded as top 10 worthy either.

One wild card I’d like to offer as well is S Mark Barron. I think if he’s on the board he’s a realistic consideration for Buffalo at 10. He’s not at a need position, but he’s considered one of the best safeties to come along in a while. If the Bills hold true to their best on the board philosophy I think he’s in play at 10.


5 – Hi Chris,
Big Bills Fan here from NJ,,,,I’m thinking Bills are looking to take a LT at #10,,I like Mike Adams out of Ohio St,,,He’s a big kid at 6’7 325 could a new addition to our o-line,,,I’m also thinking of the Bills moving Andy over at LT ..and maybe draft David Decastro OG from Stanford,,,,Myself . I’m thinking Upshaw from Bama ,we also need LB esp, OLB,,,,what do you think ,,,Thanks

CB: I don’t see Adams, DeCastro or Upshaw as options at 10 for Buffalo. Adams and Upshaw are not fitting of the value at 10. In fact at best both will be last first round picks. Adams could even slip into round 2 despite prototype measurables. There are no plans to put Levitre at LT full time.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 4-6

Posted by Chris Brown on April 6, 2012 – 11:32 am

The NFL draft is approaching fast. Here’s the latest edition of your questions from

1 – Hey Chris,

Do you see Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech being a reach at 10?  6’4″ Wide Receivers that run 4.3’s are a rare commodity and I can’t help but think that Gailey’s ties to Georgia Tech could play a huge factor.  I know the Mock Drafts have us going DE but all of the top tiered ones should be gone by the time we hit the clock.  Hill seems like a possible Megatron Junior that when lined opposite Stevie could give us a WR tandem not to be wreckoned with!  What are your thoughts? 

Eric from Rochester, NY
CB: From a physical measurables standpoint, you’re right, there aren’t many 6’4” receivers that run a 4.3. The problem with Hill is he never had much of an opportunity to put his receiving skills on display in Georgia Tech’s triple option offense.

He ran mostly deep go routes and slant and go’s and so projecting exactly how polished and versatile a receiver he can be proves more difficult for NFL personnel people.

I think in most scouting circles he’s a first-round pick, but top 10 is a stretch because you can’t be as sure about him due to the lack of exposure to his full potential as a route runner. So I would be surprised if at 10 the Bills make him their top pick.

Now if Buffalo moved back into the late teens or early 20’s the value is better knowing the risk. For every Willie Gault there’s also a Matt Jones.


2 – Hey there Chris,

Thanks for everything you do for the Bills. You do a great job of keeping the fans informed. I have some questions regarding the draft and free agency and how those will affect one another. 

From what I gather from you and the interviews with Nix and Gailey, the Bills are not going to draft a DE or LB with the 10th pick. When there are so many questions about their NFL potential and there is so much quality later in the draft, it makes since to go in another direction.

What position do you think they will likely address with the 10th pick?

Also, I’m from Virginia and I love the possibility of drafting Cam Johnson or Chase Minnifield. Think there’s a chance they end up as a Bill?


CB: I think the Bills are in a very interesting position at 10. I tend to agree with ESPN’s Todd McShay, who believes the caliber of player between 10 and 20 is marginal. That can make for a wide range of options at the top of that range at 10.

Some draft experts claim that certain players if taken at 10 would be a reach because if a draft “guru” thinks they’ll still be on the board at 20 the team didn’t get good value. What we all need to remember is each club has all of these prospects graded differently, and every personnel executive in the league could care less what the draft analysts think.

The Bills have always claimed to be a proponent of taking the best player on their board, unless there are two players whose draft grades are so close that they feel they can lean toward positional need. Only the Bills know who is the best value to take at 10.

I think it’s safe to say that OT and WR are their top positional needs, but I wouldn’t lock the Bills in to those two positions in the first two rounds. It just doesn’t work that way.

As for Cam Johnson and Chase Minnifield, both are considered a bit stiff in the hips at their respective positions. Both are seen as mid-round picks, with Minnifield’s speed having some clubs projecting him to safety. Johnson doesn’t have the athleticism to transition to an OLB spot so he’s strictly a DE. Though he has great burst off the line, his long chase speed is not elite (4.81 40 time). Both should be off the board no later than early day 3 (4th round).


3 – CB,

Thanks for keeping us all up to speed. Always love your reports. I have a question about Merriman. When asked about him the coaches seem to just say ‘we have to get him healthy and see what he can do’.

From your talks with the coaches or with Merriman, do you think the coaches are even considering him as a possible SAM or is he strictly a DE in a 4-3?


CB: Shawne sounds like he’s going to be strictly a DE in Dave Wannstedt’s 4-3. I don’t know this, but this is what I expect. Knowing that Merriman is still rehabbing from Achilles surgery, the coaching staff is not counting on him yet. As such I almost expect his role to be that of a pass rush specialist first. Provided he comes along and can handle an increased workload then I believe they take advantage of his abilities as a run stopper, which are very underrated. But knowing it’s a wait and see I think the coaching staff takes advantage of what he does best (rush the passer) and then put more on his plate as the season wears on if his body responds favorably.


4 – Chris,

What are the chances that the Bills will draft a quarterback (a fairly decent one maybe in the third round)? Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick is the franchise quarterback, but if he goes down with an injury during the season, the Bills would be in trouble. Tyler Thigpen is NOT the answer, and Brad Smith doubles as a receiver. Also, the Bills need another receiver to complement Stevie Johnson. As always, I look forward to your response.

Tony, Daytona Beach, Fl
CB: Buddy has gone on record as saying if the right one is there when they’re on the clock they’ll draft a quarterback. That being said I wouldn’t expect one any earlier than round 3 unless some signal caller they had a high grade on slips to round 2, which is unlikely knowing how inflated quarterback value gets on draft day.

I believe the Bills will make wide receiver a focus in the draft and knowing they want a prospect capable of getting on the field early they are likely to address the position sooner rather than later. Again the value has to be right when Buffalo is on the clock.


5 – Dear Chris,

I am very excited about the signing of Mario Williams. This is a huge boost for the defense, which already has studs like Kyle Williams, Marcel Dareus, and even Shawn Merriman. With those players already in the mix, and Williams now in the mix, I am still thinking defense for the draft.

A lot of talk I’ve heard and seen online are that the Bills will focus on an offensive tackle or a stud wide receiver if he is available at ten. However linebacker still concerns me. I really like Courtney Upshaw. I love his, style of play, and that he was a teammate of Marcel Dareus. Do you see the Bills taking him at ten if he is available, or concentrating on other needs? 

Thanks for your time. Take Care and God Bless.
Brian (From Hamburg)
CB: I don’t see Upshaw as an option at 10 because first and foremost I don’t think he’s fluid enough to play linebacker in a 3-4 or a 4-3. He’s what scouts call stiff in the hips in my opinion, so his lateral agility and ability to drop in coverage are substandard for the position at the NFL level. I don’t believe he can be an OLB. So that reduces him to being strictly a DE as I see it. Knowing Buffalo has capably filled that positional need with Williams and Mark Anderson I don’t see him as a viable option at 10 for the Bills.

Furthermore I don’t think he fits the value of being a top 10 pick. Nice player, and probably a first-round pick, but I don’t think he’s top 10 material. What the Bills think of him is anyone’s guess.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Nix on DE and CB depth in draft

Posted by Chris Brown on March 2, 2012 – 2:57 pm

Bills GM Buddy Nix believes there’s depth at the defensive end position in the draft, he’s just not so sure it’s there at the top of the board.

Appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Nix addressed the depth of both the defensive end and cornerback positions in this year’s draft pool.

“I think corners are really deep in this draft,” said Nix. “I think there will be some worthy of the 10th pick and some in the mid-rounds. Defensive end for us you question, you get a little nervous with the 10th pick, but in the mid-rounds it’s as deep as I’ve seen it. So from the second round on there will be some guys that can come in and help you quick.”

When asked what made him nervous with defensive end possibilities at 10, Nix offered the following.

“There’s just some things that you overanalyze probably and worry about like height and arm length and the bottom line is you’ve got to make yourself come back to production and if he’s always done it there’s a good chance he’ll do it again,” said Nix.

South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram and Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw have been frequent mentions in that range of the draft by some so called experts, but both are on the shorter side with both around 6’1″. Nix did mention that he felt Ingram and Memphis’ Dontari Poe had two of the better workouts at the Combine last week.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 3-2

Posted by Chris Brown on March 2, 2012 – 12:10 pm

First, a thank you to Bills fans for making the Inside the Bills blog the number one blog in the NFL! Your passion for the Bills is what has made it the top blog in the league for the past two months. Thanks for your readership! Now to your questions from

1 – Dear Chris,

What do you think of Syracuse DE Chandler Jones?  I know that he did great while he was at ‘Cuse, but do you think that he is NFL material? And if so what round do you think he will go in?  And what team if any will take him in the draft?  Or do you think that he will be like Mark Herzlich last year and get signed by a team after the draft?


Thanks for all that you do and keep it up

Chris L, Worcester MA
CB: I’m a fan of Chandler Jones. He’s not a speed rusher that’s going to bend the corner and flat out beat offensive tackles for sacks. He projects as a left defensive end because although he has good initial explosion as evidenced by his 10-foot broad jump and 35-inch vertical at the NFL Combine, he doesn’t have the foot speed to be a true 4-3 RDE. He clocked a 4.87 in the 40, an indication of his lacking long chase speed. He made his plays at Syracuse with anticipation and hustle not pure speed. With prototype size (6’5” 266) and good bloodlines (his brother Arthur plays for the Ravens) he’s likely to be a second or third round pick.


2 – Chris,

Assuming we draft Courtney Upshaw.  Do you think we should draft a defensive end in the second round or try to acquire one through free agency?  Our current ends seem average at best.  They have shown brief glimpses of talent but are not getting the job done in the 4-3.  Merriman was ineffective last season (When he played) and I would assume he won’t make the squad next year.  Kelsay had 1 great game in his career.  Edwards did an OK job but is not a big play maker.  Carrington will probably move to tackle.  The rest seem like perpetual backups.  Any thoughts?


CB: My first thought is I’m not so sure the Bills go pass rush in round one. I’m getting the strong sense that they don’t see an elite level talent at the 4-3 end position to invest the 10th overall pick. Buddy Nix told me specifically that he believes the value at the DE position is in the middle rounds, not at the top of the draft. So I do think we could see an end of two acquired between rounds 2 and 4. I think there’s also a chance that they grab one in free agency. Not a Mario Williams per se, but a more affordable option that won’t prompt a bidding war.

I wouldn’t count out Shawne Merriman. He finally had surgery late last season to correct the problem that had plagued him for three years. The hope is that the procedure will finally enable him to stay on the field and play like the Merriman of old.


3 – Hey Chris,

Great job keeping us informed. What do you think is the greatest need other than pass rusher, and I think we need two. A pair like the Colts have in Freeney and Mathis. Is there any up and coming combo to be out there? Offense would be another speedster, but what about or secondary?

Again Thanks for your time


CB: I think there’s a good chance the Bills add a pass rusher in both free agency and the draft. I don’t anticipate either to be a giant name that most football fans are familiar with. Someone like Jacksonville’s Jeremy Mincey for example, though the Jags are working to re-sign him. In the draft someone between the second and fourth round.
As for the secondary I think they’re in good shape at safety, but Buddy Nix talks about drafting a corner every year. This year is a deep year for cornerbacks so I would anticipate one perhaps being taken in the middle rounds knowing some of their starters Terrence McGee and Drayton Florence are over 30.



4 – Hey Chris,

Thanks for all you do. I have a couple quick questions. I see a lot of similarities in the way Fred Jackson and Matt Forte run and how they are featured in their offenses. With that being said I would like to know your opinion on if you agree and who you think is better? Also with Fred’s contract soon to expire next year and the word is the Bills will re-sign him before the next season starts do you think Jackson and Forte will have similar contracts because of how alike their style of play is?  Also what do you think Fred Jackson’s contract length should be and the amount of it? Thanks again.

Mike from Long Island
CB: I think Forte and Jackson are similar in terms of versatility. I believe Jackson is a bit tougher runner and is more adept at making something out of nothing. It’s very rare when the first defender takes down Jackson. The same cannot be said for Forte. Forte probably has a bit more foot speed.

Personally I think Fred is the better all-around player. Unfortunately I don’t think their new contracts will be the same and it’s primarily going to be due to age. Forte is just 25-years old, while Jackson is 31. League statistics are not kind to running backs over 30, and because of that fact, whether they apply to Jackson or not, I don’t anticipate a big money contract extension for Jackson.

The Bears know Forte has a window of production of at least five years. For the Bills it’s harder to predict Jackson’s future production because of his age, though he showed no signs of slowing down until he was injured last season. The cruel fact is that Jackson’s age will likely be deemed a risk and thus the investment in him is unlikely to be as significant as that of Forte. Right or wrong that’s unfortunately the way the business side of the NFL works.


5 – Chris,
Last year sure seemed to be impacted by injuries…and when you think of the number of key guys who were sidelined it makes you wonder….is it a question of poor conditioning, or were they playing at the edge of their physical capabilities, or was it because of  poor technique…or is it just a case of bad luck….and all of the above…

Any insight regarding how the coaches feel about this…were the Bill’s more injury prone than other NFL teams? Is there talk of doing anything differently to minimize injuries…. thanks 

Bernie Dennis
Sudbury MA

CB: When Buddy Nix was hired as GM one of the areas he said he wanted to investigate more were the injury problems that have plagued the Bills for the better part of the last five seasons. At his season wrap up press conference this year I followed up on his plans to try and find an answer to that troubling problem. So I will let Buddy answer your question. Here was his response to me.

“We researched everything we know to research and there’s no answer,” said Nix. “We had four guys with ACLs this past year that didn’t get touched, didn’t get hit. Another guy jumping over a pile tears his patellar tendon, Terrence McGee. Fred rolls up on Donald Jones when he’s blocking and he’s out for the year. Everybody has injuries. We all do. The thing you have to stay away from and I said this in the summer – If we could stay away from injuries I thought we could win 10 games. I didn’t tell anybody else except my wife.

“If we could not lose guys for the year, in other words if you lose them and then get them back. Philadelphia. Cincinnati. Some of those teams… New York Giants. Ahmad Bradshaw, the running back goes down but they got him back. The ones we lost we didn’t get back. Those guys were out for the year. You can take a dip in the middle of the year and get those guys back and come on strong toward the end. But that wasn’t the case with us. That’s not an excuse. That can happen anytime.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Upshaw decides not to run

Posted by Chris Brown on February 27, 2012 – 2:10 pm

Alabama pass rusher Courtney Upshaw never said he would run when he spoke with the media on Saturday at the NFL Combine. Now here on workout day for the defensive linemen and linebackers he has chosen not to run in the 40.

“I’m eager to go do the linebacker drills and showcase those drills and execute those drills,” he said. “I’m a competitor and
I’m ready to compete.”

But Upshaw chose to stay in his sweats and will obviously run the 40 at his pro day in Tuscaloosa on March 7th. It’s expected that Upshaw will do the linebacker position drills as he tries to display the versatility to play OLB in a 3-4 in addition to being a DE in a 4-3.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kiper keeps pick same for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on February 16, 2012 – 12:56 pm

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has released his update mock draft (Kiper 2.0), but he kept his pick for the Bills at 10th overall the same.

At 10 he’s still got Buffalo taking Alabama pass rusher Courtney Upshaw. Here’s what he wrote.

10. Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama – This is another pick that I’m staying with for now. The pass rush still needs a lot of help, and Upshaw is currently the best 3-4 outside linebacker in the draft. Even as Buffalo looks to shift that defense to a 4-3 (see Denver’s draft strategy at No. 2 last year) Upshaw can still easily fit. Don’t pass talent because of small scheme questions. He should be able to apply a lot of pressure to opposing quarterbacks from the edge for whoever gets him for 2012. Remember, nobody on the Bills managed more than 5.5 sacks in 2011, and as a team, they simply haven’t been able to get pressure unless they bring numbers. This is an energetic talent, an edge linebacker in the mold of a more athletic LaMarr Woodley, a guy who has been well-coached and can start early.

Most teams have been grading Upshaw as an outside linebacker because that’s where he played at Alabama in their 3-4 scheme, but he certainly has the build to handle the point of attack as a defensive end and appears to have enough natural pass rush ability to be a fit as a 4-3 end.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Ingram to leapfrog Upshaw?

Posted by Chris Brown on February 10, 2012 – 2:05 pm

South Carolina DL/OLB Melvin Ingram is getting more buzz a couple of weeks out from the NFL Combine. It’s because there are rumblings that his 40 time is going to push him up draft boards even further.

Already considered a lock to be a mid-first round pick, Ingram could leapfrog the likes of Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw when it comes to the top pass rushers as he has every bit the power to his game as Upshaw and might offer more speed and athleticism. According to DraftInsiders those close to Ingram and the South Carolina program are expecting Ingram to run in the 4.6s.

That would be pretty impressive for a 6’2″ 276-pounder. If he pulls it off and has a solid workout otherwise some believe he could vault himself into the top 10. Buffalo picks 10th overall.

We’ll have full coverage of the NFL Combine from Indy on later this month.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-10

Posted by Chris Brown on February 10, 2012 – 1:48 pm

Let’s get to another week of your questions from Keep them coming!

1 – Hi Chris,

Thanks, as always, for your helpful, informative coverage of our team.  Setting injuries aside, it appears to me that the Bills have a potentially powerful offense. But no matter how good an offense is, it will not overcome a weak defense—note the Packers.  Consequently, although I’d love to see the team improve at left tackle, I think it would make the most sense to focus the draft (and free agency) on acquiring a real pass rusher, help at linebacker, and perhaps a defensive back, with a good wide receiver as another priority.  My belief is that if you dramatically improve the defense, given the potential excellence of Williams, Dareus and Kelsay, the team has an opportunity to go to the playoffs.  I don’t suggest disregarding offensive tackles, but the priority, I think, should be on the defense.  I’d appreciate your thoughts.  Thanks.

Pat Courts
CB: I think the Bills front office has made it clear that improving the pass rush is the top priority this offseason. Where they choose to address it is the question. It could be free agency or the draft or both. The price for a proven pass rusher in free agency can get cost prohibitive pretty quick, but there might be a free agent or two that makes sense.

A guy I think would make a lot of sense is Dallas’ Anthony Spencer. Not a guy that’s going to cripple your cap like Mario Williams or possibly even Cliff Avril knowing there will be a line of teams knocking on his door. Spencer is coming off a down season, but has pass rush ability and would likely benefit with a move back to weakside DE in a 4-3 defense instead of OLB in a 3-4 (where he played in Dallas).

That’s where Spencer lined up in college at Purdue and would likely welcome an opportunity to play there again. Without production through the roof the past couple of years he might also be reasonably priced.

So I would anticipate that Buffalo will have that need thoroughly addressed by the time the draft is over and done with in late April.


2 – Hello Chris,

I listen to all of you radio appearances and appreciate all of your coverage on the website and just want to say thank you.

My question is: How you feel about Buffalo taking a guy like NO’s Robert Meachem or NYG’s Domenik Hixon in Free Agency? I see a relatively moderate price tag and a lot of upside. My rationale being that the Bill’s love small price tags that could return big dividends and there is also a proven track record that comes along with them. Other guys I like are INDY’s Pierre Garcon or Anthony Gonzalez who have a little size and hustle to them. INDY is rebuilding so I think we could get them relatively cheap. What are your thoughts? Do you think any of these could be a possibilty in the offseason?

Nick W,
Hammondsport, NY

CB: I think the biggest upside comes with Garcon and as such he’ll command the biggest price tag. Now Colts owner Jim Irsay has publicly stated that Garcon and Mathis are two of their free agents that they intend to re-sign. Knowing Reggie Wayne is probably out the door at 33-years old, Garcon could be enticed by that knowing he’d be the top target in Indy. Of course he also might be playing with a very talented, but nevertheless rookie QB. Does he want to go through a growing pain year?

Garcon can run and is freakishly strong on the ball, fitting Buddy Nix’s description of needing a guy that’s open even when he’s not open. Best of all he’ll turn 26 just before the 2012 season. So I’d put him at the top of your list. What I like best about him is he had 70 catches last season without Manning.

Meacham offers the most speed. He runs a 4.4 flat and has 20 touchdowns over the past three seasons. That’s a pretty good number knowing Drew Brees spreads the ball around. He’s got the size the Bills are looking for at 6’2” 217. It’s just hard to definitively say he could take a leap in production as the team’s number 2 in Buffalo. That being said I think he’s a worthwhile risk and would welcome the chance to be a weekly number two instead of fighting to be the number three in New Orleans.

Domenik Hixon is a guy I’m not a big fan of. Only runs a 4.7 and is coming off a major knee injury. He might be even slower now and isn’t a physical guy on the outside. Anthony Gonzalez is another smaller guy. Super smart, but can’t stay healthy.


3 – Chris,

Last year most of the draft gurus were predicting that the Bills would draft the top rated outside linebacker, Von Miller. This year its OLB Courtney Upshaw. How does Upshaw compare to Von Miller?


CB: Upshaw’s game is totally different than Miller’s. Miller is a pure pass rusher whose game is based on speed and quickness. Upshaw’s game is all power and strength. He’s not slow, but he’s not going to blow past guys off the ball. He’s going to drive them back into the QB or knock them on their wallet. Miller is probably more athletic, but Upshaw is a better all-around player in terms of playing the run and the pass.

Some teams even think he could be an OLB in a 3-4. I think that might be possible on the strong side, but I think he can handle DE in a 4-3 even though he’s only 6’1” and change. He’s just so thickly built I think he could hold up at the line.


4 – Hi Chris,

Really enjoy your coverage of the team. My question is: how much better do you think Fitzpatrick can be if he had more time in the pocket? The line played well this year, but I’m convinced the lack of sacks was more due to Fitz’s ability to get rid of the ball quickly. Is improving at LT a higher priority than another stud WR (assuming Stevie stays)?

Thanks and keep up the good work!
Ramsey, NJ

CB: Thanks for the kind words. With respect to protection for Fitz you’re right, Chan Gailey’s offense is largely a timing attack. Oftentimes Fitz would get rid of the ball in less than two seconds by design. I think Chan likes using Fitz’s ability to diagnose defenses quickly to their advantage and get the ball in the hands of the playmakers as quickly as possible.

Now I suppose if you added a true deep threat to the passing game in free agency this offseason the team might be more inclined to further solidify the left tackle spot to improve protection that much more to allow more time for those deep routes to develop.

I asked Buddy Nix about whether he feels he has a defined answer at left tackle knowing Bell and Hairston flip-flopped all year due to injury. This was his initial answer, and his answer to my follow up question. 

“Demetrius Bell has got all the tools. He’s got the good feet. He’s a good athlete. He’s what you look for at left tackle. The problem with Demetrius is injuries. He started the first four games for us and gets hurt. He missed eight and comes back and plays three and he ends up hurt again. He was rehabbing last year the whole year couldn’t practice all week. All those things enter into it.

“Chris Hairston I think can be a really good left tackle. He’s a rookie. It’s going to take him a little bit. He got some good experience this year. So we at least have a couple of possibilities at left tackle and those are the two. With his length and all that with Chris Hairston, he’s a smart guy and can be a left tackle and play over there and be serviceable for us. Demetrius it remains to be seen. We’re going to try to re-sign him. He’s up.”

Follow up question: Will those two options keep you from seeking a better option there?

“We’re going to draft a tackle if we can. If there’s one there is what I mean. If there’s one there that we think can play we’re going to draft a tackle. You can never have too many tackles. You can move a guy, now you can have exceptions to this, but it’s easier to move a guy from tackle to guard than guard to tackle obviously. So we draft tackles, we’re in pretty good shape at guard and center.”


5 – Chris,

First off great work covering our Buffalo Bills in the offseason. Every year you do a supreme job of getting information to Bills fans all over the nation and for that, thank you. My question is regarding the nature of our first two picks in the upcoming draft. I understand our primary need is to draft a player who can help our pass rush which I couldn’t agree with more. I agree with it so much that i was wondering what is the possibility of the Bills addressing their pass rush needs in both the first AND second round. I have been doing scouting of my own on defensive prospects and have seen Vinny Curry, DE from Marshall showing up on alot of up and coming lists. He is a fine physical specimen who has a whole college career of success (albeit in the FCS) and seems to have a tremendous upside. I think its safe to say if he was in the BCS he would be a first round pick. So Chris what do you think of Vinny and the possibility he last until the Bills second round pick.

Thanks So Much, GO BILLS!
Taylor – Gillespie, IL  

CB: Glad you enjoy our coverage of the team. Thanks for your readership and viewership. Vinny Curry had a good week at the Senior Bowl. He’s a high motor guy with good strength and power. I don’t see him as all that different from Courtney Upshaw in terms of skill set, he just isn’t quite as powerful as Upshaw.

The knock on him is he doesn’t have the elite speed to beat NFL tackles around the corner with regularity so some teams don’t see him as a true RDE. A lot of scouts are projecting him to left end because he’s strong enough to hold up over there and offers enough pass rush ability to be productive down the line.

Some do have concerns that his pass rush repertoire is limited, which is what drops him to a second-round prospect. But if he tests well at the Combine he could move into the top half of round 2 because you know what you’re going to get from him every snap.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Latest mock has new pass rusher

Posted by Chris Brown on February 6, 2012 – 11:05 am

The lion’s share of the mock drafts thus far have the Bills taking Alabama DL/OLB Courtney Upshaw, but what if he’s off the board already? That’s what the latest Rotoworld draft has unfolding leaving the Bills with an interesting choice to make at 10th overall.

Rotoworld’s Evan Silva has Upshaw going to the Dolphins at ninth overall, a very realistic pick for Miami. So who do the Bills go with one pick later? South Carolina do-it-all defender Melvin Ingram. Here’s their commentary on the mock pick.

10. Bills — South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram
The Bills are implementing a base 4-3 up front, but plan to be “multiple” on defense in an effort to keep offenses off balance. With versatility as his calling card, Ingram is what the doctor ordered. Ingram was productive as a 4-3 defensive tackle, 4-3 end, and 3-4 outside ‘backer in the SEC, wreaking havoc with power, explosiveness, and closing speed that jumps off the page. Buffalo finished 30th in the league in sacks in 2011, and Ingram has a knack for quarterback disruption.

Used mainly as a pass rusher by the Gamecocks, Ingram logged 17 1/2 sacks his last two collegiate seasons.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 2-3

Posted by Chris Brown on February 3, 2012 – 12:34 pm

Super Bowl XLVI is just a couple of days away, but Bills fans are focused on other things. Let’s get to your questions from

1 – Hey Chris,

Love your work.  I was just wondering if you had insights about a player like Luke Kuechly?  I have never seen a linebacker diagnose so many plays in such a big time conference.  I imagine that when we pick @ 10 this kid might slip to us.  I know Buddy mentioned a lot but what do you think?

CB: Thanks for the kind words. Kuechly is a heck of a linebacker no doubt about it and in terms of the overall player rankings he is largely considered a top 10-15 talent. Kelvin Sheppard is marked down as the starting MLB in Buffalo’s new 4-3 defense. I’d expect Nick Barnett to play on the open side (WLB) where his athleticism can be maximized. If the Bills believe Kuechly is capable of playing a strong side linebacker role in a 4-3 he could be a consideration. I’m not sure he is a consensus Top 10 talent in the eyes of NFL scouts however, due to his lack of elite athleticism.

There’s no denying Kuechly’s instincts and impressive productivity, but if his upside in the eyes of scouts is limited by his athleticism he might not be worthy of a top 10 pick for the teams that are picking in that area. We’ll see if we can get a gauge on what the Bills think of Kuechly’s upside in the coming weeks.


2 – Chris,

I read your Fan Friday blog today and with regards to your answer about the Bills seeking a proven play making receiver in FA instead of the draft I am curious if you believe that they will actually attempt to reel one in?

The Bills are not going to get into a bidding war and I completely understand why. The only 3 guys in free agency that fit the description given by Nix are Colston, Bowe, and Jackson. All others are NOT proven play makers and definitely do NOT match the open when covered analogy that Nix used.

I can see the team putting a big offer out to Bowe and Jackson and saying take it or leave it and whichever one signs the team takes or if they both say no thanks then looking to the draft to fill the need.

This brings me to my next point. Given the fact that the drop off between Blackmon and Floyd is not that great could you see the Bills drafting a receiver at 10 if a “big play making” receiver was there? I have no clue what the tape that coaches and scouts shows about the top pass rushers in this class but judging from my opinion from what I have researched there is not a clear pass rusher that belongs in the top 10, in fact I don’t see one that should be a top 15 pick. Thank you for taking the time.


CB: I think your free agent targets are on the money and I do believe if any of them make it to the free agent market March 13th (not sure any of them will) then the Bills will likely make their best offer and see if anyone is interested.

As for the pass rushers in the draft at the top of the board I think there’s a good chance that Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw would be there at 10 and I believe he’s worthy of that pick. There might be a couple of other considerations (Melvin Ingram), but the choices are admittedly limited.

That being said I’m not convinced Buffalo would take a receiver that high. Yes, Floyd is probably the second best WR in the class after Blackmon, but he does have somewhat of a diva label on him and has an injury history as well as a DUI charge from last March. There’s no denying he’s a playmaker, but those are a lot of issues for an NFL club to iron out and feel good about to make him a top 10 investment.

Chan Gailey always talks about adding players of high character to his team, and he’s a man of his word so I’m not sure Floyd is a fit.


3 – Chris,
Looking more into the injury situation and that the Bills led the league in I-R designations, has Buddy Nix looked into the A-Turf Titan playing surface that currently only the Bills have installed? It would seem that possibly a FieldTurf or Sportexe surface would be a better alternative as a lot of the teams that have been successful with less injuries such as New England, the Jets, or Baltimore have these surfaces installed. Up until last year Rogers Centre also had FieldTurf. Thanks for all the updates you provide Bills fans around the country.

Larry in Tucson AZ

CB: I don’t believe the turf is the culprit here. Terrence McGee, Donald Jones and Fred Jackson all went down in the span of a quarter and a half in Miami on grass. All three were lost for the season. Eric Wood tore an ACL on Field Turf in Dallas without any contact. So I don’t think you can make that connection. It’s the brutality of the game that led to most of Buffalo’s injuries in my opinion.


4 – Chris,

Since Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey arrived in Buffalo, they have been steering toward a 3-4 defense. Yes they play quite a bit of a 4-3 defense, but their draft picks have been geared toward the 3-4 defense. After two years of drafting players like: Torrell Troup, Kelvin Sheppard, Alex Carrington, Marcell Dareus and acquiring players like Shawne Merriman and Nick Barnett all for playing the 3-4 defense. If Dave Wannstedt goes back to the 4-3 defense, is that NOT going to set us back a few more years, until we start drafting and acquiring more 4-3 personnel??? And where does that put these players that I have mentioned??? 

Devoted Bills FAN
Norwalk, CT

CB: Don, your question is very valid, but Buddy Nix already addressed this issue so I’ll let his comment handle your question.

“The guys we drafted this past year, Marcell Dareus can play in any defense,” said Nix. “Aaron Williams, he’s going to play no matter what you do. Kelvin Sheppard can play in either defense. Da’Norris Searcy he’s going to play in either. All of our defensive draft picks this past year would fit either defense. As an outside backer you want a guy 6’4” or 6’5” 255 or 260. In a 4-3 those guys are defensive ends. If he’s that size and he can rush the passer he can play in either one.”

Those are the exact measurables for Shawne Merriman so I would anticipate that he too would fit as a defensive end, and let me remind you that Merriman is very, very underrated as a run defender. Torell Troup played in a 4-3 at Central Florida and knows the scheme well. Carrington played in a 4-3 at Arkansas State at end. Nix and his personnel department knowing how much hybrid defense is played week to week in this league made a point of getting scheme versatile players. And because of that the defensive front should not suffer a setback. 


5 – Hi Chris,

 I enjoy your coverage of the team very much. My question for you is do the Bills still have a draft pick left this year from the Lynch trade and what did they get for Lee Evans? Also it seems like they should be in line for a compensatory pick of some kind this year for Poz. Ok, thanks again for all the info!!

Mike G.
Nunda, NY

CB: Thanks for the compliment. The Bills got a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft for Lee Evans from Baltimore. As for the Lynch trade it was a conditional sixth-round pick that could become a fifth-round pick. From what I understand the chances are good that it will be a fifth-round pick, but because it is a conditional agreement, those conditions agreed upon by the two clubs must be confirmed by the league as being satisfied. That has yet to happen.

With respect to a compensatory pick for the loss of Paul Posluszny that should happen. I would anticipate a fifth or sixth-round pick knowing the size of Poz’s contract has a lot to do with the unknown compensatory formula that the league employs. Buffalo did not have a free agent signee that came remotely close to Poz’s $45M deal with Jacksonville so I’d expect Buffalo to get one for losing him.

So breaking it all down the Bills will have nine picks and should get a 10th as a compensatory (round to be determined). Here are the rounds of the picks we know they have assuming the pick from the Lynch trade is a fifth, though the league has not confirmed it. (1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7).

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Posted in Inside the Bills

McShay goes pass rusher for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on February 3, 2012 – 11:57 am

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has put out his latest mock and his pick for the Bills is similar to that of a lot of other draftniks.

McShay has Buffalo taking Alabama DL/OLB Courtney Upshaw. In Buffalo’s new 4-3 defense he’d likely be an end.

What’s interesting are some of the prospects McShay has going ahead of Upshaw at 10. He’s got Iowa OT Riley Reiff going third to Minnesota and doesn’t have Oklahoma St. WR Justin Blackmon coming off the board until the sixth spot (Washington). He’s also got South Carolina’s DE/OLB Melvin Ingram, who I like just as much as Upshaw, going ninth to Miami.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

2 more votes for Upshaw

Posted by Chris Brown on February 1, 2012 – 10:01 am

As the mock drafts continue to pile up the case continues to build for Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw to join his former college teammate in Buffalo.

A year after Marcell Dareus went third overall to the Bills, most draftniks are picking Upshaw for the Buffalo to address their woeful pass rush. A pair of draft analysts at (Rob Rang, Dane Brugler) both chose Upshaw for the Bills with the 10th overall pick in their latest mock drafts.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Another pass rush mock pick

Posted by Chris Brown on February 1, 2012 – 9:54 am

One of the more recent mock drafts has Buffalo landing a pass rusher with a measure of versatility. has the Bills taking Courtney Upshaw with the 10th overall pick. The Alabama product is becoming a pretty popular choice among draftniks for Buffalo with ESPN’s Mel Kiper also pointing him toward the Bills.

Upshaw played a weakside defensive end at Alabama and basically was told to rush the passer. He played defensive end in a three-point stance at the Senior Bowl last week. At just 6’1″ 273 pounds, some teams might be reluctant to line him up at end. Upshaw did say he wants to be down to 265 by the time the NFL Combine rolls around in late February presumably in an effort to show he’s capable of handling an OLB role in a 3-4 at the NFL level.

What impresses me most about Upshaw’s game is his pure power. The guy is thickly built and just pops people out of the way. That won’t happen as often at the NFL level, but with a limited supply of pass rushing talent, at 10 Upshaw could very well be the most NFL ready talent on the board. And what is clear is Buffalo needs pass rush improvements that can play effectively and have an impact right away.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 1-27

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2012 – 11:33 am

Another set of questions from to answer as the draft and free agency become more and more the focus with each passing week. Let’s get started.

1 – Hey Chris,
I have heard several rumors that Dwayne Bowe would like to be reunited with Chan Gailey.  Any thoughts on Buffalo being so far under the cap trying to sign Bowe and/ or Stevie or even going defense and making a run a pass rusher that we desperately need like Mario Williams

D. Fischer
Rochester, NY

CB: Just rumor at this point. It’s only natural to see Bowe or San Diego’s Vincent Jackson linked to the Bills as potential free agent targets. NFL personnel men just like anyone else in any other line of work prefer to go with what they know, and Chan Gailey knows Bowe from being his offensive coordinator in Kansas City. Similarly Buddy Nix knows Vincent Jackson from his time in San Diego’s front office.

All that being said both of those players fit the description that Nix gave at his season wrap-up press conference. Both are the kind of receivers that are “open even when they’re not open.” They’re both big wideouts and their timed speed is almost identical (Jackson-4.51 to Bowe-4.52), which ironically is right where Eric Moulds timed out during his career.

Would I be shocked if Buffalo made a play on one of them in free agency? No.

I would be shocked however, if both of them made it to free agency. The absence of both players in their respective offenses would be crippling to their quarterbacks. As much as GMs A.J. Smith and Scott Pioli may not want to get into the stratosphere with respect to a long term contract for their top receiver, the way the league is headed they’ll need to bite the bullet.

It’s a passing league, and if your offense lacks a go-to guy you’re sunk.

As for Mario Williams, he’ll probably be available after the production that Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed provided Houston in the absence of Williams after his season-ending pectoral muscle tear. The two combined for 17.5 sacks.

Williams injury history the past two seasons is a bit of a concern so investing heavily could give some teams pause, but it’s not likely. It’s hard to argue with his ability and with the likelihood of the Bills moving to a 4-3, I think he’s a better fit for that system than Houston’s 3-4. I just see a bidding war for Williams and that’s something the Bills typically aren’t a part of.

I think the Bills may add a free agent veteran pass rusher, but I don’t see it being Williams. The highest ticket pass rusher I could see the Bills possibly, and I stress possibly, pursuing is someone more like Cliff Avril if he somehow makes it to the market. In the end, I think the Bills address their pass rush in the draft, and early.  


2 – Hey Chris,

This new GM for the Raiders, Reggie McKenzie, I only know one “football” Reggie McKenzie—the Bills O-lineman from the 1970’s.  Is this the same guy??? 

Matthew S. Kerr
Dayton, OH
CB: No, it’s not former Buffalo offensive lineman Reggie McKenzie. He was a former 10th round pick out of Tennessee by the Raiders and played for seven seasons in the NFL as a linebacker. He played for the Raiders (85-88), Cardinals (89-90) and 49ers (92).


3 – Chris,
You have had two years now to watch Buddy Nix and his approach to the draft.  While it is always a fluid process during the actual draft because you never know who the teams ahead of you are going to select, do you have a sense that the 1st round selection this year will be a “pass rusher” as opposed to say an offensive tackle or wide receiver?

And do you see Buddy’s first “pass rusher” pick to be a defensive end vs an outsider linebacker?

Bills’ fans all seem to have their favorite pick whether it is Nick Perry, Whitney Mercilus, Melvin Ingram, etc.  Do you have a player you like as a defensive end “pass rusher” for the Bills?

Thanks for all you do Chris.  Hope you are enjoying the ‘off-season’.
Tim N.

CB:  If the right pass rusher is there at 10 the Bills will draft a pass rusher, provided they do not land a high ticket one in free agency beforehand. If the pass rusher is taken 10th overall it will be one that can play defensive end in a 4-3 in my opinion.

I prefer Courtney Upshaw at 10 myself. I do like Ingram, but I’m not certain he can be a 4-3 defensive end and that uncertainty, if the Bills brass shares it, doesn’t make him a proper value at 10. Mercilus is a one-year wonder so there’s a boom or bust risk there that I don’t see the Bills taking at 10. Perry is a 4-3 defensive end, but I think he has to have a really good workout at the NFL Combine to have a chance to move past Upshaw on the board.

Coples is clearly the best of the bunch in terms of pure talent, but he’ll go no later than 7.


4 – Hi Chris,

With Wannstedt now running the defense, I wanted to ask about the front seven situation. Assuming the Bills decide to predominantly go with a 4-man front, as most people think they’ll do, I was wondering about what that would mean for our linebacking corps. Do you think we’d have to add a couple of typical 4-3 linebackers to adjust to that system (namely on the strong and weak side)? Do you think we have enough linebackers presently on the roster that could easily fit those new roles? Or would they prefer to go with just 2 linebackers and play nickel most of the time? 

Thanks Chris,

CB: I’m anticipating that they’ll add a 4-3 SLB in free agency to start on that side. I think it’s hard to say what Wannstedt’s preferences would be with respect to guys like Sheppard and Barnett in terms of who mans the MLB spot. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Barnett, because of his athleticism and cover ability, is the best fit for the weak side LB position, which should put Sheppard in the middle. Moats, Batten and Chris White will battle for reserve roles in all likelihood. Shep and Barnett would also be the nickel backers as I see it, unless Bryan Scott is re-signed to serve in one of those roles as he did last season.


5- Chris:

With your background and knowledge as a former Bills Beat Reporter for radio and now working as Lead Journalist for Buffalobills.Com, what can you tell the fans to help us stay optimistic that the 2012-2013 Bills will actually challenge for a playoff spot next year?  What is the organization (top to bottom) doing differently from past Bills Administrations that indicate the team is actually going in the right direction, because with each passing year of losing records and missed playoffs it becomes more and more difficult to accept what we are told by Bills Management. 

Joe, Blasdell 

CB: If I had to pick one specific thing that the Bills current management is doing differently than they have in the past it’s investing in the lines. Previous front offices either did not invest in the lines enough or missed badly on their investments (e.g. Mike Williams, Derrick Dockery, etc.) with the exception of Eric Wood and Andy Levitre in 2009 draft.

The investments made under Buddy Nix have been good ones and most of them haven’t broken the bank (e.g. Dwan Edwards, Kraig Urbik, Erik Pears, Chad Rinehart). And how refreshing was it to see them draft Marcell Dareus third overall last season?

I think the Bills stand a good chance of investing in the defensive line again this year in the form of a pass rushing defensive end. So although the wins have not been there to this point I think we can all agree that the lines on both sides of the ball are noticeably better.

Not ideal yet, but significantly better and likely to see more improvements this offseason (offensive tackle, defensive end). It’s that approach that encourages me that the winning is on its way because it all starts up front.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

A good synopsis of Upshaw

Posted by Chris Brown on January 26, 2012 – 11:59 am

Alabama OLB/DE Courtney Upshaw was the mock pick for the Bills by ESPN’s Mel Kiper in his first mock draft last week at 10th overall. This week at the Senior Bowl most of the reviews on his play have been very favorable.

Veteran NFL reporter Jeff Legwold’s thorough review of Upshaw lends some good insight into Upshaw’s game. Perhaps the most interesting note is Upshaw’s desire to get down to 265 pounds by the NFL Combine in late February. Whether that’s his aim to make him a quicker and more effective pass rusher or to make him more attractive to 3-4 teams as an OLB is unclear. It’s something I’ll ask him about at the combine in Indy. In any event here Legwold’s write up on Upshaw in today’s Denver Post.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

OT the pick in latest mock

Posted by Chris Brown on January 20, 2012 – 11:18 am

It seems that in most early mock drafts that the pick for the Bills at 10 addresses either the pass rush or offensive tackle. This latest mock went O-line.

Football’s Future has Buffalo taking Iowa OT Riley Reiff (pronounced ‘reef’). Here’s their blurb on their pick.

Buffalo – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
The Bills have needed a left tackle upgrade for years, and they finally get their man with this selection.

I’m inclined to think in this particular mock with Courtney Upshaw, Andre Branch and Melvin Ingram all still on the board that there will be heavy consideration for each one of those pass rushers.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kiper has OLB to Bills at 10

Posted by Chris Brown on January 18, 2012 – 2:41 pm

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper has put out his first mock draft. While there will certainly be future editions, in his initial mock he has Buffalo taking a pass rushing OLB at 10th overall.

Kiper has the Bills taking Alabama OLB Courtney Upshaw. Here’s what Kiper had to say about Marcell Dareus’ former college teammate.

10. Buffalo Bills – Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama
Buffalo did well when it drafted Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus with its first pick last year, but the pass rush still needs a lot of help. Upshaw is currently the best 3-4 outside linebacker in the draft, and he should be able to apply a lot of pressure to opposing quarterbacks from the edge for whoever gets him for 2012. No Buffalo player had more than 5.5 sacks in 2011, and the Bills simply can’t get enough pressure without bringing extra players. Upshaw is a part of the solution. This is a big-time talent, a player who already was making an impact at Alabama as a freshman. He’ll follow a similar path as a pro.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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