Inside The Bills

Jeremiah goes OT as well for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on May 8, 2014 – 10:54 am

We’re all probably sick of mock drafts at this point and just want to get to the real thing, but’s Daniel Jeremiah has the Bills, like most, taking an offensive tackle at nine.

Jeremiah has Buffalo taking the Texas A&M pass protector in his final mock draft.


The Bills need to help out their young quarterback in this draft. Matthews would team up with Cordy Glenn to give the Bills an outstanding set of young offensive tackles.

He’s got only Johnny Manziel among the quarterback contingent coming off the board in front of Buffalo at nine. He’s got Tampa Bay taking the former Heisman trophy winner. He also has TE Eric Ebron going to Tennessee at 11.

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Latest mock goes OT for Bills at 9

Posted by Chris Brown on May 5, 2014 – 4:46 pm’s Daniel Jeremiah just submitted his latest mock. And while I have no idea which numbered mock this is for him he is going with offensive tackle for the Bills at nine.

The way Jeremiah has the board unfolding, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews is still on the board since he has Taylor Lewan going sixth overall to Atlanta. It’s interesting how these next two tackles after Greg Robinson (Auburn) have flip flopped a lot during the pre-draft process. After Matthews was long the favorite to be the second off the board, now more mocks (Jeremiah’s and Kiper’s) have Lewan coming off the board first. In any event here’s Jeremiah’s liner for the Bills pick.

PICK NO. 9 – BUFFALO BILLS – JAKE MATTHEWS – OT TEXAS A&M — Matthews would team up with Cordy Glenn to give the Bills an outstanding set of young offensive tackles.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Jeremiah’s mock draft is he doesn’t have North Carolina TE Eric Ebron coming off the board until 17 to Baltimore.

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Kiper counters with different OT in mock

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2014 – 5:14 pm

On the same day that ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay put out his latest mock draft, his ESPN counterpart, Mel Kiper did the same a short time later.

Much like McShay, Kiper also projected an offensive tackle to the Bills, just not the same one as McShay prognosticated. Here’s his assessment.

No. 9 – OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
No move here. I think Matthews is a good fit based on the need and certainly lines up based on value. He’s arguably the best player available here at any position and makes the Bills better. You can draft Matthews and keep Cordy Glenn at left tackle because Matthews has handled both tackle positions effectively. He’s a big plus in the run game and is going to upgrade the protection for E.J. Manuel, which is of the utmost importance.

The pick is hardly a surprise considering Kiper has Robinson (St. Louis), Watkins (Jacksonville), Lewan (Atlanta) and Evans (Tampa Bay) all off the board before the Bills are on the clock. The only other real possibility there for the value would be Ebron or possibly LSU WR Odell Beckham.

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Kiper: Lewan is #2 offensive tackle

Posted by Chris Brown on April 28, 2014 – 1:59 pm

A bit earlier in the pre-draft process the top three tackles were widely projected as Auburn’s Greg Robinson, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews and Michigan’s Taylor Lewan, in that order. After talking to several NFL clubs Kiper says it’s Lewan second and Matthews third and he believes Lewan could be off the board by pick six.

Kiper even thinks Lewan could go as high as pick two to St. Louis.

“In terms of going two, it’s not out of the question,” said Kiper. “If they (St. Louis) do take a tackle he’s right there with Robinson. You could make an argument that he’s better than Robinson, which right now he is. Robinson might have bigger upside, but Taylor Lewan really benefited by going back for his senior year. If he doesn’t go there he could go to Oakland at five, definitely to Atlanta at six. I don’t think he gets past six.”

Kiper believes Lewan’s improvement in pass protection in his senior season is a big factor in his superior ranking to Matthews on a good number of team boards. That’s not to discount Matthews, who is a very accomplished tackle in his own right. It’s just that Kiper sees Lewan as superior and believes his nasty on field demeanor makes him more attractive as well, especially to the Falcons with the sixth pick.

“His pass protection skills have improved where you weren’t beating him last year,” said Kiper. “He’s got great feet, balance and hand punch. He battles and fights. He can get after you as a run blocker. To me Lewan is a nasty, tough street fighter. He’s a battler.

“For Atlanta they could use some of that physicality. They didn’t have that. They were too finesse, too passive. That Falcons line was one of the worst in the NFL last year and Matt Ryan and Steven Jackson paid the price for that. Lewan with his attitude and approach would make a lot of sense for the Falcons at six. Lewan for the Bills at nine I can’t see him dropping that far.”

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DE Ealy earns props from OT Jake Matthews

Posted by Chris Brown on April 13, 2014 – 9:50 am

Their teams were both new to the SEC, but Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews, who is widely forecast to be a top 10 pick in the draft this spring knows the best pass rusher he faced in college wasn’t from one of the traditional power schools in the SEC.

Matthews, who had a pre-draft visit with the Bills Wednesday, was asked who the most challenging pass rusher was for him in his college career and he cited Missouri DE Kony Ealy.

“I thought Kony Ealy was really good at Missouri,” said Matthews. “Real aggressive, big and strong. Mixed up his pass rush moves real well.”

Ealy, who is profiled in our Countdown to Draft Day presented by Time Warner Cable today, had four tackles, including one for loss and a quarterback hurry in the game. Missouri won the contest 28-21 in Columbia.

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TE Niklas related to OT Jake Matthews

Posted by Chris Brown on April 1, 2014 – 11:55 am

Notre Dame TE Troy Niklas, who is being hosted by the Bills on a pre-draft visit today (Tuesday), has some pretty impressive NFL bloodlines.

Niklas is the nephew of Hall of Fame OL Bruce Matthews.

“Going back to my childhood I always wanted to play in the NFL, watching my uncle (Bruce Matthews) play in the league,” said Niklas. “Seeing him get inducted in the Hall of Fame.”

His relation to the Matthews family is through his mother. Niklas’ mom and Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews’ mother are sisters. Matthews is projected as a top 10 prospect. As a result Niklas has no relation to Green Bay pass rusher Clay Matthews.

“Our families have spent some time in Texas. I knew him before he got big,” said Niklas of his Aggie cousin.


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New mock has new OT at 9 for Bills

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

Of late Michigan’s Taylor Lewan has been the popular offensive tackle pick projected to the Bills with their choice at ninth overall. One of the newer mock drafts, however, has Buffalo getting one of the other top three offensive tackles in the class.’s Pete Prisco has Buffalo taking Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews. Here’s his assessment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fan Friday 3-14

Posted by Chris Brown on March 14, 2014 – 3:54 pm

Free agency is in full swing with the Bills nailing down three new players in the early going. Stay close to for updates throughout free agency. For now let’s get to your questions from email at and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – Hi Chris,

Jim Schwartz is obviously a good good coach and the Bills Defense did some really good things last year under Mike Pettine. My question is how likely will Coach Schwartz try to “not fix what ain’t broke” and keep some/most of the good stuff from last year (even though they may not be his concepts) while adding his own flavor to improve thing that do need to be improved, like run defense for example?

Thanks in advance.
Grant Folkard

CB: In talking with coach Marrone about this during the offseason the way he’s explained it is Coach Schwartz is going to keep most of the terminology the same. The reason this isn’t a big burden for him is because he spent a couple of seasons as a defensive assistant under then Baltimore defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis. Mike Pettine also coached in Baltimore where the defensive system and terminology remained the same even after Marvin Lewis left to coach in Cincinnati. So a lot of the calls and checks will not only be the same, but sound the same.

As for the run defense Marrone is wholly confident that Schwartz, whose defenses have enjoyed tremendous success against the run, will dramatically improve the unit’s performance in this area as well as third down defense.


2 – Hey Chris, long time Bills fan.
Wondering if you could shed some light on a few things.

First with hiring a former head coach for D coordinator, what are the chances he stays longer than one season? Do you think this was something that was discussed in private between coach Marrone and Jim Schwartz? And if not how big of a problem would this be for Dough Marrone heading into his 3rd season.

Also with Todd Downing being a QBs coach, with out ever playing the position. Is this fair with all the pressure being put on EJ? I read that EJ really likes him but don’t we need experience there? Playing? To mentor EJ and the struggles that come along with being a QB..

Thanks Jacob

CB: I don’t know that anyone can predict how long a coordinator is going to remain in his current post in the NFL. There are too many variables at work like the number of head coaching vacancies at the end of the year, how effective Schwartz is in his first year here, how successful the team is and coach Schwartz’s own personal aspirations.

Coach Marrone can’t have that kind of talk with Schwartz because no coach in the NFL is going to hold an assistant back from an opportunity at a head coaching job. That’s just not the way it works.

When you hire quality people that’s the risk you run, but I’d rather have the quality coach that’s in demand.

As for Todd Downing he has played the quarterback position. I cannot find his college background, but he did play semi-pro ball in the Mid-America League for the Minnesota Maulers and won a league title there in 2002 as their quarterback. So the position is not foreign to him at all.

I’d like to think coach Marrone’s track record of hiring assistants in the short time he’s been the Bills head coach should tell you he’s not going to hire someone who is not qualified to help the player at the most important position on the field.


3 – Chris,

I’ve seen several posts in which you referenced the “12th Man”.  Does the team officially call its fans the 12th Man or is that just a personal reference?  I’m having a huge argument with some Seahawk fan coworkers about whether anyone besides the Seahawks is officially allowed to use that term.

Cliff Hogg

CB: The 12th Man was adopted by Bills fans long before the Seattle fans started using it. The first football outfit to coin the phrase however, was Texas A&M University. They’re credited with the first recorded use of the term in 1922 when coach Dana Bible was running out of players in the Dixie Classic against defending national champion Centre College. In the stands he noticed a student who tried out for the team, but did not make the varsity squad and promptly told him to suit up and be ready in case he was needed. The volunteer player, E. King Gill, ran to the locker room and suited up and got back out to the field. He never entered the game, but became known as the 12th man.

So the Aggies have got dibs on everybody, but concerning your argument the 12th Man was popularized in the late 80’s and early 90’s. In 1988 Bills fans set an all-time single-season NFL attendance record of 622,793. Fans were then honored as the ‘12th Man’ and inducted onto the Bills Wall of Fame in 1992.


4 – Hey Chris,

I ask you if Sammy Watkins, Jake Matthews, or Eric Ebron are there at nine which one helps EJ in his evolution more? Or do we go as we have in the past & pick up a O linemen later such as Z. Martin & go with a player like Mack if he is there seeing as the defense thing lingers.

Thanks !!
Mr. T from Fort Myers via Nashville

CB: I think going by the best on the board approach that the Bills usually take it would be hard for me to think that Ebron or Matthews will be rated higher than Watkins. Most experts see him as a top five talent and I have not heard the same consensus for Matthews and certainly not for Ebron, though he is a special talent.

I think any one of those three would be of great help to Manuel in different ways, but GM Doug Whaley will take the player that helps the team the most. And that likely involves Manuel to some degree, but that’s the all-encompassing view a general manager has to take.


5 – Morning Chris, Happy Friday!

I was wondering how the Bills go about setting up their needs in free agency and the draft.  I was wondering how much emphasis they put into the upcoming 2014 schedule? For instance, we will have to face guys like Calvin Johnson, Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall, receiving corps from Green Bay and Denver.  Do they look at the defensive fronts, the AFC East is getting better defensively, not to mention teams like Houston and Detroit.  So basically how much does that affect their decision making when it comes to the importance of positions that are needed for the team?  Thanks for your hard work, and I hope you enjoyed Indy at the combine!

Go Bills! Jillian

CB: We did enjoy Indy very much. Glad you watched our coverage of the NFL combine. Your question is a good one. Typically opponents in a given year do not impact their decision making all that much in free agency and the draft. Teams like Chicago and Green Bay, which the Bills see only once every four years is not what you usually base your personnel decisions on.

That being said I do know that some moves are made with a team’s division opponents in mind. You’re facing those teams every season, twice a season and you have to beat them to win your division and get to the postseason. So the personnel make-up and strengths of teams like New England, the Jets and Miami could play a role in some decision making.

Again it’s not an overwhelming factor, but those teams are taken into consideration knowing they stand in the way of a playoff berth.

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McShay mocks OT to Bills at 9

Posted by Chris Brown on March 6, 2014 – 11:15 am

The momentum of an offensive tackle for the Bills keep building among NFL draft prognosticators. ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay is the latest to do so.

In his third mock draft he has the Bills taking offensive tackle Jake Matthews out of Texas A&M. What’s interesting is in his synopsis he opens the door to the possibility of Buffalo taking a college teammate of Matthews in WR Mike Evans.

9 Jake Matthews
Buffalo Bills (6-10)
AGE: 21 HT: 6-5 WT: 308 POS: OT

Analysis: Eric Ebron would be an interesting pick here, as would Mike Evans, because both guys are big-play weapons in the passing game with their size and ball skills. Both of whom would help young QB EJ Manuel. But I think in this scenario they’d go with a guy who can help protect Manuel in Matthews. He is versatile enough to play either tackle spot, and he’s a great value here as one of the top 10 and maybe one of the top five prospects in this draft.

Evans certainly raised his draft stock in the eyes of NFL draft analysts after his performance at the NFL combine. Most of them believe Evans has moved into the top half of round one as a result.

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Mayock felt top 3 OTs held their own

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Another Matthews family tie at Combine

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2014 – 11:16 pm

By now everyone knows that Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews is the son of Hall of Fame OL Bruce Matthews and the cousin of Green Bay pass rusher Clay Matthews. But there is another Matthews family relative at this year’s NFL Combine who is also about to embark on an NFL career.

He’s Notre Dame TE Troy Nicklas.

“I always wanted to play in the NFL, watching my uncle play in the league and seeing him get inducted in the Hall of Fame,” said Nicklas of his uncle Bruce Matthews.

“Jake Matthews and I are cousins,” he said. “His mom and my mom are sisters.”

So it will be two more relatives from the Matthews family to add to the impressive NFL family tree in May not just one.

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

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OT Matthews would “love to play for Fisher”

Posted by Chris Brown on February 20, 2014 – 8:36 pm

His dad played 19 years in the league and went to 14 straight Pro Bowls. Bruce Matthews also played a good portion of his career under head coach Jeff Fisher with the Titans. Now Fisher is running the show in St. Louis, which also happens to hold the second pick in the draft. Having coached his father in Tennessee, the general consensus is seeing the Rams, in need of offensive line help, will likely take Matthews son Jake Matthews, the Texas A&M product with that second overall selection. As far as the junior Matthews is concerned that’d be more than fine.

“I knew (Coach Fisher) a little bit, not too well,” said Matthews of his childhood. “Obviously my dad played for him, so he’s got a great relationship with him. I was just a kid running around when my dad was playing. Knew (Fisher) him but not really too well. There is that connection for sure. I would love to play for him.”

Matthews is clearly the most polished offensive tackle in the draft class when it comes to technique and feet. Whether that will trump the perceived upside of Auburn’s Greg Robinson remains to be seen.

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

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Mixed bag of picks in 4 CBS mocks for Bills

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

The draft analysts at have put together their mock drafts on the eve of the NFL Combine and all four have different picks for the Bills at nine.’s Rob Rang, Dane Brugler, Pete Prisco and Pat Kirwan all selected different players for Buffalo at ninth overall. Rang and Kirwan picked offensive tackles while Brugler chose a tight end and Prisco took a linebacker for the Bills. Here were their assessments.

Rang’s pick


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

Brugler’s pick


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

Prisco’s pick


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

Kirwan’s pick


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

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


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Football Outsiders peg OT as top Bills need

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kiper goes OT for Bills at 9

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

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

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

9 – Buffalo Bills (6-10) – Jake Matthews
AGE: 22
HT: 6-5
WT: 305

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

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

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

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