With two days of hearing from scouts of the Buffalo Bills about some of the best talent the 2012 NFL Draft has to offer, on Wednesday the talk surrounded players from the SEC.
The Bills brought out scouts Darrell Moody (South Carolina to Mississippi to Florida) and Theo Young (Texas to the Dakotas) to answer questions from the media, and one of the biggest schools asked about just so happened to be college football's most recent champions.
Most notably Moody talked about Alabama safety Mark Barron, the recipient of the most buzz with the Bills at the tenth overall pick, and called him a "complete football player."
Listen to what the scouts had to say about specific players below:
Darrell Moody on Alabama S Mark Barron
Theo Young on Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon
Darrell Moody on South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore
Following Monday, the Buffalo Bills made three more scouts available for questions from the media about prospects for the upcoming NFL Draft.
On Tuesday's slate were Brian Fisher (Midwest -Michigan to Kentucky), Matt Hand (West Coast) and Tom Roth (Delaware to North Carolina, Tennessee) talked a bit about some of the players that make up the 2012 NFL Draft.
Hear their thoughts on the players discussed below:
Matt Hand on Boise State DE/OLB Shea McClellin
Tom Roth on Marshall DE Vinny Curry
Brian Fisher on Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins
Matt Hand on Arizona QB Nick Foles
Matt Hand on San Diego State QB Ryan Lindley
Tom Roth on Chattanooga QB B.J. Coleman
Matt Hand on Boise State QB Kellen Moore
Tom Roth on Appalachian State WR Brian Quick
Matt Hand on Montana CB/S Trumaine Johnson
Brian Fisher on Illinois WR A.J. Jenkins
Tom Roth on Vanderbilt CB Casey Hayward
Tom Roth on Virginia Tech CB Jayron Hosley
Brian Fisher on Illinois OT/G Jeff Allen
Matt Hand on BYU OT Matt Reynolds and Utah OT Tony Bergstrom
As they do every year around the NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills make their team of scouts available to the media to talk about the prospects of that year.
On Monday, Doug Majeski (Midwest to East Coast), Brad Forsyth (Rocky Mountain and West Coast) and Shawn Heinlen (Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas) spoke with reporters previewing some players from their respective areas.
Here is the audio regarding each player talked about on Monday:
Brad Forsyth on USC OT Matt Kalil
Doug Majeski on Boston College LB Luke Kuechly
Doug Majeski on Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd
Doug Majeski on Iowa OT Riley Reiff
Brad Forsyth on Stanford OT Jonathan Martin
Shawn Heinlen on LSU WR Rueben Randle
Doug Majeski on Syracuse DE/OLB Chandler Jones
Doug Majeski on Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson
Brad Forsyth on Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler
Doug Majeski on Rutgers WR Mohamed Sanu
Doug Majeski on Ohio State OT Mike Adams
Brad Forsyth on Stanford TE Coby Fleener
Shawn Heinlen on TCU LB Tank Carder
Brad Forsyth on Utah State LB Bobby Wagner
Doug Majeski on Iowa State OT/OG Kelechi Osemele
Brad Forsyth on Cal OT Mitchell Schwartz
Shawn Heinlen on Louisiana-Lafayette CB Dwight Bentley
Almost every mock draft you see has the Buffalo Bills taking either a left tackle or wide receiver with the tenth overall pick.
If there's anything I can say about what might happen with the 2012 NFL Draft for the Bills, it's this: Don't rule out one position in particular just yet.
Cozy up with the idea that the Bills' pick has as good of a chance of being a top flight cornerback as it does of being an offensive tackle. While Riley Reiff and Cordy Glenn are options for the selection, both come with mysteries to their game.
In the case of Reiff, his short arms and some of his weaknesses on tape have some concluding that he's a better fit to play right tackle or to kick inside to guard. It's a similar problem to former Iowa tackle Bryan Bulaga, who fell on draft day and is now a right tackle for the Green Bay Packers.
As for Glenn, his size and arm length are great, but some feel the lack of starting experience at left tackle make him better suited for either right tackle or as a guard.
It seems like no matter which offensive tackle past Matt Kalil you bring up, there is a legitimate ding on his profile that makes you wonder if any are the answer for the blind side.
As for a wide receiver, unless Justin Blackmon falls to tenth overall, you can see the Bills pointing to the depth of the position as to why they waited on taking one.
If the Bills don't trade out of the tenth overall pick, I think taking a cornerback there makes a lot of sense -- considering who is out there.
With Drayton Florence likely on his last contract in Buffalo, Terrence McGee on his last legs and Leodis McKelvin on his way out the door at the end of this season, a very large need exists at the position.
Of course the Bills hope Aaron Williams takes one of the starting roles this season and for a long time to come, but adding another fresh face to the group could do them wonders.
Two names come to mind for who might be available at 10: Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick and South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore.
Both players have the type of size that you'd want out of a cornerback, and both possess a very good physicality to their game. We'll start with Gilmore first.
Gilmore has risen up draft boards so much so that he's in play for the seventh overall pick. At 6-feet, 190-pounds, Gilmore blazed his way to a 4.40 forty-yard dash. That timed speed is evident on the field.
If he loses his man on a play, he has the recovery speed to go back and make a play on the ball. He also has the penchant for making a big hit in the open field -- sometimes to his detriment -- but will land some crushing shots as well.
As for Kirkpatrick, he's a long-time starter for one of the best defenses in the country. He's nearly 6-foot-2, 186 pounds and ran a respectable 4.51 forty-yard dash.
Kirkpatrick has been a steady first round lock since the college football season started this year. Once thought of as in-the-discussion for the top cornerback available with LSU's Morris Claiborne, Kirkpatrick has since fallen back only slightly.
He's a well accomplished zone-corner that is very good at putting a jam on receivers at the line of scrimmage.
In terms of who fits the Bills better if both were on the board, I'd have to give the edge to Kirkpatrick. Wannstedt will be running a zone look this year, and the Alabama corner has shown great instincts and recognition in that scheme.
Also, there's talk that Gilmore might not even be available by the time the Bills were to pick, so that obviously would render the conversation moot. However, both players have visited team facilities at One Bills Drive.
The type of value the Bills would get out of a first round cornerback, if they were to stay at tenth overall, would likely outweigh the return they'd get on one of the higher up offensive tackle prospects.
All of these factors feed in to my belief that cornerback is right there in the conversation for the Bills at 10.
Here are a list of the 30 reported visitors to One Bills Drive over the course of the pre-draft process. Teams are allowed a total of 30 visits to team facilities. The deadline for visits is Wednesday, April 18.
Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
Brock Osweiler, Arizona State
Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
Trent Richardson, Alabama
Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Brian Quick, Appalachian State
Mike Adams, Ohio State
James Brown, Troy
Cordy Glenn, Georgia
Matt Kalil, USC
Jonathan Martin, Stanford
Andre Branch, Clemson
Vinny Curry, Marshall
Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
Chandler Jones, Syracuse
Bruce Irvin, West Virginia
Shea McClellin, Boise State
Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
Olivier Vernon, Miami (FL)
Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
Tank Carder, TCU
Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
Luke Kuechly, Boston College
Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma
Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
DeQuan Menzie, Alabama
Josh Robinson, Central Florida
Mark Barron, Alabama
Notable absences: Iowa OT Riley Reiff, Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd
With the deadline to bring prospects for the 2012 NFL Draft looming on Wednesday, the Buffalo Bills brought in what will likely be their final pre-draft visitors to team facilities on Tuesday.
According to BuffaloBills.com, Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram, Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore and Oklahoma cornerback Jamell Fleming all made the visit to One Bills Drive.
If this were two months ago, Ingram visiting would probably be the headline. But with both Mario Williams and Mark Anderson signed to the Bills via free agency, combined with how Buddy Nix views the defensive end class at the top of the draft, it doesn't appear as though he'll be the player selected at 10.
Gilmore is an intriguing case. Numerous reports have him shooting up draft boards. Peter King of Sports Illustrated thinks he could go as high as seventh to Jacksonville. With the Bills in need of a cornerback, he could be on the short list of candidates the Bills could think about for their selection at tenth overall.
Fleming is a second-tier type of cornerback that could be had on the second day of the draft at some point. As for Tannehill, you can read about how to look in to his visit to Buffalo here.
All in all that's 26 total visits that were reported. Teams are allowed a grand total of 30, so it's very possible four players snuck in and out of Buffalo without it being reported.
Notable absences from the list of reported pre-draft visits are Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff, Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd and Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly.
With the 2012 NFL Draft a little over a week away, we're beefing up the football talk on WGR Sports Radio 550.
Join me and Brian Koziol starting tonight for Draft Central, airing every weeknight from 7 to 9 pm leading up to the April 26 draft. We'll talk all the latest rumors, what the Bills might do, take calls, tweets, texts and everything in between.
Be sure to join in the festivities starting tonight, as we'll have Stanford OT Jonathan Martin on the line for a segment during the show.
The Buffalo Bills continued along in bringing NFL Draft prospects to Orchard Park for a visit. On Monday, three more toured team facilities and met with the staff at One Bills Drive.
According to BuffaloBills.com, the team hosted Alabama safety Mark Barron, Boise State defensive end Shea McClellin and Central Florida cornerback Josh Robinson.
Barron is an ultra-talented safety that will be a first round pick on April 26. With the presence of both Jairus Byrd and George Wilson on the roster, the Bills taking Barron would be a luxury if they decided to do so.
McClellin is right on the fringe of the first round at this point in time, and will more than likely be off the board before the Bills' second-round pick comes around.
Robinson could be a good fit for Buffalo. He blew away the NFL Combine with a forty-yard dash time of 4.33 seconds. The talented cornerback really shined in the 2010 Liberty Bowl when he was entrusted with covering then-Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green.
The 2011 fourth overall pick had eight catches for 77 yards, but was constantly harrassed by the much-smaller Robinson. The cornerback is also on the fringe of the first round, and could conceivably be there for the Bills at 41.
If you just so happened to be watching the 11 pm news on Sunday night, you may have already seen this. The guys over at WGRZ, Channel 2 in Buffalo were nice enough to ask me to spout off some opinions on the upcoming NFL Draft.
You can watch the short clip of me with Ben Hayes below. Here's the link to their website.
With Peter King's latest report that the Buffalo Bills will be hosting Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, it certainly is thought-inducing.
What can we really make of this visit?
At this time of year, some things are done and said with the truest intent. But you'll see a lot of times things are done solely to try and drum up business in an effort to try and get a player to drop to a team's specific pick.
In the matter of Tannehill visiting the Bills next week, I'm going to lay out some reasons why the franchise would and would not be interested in actually selecting him come April 26.
Reason For: Best Player Available Strategy
- All along we've heard Bills GM Buddy Nix say that they are going to take the top player on their board when it gets to their selection. The fact that Tannehill is a quarterback certainly drives up his value, but his overall raw skill-set is something you don't find every single year. ESPN's Todd McShay says he believes Tannehill has better overall tools than Matt Barkley. I'd tend to agree with that statement. It's just the overall polish and refining of his game that makes Barkley a better pro prospect at this point in time. The potential for Tannehill is certainly there, though.
Reason Against: Other Needs Require Attention
- If the Bills were to take a quarterback in the first round, it would set themselves back for trying to find potential starters at some key positions. With help needed at left tackle, wide receiver, linebacker and cornerback, taking a quarterback would take away from the level of contributor they would get at any of those other positions. Pushing the needs back might also potentially take away a would-be starter. Kelvin Sheppard stepped in nicely for the team as the season progressed, and he was a third round pick. Taking a Tannehill would take away their Sheppard-type impact player.
Reason For: Finding Fitzpatrick's Successor
- If you'll recall, Nix has said in the past that you have to take a quarterback when you've got one before you don't have one on your roster any longer. That type of plan could be the attack if the Bills were to take Tannehill. Fitzpatrick is going in to the first year of his new contract and has already been paid an option bonus on March 20, so he's not going anywhere this year. If they were to take Tannehill, they could sit him down for one season at least and have a viable plan for the future if their current quarterback doesn't take the next step. It's said that Tannehill needs a year or two of seasoning anyway, so that would play in to the decision as well.
Reason Against: Tannehill Doesn't Help Them Win Right Now
- The reasoning I just laid out is also why the move would be detrimental to what the Bills are trying to do this season. They signed Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. They've brought back Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson, Scott Chandler and many others. Drafting Tannehill would fly directly in the face of this sort of "win right now" approach the Bills have taken in the off-season. Bills fans are antsy for a playoff berth -- for good reason -- and it isn't exactly the biggest vote of confidence to the fan base or their freshly re-signed and well-paid quarterback if they were to take a player at his position in the first round.
Reason For: Fits Gailey's Offensive Scheme
- Tannehill has the type of arm and athleticism that will give Chan Gailey's offense a lot of versatility. He's very good at keeping plays alive with his feet and throwing on the run, making the defense adjust to his individual skill-set. If he were to be taken by the Bills, he could get the one-to-two years under his belt while working with renowned quarterback coach David Lee. Then Tannehill conceivably could be ready to come in and make the transition as seamless as possible.
Reason Against: May Need to Trade Up to Get Him
- Tannehill is by far the enigma of the draft. While the first two picks are set in stone, he is the wrench in the gears from picks 3-to-11. The Vikings (3rd overall) have said they would like to trade down, and if the Browns (4th overall) show the slightest bit of interest it could induce a team to trade up to get him. If the Bills really want him, they might have to unload some picks in order to get him. That would be an absolute detriment to what they're attempting to accomplish this season. Buddy Nix has said in the past he doesn't like to give away picks. And you most certainly have to believe it's not going to be for a player who won't help the team right away. But if Tannehill is there at 10, it's a different discussion.
- While you can definitely make a compelling case for Tannehill being drafted by the Buffalo Bills, all in all it just would not add up considering the actions they've taken this off-season. The Bills think they're close. There's no other reason they would go out and get the biggest free agent signing of their franchise's history and make him the highest paid defensive player in NFL history in the process. No, I think this Tannehill visit is simply a case of the Bills attempting to drum up some interest to try and induce a team to move up to the 10th pick -- ahead of Kansas City who has shown a lot of interest -- and move down in the draft. Smokescreens are the game at this point in the pre-draft process, and the Bills are certainly ones to play.
So to answer your questions: No, I don't expect Ryan Tannehill to be drafted by the Buffalo Bills.
The true wildcard of the 2012 NFL Draft is Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Whether it be tweets from NFL owners or rumors about who may be interested, Tannehill holds the key to how the first 11 picks in the draft will shake out.
With that news, here's this:
According to Peter King of Sports Illustrated, Tannehill will go on a couple of visits this weekend. On Sunday, he'll get to Cleveland to meet with the Browns on Monday. After that, he's flying to western New York to meet with the Buffalo Bills.
Tannehill also just did a private workout with the Kansas City Chiefs this week. Needless to say, he's certainly keeping this interesting as the enigma of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Check back later for what Tannehill's visit to the Bills may mean.
With the 2012 NFL Draft just two weeks away, the league has confirmed 26 players who will attend the event on April 26 in New York City.
Below is the list:
S Mark Barron, Alabama
WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
DT Michael Brockers, LSU
CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
TE Coby Fleener, Stanford
WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
OT Cordy Glenn, Georgia
QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
LB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
OT Matt Kalil, USC
CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
LB Shea McClellin, Boise State
DE Nick Perry, USC
DT Dontari Poe, Memphis
WR Reuben Randle, LSU
HB Trent Richardson, Alabama
DT Devon Still, Penn State
QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
LB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
Some notable absences from the list? Iowa OT Riley Reiff, Stanford OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford OG David DeCastro and Boston College LB Luke Kuechly. Just because they weren't confirmed to attend doesn't mean they weren't invited.
Thanks to a heavily-spent off-season, almost the entire gang for the Buffalo Bills is back including a pair of high-priced additions.
Most notably to this piece, wide receiver Stevie Johnson and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick are back for the (seemingly) long-term. That makes one popular question remain for Bills fans everywhere.
What exactly are they going to do for a second option at receiver?
It's fair to say that the offense leveled off in 2011 because of a lot of different factors. Some point to the hit that cracked Ryan Fitzpatrick's ribs against Washington, but more point to defenses "figuring out" the Bills by creeping up and taking away the underneath routes.
Teams dared Buffalo to complete deep passes, and while they did occasionally, they struggled to do it consistently.
A quick fix for that would be to pick up a competent player that can come in and start right away for the team opposite Stevie Johnson.
It's what leads many fans to fall in love with the idea of picking up Notre Dame's Michael Floyd with the tenth overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft. To be perfectly honest, I think it's a pretty smart idea, too.
He would bring an added dimension to the Bills' receivers. He boasts a supreme blend of height, speed, jumping ability, run blocking and hands. I could argue, and even have in the past with some people I meet around town, that Floyd is just as good a prospect as Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon.
If either of those guys are available at tenth overall, the Bills will have a very tough decision on their hands in trying to determine if that pick should be a wideout or a left tackle.
There are two schools of thought in this ordeal:
1) The Bills take a receiver, and plug him in the starting lineup immediately.
2) The Bills take a left tackle, thinking that the depth amongst the receiver group as a whole outranks the depth of the left tackles available later on.
For me, I would tend to follow ideology number one. Giving Fitzpatrick a target like Floyd or Blackmon, if they're available, would help each and every person on that offense -- most importantly their quarterback.
But the way the Bills have been talking since the NFL Combine, I think they're more likely to follow option number two. They'll get their left tackle in the first round and deal with a wide receiver in the second or third.
While there are guys that might be available to the Bills at 41 and 71 that can contribute down the line, I'm not sold that more than one of those players can contribute right away.
If LSU's Rueben Randle is available, he's probably the most NFL-ready receiver that could be there at 41. Although he isn't the type of game-changing receiver a Floyd or Blackmon would be, he could come in an chip in 30-to-40 catches. Other than him, you've got guys like Stephen Hill, Mohamed Sanu, Alshon Jeffery, Brian Quick and more who may need some time to adapt to the professional game.
If they wait on wide receiver, the chances are very good that Donald Jones will be starting for a second consecutive year. While he's a solid and physical blocker on the outside, he's proved he is not a dependable pass-catcher.
There is an unknown variable as to how ready Marcus Easley will be after another year off from football, but it'd be a stretch at this point to expect him to come in after missing two years and be in the mix for the number two job.
If it were me, I think the idea of adding a Floyd or Blackmon to combine with Stevie Johnson rather than a second-rated left tackle is a much better one. But how the Bills have been talking for some time now makes me believe we're in for a second straight season of Donald Jones, while adding an upgrade for the young Chris Hairston in the process.
Following the tweet from Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay about a team needing to get to third overall to draft Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, many wondered what that meant for USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil.
Now there's a new opinion on the matter. Answering a mailbag question about Kalil, ESPN's Adam Schefter believes that the Vikings will pass on Kalil completely.
" The key to that would be Minnesota passing on Kalil, which I happen to believe the Vikings will. I'm in the minority there, and the Vikings are still deciding what to do, but I don't think Kalil is the lock that others do -- even if Minnesota stays at No. 3."
There are a couple of key things to note. The first, Schefter is a very plugged in person around the NFL. With as many contacts as he seems to have, you'd have to believe his opinion might be influenced by things he's hearing.
Secondly, and conversely, it is the misinformation time of the year. Being this close to the draft, you really have to be careful of what you choose to believe. Opinions have likely been formed already and now it's a matter of getting to draft day.
With both of those things said, it's entirely possible the Vikings may be trying to plant that seed to drum up more interest in the third overall pick and still actually like Kalil. Or, Schefter could be absolutely right.
There's only one thing for sure: this won't be the last time a bit of news comes out in the next two weeks that will make you wonder if the sky is green, up is down and whether or not a team will draft the player they've been linked to.
Every mock draft you look at for the 2012 NFL Draft has the following order, right?
1) Indianapolis - QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
2) Washington - QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
3) Minnesota - OT Matt Kalil, USC
Maybe that's not as set in stone as everyone first thought. The Vikings would desperately like to deal the third overall pick according to various reports. Does he finally have the bait to get out of the pick?
Enter our favorite pot-stirring owner, Jim Irsay of the Indianapolis Colts, and his Twitter account.
"Tannehill is a hidden gem in this draft,a quiet secret who was always sneaking up to #3..you want him,you better talk to Zigi The Biggie!"
Tannehill is obviously Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and 'Zigi The Biggie' is Vikings owner Zygi Wilf.
The thing that should intrigue fans of the Buffalo Bills about this piece of information is what exactly happens with USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil.
If the Vikings end up trading out of third overall, just how far does Kalil fall? Let's take a look at who may need a left tackle past that pick:
4) Cleveland Browns
- Unlikely due to the presence of Joe Thomas, and they won't spend a top five pick on a right tackle when they need playmakers.
5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- In a similar position to the Browns. They could use a right tackle, but have a big need elsewhere.
6) St. Louis Rams
- This would likely be the ideal landing spot for Kalil. The Rams need a left tackle so they can put Roger Saffold to the right side. They've also had reported interest in moving down the draft order even though they've already moved out of second overall.
So unless the Bills and Buddy Nix are willing to suspend his belief temporarily in trading away draft picks to move up in the order, it seems the Bills still won't have a shot at Kalil even though he would fall from third overall.
Just for the sake of playing devil's advocate, what would it cost the Bills? On the handy-dandy NFL Draft value chart, the difference between 6 and 10 is merely 300 points. That could equal swapping first round picks, throwing in a third-round pick and one of their fourth-round picks. Or it could mean swapping firsts, unloading their second and getting a third round in return. Whatever the end result may be, it's plausible.
But the way Buddy Nix has been talking, and his failure to trade away a single draft pick in his two years as GM, trading up to grab Kalil just doesn't sound like his M.O. Things can obviously change, but the precedent has been set.
Since the Buffalo Bills expenditures on their defensive line during free agency, the general consensus of reporters around the country have been that the team will look to upgrade themselves at left tackle.
Most national pundits are saying Iowa's Riley Reiff is the target, but don't sleep on a certain player from the SEC.
According to Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com, the Bills hosted Georgia offensive tackle Cordy Glenn for a pre-draft visit in late March. Glenn moved to left tackle his senior year after spending three years inside at guard. He showed signs of improvement throughout the season culminating with a good performance against LSU's defensive line in the SEC Championship.
At 6-foot-5 and 345-pounds, the massive Glenn is surprisingly agile and quick on his feet to deal with speed rushers off the edge. To read more about him, click here.
Welcome to another rousing rendition of NFL Draft Rumor Roundup. It merely took a weekend, but there are many new rumors to discuss out there as we get closer to April 26. Here is the latest batch:
One of the biggest conundrums of the first round is what the Cleveland Browns will do at 4th overall. Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil and Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill have all been suggested options for the Browns. Dennis Manoloff of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tries to make sense of it, saying the chances of the Browns taking Richardson are "entirely possible," for Blackmon they are "conceivable," while Tannehill got the "unlikely" tag, Claiborne was called "doubtful," and Kalil "won't happen."
After talking with a friend in the media in Cleveland over the weekend, it's tough to make headway of who they may actually take. Richardson seems to be the most likely by many and would fill a giant need. But hearing Tannehill coined as "unlikely" by Manoloff leads me to believe the visit of Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden to Cleveland recently has the Browns thinking they can get their guy at that position later on. You could conceivably see the Browns using 4th overall, 22nd overall and 37th overall on a trio of quarterback, running back and wide receiver -- a fantasy football player's dream.
The New York Jets are currently slotted at 16, but might they consider a jump up? According to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York, the Jets have "the hots" for South Carolina pass rusher Melvin Ingram, a player who has played a little bit of everywhere for the Gamecocks this past season.
The Jets would likely have to hope Jacksonville passes on Ingram at 7 and Miami does the same at 8, because the next team that could be interested in him would be Seattle at 12. That makes trading up for the Jets much more conceivable with those few extra picks passed by. If they like him enough, Seattle may be willing to do business. They are reportedly interested in trading back and picking up Dont'a Hightower, so this could be a win-win for both sides. I know what you're thinking, but I think the Bills trading within the division to help their rivals obtain a pass rusher to crush their quarterback twice a year are not that great. Not if the only thing you gain is a measly mid-round pick.
The Jaguars at 7 seem to be down to a pair of positions as you rifle through various mock drafts. It seems as though their selection will either be a defensive end or a wide receiver. According to Vito Stellino of The Florida Times-Union, the Jaguars are "likely" to select a receiver early in the draft.
With only Mike Thomas and Laurent Robinson as their top two options, the Jaguars are in a tough spot at that position. Whether Stellino was talking about their first or second round pick, that isn't determined just yet. But you'd have to believe that Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon would earn a good amount of consideration if he fell to them, as should Notre Dame's Michael Floyd. If they want Blaine Gabbert to succeed, a top target would be the best way.
With the way the Detroit Lions were torched on defense, most notably in their secondary, it isn't that much of a stretch to think a targeted position of theirs is cornerback at 23rd overall. But according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, a team source tells him the chances are slim that they use that selection on North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
That's probably a good move for the Lions, with their top three picks from last season all having some red flags in terms of their personality. Combine that with news breaking this off-season within days of one another that 2011 first round pick Nick Fairley and 2011 second round pick Mikel Leshoure both having a marijuana-related arrest, it could explain the trepidation towards Jenkins. He was arrested three times in his first three seasons of college with Florida, and then got kicked off the team. The team could still go for a cornerback if Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick falls that far or recent mover Stephon Gilmore of South Carolina is on the board. If not, left tackle could be the play for the Lions with some good 2nd or 3rd round options at cornerback existing.
The Minnesota Vikings are trying desperately to get people interested enough in Ryan Tannehill to trade up to 3rd overall to get him, but it just doesn't seem to be working. With Matt Kalil likely their pick in the first round, Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press thinks about what the team may do at 35th overall. He alludes to GM Rick Spielman and how much he loves former Notre Dame players. With a need at safety, Walters reasons that Notre Dame's Harrison Smith would be a good fit for the Vikings, saying "If Smith is available, there is little doubt the Vikings will pounce on him."
With an overall lack of depth at safety in this draft class, the Vikings may not end up getting their guy if they are indeed targeting Smith. He's the consensus number two safety available, and he could sneak in to the end of the first round. Past the first few options at that position, the talent really drops off unless you're converting a stiff-hipped cornerback in to a safety.
With the Buffalo Bills firmly addressing the defensive end position with not one, but two free agency signings in the month of March, it's safe to say the team won't be looking that way in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
So that leaves a few needs and possibilities for the team to address.
You could look at a wide receiver, a cornerback, a linebacker or perhaps even a quarterback. But the position that almost every one has the Bills pegged for is to finally find a long-term solution for their left tackle spot.
While most Bills fans will admit that there is a gaping hole at left tackle, there are still some lingering concerns that it may not be the biggest need. This mini-post hopefully tackles any remaining questions some could have as to why the Bills would consider drafting a left tackle in the first round.
1) The Bills allowed one of the lowest sack totals in the league last year, why would they choose a left tackle?
While statisically that argument makes sense, Ryan Fitzpatrick deserves some of the praise for that number. For some of the things he does wrong, he's very adept at listening to his internal clock and feeling the pressure. He gets the ball out very quickly -- whether it's a completion, an incompletion or at worst an interception, he does it. He hid some of the deficiencies of the offensive line last season. Now with Fitzpatrick, they want to afford him the time to make poised decisions and not always have to unload the ball quickly. They want him to be able to go through his progressions. Don't get me wrong, it's not as though he was running for his life on every single play. The offensive line did a good job last season. But if the offense wants to take the next step with their long-term contracted quarterback and wide receiver, it seems a franchise left tackle to allow the duo to do their thing is the next step.
2) Isn't Chris Hairston good enough? He showed promise last season!
In his first few starts, Chris Hairston did not look all that bad. Head Coach Chan Gailey would be the first to admit that fact. Hairston was able to step in right away for the oft-injured Demetress Bell and give Fitzpatrick a similar amount of time. The problem was when he came back from his injury. He regressed, opening up concerns from the Bills that he may not have the consistency to become that long-term answer at left tackle. When asked about it in February, Gailey said Hairston might be able to do it, but he wasn't sure that it was a certainty, and then proceeded to drop some hints that they may not be able to pass up a tackle at tenth overall. Hairston is a solid player, the highest left tackle selection the Bills have made in the draft since Mike Williams, but may not be ready to be a long-term starter just yet.
3) Past USC's Matt Kalil there doesn't seem to be a player worthy of the tenth overall pick, why should the Bills reach?
I guess this is just a draft ideology question. If you have a player that is widely considered to be the 15th best prospect and you take him 10th, people will question it. But if he's the 10th best player to the team and fits the offensive line equation to a T, is it really that big a deal in the grand scheme of things? I'll admit, when I was younger and much more brainwashable (yes, I'm aware that word is made up), I used to believe in a player's perceived draft value. The real story is that each team has their own board, and they stick with it. They have a team of scouts to help them make the best decision possible, and that's how it arises. With that said, keep in mind a few things General Manager Buddy Nix has said in the past. He's talked about offensive tackles, and has alluded to their being two or three players that can come in and contribute right away at left tackle. That leads me to think that they believe in more than just Matt Kalil as an immediate answer at left tackle.
4) So who are the Bills going to take at 10 then?
I've got my suspicions, and so do you. I think Iowa's Riley Reiff, Stanford's Jonathan Martin and Georgia's Cordy Glenn are all on their radar. Could they stand to move back for one of them? Sure! But if you have a guy you believe in and you're moving down three-to-four spots hoping he'll still be there, why wouldn't you just stand pat and take him? An extra third round pick may turn in to something, but in reality the percentages are much higher on hitting on your first rounder if you believe in the player. In my opinion, and my opinion only, I think Glenn would be the best fit for the Bills. He's played against the top defenses in the land, shows surprising athleticism for a man his size and fits the requirements of the Bills normal prototypical measurement inclination. Although I think he's the best fit, obviously the Bills may not see it that way. Reiff and Martin should, and will, stay in the conversation as we move closer to April 26.
We're still three weeks out from the start of the 2012 NFL Draft, but the rumors are flying. As they become available, I'll do my best to make sense of it all. Here's the first edition of NFL draft rumor roundup!
The Buffalo Bills hosted a reported six players on pre-draft visits this week. USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil, Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams, Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones and Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson all spent time at One Bills Drive during the week.
Among the six names, two will likely be off the board before the Bills pick in the first round. Kalil and Richardson will both be likely top five picks. As for the rest, I think it's unlikely for two of the remaining four to become a member of the Buffalo Bills. The team seems to be circling around an offensive tackle at 10, and Kirkpatrick will be long gone before the second round pick. Chandler Jones, while going to nearby Syracuse, may not play a position with a high draft priority thanks to free agency. If the Bills don't take a tackle in the first round and Adams is available in the second, logically he could be the pick. Wilson is an intriguing option for the middle rounds as well.
Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus is "flying up draft boards" according to Lance Zierlein of the Houston Chronicle. Zierlein writes Mercilus will be taken inside the first twenty picks and he's hearing rumors about teams potentially wanting to trade up for the former Fighting Illini.
Mercilus makes sense for a few teams between picks 11 and 20. The Cardinals at 13, the Jets at 16, the Chargers at 18, the Bears at 19 and the Titans at 20 all are in need of a pass rusher. If a team past the Titans wanted to get in to the Mercilus derby, that would make Seattle at 12 wide open for business. That just so happens to play in to the next rumor.
Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net reports separate sources told him the Seahawks are hoping to move out of the 12th overall pick to move down and pick up Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower.
Hightower, the second-best inside linebacker prospect in this draft, likely will find himself in the first round with the way things are going. Seattle will need to trade down in to a spot that settles in before the Steelers at 24. Pittsburgh was rumored to be interested in Hightower as well. The Mercilus craze may just end up helping Seattle get their man and get extra picks in the process.
Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Cowboys have a lot of interest in Memphis nose tackle Dontari Poe. According to Hill, a team source says the Cowboys "like him a lot but don't want to draw attention to him." Poe is thought to be the best nose tackle available in the 2012 NFL Draft after his eye popping 40-time at the NFL Combine.
If the Cowboys really want Poe they might have to move up to get him. Carolina (9th) could use a defensive tackle and Kansas City (11th) is in dire need of a nose tackle. This smells a bit like a smokescreen just from my perspective. Poe's stock took a bit of a hit recently once people stopped being enamored with his 40-time, so this could be a way for the Cowboys to get their man. Alabama safety Mark Barron is a player that has been linked to the Cowboys previously.
A nugget of information coming out of Green Bay thanks to WNY-native and Packers beat writer Ty Dunne. According to his report for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Boise State pass rusher Shea McClellin might just be a target of the 2011 Super Bowl Champions. Dunne writes that a league source says the Packers have shown "significant interest" dating back to the Senior Bowl.
If you've heard me on the air since December I've been a huge proponent for Shea McClellin. He is a jack-of-all-trades type that Boise State used a lot like USC used Clay Matthews when he was in school. It's kind of obvious why the Packers might be interested in bringing in another player in that mold. It would be a great fit if it happened. The only thing is the Packers may have to trade ahead of New England to get him.
A day after four prospects for the 2012 NFL Draft visited the facilities of the Buffalo Bills, the team hosted another pair of highly touted players.
According to BuffaloBills.com, the franchise hosted USC left tackle Matt Kalil and Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick on a visit Thursday.
Kalil is thought to be the best offensive tackle prospect available in this year's draft, and is being considered for the third overall pick by the Minnesota Vikings.
While Kirkpatrick isn't the best cornerback available, many consider him to be a potential first round pick.
You can read the full scouting reports by clicking on their names above, and you can also access many other scouting reports at the Bills' positions of need by clicking on one of the positions just above the headline.
In a bit of news that will likely be blown out of proportion like most pre-draft visits, the Buffalo Bills are hosting a player at a position where their cupboards appear to be stocked and full.
According to Buffalobills.com, the franchise is hosting four players for a pre-draft visit. The most notable of those four players is Alabama running back Trent Richardson.
Richardson is thought to be a potential top five talent, but plays a position that has been de-valued as years have passed in the NFL Draft. The Bills already have four running backs on their roster currently in Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller, Tashard Choice and Johnny White.
The other three players in for a visit are Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams, Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones and Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson.
Adams and Jones are thought to be fringe first-rounders at this point, while Wilson is right in the middle round range due to his lack of height.
The Bills have the tenth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
For much of the past two years, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck has been the penciled-in player atop almost every NFL mock draft.
But is it as set in stone for the actual 2012 NFL Draft on April 26?
According to ESPN's Michael Wilbon, the Indianapolis Colts are still considering using the first overall selection on Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Appearing on Tony Kornheiser's radio show on ESPN980 in Washington D.C., Wilbon said the following of the situation:
“By the way, I will tell you this,” Wilbon said. “It’s not like I’m following this closely, but I had the occasion over the weekend to talk to a couple of people who have intimate knowledge of what the Colts are thinking. And you and I have talked very briefly on the show about are they still considering RGIII? Tony, I’m told they are.
"And I’m told that the main reason they are is because there are people in the organization and people they consult — and now you consult all these different people about something a s important as a number one overall draft pick, a maybe once in a generation pick. And they are of the opinion, some people that are having input into this pick, that RGIII is better in the pocket.
“They have stats, they have analysis, they have information that says to them it’s Luck who is faster to leave the pocket and not be as good in the pocket. And RGIII is better in the pocket, he’s a better pocket passer, better arm. And that they are seriously still considering RGIII.”
With 24 days to go until the actual NFL Draft is here, the pick that was thought to be the easiest of this process just got a whole lot more convoluted.
With the first and second picks of the 2012 NFL Draft nearing lock status with the top two quarterbacks, where exactly does the third quarterback factor in?
Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill greatly benefitted from the likes of Matt Barkley and Landry Jones when they elected to stay in school for another season. With them in the draft, Tannehill may have snuck in to the first round. Without them? Tannehill's stock is higher than anyone could have possibly dreamed of this time last year.
How high could he be selected?
With the emphasis put on finding that long-term quarterback of the future for desperate franchises, Tannehill is being talked about as a top five pick. Here are some draft positions where he actually might land:
3rd overall - Minnesota Vikings
While the Vikings took Christian Ponder last season, they won't be in the market for a quarterback (unless Andrew Luck astonishingly drops to their pick, which won't happen). The real reason is that the Vikings will be shopping this pick very hard for a quarterback-hungry team that's looking to jump the Cleveland Browns. Possible candidates for such a move are littered through the first 15 picks. It just all depends what type of selling job both the Browns and Vikings do to get a team interested enough to unload a bunch of picks for Tannehill.
4th overall - Cleveland Browns
After his strong pro day, some national pundits have said that they believe Tannehill is a franchise quarterback. That means Tannehill going fourth overall to the Browns is a very real possibility. Mike Holmgren and Pat Shurmur know that Colt McCoy likely isn't the future of their franchise. They will need to weigh exactly what the Vikings did last year with Christian Ponder. Tannehill may be a project at this point, likely not ready to start right away. But is the overall worth of his position enough to sway Holmgren in taking his biggest swing since arriving in Cleveland? With other prospects that have a lower bust rate out there, it's something the Browns may be debating up until their pick on April 26.
6th overall - St. Louis Rams & 7th overall - Jacksonville Jaguars
The Rams and Jaguars are much in the same situation as the Vikings if Tannehill were to drop to this point. Both teams are slotted in front of perhaps the most desperate team in the NFL to find a quarterbacking solution: the Miami Dolphins. With Kansas City, Seattle, Philadelphia and maybe a couple of other teams having interest in Tannehill, all of those franchises know they have to jump up ahead of the eighth spot to land the Texas A&M quarterback. Both St. Louis and Jacksonville have drafted first round quarterbacks in the last two seasons, so it's unlikely either will be the team that ultimately selects Tannehill. But if he drops past Cleveland, business picks up for those two in terms of trade opportunities.
8th overall - Miami Dolphins
Spurned by the likes of Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn and ridiculed by many accross the league, the Dolphins may be forced to take Tannehill just to save some face this off-season. The combination of David Garrard and Matt Moore doesn't scare many, leaving Miami in a bad way at the most important position in football. If somehow Tannehill does last to eighth overall, there is a high percentage that he will be the Dolphins pick. They may even trade up to make sure they have the ability of drafting him. But to this point, eighth overall seems like the worst case scenario for Tannehill. Not bad for a guy who is considered a "project" by some.