There are 78 days until the 2013 NFL Draft, so with a list of nearly 800 prospects, the Buffalo Bills (like every NFL team) have their work cut out for them to rate those players and whittle down the list to the best fits for their franchise.
There's a lot that needs to be done before that happens, though, and the Bills are in the early stages of that process now.
"Everybody gives their report and we all have a round that we put on the guy," said Bills director of college scouting Chuck Cook (via BuffaloBills.com). "We talk and we shake it out. (Assistant GM) Doug (Whaley) is pretty much the overseer, and he'll ask, 'Why do you see him here? Is he better than the guy ahead of him here?' It's really a collaborative effort."
There are several steps in the process of whittling that list down from the approximate 780 prospects it currently harbors. One of those steps is to compile background character assessments for every player. The Bills have done most of those background assessments and are now working on draft-eligible juniors.
The Bills aren't going to sit on their thumbs waiting for April to come, though; in fact, they will begin getting a bulk of their work done now.
"I think it's fair to say that we do hash it out more now than in April," said Cook. "Some guys have a high grade from one scout and a lower grade from another scout. Doug's job and my job is to tighten that up."
The process of stacking the board will take about two weeks. This will be a key tool for the Bills as they head to the combine.
For the sake of the future of the franchise, they should hope to do better than they've done under Buddy Nix so far. With 27 draft picks over the past three years, the Bills have managed to find eight starters for their team. Last year was by far the best draft the Bills have had under Gailey, with the Bills drafting four players that ended up starting eight or more games.
Who knows who will end up at the top of the prospect list, but quarterbacks and wide receivers figure to be near the top of the priority list as the Bills look to replace quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and find their next quarterback some reliable weapons in the passing game.
Here's some more news from around the AFC East.
Bleacher Report Bills correspondent Robert Quinn explains why the Bills should target free-agent wide receiver Danario Alexander.
Mike Schopp of WGR 550 SportsRadio explains why wide receiver Stevie Johnson made himself look very bad with his comments about his blatant ignorance of the Bills' off-season workout instructions.
Joe Caporoso and the TurnOnTheJets.com crew have a roundtable discussion about the team's situation at defensive line.
Eric Allen of NewYorkJets.com thinks general manager John Idzik will build through the draft.
B/R Dolphins featured columnist Thomas Galicia sets the 2013 expectations for the Dolphins 2012 rookie class.
Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald thinks the Dolphins should be looking at character issues from both sides.
Greg Bedard of The Boston Globe explains why the Patriots actually improved this year despite not making it to the Super Bowl.