Buffalo BIlls 2011: Offseason Post-Draft Review
The Buffalo Bills continue to work on their 2011 season from various parts of the country. We are now in the second half of May, but without a CBA in place, the team is still subjected to the current NFL lockout rules. So, while Chan Gailey and his staff work at One Bills Drive to prepare for their 2011 opponents, Buddy Nix has made changes to the organization's scouting department.
Marcell Dareus shares that he is always going to hold it against Carolina and Denver that they passed him over. He brings a new type of confidence to the Bills organization. We are looking forward to his debut with great anticipation.
We will review what has been going on so far in May, in addition to sharing some interesting articles about the Bills. We will also take an early look at some of the best prospects that should be available for the Bills to consider in the 2012 NFL draft.
Tom Modrak Out, Tom Gibbons and Chuck Cook Are in
Tom Gibbons, former Buffalo Bills scout, addresses the media in the press conference that identified him as the new Director of Pro Personnel. The Bills also hired Chuck Cook as the new Director of College Scouting. These changes occurred because the Bills had promoted Doug Whaley to Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel.
Very good article by Chris Brown on the Whaley promotion can be found here. The moves are basically Buddy Nix's way of cleaning house from the prior regimes, and bringing in his own people for the future. It is safe to say that the Bills firing of prior Director of College Scouting Tom Modrak was in part due to difference of opinion in how they were evaluating players.
The Bills are still paying Modrak to honor whatever was left on his contract. But going forward, it appears that the Bills will now have a very cohesive unit in place with everyone involved knowledgeable about what Buddy Nix likes and how he thinks about evaluating college players. It should translate in to many more solid draft classes for the Bills, just like the one they completed in April.
Looking Back at the 2011 NFL Draft Class
Under the now it can be told department:
The Bills were hoping all along for Marcell Dareus to be there for their third pick. You can see the level of satisfaction on the face of Buddy Nix when he realizes that the Bills have Dareus free and clear thanks to some behind the scenes footage of the Bills war room on draft day.
Nix also revealed that the Bills did receive a number of calls to trade down from the 34th overall pick, but they chose not to. They had a list of 10 different players that they would have been happy with in the second round, and interestingly enough Kelvin Sheppard was on that list. The fact that they got him in the third round was a pleasant surprise for the Bills.
The drafting of Aaron Williams in round two and Da'Norris Searcy in round four gives the Bills some insurance in the potential free agency negotiations with Donte Whitner and Drayton Florence. It was assumed that neither guy would be back, but Nix is open to trying to negotiate a deal with both veterans. If things don't work out, they will let the rookies compete with the remaining veterans for two of the starting spots in the Bills secondary.
It also turns out that the Bills were really the only team that closely followed the progress of defensive lineman Michael Jasper during his final years in college. To the extent that he becomes something of value remains to be seen, but it will be an interesting story to follow him along in his first training camp, assuming that we have a training camp to watch.
Marcell Dareus and Steve Johnson Appear on NFL Network
Marcell Dareus quotes that reveal a little more about his personality and level of confidence:
To head coach Chan Gailey: "Coach if you draft me, I will make you look like a genius, if you don't, I'll make you pay."
To Michael Irvin, on his radio show, Dareus commented about being drafted third overall. If I ever get a chance to play Carolina I’m going to make them pay for passing up on me,” said Dareus. ”Denver I’ll get a chance to play them in the regular season (this year) and I’m going to make it hell for them every time I play against them.”
The more that I watch Dareus, and listen to him, the more I am convinced that he was the perfect draft pick for the Bills. He will be a fun player to watch, and somebody that Bills fans can root for. He will be a fan favorite for a long time in Buffalo.
Darryl Talley & Bill Earthquake Enyart Elected to College Football Hall of Fame
Former Bills players Darryl Talley and Bill "Earthquake" Enyart were named to the latest College Football Hall of Fame class of 2012.
Talley was a key part of the Bills defense during their four year Super Bowl run from Super Bowl XXV to XXVIII. His name doesn't come up often enough for NFL Hall of Fame balloting, so it was nice to see him get the nod for the college level.
Enyart was a lead blocker for O.J. Simpson. There was a write up on Enyart for those that wish to read it here. Enyart was only with the Bills for three years, from 1969 - 1971.
The Bills Top 10 Prospect List
There was an interesting story that was published by Chris Steuber that identified the top 10 Bills prospects that were aged 25 or less.
Here was his list: 1) Steve Johnson 2) Marcell Dareus 3) C.J. Spiller 4) Jairus Byrd 5) Eric Wood 6) Aaron Williams 7) Andy Levitre 8) Torrell Troup 9) Alex Carrington 10) Aaron Maybin. Basically, I am okay with this list, with the exception of Maybin. Sure there is still hope or promise that he turns his game around this year, but I would have preferred to see Arthur Moats or David Nelson's name there. Other Bills players that might wind up taking that 10th spot are Marcus Easley or Kelvin Sheppard.
In addition, Steuber also published his Big Board for the 2012 NFL Draft, which shows his top 25 picks right now. In the top five are two top quarterbacks, Andrew Luck (Stanford) and Matt Barkley (USC) and two top tackles in Matt Kalil (USC) and Matt Reynolds (BYU). What are the odds that the Bills first round draft pick is named Matt?
Bills Players Get Together for Informal Workouts
This picture was taken during the offseason as Ryan Fitzpatrick and Levi Brown got together with the Bills wide receivers ad Fred Jackson to get some work in. That is Fitz in the middle with the black tee-shirt on. You might not be that familiar with him yet, but the guy with all the muscle on the far right hand side is Marcus Easley. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact he makes on the offense in 2011.
Glad to see that the Bills have been doing some work behind the scenes. It has not been publicized much, but the offense is putting in the effort to keep the momentum from last year rolling along.
Steve Johnson by the way, made an appearance on NFL Network, and said that his dropped touchdown pass against Pittsburgh is what allowed the Bills to draft Marcell Dareus. At least Johnson has maintained his sense of humor.
Ralph Wilson and His Wisdom
Ralph Wilson was recently interviewed by Gary Myers of the New York Daily News. In the story, Myers reflected on the decision made by Ralph Wilson and Bengals owner Mike Brown to vote against the CBA deal that the rest of the owners voted to pass. The final vote was 30 - 2, but Wilson had the foresight to know that it was a bad deal and stuck to his guns.
It doesn't sound like Mr. Wilson's health is that great these days to allow him to be active in the current CBA negotiations. Just writing that sentence is scary enough for me to type out, knowing that the short term and long term future of the Bills is tied to Wilson's health.
It will be interesting to see how the final rounds of labor negotiations turn out, and if Wilson is happy with the final outcome or not. You know for sure that he will be fighting for as much revenue sharing as is possible, to help the Bills to stay competitive.
In case any of you have wondered why I have been writing less about the Bills lately, I thought I should share the following update.
Just wanted to make a brief note to my Bills faithful followers that I have accepted an offer from Bleacher Report to be part of their NFL coverage team, which means that going forward I will be devoting more of my time (75 percent) to national stories on the NFL, and as a result will be spending less time (25 percent) on writing on the Bills.
It is my understanding that this will be the case on a year-round basis, but I have the feeling that once the season starts, I will stay up as late as I need to, in order to crank out Bills stories that I think the fans want to read.Thanks again to all the Bills fans for your continued support. Go Bills !!