By Sal Maiorana - Rochester D&C
I attended the annual Bills pre-draft luncheon today, and as usual, there was nothing of note that was gleaned from Buddy Nix, Doug Whaley and the scouting gurus.
And that's fine: I don't expect them to tell us who they're going to pick in the first round at No. 8, or even who they like at each position. So, based on all the draftspeak and some other things that the Bills' hierarchy said regarding the roster, here are a few thoughts:
- Obviously Buddy is not going to come out and say "We stink at linebacker" but please, don't say you like the talent level and the depth of that group on the current roster. In my opinion, it's the weakest area of the team, and I've said all along they need to pick the best LB available in this draft with that No. 8 pick. Yes, everyone wants a quarterback, but with Kevin Kolb on the roster - while I'm not a big fan - I think they can skip reaching at No. 8 for a QB and address the LB need. Signing free agent LBs Manny Lawson and Marcus Dowtin doesn't change my philosophy on this.
- Buddy revealed that defensive coordinator Mike Pettine wants to move beleaguered CB Aaron Williams to safety. That makes sense to me. It's clear Williams can't cover NFL receivers one-on-one, but he could probably do well as a help guy, and covering tight ends. Plus, he has safety size. Good idea.
- Buddy saying he's really excited about what WR Marcus Easley can do is tiring. We've been hearing this for three years, and he's hardly been on the field. Injury and illness ruined his first two years. What about last year? They lost David Nelson and Donald Jones, and rookie T.J. Graham was helpless and mostly overmatched, yet Easley still couldn't get on the field. It would be great if Easley ever lived up to all the confidence the Bills seem to have in him, but I'm starting to doubt it.
- Buddy said losing Andy Levitre and Chad Rinehart to free agency does not affect the Bills draft plans. They apparently think they have enough depth there. Well, on their web site depth chart, they list three guards - Kraig Urbik, Colin Brown and Keith Williams, while David Snow and Adam Grant whoever they are) are listed as linemen, so theoretically they can be considered guards. Buddy may be overvaluing this position just a bit, similar to Darcy Regier and his core veterans.
- Buddy said the QB draft class is better than most people think. Well, OK. That doesn't mean the Bills need to reach at No. 8 to pick one. I'm coming around to the Kolb idea, and waiting to pick a QB next year. I won't be disappointed if they pick one in the second or third round and hope it pans out, but Kolb can be a one-year solution. It's highly unlikely he'll be worse than any of these rookies the Bills might pick, and chances are, he'll probably be better.