I’m not going to give you a play by play recap of today’s Buffalo Bills media draft luncheon. You’ve probably already read tidbits all over the internet by now, plus I’ll post the entire transcript later after media relations sends out the release.
For now, here’s a rundown of some nuggets I particularly found interesting this afternoon, and what they may mean to the draft.
♦ Aaron Williams will be moved from cornerback to safety, a move many have speculated would be coming for over a year. Williams frankly has not looked good moving his hips at corner in his first two years and most have thought his better fit was at safety. Now we’ll find out. It’s likely his challenge 2011 draft mate Da’Norris Search for a starting spot alongside Jairus Byrd.
♦ If you’re to believe that the front office says, Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel isn’t the rising draft prospect many thought. Nix called him “inconsistent” and spent much of the presser alternating praise between Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib and based off today, I’m not sure Manuel is an option for the Bills in the second-round at all, even if he were available.
♦ Sticking with the quarterback theme, Nix said there is a guy that’s worth drafting eight overall. Going based on both what was said today and rumblings I’ve heard that the team isn’t quite so high on Geno Smith, that man has to be Barkley or Nassib—or maybe both.
♦ It sounds very unlikely the Bills will use their eighth overall pick on guard Chance Warmack, even though Nix was quick to rave about his talent. Nix said he likes the Bills guards, which is pretty ridiculous considering Kraig Urbik is the only guard on the roster with any kind of proven track record. In fact, Nix said if they didn’t get a guard at all in the draft they’d be OK with who they have.
♦ Nix spoke very high of linebacker Nigel Bradham and strongly indicated the team expects him to become a three down linebacker this season. He called Bradham a “great fit for what we’re doing.”
♦ Regarding wide receiver, Nix discussed Cordarrelle Patterson and called him a “freak of an athlete” but also admitted he had a little body of work at this point. I think the Bills will at least consider him at eight but are likely to pass (my opinion.)
♦ Marcus Easley was praised, saying this could be the year he breaks out. Yeah, I’ve been saying that for three years now. I’ll believe it when he actually gets the chance.
♦ On trading down, Nix said if there’s five or six guys they value on the board they’d move back. He said it’s unlikely they’ll move up because he doesn’t want to give up valuable draft picks.
♦ Both Nix and Doug Whaley said this is the best draft class of safeties in 10 years.
♦ Based on the depth of the position, tight end is likely to be a target in the middle rounds of the draft. Nix said he expects Scott Chandler to be ready to go at training camp this summer.
♦ Lastly, the Bills began veteran voluntary workouts today and everyone other than Jairus Byrd is in attendance.
**MY FINAL TAKES**
I’ve had Matt Barkley going to Buffalo in my last two mock drafts, and I don’t think today has changed my mind. Nix knows this team desperately needs a franchise quarterback and after failing to pull the trigger on a few guys over the past couple of seasons, I think he’s going to gamble and take his shot in the first round. To me, that’s either Barkley or Nassib.
To be honest, I’m quite surprised at the lukewarm response when asked about Manuel. I really had him pegged as someone the Bills were considering early in the draft. That is still possible, folks, as smokescreens are nothing new this time of year. However, Nix is a pretty straight shooter and I tend to believe him on this.
I think cornerback could be a sleeper position the Bills target with their second pick. The Bills currently have Leodis McKelvin as their second corner behind Stephon Gilmore with not much else behind them. If Dee Milliner were to be on the board at eight that could change Nix’s thinking about taking a quarterback first. I wouldn’t even count on Xavier Rhodes either, who’s likely to be a top 13 selection.
I’m still a bit stuck on what the team is doing to do at wide receiver. I think the depth that the position will push a selection down to the third round.