It's not the biggest determing factor in the draft, but the Senior Bowl festivities began this week in Mobile, Alabama, and the Buffalo Bills coaching staff is leading the South squad in the "All-Star" event.
Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News reached Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix early in the week, and conducted great interviews. The talk with Nix ran in the Buffalo News on Wednesday morning. He spoke with Ralph Wilson on Wednesday, and published a story in Thursday morning's edition.
However, we know that coaches, GM's and owners (especially when that owner is 92-years-old) are experts at answering questions with vague answers...so I'll give you the literal translation from their discussions.
(I'll post Wednesday's interviews later today)
Buddy Nix (Tuesday)
Gaughan begins his Wednesday piece with this...
- "Buffalo Bills General Manager Buddy Nix said he's looking for a "franchise impact" player -- regardless of the position -- with the third overall pick in the NFL draft."
Translation - Nix touches more specifically on that later on...
"He thinks the Bills probably have to add a quarterback to the roster at some point in the draft."
Translation: This one is tough because by saying "at some point in the draft" doesn't exactly sound like the Bills are ready to spend an early pick on a top guy. Does Buffalo really want another mid-to-late round QB with limitations? (we've seen how bad Levi Brown is)
- "We certainly like Fitz," Nix said. "[His performance] wasn't more than we expected because I knew Chan would get him to play better. We counted on that and he did. I really like him. I think he's got a lot of qualities you need. We just need to keep putting good players out there."
Translation: This all but hammers home the fact that Buffalo won't be selecting Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Ryan Mallet or this Blaine Gabbert guy with their first round selection. Or at least, that's what Nix thinks now. Remember it's January. I actually agree with his viewpoint on Ryan Fitzpatrick
- Gaughan asks... "Do the Bills need to take a quarterback somewhere in the draft, or with the third pick?"
"Yeah, probably," Nix said, referring to the draft in general. "To answer the question of third pick, whoever is there that we think is going to be a franchise impact player for us is the guy we'll draft. Where anybody thinks it makes sense [in terms of position], it doesn't matter to me. If it's a guy that we think long-term's an impact guy, no matter what the position, we'll take him."
Translation: Well, that answers it. Pretty clear cut.
"We've done some work on him," Nix said. "We've got two more months to go, and that'll answer all the questions."
- On back to back 31 point losses to end the year...
"It says if you turn it over 13 times, you'll lose to a 4-A high school," Nix said. "I don't know what it tells you. We got a ways to go. They talk about the Jets playing their second team. We played our second and thirds, too. But it tells you something about our depth. We need more depth. We need more good players. We've said that all along."
Translation: Nix doesn't care about those losses. Sure, that many turnovers are not a stride in the right direction, but he mentions the Bills second and third teamers playing. I do like his quote about addressing depth, which is something Buffalo desperately needs to do.
- On stopping the run and the linebacker situation in Buffalo
"We had gotten small around there -- 225- and 230-pound linebackers -- and it's hard to stop the run with that. We gotta get bigger."
Translation: Duhhh. Glad he said it though. Buffalo's linebackers were pushed around like their opponent's younger brothers all season and that's exactly what they need...more beef.
- On what defense the Bills will be drafting
"We can't start over every year. You can not do that. We're a 3-4. We're scouting for a 3-4. And if we wind up with people we need to play in a four-man front some, we will. Now I think that's really what everybody [in a 3-4 scheme] does. But you gotta have a goal that this is what you're trying to get to defensively. That hasn't changed."
Translation: The Bills will play multiple fronts in 2011, with 3-4 as their base. This is how it should be. I've stated this over and over, but it takes TWO YEARS for a 3-4 defense to take shape. Look at Green Bay and Kansas City in the last three years if you don't believe me.
Nix went on to discuss Eric Wood moving to center, which will most likely happen. He also was clear about his love for Demetrius Bell's potential. Lastly, he thinks Shawne Merriman will fight through his injuries and become productive, as was evident by the Bills signing him to a two-year deal.
More to come.........