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Thoughts on Bills Free Agency Thus Far

Mike Watkins

3/19/17

@merk256


A little over one week into free agency and the Bills are picking their spots. They haven’t made any splash signings which is completely fine by me. Far too often those signings bust and blow up your cap. The Bills have chosen on the other hand to be calculating and address depth while adding a couple quality starters


This to me is how the Bills should be operating in Free Agency the vast majority of years. If they are ever going to turn this ship around it will have to be from drafting well and signing their own


DB Micah Hyde: Often referred to as the Swiss army knife of DB’s Hyde offers the Bills a lot of flexibility if they can’t address CB or S in the draft or later in FA’cy. You can play Hyde at any position in the secondary and he will be solid too good. He also has a knack for playing bigger when the lights go brighter. The Bills got themselves a starter and at a good price. Where he starts is to be determined but it was a good get for day 1


S Jordan Poyer: I liked Poyer a lot coming out of Oregon State. I likened him a lot to J.Byrd. He has a very high football IQ and is built to play FS in a zone heavy scheme. He has been ok in his career so far but I think he is finally in a defense that fits his abilities which is why he and Buffalo closed the deal rather quickly on day one. This is a signing I’d pay attention to because at the very least he will be good depth and could turn out to be a good starter


FB Patrick DiMarco: Two things tell me that the Bills scored a good player with the DiMarco 1.The Falcons players and specifically the RB’s raved about him 2.The fans in Atlanta wanted him resigned and did not want to see him go. The Bills signed a throw-back player with a style that will help the ground game progress even further. By what I have seen of DiMarco Shady and Gilly are going to love him and the lanes he creates


OL Vladimir Ducasse: Ducasse is a real up and down player. There are some games where he looks like a solid NFL starter. There are other games where it looks like he really has no business being in the NFL. Its a crapshoot of what you will get game to game. The Bills should not nor do I believe they will count on him as a starter


K Stephen Hauschka: Like I said when they signed him, I am not going to sit here and pretend I have been following Hauschka career. Yes I know about the missed PAT’s but those seem to be the exception not the rule. From what I could find Hauschka seems like a very good bad weather kicker and he also gets rid of the need for the absurd philosophy of carrying a kick off specialist


WR Philly Brown: Brown is an interesting addition. He tends to get lost in the shuffle but also will come up with a big play for you if you stop paying attention to him. I look at him as a good 4/5 WR who can fill in for a number 3. Anything higher than that and you are playing with fire. That Said I do consider this an upgrade from Goodwin who couldn’t stay on the field.


DE Ryan Davis: Davis looks to be a career backup with some ok production from that role. He is what I think should be one of the priorities in FA’cy and that is to improve the depth of the roster. Davis should compete for a role on the team and hopefully improve on the overall depth of the roster which has been exposed as of late


WR Jeremy Butler: Butler could very well be a sleeper signing. He has bounced around the league in his time but the measurable are there. Butler seems like a player that just needs a team to give him more of a chance. There are a lot of Ravens fans that were not happy about letting him go. Butler could end up being one of Whaley’s FA gems that he seems to find nearly every year


WR Andre Holmes: Holmes has always had good measurable but the issue is that he cannot seem to put it together on the field. He is still a project and shouldn’t be looked at anything more than a back-up. If the staff can get more out of him then the Raiders staff did this could be a good get for the Bills. Like the other signings though his value is in that he has starts under his belt and can be a quality back up


CB Leonard Johnson: Knows the system and has played under Frazier. He fits the system and could push for a 5th CB role


WR Corey Washington: At this point should be looked at nothing more than a camp body


RB Joe Baynard: I would be surprised if Baynard even makes it to camp on the roster. At his point its just to get bodies in the room and take a look

5 Senior Bowl Prospects I like for The Bills

Mike Watkins

@merk256

1/29/17


1.Desmond King, CB/S, Iowa: King will be higher on some teams board than others. If you play a predominately man coverage scheme he doesn’t fit at CB and that team will likely view him more as S. I can see him playing well in at CB in a heavy Zone scheme but I still like him much better as a Safety. He in a lot of ways reminds me of for Bills and current Saints Safety J.Byrd. I expect him to go in the 2nd round and I expect him to either start off as a Safety or belaying there with in 2 years of being drafted


2.Duke Riley, LB, LSU: Riley is an interesting prospect. There is really only one year to go off of and while watching LSU he made a good amount of plays. He is a raw player overall but there is a lot to work with in terms of physical ability. Where he goes will depend a lot on his 40 time. He is rumored to be able to run a high 4.4. If he does that he will likely go Day 2. The farther away he gets from the that the farther down he will go


3.Carlos Watkins, DT, Clemson: I’ve been a big fan of Watkins for a while(and not because we share the same last name). Every game I watched Watkins in he is constantly giving opposing teams OL’s fits. He never stops moving and plays hard every snap. I liken him a lot to current Bills DT K.Williams. While the Bills have good starters the depth is a little suspect right now. Adding Watkins to Washington could give the Bills a nice rotation in the middle


4.Davis Webb, QB, Cal: Webb to me represents a lot of what I want in a development QB prospect. He has good arm strength and decent accuracy. He needs work though in decision making department and the mechanics of working from under the Center. I am of the mind set that the Bills should keep selecting QB's until they hit on one. Davis will likely go late day 2 to middle of Day 3. It would be worth the investment even if it means carrying 4 QB's


5.Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington: Back in December I ranked Kupp as the number 4 WR in the draft, after the Senior Bowl I don’t see him moving from that position it also has allowed him to grab a lot of attention with the rave reviews of his performance. He is the classic Slot WR that is a starting position in todays NFL. Brandin Cooks from the Saints is who I think he compares the best to

A look at the Bills Pending Free Agents

Mike Watkins

@merk256

1/25/17

Stephon Gilmore: Is Gilmore an Elite shut down CB? No, I wouldn’t put him in that rarefied air. That however does not mean he is not a very good CB, he is, and you in general should want to keep your most talented players. I fundamentally would like to keep Gilmore. The problem however is he will find big money on the open market from teams that run a heavy man scheme on defense. The Bills really cannot get into that market at their current cap situation. I think he plays elsewhere in 2017


E.J. Manuel: There is no reason to bring Manuel back. He is not even a valuable vet number 2. It is best for everyone to part ways. If he is brought back that should serve as a red flag for what Whaley wants to do at the position


Percy Harvin: Even if he is healthy you can not count on him. He should hang it up for health reason


Corbin Bryant: Bryant is a guy I want to bring back. He is a fit for any defense as a reserve. You can count on quality snaps from him. If the numbers are right he would be great to keep as quality depth


Jordan Mills: I think its time to go a different way. Kromer was a fan of his. He was abused most of the year


Reggie Bush: lololol…no….


Justin Hunter: He is worth a one year deal to see if he can build off what he did in 2016. He may want to leave but I think this would be the best opportunity for him to get snaps and succeed


Zach Brown: Brown is an interesting case. He found a home in the Rex Ryan defense but the McDermott defense brings him back to an alignment where he saw very mixed results. I would like to bring him back because his coverage skills will be valued in this defense and they are hard to find at the LB position. Of the big 3 free agents I think he is the most likely to get a deal from the Bills


Robert Woods:I like Robert Woods and think he is a good number 2. This however will make it hard to sign him. The numbers he will likely get on the open market will dwarf what the Bills want to do. The issue is while he is a good number 2 he is not good enough to carry the passing game when your number 1 goes down. I’d like to bring him back but I don’t see the Bills doing it


Jerome Felton: I could see the Bills bringing him to camp, I don’t see him making the roster


Ramon Humber: Good Special Teamer but is a misfit in the defense, gone


Lorenzo Alexander: I would not blame him for wanting to cash in with another 3-4 heavy defense. In this defense he is a misfit but still an all pro level special teamer. He’s still a great team player I give it 50/50 he’s back


Leger Douzable: Doesn’t fit, will be gone


James Ihedigbo: Worth a camp invite, nothing more


Robert Blanton: I wouldn’t bring him back, exposed all year


Corey White: Id move him to Safety and take a look at him in camp on a vet min


Colt Anderson: Worth a camp invite on a vet deal for Special Teams ability


Lerentee McCray: Doesn’t fit the new scheme


Brandon Tate: Worth a deal for ST’s ability, I’d like to bring him back


Brandon Spikes: Defense is a horrible fit for what he does. He is still valuable on short yardage situations but its hard to justify a roster spot for that


Sergio Brown: Brown is worth a one year deal and of the free agent safety’s on this list I think he would be the most likely to stick as hopefully only a reserve


Marquise Goodwin: Goodwin is a good guy, as about as good as you could hope for off the field. That said I see no reason to bring him back. It’s just time to move on


Chris Gragg: Worth a one year deal with maybe an option for a second year to see how he recovered from his injury

Thoughts on McDermott and Staff

Mike Watkins

@merk256

1/21/17

 

It’s been over a week since Sean McDermott has been named the coach of the Buffalo Bills. Of the coaches that had interviewed with the Bills or were rumored to be connected to the job McDermott was the coach I felt would best suit the team, city, and its fans. I’m pretty happy with this hire overall and believe the Bills finally got it right with this hire. I wanted until his staff was mostly filled to fire off some random rapid fire points, here they are

 

Mentors: I have been a fan of McDemott’s since his days in Philadelphia. The time he spent under Andy Reid and Jim Johnson is extremely valuable and will pay dividends. Jim Johnson was an excellent DC and to have learned under him while being under one of the better offensive HC’s of the past 3 decades will serve him well as a HC. The exposure to Ron Riveria I also think will serve him well as it showed him that you need to take gambles in this game. Going for it on 4th down and not punting from 40 yards out can sometimes pay off.

 

Humility: As strange as this sounds I actually like the fact that he was fired in Philly. It’s good to get humbled every once and awhile in your profession. It’s the best and quickest way to spurn growth and adjustments. How did McDermott respond? He went down to Carolina and produced one of the better defenses in the league throughout his tenure. That’s the type of response you want to see. Get knocked down, get back up, and get better.

 

Built for It: McDermott rose through the ranks as one should. Position coach to coordinator to head coach with good tenured time at each spot. This exposes you to a lot of aspects of a team and gives you a good understanding of how it should be put together

 

Detailed CEO: McDermott is extremely detailed but this can both be good and bad. Its good in that he will emphasize that the little things matter. It bad in that he needs to remove himself from some of the smaller details and trust in his staff. This is one of the toughest parts from moving from a Coordinator to a HC. When you are a coordinator you can get completely absorbed into your side of the ball and plan down to the smallest detail. When you are a HC you have to remove yourself from this or you will get got up in the small details while the big picture falls apart.

 

DC: Some got too caught up in looking at L.Frazier record and stats as a DC. I’m pretty confident in saying that McDermott hired Frazier because he believes he can implement McDermott’s scheme and coach it the way he wants it to be coached. McDermott didn’t hire Frazier to come and install a Frazier defense in Buffalo. Frazier is a seasoned coach who McDermott can lean on to lead the defensive staff while he oversees the team

 

OC: I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I have been following Rick Dennison’s career and any Bills fan or writer that says they have is lying to you. It looks to be like he has spent most of his career as an OC in name but really has been an Offense Caddy to an offensive minded Head Coach. This is a bad thing he has been exposed to a lot of winning teams. He clearly has been around the NFL and stuck in it for a long time which bodes well for him and is clearly a qualification that McDermott held in high regard. He wasn’t my first choice, wasn’t my last choice, I like him better than Olson, and I’m intrigued to see what he does with the offense. I know this though, when a coach shows up to a meeting with multiple Super Bowl rings most players are going to give him the benefit of the doubt

 

Tyrod: I’m seeing a lot of “Denver wanted Tyrod when Dennison was there so that means he will want him here” First off we do not know who in Denver wanted Tyrod. Second we do not know exactly what they wanted him for. They could have wanted him because they thought he was a really good backup who knew the system, not a 16-million-dollar starter. So while it seemingly bodes well from 3 miles up I think some major details are missing.

 

43: Fundamentally and Conceptually I have always preferred a 4-3 defense to a 3-4. I just think that a 43 defense allows it players to play fast and do what they do best. With that said the Bills never really had the parts for the 34 defense Rex wanted to install. The current group now is far better suited to what McDermott has historically done.

The Curious Case of Tyrod Taylor

Mike Watkins

12/29/16

@merk256


It has been quite a ride with Tyrod Taylor and the Bills for the past nearly two years. From a basically unknown signing to a franchise trying to maneuver its way out of the balance of the 92 million dollar extension signed over the summer. There have been QB’s in the past that have sparked a lot of debate but Taylor and what the Bills are doing with him now has garnered the attention of not only the local media but the national media with a lot of head scratching.


With previous Bills QB’s the masses generally were in agreement towards the end with a few outliers that there are in every crowd. There seems to be a general split though however with Taylor. Some see him as the best the Bills can do so they might as well stay with him. Others view him as a plateau talent with faults and the search must continue on without his hefty price tag.


The Bills curiously decided to announce, shortly after they fired Rex, that Taylor would be a healthy scratch and that EJ Manuel would be getting an audition for a possible roll with the team in the future. I’m sorry (actually I’m really not) but I do not buy any of this. This is nothing but a charade from top to bottom

First and foremost, you do not bench your starting QB of the past 2 years one that you just gave an extension too this past summer and coming off arguably his best game of the year for the sake of a “Business Decision”. Let’s be completely real the decision has been made, Tyrod Taylor is done as a Buffalo Bill. There will be no coaches decision with whomever the Bills roll out there as the next Head Coach. If they thought for 1 second that he was the QB of the future they wouldn’t disrespect him in front of the league, media, fans, and his own teammates by benching him for fear of actually having to pay him. Its ludicrous at best


I know fans want to believe and they have been sold that the next coach will make the decision. Which flies completely against the reports that Whaley will have final roster say. So lets get this straight, he is going to let the new Head Coach decide the fate of the most important position in the game and then he gets the leftovers as far as roster decision? No, the reality is Taylor is not Whaley’s guy, Taylor is Rex’s guy. Rex found him and pushed to acquire him and has been his staunchest supporter through his tenure. There were reports for weeks that the Bills wanted Taylor benched in favor of EJ Manuel. Which leads me to my next point.


This is much more about EJ Manuel this week than fans want to believe or have been told. Manuel is to Whaley what Tyrod Taylor was to Rex, his guy. I’ll assume Whaley wants to see if A.Lynn has been able to get more out of Manuel the way he was able to get absolutely everything he could out of Tyrod.

The fact that they say this is some tryout for next year makes about zero sense. EJ will be a free agent and some team somewhere will give him a deal and a possible shot to compete for the starting position. Hue Jackson for one was quoted as saying he liked EJ Manuel and would be able to work with him (Any shock here that Whaley preferred Hue Jackson, see more dots connecting?)


This start is Whaley’s last chance to show that EJ could still possibly live up to that 1st round selection that Whaley spent on him. If it wasn’t it makes far FAR more sense to give the start to Cardale Jones, who while raw would benefit far more from a full game of live in season action than EJ Manuel. Jones is going to be on this roster next year and will spend the entire off season with the Bills. EJ Manuel may not however unless he turns in a performance that Whaley can justify an extension for. So again, Why not start Jones? The answer is Whaley still wants his first round QB selection to pan out no matter how many shots it takes.


With that said on game 16, even if the Bills started Taylor they would still head into the offseason with question marks at the QB position. Is Tyrod Taylor a bad QB? No, he is not but that also doesn’t make him a good one either. He really is middle of the road when it comes to QB’s and I honestly do not think you can ever win consistently with him.


You can break down all the stats and cut up all the analytics or you can save yourself the time and just watch how opposing defenses play him and game plan for him. All the good DC’s and defenses that play against him recognize and respect two things he does well.


One, he throws a really nice deep ball. There really is no argument here when it comes to that. It especially gets better when he has Sammy Watkins at his disposal. Two, he can and will hurt you with his legs. Taylor is not just a good running QB he is an excellent one. When he gets in the open field he is the equivalent of a high end slot WR with the ball in his hand. He has done a lot of damage to opposing teams with his legs and it has helped make up for some of his deficiencies.


Now the issues, and the issue with the issues is that I do not think any of them can be coached away. The most glaring one is an ability you either wake up with or you don’t. Taylor has little to no ability to anticipate or throw WR’s open in the short to intermediate parts of the field. He has no sense of timing in this area at all and its where opposing teams and the better DC’s of the league dare him to beat them.


These issues are why he tends to struggle against teams with even above average defenses. The opposing team is daring him to beat him with his arm in the short and intermediate. When the book on your QB is that he cannot beat you with his arm sans deep throws that should be a pretty big red flag about your QB.


The problem here is you are not teaching any of this to a 20 year old QB let alone a 27 year old QB. It’s something either you have or you don’t in my opinion. Many coaches careers have ended due to the belief that you can teach and coach this. It is my belief that you cannot.


So that has left the Bills in the situation they are in, do you go forward with a QB you know has big deficiencies that will cost you games and make it really difficult to ever get a win against a good defense at his price tag? Me personally, I do not think the team will be ever be built up enough to be able to mask his faults enough to get this team back into the playoffs. The key players are getting older and there is just too much movement year to year to sustain it. Plus the whole “just build the team up around him” theory only works if said QB’s price tag is low, Taylors is not


I also believe this is what Whaley and the front office have concluded and they do not want to be on the hook for another 30 million while they try to improve the position. Whaley’s best case is that A.Lynn can get the same or near the same out of EJ or Jones at a fraction of the cost. With that in mind the move to bench Tyrod and start EJ becomes a lot clearer.


Whaley is definitely a guy that likes to gamble. He right now is gambling that Tyrod will go somewhere else and perform at the same level and that he will be able to get better or the same out of whatever QB lands under the center in 2017 for the Bills. If he loses that gamble however he will likely find himself in the same position Rex is this year. One thing I do respect about Whaley is if he is going to strike out, he’s going to strike out swinging for the fences, not the double…I’d be doing the same thing

A Look at Possible HC Candidates for The Bills

Mike Watkins

12/27/2016

@merk256

 

So here the Bills are yet again just two years later, back searching for another Head Coach to lift this team like a phoenix from the depths of despair. Of course that is what it will be sold as, it has time and time again. It’s pretty laughable at this point. There is more discussion on how the Bills front office will spin their latest dumpster fire rather than what will be done to actually correct the fundamental issues with the team

 

I would like, for a nice change of pace, to be giving my opinion on the Bills playoff matchup or what they plan on doing with the 28th or even better yet 32nd pick of the first round. Yet here I am again looking over Head Coaching candidates and then I will be on to seeing what the Bills will be doing with their top 18 pick

 

In any case below is listed who I think possibly will and should get looks. Pay close attention because the list won’t change that much when the Bills do this again in two years. Well except I will also be including GM candidates.

 

Here is some of what I look for in Head Coaches

 

-Natural Leader: This one seems obvious but its not. Either you wake up a leader or you don’t. You cannot in my opinion become one by reading a book, or taking a class, its something that is in you from day one

 

-The ability to identify coaching talent: I cannot stress how important this is. A Head Coach is only as good as his staff. Go back over the history of the league and you will see all the great ones have this attribute. They can all identify coaching talent and they can get that talent to follow them

 

-Innovative: The league is consistently changing, you are either ahead of it or behind it. Being ahead of it is the key to any type of sustained success. Last thing you want is a coach to bring in the playbook and philosophies of the 90’s thinking it’s going to work today (Cough, Cough, Wanny…)

 

-Driven: Being a NFL Head Coach is a 24/7/365 job. Losing can not be acceptable or tolerated at any time

 

 

In House Candidates


Anthony Lynn, OC: Lynn is the only in house coach with a shot at the gig. He has garnered attention in the past and showed some real promise as he was able to get a lot out of a hobbled Bills offense in 2016. While the running game was the best in the NFL the passing game left a lot to be desired at points during the season. By all accounts he seems to have the respect of his players and by a good amount of people in NFL Circles


Probability: High, he by all accounts seems to be the front runner at the moment

 


College Ranks


David Shaw, Stanford: for the 3rd search in a row he would be in my top 3 and my top candidate from the college ranks. He is a natural leader who players want to follow. He would have access to a lot of qualified coaches would join him on his staff. Unfortunately he will not leave Stanford sans a unreal deal

 

Probability of getting the gig: Very Low, really like him but he’s not leaving Stanford for Buffalo

 

Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M: He’s flirted with the NFL before but has said to love the college lifestyle and the state of Texas. He also has an unreal contract that would provide any team a lot of hurdles

 

Probability: Very low, See Shaw

 

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan: Would be my top choice overall, ZERO chance he even considers it

 

Probability: hahahahahahaha, Keep dreaming Bills fans

 

James Franklin, Penn State: The Pegulas affinity for Penn State is well reported. Still even they know that Franklin is still a little to green to be a real candidate for the gig. I wouldn’t be surprised if they give him an interview as a show of respect for him and to give him a glimpse into the process for the future

 

Probability:  Low, but a dark Horse

 

Nick Saban, Alabama: Excellent college coach who had a mediocre NFL run. Its rumored that he may want back into the NFL to give it another go given how he failed in Miami. To do that though it’s also rumored it would take an extraordinary offer. Saban should stay in college. While I consider him a good coach, his best attribute is that he is a world class recruiter and that skill is rendered moot on the NFL level

 

Probability: Very low, I cant see him leaving Alabama for the NFL unless there is a boat load of cash on the table and a franchise QB in place or a draft pick that lands him one

 

 

Coordinators

 

J.McDaniels, OC, Patriots: his name has been getting hotter and hotter but he seems to be content in New England and will be calculated in picking his next spot. He has previous HC experience which is a big plus. He also knows that ownership and access to a franchise QB are what make good teams great for a long time. The Bills may have the money and willingness to spend but they have nothing that resembles a franchise QB. My guess is he is waiting out the Colts gig or to succeed Belichick in New England

 

Probability: Low, sad to say but I think he will have better options than Buffalo and will look to leave the AFC East

 

M.Patricia, DC, Patriots: McDaniels counterpart seems a more likely option for the Bills but I still think it’s a long shot. While considered very bright and a natural leader I think he would likely want to leave the division to get away from Brady and Belichick. I also think he will wait for a much more stable looking franchise. With that said the front 4 and the talent the Bills still have there may be enough to persuade him to jump ship

 

Probability: Moderate, Less options than McDaniels in my opinion and Buffalo could be appealing to him

 

Frank Reich, OC, Eagles: I like Frank, really I do. It would make for a great story. The QB of the greatest comeback ever in football leads another great comeback for the playoffs. Problem is I really don’t see him as being that good of a HC candidate. He is an above avg OC but I don’t know that I would want him leading the ship. Still the Buffalo ties cannot be ignored so I expect him to be a player in the game

 

Probability: Moderate, Like I said the Bills connection is there but I don’t think his resume gets him the gig

 

Jim Bob Cooter, OC, Lions: He should be in contention for the name alone. JBC gained acclaim for name now people pay attention to his game. He has made Matt Stafford into an MVP candidate and has been in charge of a very steady Detroit Lions offense. I really like what he has done in Detroit and I hope he gets some strong consideration

 

Probability: Moderate, he has gained steam but I think he is a year away

 

Teryl Austin, DC, Lions: JBC couter part in Detroit I must say I am not a fan of. I think he is one of the more overrated candidates out there. The Lions defense has been up and down and I have a hard time buying into him even though the media seem to be big fans of his. The reports are that Whaley likes him so that will put him in the game

 

Probability: Good, Whaley likes him and if he is looking for a HC who won’t challenge him or his request Austin is the guy

 

Harold Goodwin, OC, Cardinals: Goodwin I go back and forth on as a candidate. On the one hand Goodwin is very well respected around the league and will have great access to excellent coaches who will want to join his staff. We has also been mentored by some of the best in the game. I however in general do not like taking a coordinator from a HC who’s expertise is that side of the ball. In Arizona its pretty clear Arians runs the offense. He’s definitely worth the consideration but its very boom or bust

 

Probability: Moderate, He could be the dark horse among coordinators

 

Jim Schwartz, DC, Eagles: How ironic would this be? I understand Schwartz defense was excellent that one year he was the DC but he also seemed to be working with the perfect storm of a front 4. You can’t count on that again and he would be the HC not the DC so that has to be kept in mind

 

Probability: Low, I honestly just don’t see the reunion happening

 

Sean McDermott, DC, Panthers: Realistically McDermott should be a HC right now and I think he will be one this offseason. His scheme despite some up and downs this year is still effective. He has the demeanor that teams look for in a HC. If its not in Buffalo it will be somewhere. Buffalo may appeal to him given the investment the team has made and continues to make in the front 4

 

Probability: Moderate, Decent candidate with a system that could work right away. He could make a push for the job

 

Kyle Shanahan, OC, Falcons: This year has made his star brighter but I have to say I am luke warm on Shanahan at best. I like that he makes it a point to get the ball to his playmakers. However, if that does not work he seems to have no idea how to make the adjustments to get he offense go again. Which leads to a lot of up and down games. Given that a HC needs to be able to make a lot of in game adjustments I view this as a red flag

 

Probability: Low, I don’t see there being a mutual interest but stranger things have happened

 

Todd Haley, OC, Steelers: Haley has to be considered a top candidate. He comes from the Steelers which gives him the obvious connection to Whaley. He has completely rehabilitated his image and career in Pittsburgh and learned from one of the best coaches in the game Mike Tomlin. He has been a HC before which means he knows what he is in for and could possibly learn from his mistakes. I’ve never been that big a fan of him but I think he will draw a lot of interest from the Bills

 

Probability: Good, as this process goes on I think you will hear his name more and more in connection with the Bills

 

Darrell Bevell, OC, Seahawks: He is the coordinator I wanted 2 years ago and he still tops my list two years later. Whomever snatches up Bevell is going to be very happy. He Has been with a multitude of coaches of various styles and teams. Is well respected around the league and is known as the coach who found and cultivated R.Wilson. I like Bevell because he is very flexible with his game plans week to week and often goes outside the box

 

Probability: Moderate, He’d be very high on my radar but I’m not sure he’s high on Whaley’s

 

Former Head Coaches, Big Names

 

Bill Cowher, CBS/Steelers: It’s amazing that Mr.Cowher always seem to have a craving for Buffalo area food every time the Bills head coaching job opens up

Probability: In Buffalo folklore, Excellent….In Reality, I have a better shot at being the next HC

 

Tom Coughlin, Formally of the Giants and Jaguars: It’s no secret that Coughlin did not like being forced out of New York and wants to get back into the HC game. He visited Buffalo in the spring and has been rumored to have an eye for the job. He likes the Pegulas and he thinks it’s a win now roster. I’ve always been a fan of his and one of the reasons why is his ability to assemble coaching staffs. He Also has been a thorn in the Patriots side which will be appealing in that he can go into the ownership and say “I know how to beat the Patriots, I have beat them, and I have beat them on the biggest stage”

 

Probability: Very Good, he has interest and the Bills seem to have mutual interest. If they go big name former coach I believe Coughlin will be the guy  

 

Jon Gruden, ESPN/Bucs/Raiders: I personally have never been a fan of Gruden but he does have a ring and he did turn around the Raiders when they were horrid and ran by a delusional owner. That said he is said to be happy where he is and will only go to a team with a franchise QB in place. People mention the Rams but the team he really has his eye on is the Colts

 

Probability: Very Low, I honestly don’t think he will have any interest

 


So Who Would I go With?


If It’s a coordinator I am going with D.Bevell. I think the Bills need someone who knows how to coach and identify the QB position. Bevell has been around enough very good QB play to know what it looks like and he knows how to get the most out of it. I think he is an innovative mind who adjust his offense as needed to what its strengths are. His time under Carroll has been extremely valuable. He has been around the league enough and under enough good coaches that he knows were all the up and coming coaching talent is in the league. When I see Bevell he reminds of Sean Peyton time and time again. I think that is exactly what the Bills need

 

If it’s a coach with Former HC experience, I am going with Coughlin. I think Coughlin can win with this roster right now and he has enough clout in the league where he could set up an excellent staff now and for when he departs. He is the type of coach this team needs right now. It needs accountability and structure. None of which it has. He also seems to have an interest in being here and wanting to win here. That may mean more to some than others but I tend to like it.


Who do I think it will be?


In all honesty I think it will be T.Austin from Detroit or A.Lynn. I think Whaley wants someone who won’t challenge him and his decisions. His job is on the line so he is not going to want a coach with a Super Bowl ring going rouge on him and end running him to ownership. He will definitely want that kept in check. Neither of these two have the clout to do so. Hence I believe one of the two will be the next HC of the Buffalo Bills

Top 5's December, S

Mike Watkins

@merk256

12/30/16


1.M.Hooker, Ohio State

2.J.Peppers, Michigan

3.J.Adams, LSU

4.B.Baker, Washington

5.E.Jackson, Alabama


Overall: Very top heavy class with a lot of high end talent. Hooker to me has top 5 talent his instincts and range are excellent. Peppers may be the best athlete in the entire class. He is a jack of all trades and will need a DC who knows how to utilize him


Who I like for the Bills: Hooker is the top player on the board for the Bills. If he is on the board when the Bills go on the clock it would take me all of one second to get that card in

Top 5's December, CB

Mike Watkins

@merk256

12/30/16


1.M.Lattimore, Ohio State

2.Q.Wilson, Florida

3.S.Jones, Washington

4.J.Lewis, Michigan

5.D.King, Iowa


Overall: Arguably the deepest position in the draft, if you are in need of a CB you are in the right draft. It has top end talent and it is a deep class where quality possibly starting CB’s can still be had late in day two


Who I like for the Bills: I expect the Bills to go CB early and if they do a guy I really like is S.Jones of Washington. I think he can play in any style of defense and is an instant starter

Top 5's December, LB

Mike Watkins

@merk256

12/30/16


1.Z.Cunningham, Vanderbilt

2.R.McMillan, Ohio State

3.R.Foster, Alabama

4.A.Walker, Northwestern

5.J.Davis, Florida


Overall: It’s a good but not great class. It is also the class where you will see the biggest deviation in rankings. To me there is no top 10 pick but I have Cunningham as a top 20 and then there is a mix bag of players who will be higher or lower on boards based completely on what defense is being run


Who I like for the Bills: Player I have always liked and likely could be had in the 3rd is Biegel. He is a sleeper in this draft and is one of the more well rounded LB’s in the draft

Top 5's December, DE

Mike Watkins

@merk256

12/30/16


1.M.Garrett, Texas A&M

2.D.Barnett, Tennessee

3.T.Williams, Alabama

4.C.Lawson, Auburn

5.C.Harris, Missouri


Overall: In this draft there is M.Garrett and then there is everyone else. He is the gem of the 2017 class and will either go 1 or 2. Barnett below him is another top 10 player. From there is starts to thin out rather quickly. Its an odd class in that it has 2 blue chippers and then a pretty big drop then remains steady and gets deep with decent players


Who I like for the Bills: I don’t expect the Bills to be in the DE market early in the draft. A guy I like and should be available day 3 is J.Carraway from TCU. Has some good attributes and could develop

Top 5's December, DT

Mike Watkins

@merk256

12/30/16


1.J.Allen, Alabama

2.C.Brantley, Florida

3.V.Vea, Washington

4.C.Watkins, Clemson

5.M.Adams, Auburn


Overall: J.Allen is a top 5 talent that can fit any scheme. Brantley is really good when he wants to be, he doesn’t always want to be however. It’s a good class with top end talent and depth down through for any type of defense


Who I like for the Bills: I like Watkins for the Bills and not just because of the last name. I think he is a bit of a Kyle Williams clone and would make a great understudy to him

Top 5's December, IOL

Mike Watkins

@merk256

12/30/16


1.B.Price, Ohio State

2.D.Johnson, Pitt

3.P.Elflein, Ohio State

4.D.Feeney, Indiana

5.Q.Nelson, Notre Dame


Overall: Its an average class overall. There is no one who is going to wow anyone but there will be a decent number of players who are solid starters for a decade


Who I Like for The Bills: I think the Bills are set at OG after years of futility. Nelson from Notre Dame though who make a nice player to groom to eventualltake Incognito spot

Top 5's December, OT

Mike Watkins

@merk256

12/30/16


1.R.Ramczyk, Wisconsin

2.C.Robinson, Alabama

3.G.Bolles, Utah

4.D.Dawkins, Temple

5.R.Johnson, FSU


Overall: Id rate the glass good overall. It has top end talent and will remain strong through day two with good depth. If you are a team in need of an OT for either side you like what you see


Who I like for the Bills: I like C.Robinson from Alabama because I believe that he is more of a RT than a LT and could slot in and start immediately. He would add immediately to the run game as he adjust to pass protection on Sundays

TOP 5's December, TE's

Mike Watkins

@merk256

12/30/16



1.O.Howard, Alabama

2.J.Butt, Michigan

3.E.Engram, Ole Miss

4.B.Hodges, VT

5.J.Leggett, Clemson


Overall: The top 2 have a lot of promise as three down TE’s and then there is a drop off. I would consider it an average class overall. Some top talent and then a steady downward trend


Who I like for The Bills: If J.Butt is there in the third round due to his injury it’s a no brainer and I would even consider him in the second. He’d be ideal compliment and eventual successor to Clay

Top 5's: December, WR's

Mike Watkins

12/19/16

@merk256

 

1. M.Williams, Clemson

2. C.Davis, W.Michigan

3. J.Ross, Washington

4. C.Kupp, E.Washington

5. C.Sutton, SMU

 

Overview: In my opinion its Mike Williams and everyone else. I had Williams as a top 20 prospect last year before the injury and now he’s a top 10 prospect. Below him there is going to be a lot of movement through the process. The fastest rising WR of the group is John Ross of Washington

 

Who I like for the Bills: Corey Davis out of Western Michigan would be the ideal fit for the Bills across from Sammy Watkins (Of who I think will be available and when). Right now the Bills are going to have a mass exodus of their WR unit this offseason. Keeping Woods would be nice but they will likely be priced out of that option. The Bills will have to spend one of their first three picks on a WR

Top 5's: December, RB's

Mike Watkins

@merk256

12/13/16


1.C.McCaffrey, Stanford

2.D.Cook, FSU

3.L.Fournette, LSU

4.C.Samuel, Ohio State

5.A.Kamara, Tenn.

 

Overview: In a word, loaded. How your rank these RB’s is basically going to come down to what you value in a RB. If you like a punishing ground and pound RB Fournette is the guy. If you prefer RB’s who make people miss and are good in all 3 phases then Cook and McCaffrey are your guys. I prefer RB’s in the mold of the latter. To me they are a more valuable component to a team and are harder to unearth than battering rams. They also have a longer shelf life

 

Who I like for the Bills: I wouldn’t mind if the Bills stayed out of the RB game in 2017 but if they do dabble in it a name that is intriguing to me is J.Conner from Pitt. His style will fit well with what the Bills have and give them the battering Ram to go with the elusive RB’s they have in McCoy and Gillislee

Top 5's: December, QB's

Mike Watkins

@merk256

12/10/16








1. M.Trubisky, North Carolina


2. D.Kizer, Notre Dame


3. P.Mahomes, Texas Tech


4. D.Webb, Cal


5.D.Watson, Clemson



Overview: I’m late to the Trubisky bandwagon but there is a lot to like about him and right now is the favorite to be the leader in the clubhouse for the top QB off the board. That said, I do  ot have a single first round grade on any QB in this draft and I don’t see that changing. That’s not to say there will not be QB’s selected in the first round, there will be. If you are a team in need of a QB your scouting department has a tall task ahead of him to unearth the QB’s who will be successful from this group


 

Who I like for the Bills: Bills seem set to roll with Tyrod for the foreseeable future. Behind him I imagine EJ will be allowed to leave and they have spent the year developing Cardale Jones to take his spot. That said I would like the Bills to spend another late round pick on a QB to stash in the 3 hole. The QB that I like right now is Greg Ward Jr. It comes with some fine print however. I’d like the Bills staff to duel train him as a emergency 3rd string QB and WR ala K.Stewert in the 90’s. Chances of that happening are slim but I believe the Bills staff could do it


2017 PFWR Big Board

2017 PFWR Rankings  
by Anthony Macari

# Top 16
1 Myles Garret DE
2. Reuben Foster ILB
3  Jamal Adams S
4  Jonathan Allen DT
5 Malik Hooker S
6  Solomon Thomas DE
7 Marshon Lattimore CB
8 OJ Howard TE
9 Corey Davis WR
10 Jabrill Peppers S
11 Christian McCaffrey RB
12  Mike Williams WR
13 Dalvin Cook RB
14 Mitch Trubisky QB
15  Deshaun Watson QB
16 Leonard Fournette RB