Like everybody here, I'm just counting down the days until the 25th to see how things are going to turn out. I thought I'd share a bit of what I know as of a week before the draft, but would say at the outset, that as of this moment, this post wil contain FAR more speculation than hard "information." I will try and differentiate between the two when I can, so that you are totally free to draw your own conclusions.
First--I thought it may be helpful to do a brief overview of exactly how the Bills put their Board together--I think I did this last year as well, and I apologize if this is repetitive. First, as you all know, the whole process is somewhat circular and goes on year-round literally. For example, Bill's scouts will be attending College Spring Games and practices this weekend getting ready for the 2010 Draft. However, as a starting point, at the conclusion of the College Bowl season and then the Combine, every Bills Area scout puts a grade on all the draft-considered players in their geographic area. The scouts grades are then reevaluated by their national cross-checkers who work across the country and look for seeming aberrations or to provide a second pair of eyeballs. Now the grades get kicked up a bit. Tom Modrak grades everybody. The Bills position coaches grade only those players in their specific position and don't bother with tape of anybody else. Fewell and Turk grade all defensive/offensive players depending on position, and DJ, like Modrak grades everybody. The grades are all addded and averaged and voila--a consensus ranking is established. All "character" issues are built into the grade (points taken off depending on the degree of 'the issue.') by the way--so they are inherent in the final grade so as to avoid any "on-the-clock" wrangling about that. They're built in. They will actually give grades to about 100 more players than will actually be drafted---here's where the UFAs will be signed from. There really isn't a lot of chit chat between the 32 teams as players are evluated and graded, but I do know for a fact that among the fraternity of assistant positional coaches they are always talking with each other---conversations like, "what did you have this guy at," simply as a means to double check their own sanity and make sure they haven't "fallen in love" with some bordeline player.
The Board is pretty much complete as we speak although there are always last-minute adjustments. On Thursday and Friday of this week, the entire organization will get together and will start playing "war games," e.g., 'what if scenarios. They do this for almost two full days, and in a typical year will go into the Draft feeling well prepared for virtually any scenario. In the War room will be DJ, Modrak, Brandon, Ralph, Fewell, John Guy and Turk. A smaller crowd than most teams.
HOWEVER, I have to tell you, this is NOT a typical year, by any stretch of the imagination. The entire Peters thing hangs over the organization and to say that things are fluid would be an understatement. As many others have accurately pointed out, he and his agent have put the Bills in a very bad predicament, and one which I KNOW OBD would like to resolve as quickly as possible. I do KNOW that talks with Det./Philly and others have been held--but would call them preliminary and no doubt things will heat up during the coming week. The same for Roscoe, although that is clearly less of a priority.
I can certainly say with a straight face that there is NOBODY right now who can predict with certainty what will happen next weekend. The folks at OBD can't. What if Peters is dealt? For what? What is he isn't? Same with Roscoe. I thought that MARVelous did a nice job in his recent Post about covering plausible "trade down" possibilities. There are more variables this year than in any other I can recall.
With all this said, let me make a few well, kind of predictions. I reserve the right to change my mind depending on new information as we get close to the 25th.
I will bet 90-10 that Peters will be dealt. The Bills are HUGELY motivated and may end up taking less than what we would like. His contract demands are high and the acquring team will have to consider that. BUT--we need definition on the LT situation and I am betting we get it by next Saturday evening. I believe that at least right now, Det. is the most interested
I think Roscoe will be dealt. I have NO idea what his value is as a draft pick. This is MY opinion though and comes from nowhere else. I do KNOW that OBD and KC spoke over the Free Agency period. Let's not forget that Scott Pioli once sent a 2nd AND a 7th to the Dolfs for Wes Welker. He saw how important Welker was to Matt Cassell this past year. He is also very familiar with Roscoe, his athleticism and playmaking ability and may fancy him another Welker--which as a receiver he is nowehere near to. This year's draft is deep in the O-Line. If they want to send us an unhappy Waters for Roscoe--I am all over that.
Ok--the question everybody wants to know--who will we take? I really don't know because OBD does not really know at he moment. I hope to provide more intel later in the week based on more info, but here is what I would speculate on. And yes, on an informed basis. Assuming that Andre Smith is not available (OBD doesn't think we should or will be) I believe that only three folks are being strongly considered. Robert Ayers, Pettigrew and Clay Matthews, Jr. I have my own favorite as I'm sure you do. I'd be vey happy with one, happy with another and OK with the third. But let's leave that for the next post.
I think you'll see a minimum of two, but more likely three O-Lineman taken. I believe that these will be a slight change in how they have traditional evaluated O-Lineman. Less emphasis on sheer size, and more on kiss-ass toughness and meanness. They screwed up on Dock--and to this day aren't really sure why he digressed so terribly badly--but there is a school of thought that he was just too "nice," Butler, for example, is not "nice."
I have gone on far too long with limted information so I will stop.