Rumblings Mailbag: On Receivers, Ryan Mallett And More

We're back again for a Sunday afternoon session of Rumblings Mailbag. For the last few weeks, we've had great reader questions rolling in to buffalorumblings@gmail.com (with "Mailbag" as the subject), and I'm doing my best to get to as many of you as I can in these posts. This week's topics: the wide receivers, a possible draft day trade target, Ryan Mallett, and Von Miller.

Q: With so many up-and-coming receivers on the roster (David Nelson, Donald Jones, Naaman Roosevelt, Marcus Easley), who do you see having the hardest road toward keeping a roster spot next season? - Andrew

Given the depth at this position, six seems like the minimum number of receivers that the team will keep on the active roster to start next season. I don't think Lee Evans or Roscoe Parrish are going anywhere, and obviously neither is Stevie Johnson. Nelson found his niche as a slot and possession receiver, so he sticks. I like Jones a lot as a gunner on special teams, and he made plays offensively, so he sticks. And I think Easley gets his shot as well, given the fact that he was a fourth-round pick. As sad as it is, I think the local kid, Roosevelt, is the early favorite for odd man out. Which would stink, because he's a good football player.

Q: If there are player trades allowed during the 2011 NFL Draft, do you see Buffalo making a trade to get Tim Tebow? - Rich

I might be the only one, but I believe John Elway when he says he's not interested in moving, or giving up on, Tim Tebow. Even if trades involving players are allowed - that's a longshot by itself, given that we're less than a week away - I don't think Tebow's going anywhere. Might the Bills be interested if he were available? Sure. It's not exactly a secret that the organization liked the guy. I'm sure they'd inquire.

Q: Ryan Mallett is an intriguing prospect to me because he has the arm to be a great quarterback, but there's a ton of questions about his character. In what round would you take a chance on him knowing he's a big boom or bust risk? - Nick

Mallett, for me, is a rock solid investment in the second half of the second round. My biggest concern with him is the fact that he comes out of the same Bobby Petrino offense that produced hyped-up dudes like Chris Redman and Brian Brohm. It's a great offensive system, but it makes life very easy on the signal-caller. I like Mallett's arm (obviously) and his pocket mobility. I don't think he'll pick up an offense quickly enough to start right away, I don't like his overall athleticism, and I'm not sold on him as a person. As a developmental prospect, you'll have a hard time finding better raw tools.

Q: Everything I have read about Von Miller being the "safest" pick has Aaron Curry written all over it. Curry is a good player, but he is not the superstar that everyone said he would become. I would love to get your thoughts to why everyone thinks Miller is going to be the next big thing when they said the same thing about Curry. I just don’t see the difference. - Anthony

I'll be honest: I didn't really get this comparison. Then I looked at the athletic numbers. Looking at how closely the two compare when looking at their Combine numbers, I can see why this thought process came about:

Year Name Ht. Wt. 40 Cone Vert Broad Bench
2009 Aaron Curry 6016 254 4.52 7.15 37" 10'4" 25 reps
2011 Von Miller 6025 246 4.53 6.70 37" 10'6" 21 reps

First, let's point out that at a similar size, Miller proved in the Combine setting - and on tape, for that matter - that he's a significantly better change-of-direction athlete. Bills scout Shawn Heinlen called Miller a freak; Curry never got that designation, and this is why. Curry was always viewed as a safe prospect; Miller's viewed as a high-upside prospect.

The reason for that? They play two completely different positions - and that's by far the biggest point to make here. Curry was always a 4-3 outside linebacker. When A&M played a 4-3, Miller was first a defensive end, then a 'Jack' that rushed the passer from a hybrid position. When A&M moved to the 3-4, Miller only then became an outside linebacker. Where Curry finished his career at Wake Forest with 320 tackles, nine sacks and six interceptions, Miller exits A&M with 182 tackles, 33 sacks and one pick. Totally different roles. That's why Curry and Miller are viewed differently as prospects, and it's why the comparison doesn't hold up at all.

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