PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 24: Michael Floyd #3 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish bobbles the ball before making the catch against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the game on September 24, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
A few days ago, we summarized all the off-season comments from Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix leading up to the team's pre-draft luncheon. Following that luncheon yesterday, where much more was said, Nix spoke with WGR 550 in Buffalo this morning. He shared his thoughts on some of the top positions the Bills may address, and spoke specifically about some prospects.
Make sure you bookmark this and refer back to it at the end of next week during the 2012 NFL Draft to see if we can't pinpoint the Bills' moves throughout the weekend.
On trading down:
"I'd say 100 percent that there will be one [at 10] we will like."
On finding a player with the tenth pick:
"There's at least ten top players in this draft. We'll have a list of the ten that we think are of that value to us, and if one's gone we go to the next one and go to the next one. With nine picks before us, one of them will be there."
On drafting guys who don't visit:
"At the No. 10 pick, 99 percent of the time we will have visited with him. The difference is that we visit with them at a lot of different times. When we're at the combine there's a room set up with tables for each team. Every player is scheduled to be in that room when he’s not taking physicals, he’s not in the workout phase. He’s got dead time - sometimes five or six hours in the day he has to be in that room. All of our position coaches are in there at the table. We have a couple of scouts who go get players for them and bring them in and sit them down at the table and our coaches interview them. That just about covers everybody at the Combine. Joe D’Allessandris and Andrew Dees will talk to every offensive lineman that’s there. And then in the same period, at night, we pick 60 guys that they bring into our room at the hotel and we interview those 60. When we come back home we’re allowed to bring in 30 guys. Plus, when I go to workouts I’ll have a set time when I visit with guys and bring them in just one on one and we go thirty minutes and our scouts do the same thing. Having said all that I don’t think we’ll miss one every two or three years that we don’t talk to."
On whether he's met with Riley Reiff and Michael Floyd, two prospects that weren't hosted at One Bills Drive:
"I spent the time at the combine with both of those guys. I went to Notre Dame and visited with [Floyd]. I went with Doug Majeski for practice and also to do tape on him, and talked to everybody up there about him. You can’t rule a guy out because we haven’t done this and we haven’t done that. We know Michael Floyd and we know Reily Reiff. Just because a guy wasn’t on this 30 visit, you can’t rule him out."
On the top cornerbacks:
"First of all, when we talk about quarterback on offense we feel like that’s the hardest position to play on offense without a doubt. Corner, to me, is the hardest position to play on defense. A guy’s going against great athletes with great speed and he’s got to react to what that guy does. He’s on an island out there and if he messes up everybody knows it. It’s mental plus it’s physical. With all the passing - you look at our offense and we have them spread out from boundary to boundary when they break the huddle, or even if they go to the huddle - so you never have enough corners. They cover kicks for you. They play on all special teams. They’re in nickel situations. They’re out there all the time. You need to draft at least one every year."
On Stephon Gilmore:
"The receivers are getting bigger and faster so you’ve got to get bigger corners. You can’t muscle up with those guys if you’re 5’8", so you struggle. Stephon Gilmore is a big, strong kid - 6’1", 190 - and got great speed. This guy’s a good tackler, a very good run player which is unusual for a lot of them but this guy is going to support the run. He can play man coverage and he’s strong enough and big enough to play bump and run at the line of scrimmage. I just think he’s a very good player."
On Dre Kirkpatrick:
Dre Kirkpatrick - 6’2", he’s 200 pounds - and has tremendous ability coming out early as a junior. He’s the same type player. For a guy his size, he’s a short-arm guy. That might work against him a little bit, but he makes up for it with his feet and his tenacity. He’s another good run player, which is very unusual for corners. I can see those guys being in the top half of the first round. They are two of the best."
On red flags with Kirkpatrick, who was arrested on a marijuana charge but the charges were dropped:
"I think you get to know those guys. You get a feeling of whether you can trust a guy or not. If you get the feeling that the more you’re around him, the more you can’t trust him, there’s a good chance you’d better stay away from him. We’ve researched that incident as much as you possibly can. We’ve got his side of the story and the official side of the story. We feel pretty good about the work we’ve done on him and about the circumstances surrounding that."
On if he feels he can trust Kirkpatrick:
"Yeah, I do. We’ve all been freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in college. Immaturity is the basis for a lot of this stuff with poor judgment, snap judgment, peer pressure that kind of thing… you always go by. You always go by testing them. Have they tested positive? Have they continued to do that? All those things figure in. Obviously he made a mistake and was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but he’s a solid person and has been at Alabama."
On wide receiver in the top of the draft:
"You look at the history of that position. Kids like to run, catch the ball, be out there where everybody can see them. The good athletes like to play wide receiver. If they’ve got the ability that’s where they are going to play. You look at the number of wide receivers who play great in this league and when they were drafted - Stevie Johnson drafted in the seventh round, Victor Cruz, he was a free agent - those guys come up every year. In a roundabout way I’m answering your question. We think that you can get a good-sized speed receiver in the third or fourth round."
On the depth at offensive tackle:
"I think it’s better than a lot of people say it is. I think it’s better than it normally is. Normally you’ve got three or four guys that you think can come in and play, and we think there are probably twice as many this year. We’ve got a chance to get one. If we don’t get one at ten, we’ve got a chance to get one after that."