New Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey's last stint as a head coach at any level occurred at Georgia Tech, where he headed up the Yellow Jackets program from 2002 through 2007. It's fairly common knowledge at this point that upon his hiring in Buffalo, he tapped into the coaching tree he cultivated at Tech rather heavily, bringing in four assistants that worked with him at Tech (along with several other coaches he spent time with in other locations).
Curtis Modkins was Gailey's running backs coach at Tech; he is now the Bills' figurehead offensive coordinator and running backs coach. Joe D'Alessandris holds the same job in Buffalo that he did at Tech (offensive line coach). Giff Smith coached the defensive line and headed up the recruiting effort at Tech, and he'll coach the D-Line here, as well. Eric Ciano headed up Gailey's strength and conditioning program at Tech; now he's splitting those duties down the middle with John Gamble in Buffalo.
The Tech-to-Buffalo pipeline may still be open for business, as well. Despite the fact that Gailey and his staff were relieved of their duties after the 2007 season, prospects that were recruited to Tech under Gailey's watch are still trickling into the league. There are four Georgia Tech prospects available this year that could all be gone by the second round, and at least two of them could be serious draft-day considerations for Buffalo. We profile those players after the jump.
DE Derrick Morgan (6'3", 266, 4.72-second 40-yard dash): I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that Morgan can't play in Buffalo's new 3-4 defensive system. You're entitled to that opinion, of course, but that opinion is also irrelevant, given the fact that Tom Modrak definitively told reporters on Wednesday that he believes Morgan can, in fact, play and excel in a 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker. Morgan is fairly universally considered the best defensive end available this year, and will be considered by both 4-3 and traditional 3-4 teams. He doesn't excel in any one area, but he's big, strong, fast, underrated athletically, and produced well in his sophomore and junior seasons (19.5 sacks, 28 tackles for loss). Put all of your notions about Morgan aside, folks, because the pure truth of the matter is that the Bills want a pass rusher, and Morgan fits the bill. His Tech status, playing talents and Buffalo's needs make him a truly legitimate candidate to be selected No. 9 overall.
WR Demaryius Thomas (6'3", 224): Though he has not yet worked out pre-draft thanks to a broken foot he suffered in pre-draft preparations, Thomas is still a serious first-round consideration for teams in need of receiving talent. He's drawn comparisons to another former Tech great, Detroit's, in terms of athletic prowess, as Thomas is a tall, thickly-built receiver with explosive leaping and playmaking ability. Tech ran an option offense that limited Thomas' opportunities as a receiver, but he still hauled in 46 passes and eight scores at a whopping 25.1 yards per pop. It's unlikely that Buffalo will seriously consider addressing the receiver position early, but they do need to add some talent there, and Thomas can't be ignored - not just because he's a Tech product, but because he is uniquely talented.
RB Jonathan Dwyer (5'11", 229, 4.68): Coming off of two straight super-productive seasons (a combined 435 carries, 2,790 yards and 27 total touchdowns), Dwyer is considered a second- or third-round prospect capable of handling a full NFL rushing load thanks to his size and running style. His workout numbers aren't impressive, but he's a powerful downhill-style runner that runs with conviction, can break tackles with ease, and while not exactly a home run threat can rip off large chunks of yardage. In a fairly deep year for running back talent, Dwyer is one of the top four or five runners available, and while there will be an adjustment period as he leaves the option and learns to catch the ball and pass block, his talent is outstanding. Buffalo may not be terribly interested, however, as they seem more interested in a smaller, quicker change-of-pace back.
S Morgan Burnett (6'1", 209, 4.55): I know. I know the Bills don't need a safety. You don't need to tell me that. Morgan is, however, a vastly underrated prospect in a deep year for safeties. Burnett's a big kid that plays a physical brand of football; he'll be at his best as an in-the-box safety, where his run defense skills can best be utilized. Burnett's capable of making big plays in the passing game too, however, as his 14 career interceptions can attest to. Like Morgan, he's not particularly flashy, but he's talented and polished enough to contend for an NFL starting job right out of the gate.