Usually, beginning in late March or early April on the NFL calendar, the Buffalo Bills start disclosing which NFL Draft prospects they have brought in on pre-draft visits. It's a practice that we have followed with great interest over the last three-plus years, but it's fair to wonder if the Bills are now out of that business altogether.
If they are, it's perhaps a good business decision: in the three seasons in which we knew the identities of all 90 (30 per season) prospects the Bills toured around Orchard Park, the team ended up drafting (or signing as undrafted free agents) 11 of them. That's a fairly high batting average, and it peaked this time last year, when each of the Bills' first four draft picks - Sammy Watkins, Cyrus Kouandjio, Preston Brown, and Ross Cockrell - were on their list of visitors.
We also know that, at minimum, the Bills' last five first-round draft picks, dating all the way back to 2010 - C.J. Spiller, Marcell Dareus, Stephon Gilmore, EJ Manuel, and Watkins - were pre-draft visitors. (Obviously, that streak would have been interrupted this year, as the Bills don't have a first-round pick.) In short, then, that list of visitors was a pretty good indication of who the Bills were seriously interested in drafting.
So far this spring, the Bills have not officially disclosed the names of any prospects that have visited team headquarters. Thanks to various scattered reports, mostly from Tony Pauline, we do know the names of five Bills pre-draft visitors so far, but that's a far cry from the 30 they're permitted.
- Garrett Grayson, QB, Colorado State (Pauline, 3/23)
- Karlos Williams, RB, Florida State (Tampa Bay Times, 3/31)
- Chaz Green, OT, Florida (Pauline, 3/24)
- John Miller, OG, Louisville (CardinalAuthority.com, 3/13)
- Carl Davis, DT, Iowa (Pauline, 3/23)
- Nate Orchard, OLB, Utah (Ian Rapoport, 4/8)
Given how long ago some of these reported visits took place, it seems more likely than not that Buffalo is keeping this information close to the vest this spring - and that Bills fans will have to fish for this information in the remaining three weeks until the 2015 NFL Draft begins.