Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bell's decision could affect Bills' No. 1 draft choice


Free agent left tackle Demetrius Bell is slated to meet with Green Bay later this week, and his visit may have a larger impact on the Bills than he thinks.

Bell, who was offered a contract by Buffalo before entering the free-agent market, has made it clear he isn't dead-set on staying with the Bills, already meeting with Washington last week. The 6-foot-5, 311-pounder has drawn interest from Arizona, as well.

Bills general manager Buddy Nix made it abundantly clear Monday that the team isn't dead-set on pursuing the third-year tackle either.

“Demetrius wanted to test the market I think and we told him to go ahead and do that,” Nix told SiriusXM NFL radio. “We made him an offer and didn’t hear anything back from him so I assume they’re looking for something else. Chris Hairston did a good job for us and we think he can handle it. We’re not concerned about it.”

Despite his lack of concern, losing Bell and moving Hairston to the starting role could affect how the Bills approach their No. 1 pick come draft day. writer Chris Brown, among others, has mentioned names such as Iowa's Riley Reiff and Stanford's Jonathon Martin for the Bills top pick if Bell doesn't re-sign, and talks of a wide-receiver pick in Michael Floyd out of Notre Dame are out there as well if a competent tackle isn't available when the No. 10 pick comes around.

Buffalo was adamant about its need to improve its deep-threat game in the beginning of the free-agency period, but the team did little in terms of wooing potential candidates. And with only two big-name wideouts left on the block in Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace and San Fran's Braylon Edwards, it's looking more and more like the Bills may try to fill that need via the draft, especially after the their big-name signings on the defensive side of the ball.

Despite being one of the highest-ranked tackles left on the market, the Bills may be better off letting Bell go, especially given his injuries the past couple years. And with a plethora of talented wideouts in this year's draft class, Buffalo may be able to fill both needs with their first two picks.

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