Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bills zealously 'shaking out' preliminary draft board


Eighty days from now, the Buffalo Bills' draft board will be a lean, definitive list of the top prospects the team believes can help get it over .500 and into the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

Right now, it’s just a list of nearly 800 potentials that need to be whittled down. (photo: goddam, Flickr)

Buffalo coaches and scouts had the first meeting in a long list of meetings Tuesday to ascertain exactly what the needs of the team are, what direction they want to go in, and who is going to best help them get there.

With the overhaul to the team’s staff in the past month, the two sides have yet to really get familiar with one another. That will change quickly, however, as the majority of the heavy lifting will take place within the next two weeks, according to the team’s director of college scouting.

“I think it’s fair to say that we do hash it out more now than in April,” Chuck Cook told Chris Brown of “Some guys have a high grade from one scout and a lower grade from another scout. Doug’s (Whaley) job and my job is to tighten that up.

“All told we’re talking about 780 prospects or so that we’ve got some kind of report on. Now some of those would never come close to being drafted, but it’s just us being as thorough as we can with this process.”

Cook hopes to have a preliminary board done by the end of month, which will help the team come Combine time. The team will obviously have the quarterback position toward the top of the list of priorities, but additions to the defensive front seven may also garner attention since coordinator Mike Pettine is looking to run a hybrid-style attack.

The Bills still have yet to find a sure-fire No. 2 receiver as well, though David Nelson did tell the Buffalo News earlier this week that he will be “ready to go” come training camp.

More than anything though, these next few weeks will be an assessment of talent, plain and simple. And whether that talent comes from the draft or from free agency (which starts March 12) will ultimately be in the hands of general manager Buddy Nix. But for now, Cook and company will be starting from scratch and giving Nix something to work from.

“Everybody gives their report and we all have a round that we put on the guy,” said Cook. “We talk and we shake it out. Doug is pretty much the overseer, and he’ll ask, ‘Why do you see him here? Is he better than the guy ahead of him here?’ It’s really a collaborative effort.”

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