I recently had an opportunity to chat with Matthewcelder of Buffalobillsdraft.com. Elder is one of the finest small school scouts in the media. I asked him about about the Bills, some small school prospects, and the draft in general. Here’s what he had to say.
1). Gut feeling what are the most likely picks (in order) for the Bills in the first round?
Well given the Bills draft luncheon and comments made by our GM in interviews the path seems to be one that will lead us to either a WR or CB in Round 1. Right now all signs point to CB and the choice being either Gilmore or Kirkpatrick. There is some push for BC LB Luke Kuechly but it neither fits Buddy Nix value approach or Dave Wannstadt’s defensive philosophy to take a MLB that high.
2). Would you say that Buddy Nix has developed a draft philosophy with the Bills?
Buddy Nix drafts almost exclusively by a value based philosophy. He sees each draft pick as a treasure and wants to maximize the value of that treasure. That was never clearer than a couple of years ago when he took CJ Spiller in the first round despite having Fred Jackson on the roster. He knew that this team did not have many playmakers and that’s why he took Spiller. He didn’t care what position he played because he knew the value that you could get in a playmaker supersedes any position.
3). What are the greatest positions of needs for the Bills?
It’s a tie between OT and WR. Right now we have now 2nd option at WR to play opposite Steve Johnson and we have no LT. Many fans will disagree and say that we have last year’s draft pick Chris Hairston to man the left side, however we don’t see him as a future LT but rather a RT.
4). Adrian Hamilton was an extremely productive DE at Prairie View where do you think his value lies in the N.F.L. draft?
I think you’re looking at early on Day 3 for Adrian, I’ve heard good things from people around the league who have now reviewed his film and seen him in workouts. His Pro Day was actually pretty well attended for a smaller FCS school who only had one NFL prospect. I think his value lies with a 34 team as a standup OLB, he has a good first step and really knows how to get after the passer. He may take some adjustment to the pro game and reading offenses a little better but he should be able to contribute rather quickly in pass rush packages.
5). What are your thoughts on Ryan Steed the Furman CB?
Ryan Steed is a good CB, he struggled some in Mobile at the Senior Bowl but that’s somewhat expected considering he’s not only moving up a level but he’s also playing against that’s levels best of the best. He’s got fluid hips, and very good athleticism. His timed speed in somewhat worrisome but it shouldn’t hurt him too much. He’s scheme versatile in that he can play zone or man coverage and he’s more than willing to contribute in run defense. The best part about Steed is that when you put his tape on, his best games are v. his biggest competition, and that would namely be one Mr. Brian Quick who he shut down twice. I think Steed is a Top 100 pick.
6). How would you rate this year’s crop of small schoolers compared to year’s past?
I think it’s one of the better classes in recent memory but I also think that to compare it to past classes is a bit unfair. Talent has always been in the lower divisions of football but until recently they rarely, if ever, saw a game on TV and the NFL didn’t scout them very much. In the last ten years we’ve seen a definite shift in scouting philosophy all over the place from NFL teams like Jacksonville who love to scout and draft small school talents, to TV guys like Mel Kiper. That’s since filtered down to the internet based draft analysts like myself, Eric Galko, and Josh Buchanan. I think we would all agree that the wealth of talent that exists in the smaller schools is only starting to be understood and I think you will continue to see more and more small school prospects looked at and taken over the next few years.
7). Just how good is Amini Silatalou?
He’s a 1st-2nd Round pick. We rate him just below Brian Quick for now, but we will be releasing our final rankings on Monday the 23rd and who knows what will happen then. He’s a dominant former LT from D2 powerhouse Midwestern St. He’s going to kick inside to OG but he’s as mean and as a nasty as they come. He loves to finish blocks and he loves to put defensive players on their backs. He’s an offensive lineman coach’s dream. He’s the #3 OG in this class on our board.
8). What can you tell me about Running backs, Alfred Morris, Jonas Gray, and Joe Martinek?
Alfred Morris is a thick back in the lower body who does a good job keeping his legs churning and working his way through arm tacklers. He doesn’t have a lot of speed and he definitely isn’t going to make many long runs but he could have some developmental potential as a short yardage and goal line back.
Jonas Gray is interesting because I think he has the speed, bulk, and vision to be a very good RB in the NFL. His knee injury this year scares me some and it will probably cause him to go undrafted but many said during the 2011 season that it was Gray and not starter Cierre Wood who had more NFL potential. If he can recover from his injury and get into a camp, he could really shine.
Joe Martinek is a RB moving over to FB. That’s a tough transition to make simply because FB’s aren’t highly valued in the NFL. He’s been adding some bulk and I’m not quite sure where he is right now in terms of his weight but he was already a pretty good blocking back to begin with. He’s a likely PFA who will need to catch on with the right system.
9). Who are some of your favorite overated/underrated players?
Well in terms of over rated I think guys like SAF Harrison Smith, DT Kendall Reyes are greatly overvalued, we have both played in the 145-155 range and see them as Day 3 prospects to hear some people speaking about them as first round picks is a bit odd. I’ve been told Smith has a great shot to go in Round 1, and I wish him the best of luck but I don’t see it.
In terms of underrated guys, I really like OT Bobby Massie from Ole Miss, we moved him up to our #2 OT ranking spot a few weeks ago and I couldn’t be happier. He has a shot to Day 1 or early on Day 2 and I think he can be a LT in the NFL. Another guy we think a lot of people are sleeping in Kyle Wilber out of Wake Forest, he’ll be an OLB in 34 more than likely but he can really rush the passer and has advanced moves for his class. He could go on Day 2 and become an impact player.
10). Thought on Dale Moss?
Love him! I interviewed Dale a few weeks ago and I said on Twitter just after the interview that if I could draft one player tomorrow it would be Dale Moss. He’s a phenomenal prospect and an even better young man. His athletic ability is well known but the amount of development he’s already shown in such a short period of time is nothing short of incredible and to think that he still discovering how good he can be is rather amazing. If there is one storyline I’m going to follow from the draft it will be his.
11). Anything else to add?
The NFL Draft is football’s version of Christmas, each team will be getting new presents over the course of three days and every fan will be pumped about their team drafting the next HOF player. So let’s all just kick back and enjoy it!
A big thank you to Matt and Buffalobillsdraft.com
Be sure to follow matt on twitter @matthewcelder
Follow us on twitter @NFLmocks