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Moody on top SEC prospects

Bills veteran scout Darrell Moody answered questions from the media at One Bills Drive today, the last day the team made its regional scouts available heading into the 2012 NFL Draft. Moody was a 31-year coaching veteran before joining Bills General Manager Buddy Nix as a scout with the San Diego Chargers in 2002. He re-joined Nix with the Bills in 2010. Moody's coaching career included stops at North Carolina State, Southern Mississippi, Louisiana State, Appalachian State, Tulane, North Carolina and Clemson.

Here were his comments in response to questions about some of the top Southeastern Conference propsects in the draft:

On South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore: “I think he’s a physical player. He’s got excellent size, and he has a good body of work. He’s been a three-year starter. I think he has played well against the run and played well against the pass, bump and Cover 2 and off-man and off-zone. I think he’s a complete player.”

On Alabama safety Mark Barron: “I think he’s a complete football player. He has an excellent body of work. He’s been a productive player in a very good league. He has been a leader on a very good football team. He’s physical against the run. He can play the run from the strong safety position and he can also move into the linebacker position in your dime package. I think he’s got good cover skills against tight ends and running backs, and I think he’s adequate against wide receivers. He’s like most safeties in coverage. You’d like to have a little help behind him against elite receivers. But I think his cover skills for a safety are real good.”

On Georgia tackle-guard Cordy Glenn: “He struggled early. He had been playing guard the majority of his career. They went through a process at Georgia where they had been knocked around a couple years in the SEC and they decided they were going to become a bigger, more physical football team. … I think as the season progressed and him moving to left tackle, I think he adjusted to it and I think their whole offensive line - at the end of the year they were probably one of the better offensive lines in the Southeastern Conference. I think they all made a lot of progress and adjusted to their size. I don’t see any reason he can’t play left tackle in this league because he’s got size, he’s got length and he’s got pretty good footwork. It’s hard to get around somebody that big and with that length.”

On Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw: "I think he can set the edge against the run. he's strong and physical against the run. He's more of a power pass rusher than a speed pass rusher. Most of the time with the elite pass rushers are speed rushers. i think he'll be a solid pass rusher. ... You know waht you're going to get every day. he's a blue-collar, lunch-pail guy who's going to bring what he's got every day."

On Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick: "Dre has got good size. he's physcial vs. the run. i think he's a good tackler. He's got good coverage skills. At times he can guess a little, which most good cover corners can do that. You just gotta make sure you guess at the right time." ... Asked why Kirkpatrick didn't intercept many passes, Moody said: "I would say his hands are average, I don't think they're great. And they probably don't throw as much in his area as they do in other areas, and the Alabama defense gets a lot of sacks."

---Mark Gaughan

 

 

Video: What's draft day like for players?

Recent Buffalo Bills draft picks Arthur Moats and Jairus Byrd tell News Sports Reporter Jay Skurski what NFL draft day was like for them:

VIDEO REMOVED DUE TO NFL COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS

Join The Buffalo News for extensive live coverage during the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night.

Watch a live broadcast beginning at 7:30 p.m., follow a ticker with draft selections and join a live chat.

The News' deep roster of sports reporters and columnists will be situated in the newsroom and at One Bills Drive to bring you the latest developments.

Jay Skurski and Tim Graham are anchoring the draft webcast from One News Plaza, with additional insight from Mike Harrington and Bucky Gleason.

Mark Gaughan, Jerry Sullivan, Bob DiCesare and Lauren Mariacher will be at the Bills' home in Orchard Park and will be getting reaction from the Bills' front office.

Scout's take: Majeski on Kuechly and Adams

In the days leading up to the draft, the Bills are making their scouts available to the media. On Monday, Doug Majeski, Brad Forsyth and Shawn Heinlen took their turn. Majeski, the team’s coordinator of college scouting, covers the Midwest and East Coast. Forsyth has the Rocky Mountain and West Coast parts of the country, while Heinlen oversees Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Over the next couple days, I’ll pass along some of their takes on players who the Bills could potentially be targeting heading into the draft, starting with Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly.

Here’s what Majeski had to say when asked whether Kuechly could transition to either the strongside or weakside linebacker spot in Buffalo’s new 4-3 scheme: “He’s played weak and inside middle linebacker at BC and he’s actually played all three spots in games over his career. Mentally, obviously, he’s very sharp. He’ll be able to handle it. Athletically he can handle a lot of the attributes of each position and he’s probably best as a ‘mike,’ but he gives you flexibility to play ‘will’ or ‘sam.’

Majeski then elaborated on Kuechly’s ability to play the pass.

“He’s really a good coverage guy. He’s got a good feel for it, got good awareness. He can run with tight ends in man, he can carry receivers down the field. He does a good job of getting in throwing lanes. … He’s good in coverage.”

Majeski also shared some thoughts on Ohio State left tackle Mike Adams, who reportedly tested positive for marijuana use at the scouting combine.

"Very talented. He’s a big man, 6-foot-7, 325 [pounds]. Obviously missed some games this year because of the NCAA suspension, but when he played, he played well," Majeski said. "He’s got a lot of ability. Still has room to get better as far as strength and [his] experience, but he should have a good future.

Majeski said the positive test would factor into the Bills' thinking about any prospect.

"With all these kids it’s a concern. It’s things we talk about," he said. "That [and] with other character concerns, whether it’s mental or other issues, you know it’s all part of our discussion when we talk about a player. It affects how you look at a player."

...

Join The Buffalo News for extensive live coverage during the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night.

Watch a live broadcast beginning at 7:30 p.m., follow a ticker with draft selections and join a live chat.

The News' deep roster of sports reporters and columnists will be situated in the newsroom and at One Bills Drive to bring you the latest developments.

Myself and Tim Graham are anchoring the draft webcast from One News Plaza, with additional insight from Mike Harrington and Bucky Gleason.

Mark Gaughan, Jerry Sullivan, Bob DiCesare and Lauren Mariacher will be at One Bills Drive to get reaction from the Bills' front office.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Fred not focused on new deal

Bills running back Fred Jackson reported for work today as the team started its voluntary offseason workout program.

Jackson, who's entering the final year of his contract, said "it's just not the time" to be worried about a new contract.

"This week [the front office has] the draft coming up. That’s what they’re focusing on. I’ll just continue to be patient and see what happens," he said. "It’s like I’ve said all along, 'I think something will get done.' [General Manager] Buddy [Nix] said that they want to get something done, so I’ll just continue to put faith in that."

Jackson is 100 percent recovered from the broken bone in his lower right leg that ended his season after 10 games in 2011.

"I got medically released about three months ago," he said. "I've been training and nothing's changed."

Jackson said he never considered skipping the workouts, even though they are voluntary.

"I'm just going to continue to show up, be with my teammates and play football. That’s what I do. This is just part of that process, showing up and trying to get ready for the 2012 season," he said.

...

Join The Buffalo News for extensive live coverage during the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night.

Watch a live broadcast beginning at 7:30 p.m., follow a ticker with draft selections and join a live chat.

The News' deep roster of sports reporters and columnists will be situated in the newsroom and at One Bills Drive to bring you the latest developments.

Myself and Tim Graham are anchoring the draft webcast from One News Plaza, with additional insight from Mike Harrington and Bucky Gleason.

Mark Gaughan, Jerry Sullivan, Bob DiCesare and Lauren Mariacher will be at One Bills Drive to get reaction from the Bills' front office.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Draft video: Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon

Mark Gaughan takes a look at Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin BIackmon:

Join The Buffalo News for extensive live coverage during the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night.

Watch a live broadcast beginning at 7:30 p.m., follow a ticker with draft selections and join a live chat.

The News' deep roster of sports reporters and columnists will be situated in the newsroom and at One Bills Drive to bring you the latest developments.

Jay Skurski and Tim Graham are anchoring the draft webcast from One News Plaza, with additional insight from Mike Harrington and Bucky Gleason.

Mark Gaughan, Jerry Sullivan, Bob DiCesare and Lauren Mariacher will be at the Bills' home in Orchard Park and will be getting reaction from the Bills' front office.

Attendance high as Bills get back to work (with audio)

The Buffalo Bills got back to work early this morning with the start of voluntary offseason workouts.

Attendance was strong, with wide receiver Stevie Johnson one of the few known absences. (Johnson's wife just gave birth to their third child last week.)

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was the first to meet with the media. He said he was in Costa Rica for a wedding during the pursuit of Mario Williams. The only access to the internet he had was in the hotel lobby, so he was down there every 20 minutes checking for updates.

"When it finally happened, obviously I was pretty excited about it. I got a lot of calls and texts. I’m really glad he’s here," Fitzpatrick said.

Shawne Merriman, Fred Jackson and Williams also met with the media. Audio of Merriman, Williams and Fitzpatrick can be found below.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Mario Williams

Shawne Merriman

Join The Buffalo News for extensive live coverage during the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night.

Watch a live broadcast beginning at 7:30 p.m., follow a ticker with draft selections and join a live chat.

The News' deep roster of sports reporters and columnists will be situated in the newsroom and at One Bills Drive to bring you the latest developments.

Myself and Tim Graham are anchoring the draft webcast from One News Plaza, with additional insight from Mike Harrington and Bucky Gleason.

Mark Gaughan, Jerry Sullivan, Bob DiCesare and Lauren Mariacher will be at One Bills Drive to get reaction from the Bills' front office.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Road to the Draft: Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
6-foot-4, 235 pounds
Draft projection: No. 1 overall

Lowdown: Not since the San Francisco 49ers went back to back with Joe Montana and Steve Young over a 20-year span has a team been in a position like the Indianapolis Colts this year. The Colts basked in the glory of 13 seasons with Peyton Manning at quarterback. Thanks to Manning’s season-long absence and the collapse of the rest of the squad, the Colts get the chance to take Luck, who looks like a sure bet as a quality NFL starter. Luck went 31-7 as a starter over three seasons for the Cardinal. He attempted 1,064 passes, completed 67 percent of his throws and had 82 touchdowns and just 22 interceptions. He benefitted from the great coaching of Jim Harbaugh his first three years in Palo Alto, Calif. Luck’s father, Oliver, was a second-round pick of the Houston Oilers in 1982 and spent four years in the NFL.

Former NFL coach and current NFL Network analyst Brian Billick assessed Luck this way in a briefing with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine:

“I think Andrew Luck is the most dynamic quarterbacking talent to come out since John Elway, as a prospect. OK? I go back to the old (line), ‘Son, your potential’s going to get me fired.’ So it is still potential, because it isn’t on the NFL field. People say, what about Peyton Manning? Let’s go back and remember. We had questions about Peyton Manning. You can’t find anybody now who will admit to it, but Petyon Manning and Ryan Leaf were touching.”

“I think Andrew Luck has more credentials, fewer questions about him, than anybody since John Elway. Now it has got to come together. But I think this guy’s the real deal. The arm strength. His arm strength is plenty good. And he’s going to mature. He’s going to grow still in that arm strength. Yeah, I think he’s the most complete quarterback since John Elway.”

---Mark Gaughan

(The News profiled 50 prospects in 50 days leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft. This was the last installment in the daily series.)

Road to the Draft: Morris Claiborne

Morris Claiborne, CB, Louisiana State
5-foot-11, 189 pounds
Draft projection: Top 10

Lowdown: Claiborne started 26 games over the past two years against the top competition in the country and helped LSU to the national title in January. Claiborne had six interceptions, was SEC defensive player of the year and a consensus first-team All-America. He had five INTs as a sophomore. He has great ball skills, and he’s a good return man. He averaged 26.1 yards on 17 kickoff returns in 2011. He had a 99-yard KO return for a TD at West Virginia. He ran a quality time of 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

In comparing Claiborne to Alabama first-round prospect Dre Kirkpatcik, Mike Mayock of the NFL Network said: “Claiborne is more a more natural man-to-man defender. Kirkpatrick has tremendous zone awareness. Some people think he can be a free safety. I think Claiborne, you can plug in and play in just about any defense. He has a better overall package then Kirkpatrick.”

---Mark Gaughan

(The News is profiling 50 prospects in 50 days leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft.)

Road to the Draft: Justin Blackmon

Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
6-foot-1, 207 pounds
Draft projection: Top 10

Lowdown: Blackmon dominated his college competition the past two years and projects as an elite No. 1 receiver in the NFL. Speculation most of the past four months has had him rated as a top-five pick. We’ll see if he slides below that on April 26. Blackmon caught 111 passes with 20 touchdowns as a red-shirt sophomore in 2010 and 122 with 18 touchdowns as a red-shirt junior in 2011. His 1,782 receiving yards in 2010 broke Larry Fitzgerald’s sophomore national record. He ran the 40-yard dash in a good time of 4.46 seconds during his pro-day workout.

Said Mike Mayock of the NFL Network: “He’s big, he’s physical, he has tremendous ball skills and athleticism. I don’t think you’re gonna see a guy that wows you with vertical speed. But his body control, hands and ability to catch the football are exceptional.”

---Mark Gaughan

(The News is profiling 50 prospects in 50 days leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft.)

Road to the Draft: A.J. Jenkins

A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois
6-foot, 190 pounds
Draft projection: Second or third round

Lowdown: After a decent, 56-catch junior season, Jenkins was not viewed as a high-round draft prospect entering the 2011 college season. However, he blossomed into a star for the Illini, catching 90 passes for 1,276 yards and eight touchdowns. He averaged 14.6 yards a catch. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he ran a 40-yard dash time of 4.39 seconds and had a good vertical jump of 38 1-2 inches. Those numbers peg him as a legitimate stretch-the-field prospect. There are no worries about his hands, either; they’re excellent. He needs polish as a route-runner. While his 40 time is elite, he’s not quite the burner, say, a Lee Evans was in college. Jenkins is a native of Jacksonville, Fla. Jenkins would be a steal of a third round for a team like the Buffalo Bills. However, he might even go in the top 40 picks, based on the view of him as a "riser" by draftniks.

---Mark Gaughan

(The News is profiling 50 prospects in 50 days leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft.)

 

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