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Reading Buddy's draft tea leaves

The Bible says "an eye for an eye" and "turn the other cheek."

NFL executives likewise speak in contradictory tongues every other sentence the week leading up to the draft.

So it was at the Bills' annual pre-draft luncheon today at One Bills Drive. It's hard to draw too many conclusions about which direction the Bills are going with the 10th pick, which is exactly what Bills General Manager Buddy Nix and his entourage want eight days before the NFL Draft.

"I tell you this every time and you don’t listen, you don’t believe me," Nix started out. "But I’m gonna tell you anyway. Don’t get pinned down, now, by connecting the dots. It’s fun. I enjoy reading it. But it’s fantasy football. It has nothing to do with what we might do. I don’t care how many draftniks think that’s where we’re going and that’s the best pick for us. If that’s not the guy we’ve got rated there, we won’t take him. So don’t get yourself in a spot where it sounds like you know and it don’t work out that way."

Nix on the No. 10 pick: "You’d think at 10 you’d get a starter. With us, we’d like to get a difference-maker or a playmaker, an impact guy. You should get a starter."

At the end of the 45-minute session, Nix returned to the quesiton of getting a difference-maker as it related to an offensive tackle. Said Nix: "I guess I was thinking a big play maker, which a tackle is not. But a difference maker is a guy that makes youre team better and can do things to make you be able to do more, like throwing down the field more. So I think in that light, certainly a left tackle fits that need."

More Nix on tackles: "We need tackles. But I’m gonna make this clear. We think Chris Hairston can play left tackle for us and win. He did it. He went in there. Everybody says Fitz gets the ball out quick, and that’s true. But we run a lot of empty sets. There’s five blockers. If they bring six he’d better get it out quick or he’s gonna get hit in the mouth. In this offense he’s gotta get it out quick. Chris Hairston he may not be the prettiest foot athlete, but he’s got so much length that he can protect the back side. We feel he can do that."

So offensive tackle clearly remains a top option for the Bills in the first round. The smart money says the receiver position is very deep and the Bills may wait to supplement that spot. "The wide receiver position is deep in this draft," Nix said again Wednesday.

Nix acknowledged the team needs linebacker depth. Then he said Boston College first-round prospect Luke Kuechly could play all three linebacker positions in Buffalo. Meanwhile, there was a lot of discussion about the need for a cornerback. BIlls college scouting chief Chuck Cook was asked about the top two cornerbacks, South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore and Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick.

Cook on Gilmore: "We like him. We think he’s a good, strong, sturdy corner who can press. Can run in the hip poicket and make palys. We like his physicalness in coming up in run support. I do think its a good year for cornerback."

Cook on Kirkpatrick: "Dre is from a great scheme. They’re so solid up front, that helps the corners. He can play more physical and he can play the ball and he can gamble a little bit more in that scheme because they are getting to the quarterback a little bit quicker. But I do think he’s physical. He can support and he can play the deep ball. ... Both of those guys are viable candidates for us."

---Mark Gaughan




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