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Nix and Modrak discuss draft

Bills General Manager Buddy Nix and Vice President of Scouting Tom Modrak held court Tuesday during the team's annual pre-draft news conference.

Here's some highlights:

--Nix reiterated the Bills' interest in drafting a quarterback. He added that this is the right time to do it, saying there could be "a record number'' of QBs in the first round. But the top two prospects are clearly Cam Newton of Auburn and Blaine Gabbert of Missouri. One of them will be available when the Bills are on the clock with the third overall pick.

“There’s no doubt it’s an important position,’’ Nix said. “It’s a quarterback-driven league. But we think that we’re in a good position. And actually, as hard as it is to say when you’ve got other needs it’s probably the perfect time to take a quarterback.’’

--It was shocking no media member asked about Newton during the 45-minute news confererence. I'm sure Nix and Modrak were surprised, too. Perhaps Newton's name came up because most local media think it's a foregone conclusion that the Heisman Trophy winner is the Bills' top choice if he's available.

Nix did praise Gabbert, saying the Bills always had a positive opinion of him even though his high draft rating doesn't match his production during the season. 

"His stock hasn't risen with us," Nix said. "It's always been high."

--Head coach Chan Gailey did not attend the pre-draft session, but Nix made it clear that Gailey will have a major influence in who the Bills take with their first pick. When you consider Gailey’s reputation as a quarterback teacher, taking a quarterback in the first or second road seems like a certainty. 

“It makes it easier on us to pick one because I’ve got a lot of confidence in that guy after he gets him,’’ Nix said. “He’s very involved in any pick, whether it’s quarterback or anything else. We all are. We’re going to try to have a consensus. And to this point, being in the second year, we’ve been able to do that. You got confidence in the people around you. We talk enough about it until it comes down to the pick being pretty easy.’’

--Nix acknowledged the team is thin on defense and will have to address that in this draft. If the Bills don't a quarterback first, they'll probably chose either Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus or Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller.

Nix indicated stopping the run was more important than rushing the passer. The Bills couldn’t do either last season. They were last in the NFL in run defense and only three teams had fewer sacks. Modrak admitted Dareus would address both area.

"He gives you the best of both worlds,'' Modrak said.

--Nix said the Bills are in the process of putting their draft board together and would narrow their top pick down to three players by April 28, the day of the draft.

--The Bills aren’t likely to trade down from the third spot in Round One, though Nix said he’d listen to offers: “It would be determined by how far down you move. I wouldn’t rule out anything, but there will be a guy there [at No. 3] that we really want. So, probably wouldn’t move down. It would have to be a rare situation.’’

--Nix said the lack of free agency due to the NFL lockout has not impacted the Bills’ approach to the draft: “Nothing’s changed. We’ve gone about the draft the same way. Were going to try to take the best player and hopefully we can fill our needs by doing that.

 --Nix is not that concerned about the top pick being a starter, but he expects that player – if he’s not a quarterback – to contribute a lot immediately: “We sure hope he is [a starter]. We’d like him to be. He should be. And if not, it should be a guy that plays 40 snaps a game. It should be a guy that figures in making you a lot better.’’

---Allen Wilson

Nix, Gailey address fans, talk Newton visit

Bills coach Chan Gailey and General Manager Buddy Nix addressed several hundred suite owners and premium seat holders during the annual "state of the team'' event at the Buffalo Hyatt Regency Monday night.

After talking to the fans, Gailey and Nix met briefly with the media and Auburn QB Cam Newton was the dominant topic. 

Heisman Trophy winner arrived Monday night, and according to some reports, had dinner with Bills coach Chan Gailey at a Buffalo restaurant. After taking a physical Tuesday morning, Newton will spend the day meeting with Gailey and the other coaches.

Bills General Manager Buddy Nix added that quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert of Missouri and Christian Ponder of Florida State also have scheduled visits. Newton and Gabbert are projected top-10 picks. Ponder is expected to go in the second or third round, but the Bills coaches got to work with him at the Senior Bowl. Nix also hasn't ruled out a couple more quarterbacks visiting One Bills Drive.

Gailey and Nix said quarterback is not the Bills' biggest need because they have veteran starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. But both men said the team has to strongly consider grabbing a potential franchise quarterback if they think he's available with the third pick in the draft.

"Let me just say this to you, and try not to read anything into this and try not to connect the dots, but if you wait until you do not have a quarterback to draft one, you're too late,” Nix said. "Now our greatest need is not quarterback. It's definitely not quarterback. Invariably, if there's going to be a franchise guy there and one we deem as a guy that can go eight or 10 years, be the face of the organization and take us to the playoffs and win every year, you can't pass him up."

Gailey echoed those thoughts: "I think what you’re trying to evaluate is if there is a guy at quarterback that you believe can be a franchise quarterback long term. You hope to never be picking three again and it’s your one opportunity to make that pick if that’s what you believe. If you don’t believe there’s a franchise quarterback for the future long term, we have other needs. It’s not like we don’t know we have other needs. We understand that. But you’re weighing what’s best for the franchise."

Nix joked to the fans that there's an unwritten rule that "it’s not a sin to tell a lie during pre-draft discussions. Everybody does it, it’s accepted. So everything you hear or read or see, you need to keep in mind that about 10 percent of it is the truth. Everybody tries to connect the dots.''

No doubt a lot of fans and media are trying to make a connection between the Bills and Newton. But just because Newton is in town doesn't mean he'll be playing here on Sundays this fall. The Bills bring in a lot of players they don't end up drafting. By the same token, they have drafted guys that never visited (Lee Evans for example).

Nix pointed out the Bills will be visiting with players at other positions, too. Outside linebacker Von Miller was in town recently and Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus will be here at some point as well, according to Nix. Both players are top-10 prospects. Several national mock drafts that don't have the Bills taking Newton or Gabbert believe Miller or Dareus will be the choice at No. 3.

Meanwhile, Nix indicated he has a couple of pro day visits lined up this week. On Thursday, he's headed to North Carolina to see defensive end Robert Quinn and linebackers Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter. Quinn didn't play last season due to an NCAA suspension for illegal dealings with an agent, but he's one of the top players in the draft and a likely top-15 choice.

On Thursday, Nix will be at Clemson to take a look at DaQuan Bowers, the No. 1-rated defensive end in the draft. Bowers is still recovering from knee surgery that reportedly caused him to fail some teams' physicals. 

Nix said this is an important workout for Bowers, who was seen as a candidate for the No. 1 overall pick before his knee issue was revealed. 

"It's big for him," Nix said. "I'm not sure that you'd write him off if he's not completely healthy Friday. But it's time for him to show he either is healthy or that he needs more work and more time."

---Allen Wilson 

Breakfast with Gailey

NEW ORLEANS -- As promised, though long overdue, here are some highlights from my chat with Bills coach Chan Gailey during the NFL coaches breakfast at the owners meetings:

He said his coaching staff is working as they usually do while the owners and players try to work out their labor issues. No players are around because of the owner-imposed lockout, but Gailey said the coaches are dealing with that.

"If coaches are nothing else, we’re flexible,'' he said. "We have to be able to adjust. We adjust to the seasons, we adjust to games, we adjust all the time. That’s what we do. You just handle it."

Gailey added that the coaches are dealing with the reported pay cut, saying the organization did a good job of keeping them informed of what was going to happen.

Gailey was grilled on the draft, particularly the quarterback position. He did a good job of addressing the issue without giving anything away. While he reiterated that Ryan Fitzpatrick is his starter, if a franchise quarterback is available with the third pick in the draft, the Bills would strongly consider him.

There are only two choices that high in the first round: Auburn's Cam Newton and Missouri's Blaine Gabbert. A lot of mock drafts in cyberspace have the Bills taking Newton, but there was a lot of talk at the meetings this week about the Carolina Panthers leaning towards using the No. 1 overall selection on Newton. If that happens, it will be interesting to see if the Bills took Gabbert at No. 3 or addressed a need on defense like outside linebacker (Von Miller) or defensive line (Marcell Dareus or Nick Fairley).

Gailey was also asked about outside linebacker Aaron Maybin, the disappointing 2009 first-round pick that has bust written all over him. It looks like the Bills are going to give him one last chance to put up or shut up.

As for Gailey, who has never mince words in his assessment of Maybin, he said Maybin needs to get better on special teams, play the run better and develop better pass-rushing skills.

Asked about Maybin's potential, Gailey said, "Right now all it is is potential because he hasn't shown it in practice or in games.''

I asked Gailey if Maybin needed a fire lit under him. Gailey's response: "I don't think I've lit very many fires. We might provide a spark, but he's got to get his own fire going. He's got to understand where he is. I always talk to guys about 'This is where we are. This is where we want to be, and this is how we get there.' Individually, guys have got to do that. 'This is where I am. This is where I want to be. Now, how do I get there?'

"We tell him all the time how to get there. He's got to do it. Talking's over. You've got to go get it done."

Gailey and I talked about wide receiver Lee Evans and his lack of production the past two years. Gailey said teams continued to double cover Evans early in the season, but didn't do it as much by the middle of the year. Gailey wants Evans to improve his route running and Gailey said he needs to expand the kind of routes Evans runs.

"He’s been more of a deep threat," Gailey said. "I’ve got to get him to do a better job of becoming an underneath threat. I’ve got to do a better job of that."

---Allen Wilson





Maybin: In, out or out of town?

Columnist doesn't think highly of Bills

Greenvilleonline.com sports columnist Bart Wright, who covers Clemson athletics, says this - and many other things about the Buffalo Bills, C.J. Spiller's new team:

"Common sense tells you there has to be a thread of optimism somewhere in Buffalo. If you can find it, let me know. For as much as everyone in this part of the country wants to see Spiller burst into Western New York stardom and help lift the Bills into relevancy, it feels more like the approaching season will be another of those that underscores the difficulties in trying to take shortcuts to success in the National Football League."

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Live from the stadium: Day Two of the draft

ORCHARD PARK -- We're back at One Bills Drive for Round Two of the 2010 NFL Draft.

10:13 p.m.: Tight end Rob Gronkowski, picked 42nd overall by New England, was the only local player selected on the second day of the draft. Hoping for calls today: UB running back James Starks and wideout Naaman Roosevelt, Syracuse wideout Mike Williams, Ohio State defensive end Doug Worthington and Arizona fullback Chris Gronkowski. The third round had to be particularly disappointing for Williams, who was hoping to go as high as the second round. Seven wideouts went in the third round. --BD

10:12 p.m.: At the start of the second round, there still were four well-regarded nose tackles on the board - Terrence Cody, Linval Joseph, Torell Troup and Cam Thomas. Some had Al Woods in the top 100 players, too. Given that, Buddy Nix was asked if he made much of an effort to move up or felt comfortable staying put at 41.

Said Nix: “It really kind of worked out that way. We’re not much move anyway. I mean to move just to be moving, I mean some of those guys, I don’t now how they know where they hell they draft. If we know we’re gonna gain an advantage, we’ll do it." --MG

10:07 p.m.: It was pointed out to Bills GM Buddy Nix that many people projected Jimmy Clausen to go No. 4 several weeks ago. "Well why didn't they take him (that high)?" Nix responded. Obviously, the Bills simply did not love Clausen, who lasted to No. 48. More from Nix:

--LNM & MG

10:03 p.m.: Why did the Bills pass on USC tackle Charles Brown at No. 41? Many had him rated in the top 32, but there were reports Saturday there were concerns about his health. He lasted to No. 64. Said Tom Modrak, Bills vice president of college scouting: "Our medical situation is this: you pass, fail or something in between. He was not a fail." --MG

10:01 p.m.: Buffalo Bills third-round draft pick DE Alex Carrington from Arkansas State answers questions from the media after he is selected by the Bills:

--LNM

9:59 p.m.: Modrak discusses what third-round draft pick Alex Carrington will bring to the Bills' defense:

--LNM

9:58 p.m.: Buffalo Bills VP of College Scouting Tom Modrak discusses what second-round draft pick Torell Troup will bring to the Bills:

--LNM

9:56 p.m.: The Bills had so many needs to address they couldn't go too wrong in the second round. But one rather important question remains: Who's going to quarterback this team? I'm not totally surprised they passed over Jimmy Clausen, but only because they weren't in a position to draft two players at skill positions in the opening two rounds. The selection of C.J. Spiller had them handcuffed when Clausen was still available at No. 41. GM Buddy Nix says the team will bring in a fourth quarterback which, when you get right down to it, is an admission they're not enamored with the three they have. Is it just me, or are they taking a rather lackadaisical approach to the most important position on the field? Had the Bills addressed a true need in the first round, continued to build the foundation, they'd have been able to strike when Clausen slid. --Bob DiCesare

9:26 p.m.: Buddy Nix, the long-time Bills Southeastern scout in the 1990s, was asked if there was any coincidence to the fact the Bills have taken three Southern players so far. His answer: "We've got to have somebody I can talk to." --MG

8:56 p.m.: The Bills select DE Alex Carrington from Arkansas State with the 72nd pick. --LNM

8:46 p.m.: LOOKING to the Bills' Pick at No. 72: Top players left: DE Everson Griffen, OT Bruce Campbell, QB Colt McCoy, WR Damien Williams USC, WR Eric Decker Minn, WR Taylor Price Ohio, WR Brandon Lafell LSU. --MG

8:22 p.m.: Here's a look at the NT decision by the Bills at No. 41. They took Torell Troup ahead of Terrence Cody ... Cody's conditioning might have been a worry ... Linval Joseph was rated ahead of Troup by some. But he left college early and was arguably more raw, not ready to step in right away. They took him over LSU's Al Woods, but Woods was a one-year wonder. UNC's Cam Thomas was out there, but it seems many had him rated below Troup. --MG

8:21 p.m.: Running back run. Detroit, Kansas City, Cleveland, San Diego, Houston and Minnesota all have taken running backs ... The number of potential trading spots for Marshawn Lynch are shrinking ... Philadelphia, Seattle, Green Bay and New England ... those might be the only four teams left that arguably have a need at RB. --MG

7:52 p.m.: Mark Gaughan on Troup

7:46 p.m.: Troup discusses what it means to play a low-profile position:

--LNM

7:32 p.m.: The Buffalo Bills second-round draft pick Torell Troup describes his style of play during a conference call with the media at One Bills Drive.

--LNM

7:12 p.m.: Check back to the Billboard blog soon for audio from a conference call with Troup. --LNM

7:12 p.m.: New England trades up to get Williamsville's Rob Gronkowski. This is a great move for the local kid. He goes to a winning team. He has a Hall of Famer throwing him passes. ... He gets to become a Bills-killer. --MG

NFL Draft Football
University of Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski was taken with the 42nd overall pick by the Patriots. (Associated Press) 

6:59 p.m.: Some notes on Troup: Started 39 of 50 games at Central Florida, including 25 starts at right tackle and 14 at left tackle. Recorded 108 tackles (63 solos) that included six sacks for -26 yards. --

6:53 p.m.: The quote of the year in the NFL right now is: "I just wish I liked Jimmy Clausen better." - Mike Holmgren, Cleveland --MG

6:52 p.m.: Torell Troup. The Bills have their nose tackle. ... It's obvious they really, really, really did not love Jimmy Clausen ... The Jets ran for 567 yards on the Bills in two games ... --MG

6:51 p.m.: With the 41st pick, the Bills select DT Torell Troup from Central Florida.

6:50 p.m.: I'm stunned Clausen is still there. Can the Bills pass him up? I don't see how. When are they ever going to get a QB? ... --MG

6:43 p.m.: Cleveland takes TJ Ward - who was rated in the 90s ... at No. 38 ... They pass on Clausen. So it looks like the Bills had no need to move up for anybody ... Oakland is up. They could take a tackle. ... The Bills look like they can have Clausen at 41 if they want him ... Or Charles Brown. Or T.Cody, L.Joseph ... --MG

6:33 p.m.: Some notable Bills' second-round picks of the past... T Billy Shaw (1961), DT Fred Smerlas (1979), LB Darryl Talley (1983), RB Thurman Thomas (1988), DE Marcellus Wiley (1997), DB Jairus Byrd (2009). --LNM

6:30 p.m.: Chiefs take RB Dexter McCluster ... That helps the Bills. They passed on OT ... Now only Oakland ahead of the Bills is likely to take OT. ... Only Cleveland ahead of the Bills is likely to take a QB. The RB draft is very thin. That's why KC jumped on RB. --MG

6:19 p.m.: This would be a potential trade spot if the Bills want to take OT ... Because KC needs an OT on the next pick... --Mark Gaughan

6:14 p.m.: The St. Louis Rams delivered a blow to the Bills by taking Indiana left tackle Rodger Saffold. He had to be high on the Bills' draft board. They have to cross their fingers that USC tackle Charles Brown drops or they'll need to trade up for either Brown or perhaps Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen. Stay tuned. --Allen Wilson

6:13 p.m.: The St. Louis Rams select Rodger Saffold (OT) from Indiana with the first pick of the second round. --LNM

6:00 p.m.: Round Two has begun. The Rams are on the clock. 

5:56 p.m.: Review NFL draft live chat with Mark Gaughan here.

5:22 p.m.: Watch video from Spiller's press conference:

--LNM

5:04 p.m.: The News' pre-draft live chat is underway. Mark Gaughan is fielding all your draft questions until 6 p.m.

4:27 p.m.: Newest Buffalo Bill C.J. Spiller met with the media this afternoon in Orchard Park.

Bills Owner Ralph Wilson presented Spiller with a No. 1 jersey.

"It's with great honor C.J., to present you with the No. 1 number because you're going to be the number one guy that's going to get us going," said Wilson.

"It's a choice that they made that they'll never regret," said Spiller about the Bills decision to draft him with their No. 9 selection Thursday. "To become a new member of the Buffalo Bills organization, it's an honor. This organization has great tradition here. Great tradition."

How will Spiller deal with the pressure of turning around a 6-10 team?

"Pressure is when you're unprepared," said Spiller. "I know I've prepared myself the best way to give this organization everything that I have."

Check back soon for video from Spiller, Bills Owner Ralph Wilson, and Head Coach Chan Gailey

--LNM

Buffalo Bills first-round draft pick C.J. Spiller will meet with the media at 3:30 p.m. 

Check back to the Billboard blog soon for video of Spiller's press conference, as well as a live chat with News Sports Reporter Mark Gaughan at 5 p.m.

--Lauren Nicole Mariacher

Live from the stadium: 2010 NFL Draft

ORCHARD PARK --  The media has gathered at One Bills Drive to get the scoop on the Bills' first-round draft pick.

11:02 p.m.: Well that's a wrap for the first round of the 2010 NFL draft. It looks like the Bills next move will have to wait until tomorrow. Check back to the Billboard blog soon for a video from News sports reporters Mark Gaughan, Jerry Sullivan, and Allen Wilson.

10:43 p.m.: Here's some of the excerpts from Pro Football Weekly's scouting report on running back C.J. Spiller, the Bills' first-round draft out of Clemson:

Positives -- "Dynamic player with rare field speed, is rarely caught from behind ... exceptional lateral agility and top-end speed to take the corner. Exceptional vision ... sees cut-back lanes and shows great balance to kick through arm tackles ... extremely elusive in the open field with outstanding gear change ... has soft hands, tracks the ball well over his shoulder and catches the ball in stride ... played hurt most of his senior year and plays through injuries."

Negatives -- "Does not have the bulk or power to run consistently inside or carry a workload between the tackles. Is not a workhorse and will not wear down a defense ... consistently has been nagged by sprinter-type injuries ... not a strong blocker and can be overpowered by defenders ... does not take well to hard coaching." --JS

10:15 p.m.: So Tim Tebow isn't coming to the Bills. The Denver Broncos just traded up to 25 and took Tebow. I had a feeling Tebow wouldn't last to the second round. All it takes is one team to take the leap of faith and believe that Tebow will be a star in the NFL. He has the intangibles and will enhance the competitive environment under young Broncos coach Josh McDaniels.

I didn't want the Bills to be the team that took Tebow, because they weren't in a position to take risks with top picks. Of course, the Bills stunned us by taking running back C.J. Spiller with the ninth overall pick. Spiller isn't a risk. He's rare talent who is expected to be a star. But the Bills had more pressing needs and I expected first-year GM Buddy Nix to address the defense with the ninth pick.

The Bills got themselves into their current fix by making too many exotic draft picks in the Tom Donahoe era and beyond. They have not added an impact player to their defensive front seven with a first-round pick since Shane Conlan in 1987. They're going to a 3-4 and need playmakers on defense. Maybe they'll find some gems in the later rounds of this draft. --JS

10:07 p.m.: With the 25th pick, Denver takes Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. --LNM

10 p.m.: In a conference call, Spiller says his main focus is getting the Bills to a Super Bowl:

--LNM

9:40 p.m.: Listen to Bills VP of College Scouting Tom Modrak talk about the role Spiller will likely fill in the Buffalo offense:

--LNM

9:38 p.m.: Watch Buffalo Bills General Manager Buddy Nix discuss the "excitement" he believes Spiller will bring to Buffalo:

--LNM

9:16 p.m.: The Tim Tebow Watch is on. ... You've got to think the Bills may try to move up from No. 41 now that they've drafted Spiller. ... Would a team move back 8-10 spots in return for Lynch? ... Maybe. --MG

9:15 p.m.: Well, it's a surprise but not a shock that the Bills took C.J. Spiller. I wrote a column about Spiller on Sunday. He has 52 TDs, and 21 of them were for 50-plus yards. ... This greatly increases the odds Marshawn Lynch will be dealt tonight or tomorrow. If the Bills want to move up ... Lynch is their main trade bait.--MG

8:53 p.m.: We'll also have audio from a conference call with C.J. Spiller.--LNM

8:50 p.m.: Be sure to follow our running list of picks. Check back to Billboard soon for audio from Bills General Manager Buddy Nix and Vice President of College Scouting Tom Modrak. --LNM

8:31 p.m.: The Buffalo Bills select Clemson running back C.J. Spiller with the No. 9 pick. --LNM

8:29 p.m.: ILB Rolando McLain is off to Oakland. The Bills are on the clock... --LNM

8:27 p.m.: The Browns take cornerback Joe Haden at No. 7. That's good news for the Bills because some of their potential targets (OLB Derrick Morgan, OT Bryan Bulaga, RB C.J. Spiller and DT Dan Williams) are still on the board. --Allen Wilson

8:25 p.m.: CB Joe Haden from the University of Florida goes to Cleveland at No. 7. 

8:20 p.m.: Just some draft quick facts for you as we wait for the No. 9 pick... 

There will be 255 selections over the three days of the draft. 

The Bills No. 9 selection marks the franchise's second number nine choice since the inception of the common draft in 1967. With that selection the Bills drafted WR Haven Moses from San Diego State. Moses played for five seasons in Buffalo before being traded to Denver in 1972. --LNM

8:17 p.m.: Trent Williams and Russell Okung are off the board. That takes OT off the board for the Bills at No. 9, we believe. --MG

8:15 p.m.: OT Russell Okung from Oklahoma State is selected by Seattle at No. 6. --LNM

8:14 p.m.: Eric Berry went to the Chiefts with the fifth overall selection. Berry becomes only the eighth safety taken in the Top 10 since 1992. That, of course, includes the Bills' Donte Whitner, who was the eighth overall pick in the 2006 draft. Berry becomes the fifth safety ever take in the top five picks. The others: Sean Taylor, fifth overall in 2004; Eric Turner, second overall in 1991; Bennie Blades, third overall in 1988; and Kenny Easley, fourth overall in 1981. --JS

8:08 p.m.: OK, so Trent Williams, the first of the offensive tackles is off the board. The Bills might not get any of the three top offensive tackles. There's a decent chance they'll take a player for their defensive front seven with the ninth overall pick. It's about time the Bills hit big on a defensive lineman or linebacker. They haven't picked an impact player for their front seven in the first round since taking linebacker Shane Conlan 23 years ago.

The Bills haven't taken a linebacker in the first round since Conlan. They've taken two defensive ends -- Erik Flowers in 2000 (bust) and Maybin ('09), who will move to linebacker this year. The only other defensive lineman they took in the first round was tackle John McCargo, who they moved up to take at 26th overall. Pretty grim history. --JS

8:04 p.m.: Oklahoma has 3 of first 4 picks. All Sooner fans will regret the 2009 season as a lost opportunity. That was a National Championship season that went out the window. Sam Bradford spent virtually the entire season injured ... Plus Trent Williams played hobbled part of the year and star TE Jermaine Gresham missed the whole year. --MG

8:00 p.m.: It's Trent Williams going to Washington as three of the top four picks hail from the University of Oklahoma. --LNM

7:58 p.m.: I'll be interested to see if the 'Skins go with Okung or Trent Williams here. --MG

7:52 p.m.: Detroit Lions select Ndamukong Suh at DT for No. 2 pick. Another DT and another Sooner, Gerald McCoy goes to the Tampa Bay Bucs at No. 3.--LNM

7:46 p.m.: I'm already getting tired of the ESPN telecast. Jon Gruden said the Rams will be a better team this year with Sam Bradford at quarterback. Riveting commentary, Chuckie! -- Jerry Sullivan

7:44 p.m.: The Rams passed on Matt Ryan in '08. They could not afford to pass on Bradford. So why did it take 7 minutes to make the pick? --Mark Gaughan

7:38 p.m.: The St. Louis Rams select Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford with the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. --LNM

7:32 p.m.: Here we go... 

7:29 p.m.: For the selection order and a running list of the picks, go here. --LNM

7:25 p.m.:

7:18 p.m.: Allen Wilson has arrived to complete The News' draft coverage team. The chairs in the media room here at One Bills Drive are filled and we are just minutes away from the start of the first round. -LNM

Jerry Sullivan's live chat has concluded, but can be reviewed here. --Lauren Nicole Mariacher

Buffalo News sports reporters Mark Gaughan and Jerry Sullivan are on site, along with Digital Producer Lauren Nicole Mariacher. Allen Wilson should be here shortly to complete the News draft team. 

We'll be bringing you blog updates and multimedia reports throughout the night and will continue the live coverage during the NFL's three-day draft.

Who will the Bills pick with their No. 9 selection? There are plenty of possibilities. Check out Allen Wilson's story in today's paper for more on potential first round picks.

Join News sports columnist Jerry Sullivan and Mark Gaughan at 6 p.m. on the Sully on Sports blog for a live chat on the draft. 

Tebow to Bills at No. 9?

With all the mock drafts floating around on the internet, you're bound to find one with some outrageous picks. One such website is the National Football Post, which has the Bills taking Florida quarterback Tim Tebow in the first round.

I know the Bills like Tebow and he has the strong endorsement of Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly. But there is no way -- NO WAY -- the Bills used the ninth overall selection on Tebow.

When drafting in the top 10, you're expecting the player to either start immediately or at some point in his rookie year. But Tebow is at least a year away from being ready to play much less start in the NFL.

The Bills have too many other positional needs to waste a high draft pick on a project. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. has the Bills taking Tebow in the second round, but even that might be too high. I could be wrong but if the Bills don't take Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen in Round One, the earliest they'd draft a QB is the third round unless they brokered a trade to move up.

---Allen Wilson

Nix favors OT change

Orlando, Fla. --- The NFL owners this week will vote on a proposal that would change overtime in playoff games.

The current sudden-death format would be altered to give the team that loses the coin toss a chance to get the ball if the receiving team kicks a field goal on its first possession. If both teams kick field goals on their first series, the game would revert back to sudden death and the first score of any kind wins the game.

Bills General Manager Buddy Nix likes the idea of giving both teams at least one possession.

"I think probably it's a good idea,'' he said Monday at the owners meetings. "Fans want it and what it does is if you're a team that gets beat without ever touching the ball by a field goal, obviously you feel that you've been cheated if you don't get a shot at it.

"I probably shouldn't say this, I usually do anyway, but I think any time you take a kick out of it, a field goal out of the equation, then it helps.''

Bills head coach Chan Gailey was less willing to come down on one side of the issue because he needed more time to study it.

"I just saw the proposal today, so I think we're going to have a look at it and discuss it a little bit more to make sure that it's good for everybody,'' he said. "But I know we want to be proactive rather than reactive.''

---Allen Wilson

Nix: Veteran receiver not a high priority

ORLANDO, Fla. -- With the departure of Terrell Owens and Josh Reed, the Bills are in need of depth at wide receiver. General Manager Buddy Nix acknowledged need more players at the position, but indicated that they may not come via free agency.

 

"If a veteran came available, obviously we’d look into it,'' he said Monday at the NFL owners meetings. "But that’s not a target.''

 

What this means is James Hardy and Steve Johnson will get a chance to step up and prove they can be effective complements to top receiver Lee Evans. Neither player saw much of the field in their second year. Hardy, who returned after a knee injury late in his rookie season, spent most of the games on the inactive list.

 

"We want these guys to step up,'' Nix said. "You need to find out what you’ve got. They all got good potential so we’re going to give them an opportunity.''

 ---Allen Wilson

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