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Road to the Draft: Greg Childs

Greg Childs, WR, Arkansas
6-foot-3, 212 pounds
Draft projection: Third or fourth round

Lowdown: Childs is a big speedster who could be a draft steal if he stays healthy as a pro. He was on his way to a great career for the Razorbacks before suffering a torn patellar tendon in his right knee eight games into the 2010 season. Childs had led the Razorbacks in receiving in 2009 with 48 catches and an 18.6-yard average. He was on his way to an all-star season in 2010, with 46 catches in eight games (and a 14.3-yard average) before suffering the knee injury. He had a sub-par senior season in 2011, getting 21 catches for 240 yards.

“I think I came back too fast last year," Childs told the Associated Press at his pro day workout. "I didn't want to let my team down. I didn't want to sit out all year. I wanted to help out any way I could."

Childs ran a 40-yard dash time of 4.55 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he lowered it to 4.41 seconds at his pro day on March 6, according to the AP. He also had a pro-day vertical jump of 40.5 inches, which would have tied for fourth among all players at the combine.

If Childs’ medical results look good, he won’t last to the fourth round.

---Mark Gaughan

Road to the Draft: Brian Quick

Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State
6-foot-4, 220 pounds
Draft projection: Second or third round

Lowdown: There are a lot of big receivers in the draft, and Quick has a little bit better speed than a bunch of them. He was timed in 4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash. That still doesn’t make him a pure deep threat, but he has a lot of strengths, which could entice the Buffalo Bills if he's available in the third round. In four years at Appalachian State, he caught 202 passes for 3,418 yards and a 16.9-yard average. As a senior, he had 71 catches for 1,096 yards and 11 TDs. Coming from a smaller program, he’s still raw. Quick focused on basketball in high school and didn’t play football until his senior year, which is why he was lightly recruited. While he did not catch a pass in the Mountaineers' epic win at Michigan in 2007, he made a key play, blocking a field goal late in the fourth quarter to set up Appalachian’s game-winning drive.

Said ESPN’s Mel Kiper: “A guy I really like is Brian Quick of Appalachian State in the second or third round. Big receiver, athletic, a hurdler, a basketball player in high school up to his senior year. He had a great game against Virginia Tech this year.”

Said ESPN’s Todd McShay: “Quick did not have a great week at the Senior Bowl, but he is so talented. I think he had 202 catches at Appalachian State and almost 17 yards per catch. The guy is just a playmaker, and he’s very athletic for a big guy. There’s so many things he can do if coached properly.”

---Mark Gaughan

Road to the Draft: Marvin McNutt

Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa
6-foot-3, 216 pounds
Draft projection: Third or fourth round

Lowdown: McNutt might have the tools to intrigue the Buffalo Bills in the third round of the NFL Draft. He has the ideal size for an outside receiver. He averaged a healthy 16.8 yards on 170 career receptions at Iowa. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he ran the 40-yard dash in a capable 4.54 seconds. But he’s not a deep-separation burner. He had 82 catches for 1,315 yards and 12 TDs as a senior. The yardage total was seventh-best in Big 10 history. He’s a big-bodied guy who can outrebound cornerbacks. He’s intriguing in the red zone. He was team captain.

At the scouting combine, McNutt was asked if he got any head-scratching questions. “Yes, on the psych test,” he said. “That was about it. They asked whether you'd rather listen to marching-band music or violin music. And I'm thinking, "Neither one!"

McNutt on whether he has enough breakaway speed for the NFL: “I have enough at the college level. When you start playing with faster people, you start getting faster. As well, breakaway speed isn't the No. 1 key. It's about technique, and about getting open, and I believe I have that.”

---Mark Gaughan

King says Tannehill to visit

Sports Illustrated's Peter King tweeted this morning that Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill is scheduled to make a pre-draft visit with the Buffalo Bills next week.

With that in mind, here's what ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden had to say about Tannehill in a conference call earlier this week.

"What's not concerning is what kind of athlete he is. Let’s not forget, he didn’t just play wide receiver at Texas A&M, he started at wide receiver. He had over 200 yards receiving in one game against Kansas State. He’s an outstanding athlete, and he’s also been tutored by an NFL coach in Mike Sherman," Gruden said. "So when you do watch Tannehill, every time you watch him you’re seeing an outstanding young man who’s been tutored by an excellent offensive coach in an outstanding system. That I like. So the arrow is going up on Tannehill."

What is concerning, according to Gruden, is Tannehill's lack of experience. He started only 19 games after switching to quarterback from receiver, as Gruden alluded to. He also went just 1-5 against ranked teams this past season.  

"There are some issues you wish you could see. You’d like to see more tape. You’d like to see Tannehill and the A&M offense finish games in the second half when they have a lead. Some of the losses they had this year, I’m not blaming Tannehill, I’m not blaming anybody, but they lost the lead a lot this year in games, and it cost them, because I thought Texas A&M was going to be a top 10 team this year," Gruden said.

Tannehill has steadily moved up draft charts this offseason, so the chances are the Bills would have to move up to draft him as their quarterback of the future. So the question is simple: Should they?

  

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Road to the Draft: Mohamed Sanu

Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
6-foot-2, 211 pounds
Draft projection: Second or third round

Lowdown: Sanu is a big, productive receiver who could play the flanker outside or in the middle as a slot receiver. He caught 210 passes in a three-year career at Rutgers. He had 51 catches as a true freshman in 2009, 44 in 2010 and 115 for 1,206 yards as a junior in 2011. He was better working the middle of the field for the Scarlet Knights. At the NFL Scouting Combine he ran a disappointing time of 4.67 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He rebounded at his pro day workout by running times of 4.55 and 4.54 seconds, according to NFL.com. But watching him during the season, he did not show a lot of downfield separation. He may not be the ideal outside guy the Buffalo Bills are looking for at wideout.

Sanu was born in New Jersey, but moved back and forth during his childhood from the United States to the West African nation of Sierra Leone, where his mother lives.

---Mark Gaughan

Road to the Draft: Audie Cole

Audie Cole, OLB, North Carolina State
6-foot-4, 246 pounds
Draft projection: fourth or fifth round

Cole played strong-side linebacker most of his career but shifted to middle linebacker as a senior. He has ideal size to play over the tight end in the NFL and he’s smart. He was given the Wolfpack’s team-player award. The question is does he have enough speed to play well outside in the NFL? Will he be a liability in space? His 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine wasn’t fast (4.81 seconds). But Cole is an example of a guy who plays better on the field than he tests in shorts and a T-shirt. If he can overachieve, he would fit as a capable strong-side linebacker in the NFL. The Bills could use security there.

Cole is a strong, big-boned kid with long, blond hair. Asked at the NFL Scouting Combine if he gets any Clay Matthews comnparisons, Cole said: "Some but I get more Thor than anything else." 

"I loved playing the Sam," Cole said. "I thought it was a great position and I thought I did well at it. At Mike I struggled, but I felt I got better as the year went on."

 ---Mark Gaughan

Gruden on Fitz: 'It's about sustaining'

ESPN analyst Jon Gruden believes Ryan Fitzpatrick still has something to prove as quarterback of the Buffalo Bills.

Speaking in a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Gruden was asked whether he thought the Bills can win with Fitzpatrick under center.

"I think Fitzpatrick showed some things early that were very exciting ... helping the Buffalo Bills come out of the gate in impressive fashion," the former coach and current Monday Night Football broadcaster said. "But in this league at the end of the day it’s about sustaining. Ryan Fitzpatrick has to prove he can start the season and end the season by putting the Buffalo Bills back in the playoffs. ... That remains to be seen. I think he’s got to answer those questions himself."

Gruden also spoke of the 10 quarterback prospects he interviewed for his popular ESPN series "QB Camp," some of whom the Bills have or are scheduled to visit with as part of the pre-draft process.

I'll have more from Gruden in Thursday's Buffalo News.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Road to the Draft: Bobby Wagner

Bobby Wagner, OLB, Utah State
6-foot, 241 pounds
Draft projection: Second or third round

Lowdown: Wagner spent his career a bit under the radar. The Aggies went 15-20 the past three years but did go 7-6 and make the Potato Bowl in 2011. Wagner made 446 tackles in his career, most in the Western Athletic Conference since 1999. He projects as a solid starting, weak-side linebacker in the NFL. He missed the NFL Scouting Combine with pneumonia. But he came back and ran a blazing 40-yard dash time in 4.47 seconds at an on-campus workout. At the Senior Bowl, he was voted the North’s most outstanding player. The Buffalo Bills might have to be lucky for him to last until early in the third round.

---Mark Gaughan

Pre-draft visits planned or in the books

Each NFL team can bring in up to 30 prospects before the NFL draft. So far, the Bills have or are scheduled to meet with 16 prospects, based on reports here at The News, the Bills' official website, and other national outlets.

Here's the list of who has/will visit:

RB Trent Richardson, Alabama

QB Kirk Cousins, Michigan State

OL Cordy Glenn, Georgia

QB Russell Wilson, Wisconsin

WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State

WR Brian Quick, Appalachian State

LT Jonathan Martin, Stanford

DE Whitney Mercilus, Illinois

LB Tank Carder, TCU

DE Andre Branch, Clemson

LT Matt Kalil, USC

QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona State

CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama

DE Chandler Jones, Syracuse

LB Bruce Irvin, West Virginia

LT Mike Adams, Ohio State

This list may very well not be all inclusive, as some teams prefer to keep their interest in certain prospects quiet.

With that in mind, a few thoughts:

-- The two names most often pegged for the Bills in mock drafts, offensive tackle Riley Reiff of Iowa and wide receiver Michael Floyd of Notre Dame are not on that list. That could mean a a few things: 1)As mentioned above, the Bills have already had Reiff and Floyd in for visits, and asked them to keep quiet, 2) the visits simply haven't yet, 3) the Bills "know what they have" and don't need to schedule a visit, or 4) they simply don't like them.

-- The Bills are clearly doing their due diligence on the quarterbacks in this year's class.

-- By far the most interesting name on the list is running back Trent Richardson. He plays a position that's clearly not a "need," but if he was to be available at No. 10, it would put General Manager Buddy Nix's theory of taking the best player available to the test.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Road to the Draft: Zach Brown

Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
6-foot-1, 244 pounds
Draft projection: 25th to 50th pick

Lowdown: Brown is the fastest linebacker in the draft. He ran a 40-yard dash time of 4.50 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine then improved it to 4.47 seconds at the UNC pro day workout. In 2009, he set a UNC indoor-track school-record with a 60-yard dash time of 6.72 seconds. He’s ideal for a 4-3 scheme. He dropped into coverage a lot for the Tar Heels. He’s also still raw. He didn’t become a full-time starter until his senior year because North Carolina had so much talent at linebacker. He started six games as a sophomore and five as a junior. As a senior in 2011, he led the team with 105 tackles and had 13.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. If he’s still on the board when the Bills pick at No. 41 he will have to be a consideration.

---Mark Gaughan

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