Bills could make it Miller time

Von Miller of Texas A&M works out during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in...

Von Miller of Texas A&M works out during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in February in Indianapolis. (JOE ROBBINS/Getty Images/AFP)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:08 PM ET

BUFFALO - Bills general manager Buddy Nix and his VP of college scouting, Tom Modrak, didn’t announce their preference for the third pick in the NFL draft during Tuesday’s pre-draft luncheon, but the braintrust did drop a number of hints.

Chief among them was the moment when Nix was asked to choose between pass rusher and run stopper as his biggest need.

Nix’s answer, one of the few that may have given an indication of a leaning one way or the other with regards to the Bills’ third overall pick, basically suggested the team’s primary goal is to stop the run.

“I don’t think you’re going to get where you want to be obviously unless you stop the run,” Nix said. “And then you rush the passer. I don’t know if that’s giving you an answer or not, but it kind of goes back to need. That’s probably the best I can do as far as telling you where we’d be on that.”

Now Nix didn’t flash you his full hand right there but he did give you a little bit of a clue.

Assuming the various mock drafts inhabiting the internet and various publications right now aren’t all completely off base, the consensus top three picks in whatever order will be Auburn QB Cam Newton, Alabama DT Marcell Dareus and Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller.

Nix and the Bills have needs at quarterback, defensive tackle, linebacker, and offensive tackle. We could go on — the list is definitely longer — but those appear to be the four biggest areas of concern, although not necessarily in that order.

Given their choice of all three, it says here the Bills would jump at the chance to take Newton. The combination of their own need and the risk of letting a potential franchise changer slip through their fingers has to put Newton at No. 1 on their draft board.

The likelihood of the Bills getting that opportunity though are slim.

From the mainstream draft gurus like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay to the lesser known on-line drafts, there is near consensus that Newton will not last past the Panthers first pick. If Sports Illustrated’s Peter King is your draft go-to guy he’s got Newton going to Carolina at one as well.

The Broncos have been talking up Dareus of late but on Tuesday a Denver newspaper had head coach John Fox waxing poetically about Miller.

As Nix quite aptly pointed out at the luncheon, “People don’t tell you like it is, this time of year” so whether Fox was blowing smoke or actually declaring his preference only Fox can know.

Either way, in that scenario, the Bills would get one of Dareus or Miller and both, based on Nix and Modryk’s comments yesterday, would be just fine with the Bills.

This was Modrak on Dareus.

“He’s pretty much as advertised,” Modryk said. “He has the ability to play the run and he can push the pocket. In his situation, everybody sees the glamour sacks and edge rushes, but guys on the inside create sacks. Sometimes they don’t get sacks but they create sacks. He would certainly be able to do that. He’s got that kind of talent and ability and he’s played up and down the line. He gives you the best of both worlds.”

And this was Modrak’s take on Miller.

From a talent standpoint, and all of the intangibles, he certainly fits a good guess by the people that are making it. He does fit. He’s a guy that has the ability to play three downs. And by saying that, if you play him on the outside he’s got to be able to play the run and he can do that. He’s 245-247 pounds, but he can certainly rush the passer and he’s athletic enough to play in space. Not to overdo it, but he’s as advertised. He’s a quality player.”

Nix made it very clear the Bills had already established their own 1-2-3 pecking order when he told reporters, “I could tell you exactly who we’re going to take if you would guarantee me who the first two picks are but until you can do that, it makes it pretty hard for us to select to see who’s there.”

As for the chances of trading down, Nix poured water on the idea.

“There’ll be a guy there that we really want, I think,” Nix said. “So probably wouldn’t move down. It would have to be a rare situation I think.”

So bet on one of Newton, Dareus or Miller becoming a Buffalo Bill a week from Thursday and the odds would be in your favour.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca


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