The league’s decision to allow retired NFL players to introduce their former team’s second-round picks at next week’s draft has provided the first real clue as to the Bills’ choice at No. 34.
Former Buffalo wideout Andre Reed was given the honour and soon after it was announced he would be doing the announcing, Reed took to his twitter account and posted this:
@cponder7 Lookin forward to calling your name Draft Day!!!!!!!!!Bills brash like ur style”
That would be Florida State QB Christian Ponder, Reed was tweeting.
Reed later took the message down and replaced it with a similar one, inserting the words “possibility of” before “calling your name.”
Radio station WGR in Buffalo was quick to pick this up (hey there Joe Buscaglia) putting Reed quickly in denial mode.
“My tweets are all over the headlines ... Didn’t kno my opinion mattered so much!! I have no clue who the #Bills plan to pick!!! #nfldraft” he tweeted again.
Ponder makes a lot of sense, assuming he’s still there at No. 34. First the Bills have talked about adding another quarterback to study under Ryan Fitzpatrick. Ponder has a history with head coach Chan Gailey and the Bills brought him to Buffalo for a workout.
Ponder in the second round also suggests the Bills are thinking defence first with the No. 3 pick which we have suspected all along ... unless Cam Newton is still available at that point.
Former NFL greats Barry Sanders, Franco Harris and Marshall Faulk will also take a turn doing introductions at the draft.
LIONS WILL BE SIFTING FOR GOLD
Drafting out the lucky No. 13 hole, the Detroit Lions have to take what falls to them to a degree.
The cream of the crop is likely gone by the seventh or eighth pick, leaving the Lions sifting for gold among the blemished players remaining.
Lions GM Martin Mayhew appears to understand this better than most.
In an interview with the Detroit News, Mayhew downplayed both the knee problems that have hurt Da’Quan Bowers draft stock and the off-field concerns about cornerback Jimmy Smith.
Bowers’ knee issues are significant enough for some teams that a couple have taken him off their draft board. Smith failed four drug tests while at Colorado, opening himself up to maturity questions.
Mayhew said Lions doctors examined Bowers, who had a knee surgery in January, and while his knee is not perfect, it is not something that should hurt him in the future.
Rumours Bowers may eventually need microfracture surgery has hurt his draft stock immensely.
As for Smith, Mayhew said meeting the young man has dispelled any misgivings he might have had before about drafting him.
Bowers, as recently as the NFL Combine was considered among the top three linemen available in the draft while Smith has generally been considered the second- or third-best corner available behind Patrick Peterson and/or Prince Amukamara.
PANTHERS TRADING DOWN?
NFL analyst Mike Mayock is convinced the Carolina Panthers want to trade down in the draft from it’s No. 1 perch.
And that may well be the case.
But as of Friday, the Panthers haven’t had any kind of firm offer according to Panthers GM Marty Hurney.
“If the draft was tomorrow we could go ahead and make decisions, but we have a week left and we’re going to continue to refine those decisions,” Hurney said.
Hurney is in a bit of a spot here. Making Cam Newton the first pick overall brings equal parts risk and reward and a team that misses on the No. 1 pick can take years to overcome that.
Newton has the athletic ability to be the next great quarterback in this league but has just one year of college experience in a very simplistic offence, the kind of offence that he won’t find in the pro ranks.
No one is saying he can’t make the adjustment. If he does he’ll be a fixture in the league for years to come. But if he can’t, he’ll never justify the cost of a first pick, let alone what it will do to the franchise that wastes a first pick on him.
WILL THE DOLPHINS DRAFT No. 15?
Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland knows the world expects him to draft a running back at No. 15 in next Thursday’s first round.
He’s just not so sure he’ll comply.
Running back is a funny position in this draft because the consensus is you don’t have to use a first-round pick to get a good one.
Mark Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, is the best of a suspect bunch and even Ingram is well ahead of the next tier.
In his pre-draft press conference on Thursday, Ireland, on multiple occasions, pointed out he only had two running backs on his roster.
Then he suggested he didn’t “necessarily” have to draft a back in the first round, falling back on the GMs’ mantra of never wanting to “reach” to fill a position.
Ireland eventually got back to talking about running backs, suggesting he doesn’t buy into the “you can always find a good running back later in the draft” myth and more precisely, “I think if you look at the top running backs in this league over time, they’re going to be first- and second-round picks. I do know that.”
Some crossed signals there for sure, but with Miami not owning a second-round pick, go with the Fish grabbing Ingram at 15, assuming he’s still there.