The Bills filled out their incoming class of nine draftees with 10 undrafted rookie free agents. Buffalo agreed to terms with a quarterback, running back, two offensive linemen, a linebacker, four defensive backs and a punter Monday. Here’s a thumbnail sketch of each of them courtesy of the Bills scouting department.
The Spiders quarterback was a USC transfer after a broken leg cost him the starting job with the Trojans as he was replaced by Matt Barkley. He threw for almost 2,700 yards completing almost 64 percent of his passes (63.7%) with 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season.
“A good player overall,” said Bills scout Tom Roth. “A good athlete. He tore his ACL in 2010 and his mobility was better late in the year this past season. A tough kid that’ll stand in the pocket and take the hit. Above average arm strength and good touch. A good field presence and command of the team with excellent intangibles and very good developmental qualities.”
Part of a split backfield for the Bears, Douglas had 511 yards rushing on 146 carries in 2011 (3.5 avg) and three touchdowns. He also had a pair of touchdowns receiving as he made 11 catches for 62 yards as a senior.
“He’s an undersized, muscled up young man. He’s quick. He has good speed. He ran a 4.52, and is quick in the hole.” said Bills scout Theo Young. “He likes to bounce the ball to the outside. Chris has good hands. He caught several balls and showed some athleticism with one-handed catches and other things.”
Hill was a highly touted and heavily recruited All-American in high school. He appeared in 50 games at Virginia Tech, but did not get a lot of playing time until his senior season where he had six pass breakups and an interception.
“Really this was his first year playing a significant amount of snaps,” said Roth. “He was the guy that came on in nickel, but lined up out on the perimeter. He’s a smooth athlete. Smooth in his (back)pedal. He ran a 4.45 at his pro day. Cris is a strider that can run really well. His best game this year was against East Carolina and it caught my eye.”
A three-year starter at strong safety for the Cardinal after transitioning from running back. Howell has seven interceptions interceptions in his career and led his team in tackles in 2010.
“His number one attribute is his toughness,” said Bills scout Brad Forsyth. “He is a tough, physical player that loves to come downhill and hit. He loves to play on special teams. He’s decent in coverage. A smart guy that knows where to be. He could come in day one and be covering kicks.”
A three-year starter at tackle, Madsen, a team captain showed his toughness playing with a sprained MCL and high-ankle sprain this past season. A dominant run blocker, an estimated 70 of the run plays by the Rams went behind him. Graded out 85 percent or better in every game in 2011.
“He is a tough guy,” said Forsyth. “I think his best quality is his foot quickness and coming off the ball. His quickness to get into defenders and position himself on defenders. He’s really good off the scoop and reach blocks. He can get out and run pretty well in the open. A good athlete that’s smart who we’ll start at tackle and see where it goes in terms of the numbers. He’s got tackle feet. A good free agent pickup for us.”
The first consensus All-American punter in Florida State history, Powell improved his gross average from 41 to 47 over his career at Florida State. That 47-yard average in 2011 led all FBS punters in the nation. As a senior he had 24 punts of 50 or more yards with at least one 50-plus yarder in nine of 13 games. He had 23 punts downed inside the 20, which included 14 inside the 10-yard line and he forced seven fair catches.
“He’s a big guy that’s got a strong leg,” said Bills National Scout Darrell Moody. “He’s still developing his consistency, but he has the size and the leg strength to be a good punter. He just needs to sharpen his mechanics because he has all the tools to be a real good punter.”
A center/guard prospect that appeared in 50 games for the Longhorns with 32 career starts at both center and guard. Played his senior season at right guard and earned All-Big 12 Honorable mention by the coaches. He played his junior season at center and his sophomore season at right guard.
“He’s a multi-position guy, real smart and tough,” said Bills scout Shawn Heinlen. “He started at both center and guard and could absolutely come in and compete as a swing backup guy. I think his best position is center, but I think he can do both. He uses his quickness to get on guys.”
The Penn State safety logged eight interceptions in his 32-game career, including three in each of the past two seasons. The safety tallied 59 tackles, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries along with those three interceptions this past season to land 2nd Team All-Big 10 honors. He ran a 4.68 40-time at his pro day with a 32-inch vertical and 21 reps on the bench.
“He probably fits more as a traditional strong safety,” said Bills Coorindator of College Scouting Doug Majeski. “He’s aggressive coming downhill playing the run. Pretty good range and lateral ability, but more of a run support guy. He was two and a half year starter. Sukay has good awareness in coverage and worked out well at the pro day.”
A highly decorated Division II safety, Wild piled up 90 tackles including 52 solo stops, 12.5 tfls, 7 sacks and 5 forced fumbles… led the team in both tackles and sacks despite playing in just eight games in 2011 due to injury.
“He’s a safety/long snapper,” said Scouting Assistant Pete Harris. “He played every position except defensive line. The kid is a winner in everything he does. A physical player that flies around and reminds me a lot of Jon Corto. He’s a guy that would play more down in the box.”
A converted wide receiver, Williams was limited to five starts in 2011 because of an ankle injury finishing with 32.5 tackles. Williams has a solid build and was a three-year starter for the Aggies at inside linebacker. He had 20 reps on the bench and a 31 ½” vertical at his pro day.
“He’s played a little bit everywhere. A good athlete that had the injury bug this past season,” said Heinlen. “He had a great junior year and played both inside and out for them. He’s got some upside. Hopefully he can stay healthy and show his athletic ability to run and chase like he did in 2010 for them.”