The Bills held their annual pre-draft press conference to shed some light on their approach heading into the 2015 NFL draft. It's the first time in 10 years the Bills do not have a first-round pick, but Buffalo's personnel department feels good about the class of prospects available.
5. More exciting?
Buffalo dealt its 2015 first- and fourth-round picks in a pair of trades in the 2014. They parted with their first-round pick this year to select WR Sammy Watkins. Despite not picking until 50th overall, Whaley and his staff are now extra motivated to find contributors in round two and beyond.
"When you're picking in the top 10, which we've had recently, it's pretty easy because anybody can see those type of players," Whaley said. "When you don't have that top 10 pick and you're picking late, it puts the onus on us as scouts to prove our wares. Our scouts have been really excited since the beginning of the process."
4. O-line interest not position specific
The Bills admit they have to increase their numbers at offensive tackle and guard on their roster. However, Buffalo's offensive coaching staff is committed to putting the best five on the field up front no matter where they have to line up. That leaves the Bills personnel department open to taking the best offensive lineman, not specifically a guard or a tackle.
"You can find guys in any round if you're a good evaluator," said Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos. "The problem is if you say we need a guard or we need a tackle—that's when you get in trouble, because that's when you limit what you're evaluating."
3. Surrounding the QB
Doug Whaley made it clear that without an elite quarterback on the roster, the organizational focus has been to make every other position around the signal caller on offense as strong as possible.
"The way we looked at it, we don't have a proven franchise quarterback, but what we wanted to do was be perfect everywhere else so that guy doesn't have to put the game on his shoulders and be the man," Whaley said. "We want him to be able to make the right decisions and put the ball in the hands of the playmakers. What we wanted to do was get as many playmakers and as many people who can score touchdowns as possible until the player at that position takes that next step."
2. A harder roster to make
With as deep a roster as the Bills have had in years, late draft picks and UFA's will have an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster. With a balance of talent at nearly every position, Whaley and his staff have the luxury of drafting the best player available.
"It's going to be hard for not only an undrafted rookie to make it, but our sixth and seventh round guys because of the depth we have and the numbers on the roster already," said Whaley. "We're hoping those guys can come in and compete and take a spot, but if not, we want to make sure we have enough interest and they have enough skill set so we can have them on the practice squad, and keep them on campus, keep them in the program.
"Our job as personnel people is to have a situation where late round guys will have trouble making it, but also to set it up where we can go anywhere we want to in the draft. That makes our job easier, and it makes our chances of succeeding much higher."
1. More likely to move back than move up
Doug Whaley made a bold move up the draft board last year to land Sammy Watkins with the fourth overall pick. Armed with just six total picks this spring Buffalo's GM admitted they're more likely to make a move in the other direction in the 2015 NFL draft.
"With our lack of ammunition I would highly, highly doubt that we do (move up)," Whaley said. "We'd be more prone to listen to offers to move back from 50 and pick up some more picks. I will never say never.
"With what we did in free agency we felt very comfortable with the pieces of the puzzle that we have in place. We're at a point now where we may start getting top heavy so we're going to need the draft picks to start replenishing (the bottom half of) our roster."