Although the draft board in most respects is set for the Bills heading in to the 2018 NFL draft, GM Brandon Beane and his college scouting department are pushing hard to the finish line. With just a week and a half before the Cleveland Browns are on the clock, Buffalo is making sure to cover all their bases.
Buffalo's scouting department has been immersed in the process of getting updates on prospects who are rehabbing injuries, doing some last-minute fact checking, and setting up some meetings with players with whom they need more face time.
"For the most part I've got a pretty good feel for the guys who are shaping our board," said Beane. "Not all of them. We still have guys out on private visits this week."
Often times with 32 NFL clubs trying to get time with prospects scheduling conflicts arise. In some cases, NFL teams have to patiently wait until the 11th hour to schedule a private meeting or pre-draft visit with a player who might be in high demand.
The Bills however, are just finishing up their due diligence.
"Based on our board now we're going to schedule a couple of more (visits) and we're going to add a couple of more for next week because I may not have a good feel for one or two guys yet," said Beane. "So, we've either got to send somebody out there or let's bring him in as one of our 30 (pre-draft visits). I'd say I probably feel good about 90 to 95 percent of the guys that we've narrowed our board down to, but there is still work to do in these last two weeks."
Pre-draft visits are a valuable tool for any NFL club, and the Bills are no different.
"You don't get to touch these players when they're playing in the fall," Beane said. "You can only talk to coaches and support staff. Now there's a chance to go deal with them, spend time with them at night over dinner and come in here the next day and the coaches do the same. Film, get to know you, family, life, find out what's important to them and see if they'd fit."
There has been a steady stream of college prospects paying the Bills a visit in Orchard Park the last couple of weeks, and Beane has everyone in the personnel department providing input.
"From the guy who is picking him up at the airport to the coach who spent most of the day with him, I tell everybody who was in contact with the player to email me their thoughts on him," he said. "I want to make sure this player fits with everybody, not just with me or his position coach or Sean (McDermott). It's important that he's a fit in the building.
"So, I'll take comment from the athletic trainer, the guy who picked him up at the airport, you name it, I want to know what they thought of this guy."
Beane has never portrayed himself as having all the answers. That's why he'll always welcome worthwhile information on a college prospect from his scouting department. Then it's up to him to compartmentalize it all so he can make the right call on draft day.
"I try to make my own notes on each of these guys," he said. "Until the draft is here if somebody wants to add info I'll listen to it."