Here’s the Bills news of note for March 20th.
**1 - Groy pumped to be back with Bills
**Ryan Groy is ready to return his focus to football.
The offensive lineman was signed to an offer sheet by the Los Angeles Rams last week, but is back to the Bills on a two-year deal after the team matched the offer two days later.
Groy appeared on the John Murphy Show to talk about the free agency process and his excitement about returning to Buffalo for a third season.
“I was just trying to stay calm, I had no idea what was going to happen,” he said. “Truly no idea. Obviously Aaron Kromer is with the Rams and he was the offensive line coach with the Bills last year and then Juan Castillo is the o-line coach here. I have history with the both of them and know them very well. I just didn’t know what was going to happen, it was crazy.”
After Eric Wood broke his leg in Week 9 against the Seahawks, Groy started the last seven games of the season at center. He is happy that Doug Whaley and Buffalo’s front office rewarded his effort down the stretch.
“It felt really good honestly (to have them match the Rams),” Groy said. “I gave all I could last year and I gave whatever I could for the team. It felt good that they saw that and that they know I’m going to continue to work hard and do whatever can for the team and do whatever I can in different situations.”
Groy is also excited about the additions of Mike Tolbert and Patrick DiMarco, whom he feels will another layer to Buffalo’s offense. Although he will likely see his role with the Bills as a backup guard once offseason workouts begin, Groy is set out to once again impress people around the organization with the ultimate goal of making the offensive line even better in 2017.
“I’d go into any of these other teams and I know I would be a starter,” Groy said. “Here (in Buffalo), on paper right now I’m not a starter. But of course you’re going to go in and try to start. I’m not going to go in and fight for a backup job. That’s not in my nature to do. I’m not going to fight to be second-best. Going to do what I can to push the guys ahead of me and make the team better.”
**2 - Clemson prospects impress
**After two straight trips to the National Championship, Clemson will have plenty of players flying off the draft board in April.
Will Vandervort of The Clemson Insider joined The John Murphy Show to discuss what stood out at Clemson’s Pro Day last week and who he thinks will make the biggest impact in the NFL.
Mike Williams, predicted by most drafniks to be one of the first wide receivers selected, impressed at the Pro Day, posting an average of 4.53 for his 40-yard dash—a speed that was surprising to Vandervort.
“He’s a little deceiving with that speed,” Vandervort said. “Mike has a long stride so he can kind of run past people based on his stride, so it’s not so much his speed. He got behind defenders a lot in his career, especially his freshman year at Clemson. Some of that is the ability to get off the line with his strength and he can get open that way as well. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but it’s good enough at the NFL level where people will have to respect it.”
Williams caught 98 passes for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2016. While Williams will certainly be a viable option for the Bills in the first round, Vandervort also sang the praises of linebacker Ben Boulware.
Boulware was awarded the Jack Lambert Award as the nation’s top linebacker in 2016, and also was the Defensive MVP of the 2017 National Championship.
“He’s more of that guy who brings a physical toughness to the game,” Vandervort said. “A downhill runner, really can get in the backfield and cause havoc. Very strong, stronger than people realize and sometimes he’ll have to take on that guard at the second level and I think he’ll handle that very well.”
Vandervort said that Boulware is best suited as a middle linebacker, but his leadership abilities is what makes him stand out in what is already a strong draft on the defensive side of the ball.
3 - A shift in draft thinking for Bills? With the Bills being very active in free agency over the last two weeks, it has led to many experts rethinking where the Bills will go with their 10th pick.
Pro Football Focus’ latest mock draft has the Bills taking Florida cornerback Teez Tabor in the first round. PFF, which grades all college players, had Tabor as the third-best defensive back in the draft and gave him some high praise.
“With CB Stephon Gilmore moving on in free agency, the cornerback position becomes an even bigger need for the Bills. Tabor didn’t have a great combine, but he’s one of the best playmakers in the class at cornerback. He recorded a pass breakup or an interception on 26.5 percent of his targets—best in the class—and can make plays whether playing in press or off coverage.”
Tabor had eight interceptions and 104 tackles as a three-year starter for the Gators. He was named to the First-team All-SEC in 2015 and 2016.