Here's the Bills news of note for Feb. 8th.
**1 - Ihedigbo hoping for a return to Buffalo
**He didn't sign with the Bills until the middle of November last season, but veteran S James Ihedigbo made his presence felt quickly. Despite not having any kind of preseason run-up to the 2016 campaign with Buffalo, Ihedigbo was thrust right into the action appearing in his first game five days after signing. He performed admirably playing in four games until it was discovered that he suffered a break in his tibia in the Week 15 loss to Pittsburgh.
Now an impending free agent, Ihedigbo hopes he gets a contract offer from the Bills even though there was a coaching change.
"I spoke with Sean (McDermott) and my (coordinator) as well," said Ihedigbo in an appearance on the John Murphy Show. "I would definitely love to be back in Buffalo. I think I meshed well with the guys. This team is a young team and so talented. I think we're so close to winning. The talent is there. I think we have to continue to solidify that leadership.
"The team is looking for someone to step up and say, 'Hey this is the right way to do things. This is how we're going to make it to the playoffs and win a championship.' I think guys like Kyle Williams, Lorenzo (Alexander), myself. I think those types of guys can really make that impact."
The defensive scheme is also expected to change to a 4-3 system with more zone coverage elements in the secondary. Ihedigbo explained how he's had success in a 4-3 scheme before.
"My first year when I left Baltimore, I went to Detroit for a year and I played in a 4-3 system and had my best year in the NFL with four interceptions and over 70 tackles, a whole bunch of sacks as well," Ihedigbo said. "I definitely fit into that 4-3 scheme. When you run a 4-3 you allow your pass rushers to tee off and get after the passer, and it allows us as defensive backs to play zone, read routes and really play downhill and make plays."
Buffalo does need reinforcements at safety. Corey Graham is entering the final year of his contract this fall, Aaron Williams playing future is still undetermined and Ihedigbo is one of four free agents at the safety position on Buffalo's roster.
Ihedigbo has been around the league long enough to know he doesn't hold all the cards in free agency, but that won't change his approach when it comes to getting himself ready for the 2017 season.
"I let my agent handle all that in terms of talking to teams," he said. "For me it's just preparing my body and getting my body ready to perform at a high level. The way things happened last year it couldn't be forecast signing midway through the season, but one good thing was coming in at tip top shape and performing and executing at a high level without OTAs or training camp. I hope this time around it's different and I'm in camp with the Buffalo Bills and I can cultivate those relationships with my teammates and coaches and get ready to win."
2 - Three round mock goes QB, CB, WR for BillsThere's a good argument for any number of positions for the Bills to address in the 2017 NFL draft. A recent mock went three rounds and went quarterback, cornerback and wide receiver in the first three rounds for Buffalo.
SBNation.com has the Bills taking Clemson QB DeShaun Watson 10th overall in round one, followed by Washington CB Sidney Jones in the second round and Cal WR Chad Hansen in round three.
Watson comes into the pre-draft season with enormous hype after beating the defending national champion Alabama on a game-winning touchdown drive with one second left on the clock. Whether he can convince scouts to overlook some of his ball location issues remains to be seen.
Sidney Jones (6-0, 181) is a wiry strong cornerback, who had nine interceptions and 30 pass breakups in his college career for the Huskies. He's also a second team All-American and an Academic All-American.
Cal WR Chad Hansen (6-1, 195) was a transfer from Idaho State for the Bears and went from no name to certified draft material after a productive junior season in Berkeley. Hansen had 92 receptions for almost 1,250 yards and 11 touchdowns in Cal's 'Air Raid' offense with QB Davis Webb.
3 - Ragland glad 2016 season is overHis rookie NFL season was over before it began. Bills linebacker Reggie Ragland tore his ACL in training camp and missed the entire 2016 season. He's been rehabbing the last several months. So it's no surprise that when the 2016 season came to a conclusion with New England's victory over Atlanta in Super Bowl LI, that Ragland was ready to start anew.
Ragland is supposed to begin straight line running soon as he's close to seven months removed from surgery.