Here's the Bills news of note for March 7th.
**1 - Pundits tab receiver as Bills biggest need
**Today marks the time where NFL clubs can begin contacting the representatives of players who are set to become unrestricted free agents. Contracts however, cannot be negotiated and consummated until March 9th at 4 pm.
With that in mind, ESPN.com put together a list of the what they feel the biggest positional holes are for each NFL team as the free agent market opens. Football Outsiders Aaron Schatz took a look at the Bills and came to a predictable conclusion. Here was his assessment as to what Buffalo has to address positionally.
Regardless of whether Buffalo hangs onto Tyrod Taylor, their quarterback would surely appreciate someone to throw to in 2017. Sammy Watkins had only 28 receptions in a disappointing injury-plagued 2016, but that's still more than the combined career total (17) of all the other wide receivers currently under contract.*
The Bills might consider retaining free agent Robert Woods, but they'll need help at the position regardless. Since trading up to take Watkins in 2014, Buffalo has stayed away from adding at the position, spending two late-round picks on just WRs and avoiding anything other than longshot Percy Harvin-types in free agency. The ground-bound offense Buffalo has relied on seems shakier with new offensive coordinator Rick Dennison's zone-blocking scheme, a drastic departure from the gap-based scheme that suited LeSean McCoy so well. This is especially true if the Bills split with Taylor.
So Buffalo will need more credibility from its passing options to offset its likely rushing regression. Even if Watkins stays healthy -- no lock with recurring foot issues forcing him to miss 11 games the past two seasons -- the Bills need multiple additions around him to help out whomever ends up under center.
2 - Adoree' Jackson's talents all too familiar to SeymourUSC CB Adoree' Jackson was expected to have a monster workout at the NFL Combine and he did not disappoint. On Monday the 5-10, 186-pound cornerback ran a 4.42 40-time, had a 36-inch vertical and a 10-foot, two-inch broad jump.
An All-American in football and track at USC, Jackson was expected to work out well. Bills' CB Kevon Seymour, a teammate of Jackson's for three years, may have been the least surprised.
Seymour has made a point of staying in touch with his former Trojans teammate through the pre-draft process. In fact right before Jackson met the media at the NFL Combine he reached out to him.
"He just texted me before I came up here (on stage)," Jackson said. "That's one of my big brothers. As soon as I got there, he took me under his wing. I talk to him almost every other day. Like I said, he's like a brother to me. He helps me out a lot just being in my position. He came here and competed last year. He told me what to expect. I'm thankful for guys like that. Coming out of USC, I'm always able to talk to somebody, lean on somebody who has been where I'm trying to go."
Jackson said Seymour's advice was to just be himself and act natural.
The USC cornerback is also an accomplished return man. He had four returns for touchdowns, two on punts and two on kick returns.
Jackson is forecast as a second-round pick, but he's seen as a player with enormous upside because he never played spring ball in college. He was busy running track. Many NFL scouts feel he will be able to sharpen and hone his coverage techniques once he's playing only football year round.
3 - Richie recommending booksWe're not pretending to know what kind of bookworm Richie Incognito, but he's articulate in interviews and apparently has an affinity for a certain genre of books. NFL SI.com writer Albert Breer sought a book recommendation from Incognito, a week after seeking one from Andrew Luck.
Incognito recommended 'No Easy Day' by Mark Owen, a book that chronicled the Navy SEAL selection process.
"I love reading military books, especially special forces/classified mission-type books," said Incognito. "I like reading about their training and what they had to get through in order to qualify for these elite teams. 'No Easy Day' talks about the rigorous selection process to make it to the elite level of the Navy SEALs, SEAL Team Six. It goes on to talk about all of the missions Mark was a part of.
"What intrigued me was how the SEALs had to adjust their tactics in the middle of the war. Very similar to a football game. What they were doing was no longer efficient, and they made the changes necessary to be successful and put themselves in a better position. One reason I love military books is because there are many parallels between my world and theirs. The warrior culture and mentality is something we develop early on in life through sports. I would never compare football to war, but the win-at-all-costs mindset is what pushes us to be elite.
"The best part of the book talks about the training they put in to raid bin Laden's compound. They began training for the mission without knowing the target but eventually found out it was bin Laden. The CIA had found him. The rest is history. They raided bin Laden's compound in Pakistan and killed the most wanted man in the world."