General Manager Buddy Nix and Vice President of College Scouting Tom Modrak
On Marshawn Lynch's: future with the Bills:
Buddy Nix:Our intention is for Marshawn to be here. He is under contract and we think he is a good back. We need two backs and our intentions are for him to be here. All this trade talk is not coming from us.
On the conversation with Lynch after voluntary workouts:
Buddy Nix:We told him he is under contract, we want him to be here and we expect him to be here. Obviously it is his decision and this is voluntary so that was the extent of it.
On Lynch attending any of the workouts:
On Lynch asking to be traded:
Buddy Nix:He does not make that decision. He is under contract to us and we are going to do what is best for the Bills. We need Marshawn and we expect him to show up when it is mandatory.
On what other teams have done thus far in terms of trading:
Buddy Nix: I tried to make that clear when I first came here. I really am not concerned with what other folks do. Obviously we are going to know the division, but what they do does not affect us. I am doing all I can do without worrying about the Jets or Miami and the trades they make. Our philosophy remains the same: we are looking to upgrade and to improve our team anyway we can. The things these other guys do does not make us impatient and will not make us change. We are looking to upgrade but we are not looking to keep up with the Jones'.
On if he feels the roster needs to be built to match up against the recent additions to the division:
Buddy Nix: I know they are going to have good players. It is not just these two guys. I think the thing to do is to wait and see how this turns out. None of us know. Maybe it will be good. I don't' know. Let's wait to evaluate things and see how this goes. It makes good print today, it really does, and it gives everyone something to talk about, but I don't know how that will turn out.
On the strengths of Iowa OL Bryan Bulaga and Rutgers OL Anthony Davis:
Tom Modrak:Bulaga's strengths: he is technically sound and a very good competitor. He is a good athlete, works very hard at his job and he produces. Anthony Davis continues to show improvement but he is a young guy and he is a talented athlete. With that, as a young guy, there are a few more peaks and valleys. However you can see really top talent at the left tackle from a movement standpoint, all the things you talk about in seeing the athletic left tackle.
On Davis' production this year:
Tom Modrak: He has gotten better and he keeps getting better. I would expect he would continue to get better. That is always the tough judgment on young guys, how fast does that come, how quick does he get to the point you want it to be.
On the quarterback selection in the first three rounds:
Tom Modrak:I think the top two guys have been identified and I am sure on every board there is a difference. And I am sure the boards are still getting developed around the league. Those will probably be the first two off. I can't speak for everyone certainly, but it seems to me that is where it is if you are looking for a prediction those would be the first two. From a talent standpoint, they have talents that are a little bit different. Sam (Bradford) worked out of a different kind of offense who never worked out of center where Jimmy (Clausen) has been under center and has done that kind of thing. They are both accurate guys, they are both competitive guys and they both know the game well again from different styles of offense.
But I don't think it will hurt one or help the other. I think they will both have a chance to be productive in the league.
On the need for a quarterback:
Tom Modrak: All I am in the market for is to get that board up right so we can be ready. That is really all the intention is right now from my perspective.
Buddy Nix: You read about all the things we need, we have to have a left tackle, we have to have a quarterback and we have to have this. The way we see our players is probably a little different than how you guys see them and the way it is perceived. If someone writes that you need a left tackle then it grows and it moves around and it gets bigger. We have a different opinion about some of the players we have. We have a different opinion in how many guys can fill a certain need that is in the draft. In other words, you read and you hear that there are three or four left tackles that may be gone, may not be gone, you have to get one of those and I keep using that position, quarterback is the same way. This is the point I am trying to make: when it comes time, if we think there are two left tackles in the draft that can come in at number nine and make an immediate impact, can play from day one, which is what we expect out of a top 10 draft choice; that is what we want. We don't always get what we want. It's like Christmas time, you don't always get what you are looking for, but that's what we want that to be. Now if one of those two are not there then we would look at the next need we have which might be quarterback, might be something else, and might be running back. If the guy that we think can come in and make that impact at nine, then we are going to take the best player on the board. That might be a defensive guy, we may already have him, but our philosophy is to put as many good players on this team as we can. We would like to fill a need but if we can't we want to make sure we don't compound the problem by putting another one in that position that cannot play.
On what the biggest needs are for the team:
Buddy Nix: We think we have a good left tackle (Demetrius Bell). He is injured right now and is coming along good. I guess the point I am trying to make is if we can't get the guy that we need then we are going to try to develop what we have or there is still a chance that we can fill some needs after the draft in free agency. We are going to be looking, and we work at it every day, to make sure we can get a guy that fits and will make us better. Do not get us pinned down and don't get yourself pinned down thinking mentally it has to be this position or this position because it may not be.
On whom the team might expect to be at number nine in the draft:
Buddy Nix:We play every scenario we can think of. We play what-if games all f the time and it's fun. It is competitive. We try to cover everything that can happen. There will be a good player there and we just need to make sure we get him.
On his thoughts of moving up in the draft to be able to pick the guy they have targeted:
Buddy Nix: No. I don't think it is. Moving up a few slots sounds good, moving down sounds good. We are open to any of those discussions. It is hard to find a partner sometimes. It takes two.
On assessing Florida QB Tim Tebow:
Tom Modrak:Tim is going to have a terrific career in the league. He just has the will to do everything right. He has improved and continues to prove himself. I think he is a competitive guy, he is a smart guy, he has the will to win and those things are all on his side and those usually help you to produce.
On bringing in another running back if that is the best player when it comes time to select:
Buddy Nix: Yes sir. Just like I said before. If that guy that is there is the best player for us to put on our team that is what we will do. It is not like we are going to get too many great players at one spot. If that is our problem I hope we have it, but that is not normally the case.
On Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan's ability to play in a 3-4 defense:
Tom Modrak: Yes definitely. He can be an outside back and he is athletic enough to do that. He still has a chance to be a five technique but size is a little bit against him, but he may grow into that. He is a good football player and he will find a way to play and he can play in a 3-4.
On South Florida DE Jason Pierre-Paul:
Tom Modrak:I think he will be better in a 4-3 defense. That does not mean you want to exclude him from your thoughts because he has a dynamite future, but his best shot is as a 4-3 defensive end.
On putting a "red flag" on a player like him:
Tom Modrak: I don't think we put a red flag although we talk about it a lot certainly. You are getting more and more of it and it is hard to exclude it with guys coming out early and may be playing on teams or behind good players that went high the year before. It is certainly a part of our process.
On judging quarterback's on the same parameters they judge other players:
Buddy Nix: I think the quarterback position is different. We have three guys that have a shot. We said when we came in this was a new beginning for us. Prove to us whether you can or not and that is what we are sticking to. If you didn't have one you better go get somebody. A quarterback is different in that respect.
On Clemson RB CJ Spiller and how much influence a coach has on the draft decision:
Buddy Nix: Absolutely. I think what we're and what he's saying is we need a guy, now a need, not necessarily if he's not there we don't take him, but it'd be nice to have a guy that can create points for you, field position and create ways to score. And with the two backs we've got then you would think a Spiller-type fits the bill.
On Alabama LB Rolando McClain's best strengths:
Tom Modrak: My conventional wisdom says yes, he can do that. He can play in the 3-4. He can play in the 4-3, too but he can be a 3-4 linebacker. The qualities he has physically he's 260-pounds, he runs good, he's a smart football player who likes football and studies the game and really runs the show out there if you've seen Alabama which most of you probably have. He's the one that directs traffic out there and knows where it is. He'll succeed in either defense. I don't think he's limited. We talked about a couple of guys earlier but I don't think he's limited.
On the next group of quarterbacks after Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford and Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen:
Tom Modrak: That's hard because beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there's needs around the league. Different people have different thoughts about people obviously and that's why there are some surprises that happen to you, not to them obviously because they like people like that. I think just historically, if you can use that, is after the first wave there's usually a little bit of a separation and people will wait a little while. That's not to say that'll happen this year. Every year is a new year. But some of those players that you named are probably in that next wave to come out.
On where he ranks the second wave of quarterbacks:
Tom Modrak: Well, you know I'm not going to tell you where we have them. We like them and we like them at the right point. I know that's as vague as that can be. I'm not just going to say he's a second-rounder, he's a third-rounder or that kind of thing. I think that's in our room, stays in our room and we've kept it that way and we always will keep it that way.
On the change to the three day Draft format and how he sees the selection process unfolding:
Buddy Nix: I think the first thing I'll tell you is it is the rule and it's what we've got. It's what we're going to go by. I think this age teams that are not as organized, that year after year probably don't do as well in the draft, I think when you've got 10 minutes to decide other than a day you've got more time to go look at the board. My first thought was it's going to aid the guys that struggle some. The Friday night draft will be like getting ready for the first round and second round. It starts over because you've got all day to look at your board, you should be able to assess your needs, discuss them again and get them in the right order. I think that'll be the biggest difference to me.
On if the new Draft format will promote trading:
Buddy Nix: I think it gives you time for more obviously, yes.
On being in position to make the call on Draft day for the first time in his career:
Buddy Nix: It doesn't feel any different. I think we tend to overemphasize who's going to make the call, who's got the final decision and all of the years that I've been in it it's never come down to two guys arguing and one saying 'well I'll make the call.' Well, maybe that happens. But I think if you do a good job of discussing, Tom and I, Chan and the coaches input is weighed, but we obviously, the scouts input probably carries a little more weight because they've spent all year studying these guys and we discuss them all of the time. We'll sit there and have us a list, a cluster that these are the guys in order that we would like at this pick. As they go, you scratch them off. You make sure if you're picking nine you've got 10 names so you don't run out. But we're not going to be shocked. We'll actually have more than 10 because if you were to have a chance to move down, you'd still need to have a plan. You shouldn't be sitting there, looking at each other if the guy you want is gone because he might be. So you better have another guy in line. I think if you do it that way and you've spent days discussing it and getting them in order then it doesn't come down to that. So that's the reason… it's not much changed for me.
On his chance to put his stamp on the organization as a GM and how the fact does that the team has not been in the playoffs for 10 seasons motivate him:
Buddy Nix: I think it makes us work day and night. We are conscious of that, not that it's putting my stamp but winning is what we're conscious of and that's what we're trying to do. We want make sure that we do everything we can do to improve this football team for the long haul to win consistently. And we've talked about the splashes and again, not to touch anything anybody else is doing, that's their business, but we want to be sure that we're building a good foundation that we can continue to build on and it's not going to be something in constant flux.
On if the team's offensive philosophy is pass-first:
Buddy Nix: I think for the first part of the year and in some weather conditions it is a pass first league and a quarterback-driven league. But I still firmly believe you have to play defense and you have to be able to run the ball to win championships. Somewhere in that playoff run you're going to have to be able to run the ball. If we got some deficiencies in some areas, which we do, not as many as everybody thinks probably, but if we build a strong defense and a strong front offensive line we can keep adding some talent and that way we'll stay good for awhile.
On if he has heard any type of decision from DE Aaron Schobel and how that might affect the draft:
Buddy Nix: Not at all. You've got to be prepared for whether he does or he doesn't but everything is still the same. We're like it is about Marshawn… we'd like to have him here, they're good players, we want them here but the ball is in his court.
On if he has entertained the thought of moving G Andy Levitre to left tackle or if there are five immediate tackle prospects in this year's class:
Buddy Nix: Five maybe, but normally if you move a guy like Andy you weaken two positions and that's not our thought. We're pretty good down the middle and we think he's a better guard. He can play tackle. We saw him do that and do that in college, but we think he's a better fit where he is and we'd like to keep it that way.
On if he agrees that this is one of the better defensive tackle depth drafts and his thoughts on Central Florida DT Torell Troup and East Carolina DT Linval Joseph:
Tom Modrak: I think it's good. It's one of the areas that if you say what are the good positions in the draft you'd say yes, defensive tackles is good. Troup is an interesting guy. He's one of those guys that probably plays 60-plus snaps a game and works hard the whole game. He's a big, wide-bodied guy. He's suited for a nosetackle, a good athlete, more push the pocket than rush but that's most noses. He can handle the inside stuff. We think strictly (Linval at 0-technique). Of course you look at him through your eyes now and that's what we're looking at. That's what he is for us. He's a two-gap run stuffing kind of guy.
On TCU OLB Jerry Hughes:
Tom Modrak: He's a dynamite player. They do a great job at TCU first, that whole organization they fly to the ball but he's leading the pack. He's a tenanted athlete. He plays on the outside but he could be a guy that switched to the inside. He has that kind of capability because of athletic ability and instincts. He plays the game hard, is good with his hands and just overall a real good football player.
On what positions he sees as a strength in this year's draft:
Tom Modrak: I think defensive tackle is good, safety and cornerback. And it's all relative. Each draft pool is different to me. Everybody talks about the 15th pick in the draft is always the same, well there is some difference, believe me. And in this draft, relatively speaking, I think those positions.
On if performances in cold weather situations and ability to handle bad weather is part of the quarterback evaluation:
Tom Modrak: It certainly enters into the conversation. The things that we talked about those guys: coming from behind, the weather conditions, where they've played, how they've handled different things you don't get to check all of the boxes all of the time. But certainly if you have it there you don't pass it by, you talk about it, sure.
On what he likes in Arizona TE Rob Gronkowski, Syracuse WR Mike Williams and Buffalo RB James Starks:
Tom Modrak: I think Gronkowski is an all-around good player. That's obviously nice to get. Sometimes you get somebody who's good at one thing or the other. He's a guy that'll block at the point, he'll do the dirty work but he has the ability to catch the ball. And it's kind of nice because sometimes you get one or the other. Mike Williams: Obviously big receivers are in vogue, I guess and he's got talent. He's got a lot of talent. He catches the ball well, he's a good athlete. Starks, the wonder on Starks, would be if missing a year hurts him. I don't think it's going to hurt him a whole lot because you've got a good chance to see him on tape from the year before and he did real well in the workout. He caught the ball, he's a good runner.
On where the team stands at the wide receiver position:
Buddy Nix: We've got six guys on our roster. Some of them we don't know a lot about. Steve Johnson hasn't played much. James Hardy has been hampered. We'd like to find out about those guys. We'll carry 10 to camp and we may pick up one or two in the draft. Everybody talks about it not being a good draft for receivers. There are some good receivers and there'll be some throughout the draft, so we'll fill the next four through the draft and free agency.