At the NFL owners meetings, Bills GM Brandon Beane confirmed that the college personnel department is entering the final stages of completing the team's draft board. With the initial stages of free agency now behind them, Beane and his staff will finalize their player grades.
"The last time we touched the draft board was right before the combine," said Beane. "We're doing pro days and private workouts and then we'll bring (prospects) in for the 30 on site visits. Pro days will end next Thursday. That next Friday is April 5th. I'll come back and our college scouts will be waiting.
"We'll go back through the board. We've got guys in clumps and we'll get back on the film and start grading. If for example, we've got three running backs in the third round, we'll start making sure if they all belong there and what's the order if they're all available and we're picking at that time."
The acquisitions the Bills have made in free agency have certainly reduced the burden of filling holes on the roster. Beane says he doesn't ever rest easy, but it's evident that the signings they've made have put them in a better position to succeed come late April.
Still open for business
Of course that doesn't mean the Bills will avoid using other ways to acquire what they see as upgrades for their roster. Beane wouldn't close the door on other possible free agent signings taking place or even a trade if the opportunity presented itself.
"I'm still looking for ways for us to add more competition," he said. "We have conversations. (The owners' meetings) is a great spot for trades to happen, and I'm not saying there's anything brewing. There's not, but if a GM approached us now and there was a guy we thought was an upgrade or an add to competition and we could give something up we would still look to make that move. I feel better about our roster, but we still have a ways to go."
Beane affirmed that they struck quickly in some areas of free agency like offensive line signing five players, or wide receiver where they've added three players.
"You definitely do look at the draft board and see where there are areas of depth at a certain position, so perhaps we don't need to be as aggressive in free agency," he said. "I think we were aggressive in a couple of areas and maybe we were nervous there wasn't a lot of depth there, so let's handle it now so if we miss the top two or three guys at a certain position the onus isn't on you to take a guy where you're not really sure what kind of upgrade it is."
Plans for D-line
If there's one area that hasn't received a lot of attention thus far with respect to player additions, it's the defensive line, where the only signing was bringing back DT Jordan Phillips back into the fold.
But Beane has stated time and again they are always looking to add talent through any avenue open to them.
"We've got some guys who are competing in there. There are still free agents we can add," said Beane with respect to the team's defensive line. "We've talked to some, but again we're not going to sign guys that we don't think fit or aren't above what we have on the roster.
"We'll continue to look and we've got the draft as well. So that's another spot, at the right place, if there's a guy there, maybe we select him."