Alex Carrington

2010 Draft Grades: Bills

I guess this is what you get when you hire a 70-year-old first-time GM. Buddy Nix has been a well-respected scout for years, but he’s simply not suited to be the general manager in Buffalo.

C.J. Spiller was one of the worst picks of the 1st round. Entering the draft the Bills had needs at just about every position, including some positions that had great value in the top 10. Dan Williams and Anthony Davis would have made perfect sense. A case could have been made for Jimmy Clausen. Even Dez Bryant would have filled a need. The one position that they didn’t need to address was running back.

On top of that, I don’t view C.J. Spiller as a top-10 talent. I know many do, but I believe he’s too small to be an elite running back in the NFL. His defenders will point to Chris Johnson, but he’s the exception to the rule.

I give the Bills credit for realizing that Kyle Williams can’t play nose tackle and addressing that need in the 2nd round, but Torrell Troup? I like Troup, but he isn’t better than Terrence Cody, Cam Thomas or Linval Joseph. At best, he was the 4th-best nose tackle on the board. I gave him a 3rd-round grade, and even that was generous due to the fact that he plays a premium position.

As much as I disliked the first two picks, I love the selection of Alex Carrington. I think he’s a perfect fit at defensive end in their new 3-4 scheme. They really needed to address the defensive line and they did a great job recognizing that as a serious hole that needed to be filled.

I also like the selection of Marcus Easley in the 4th round. He came out of no where and put up huge numbers at Connecticut this past season. You should always be wary of one-year wonders, but in the 4th round he was well worth the risk. They need a No. 2 behind Lee Evans and Easley could potentially fill that role as early as this season.

Ed Wang had value in the 5th round, but its concerning that they didn’t address the offensive line until day three of the draft. He’s a career underachiever who may be put in a tough position in Buffalo if they ask him to start early on.

Arthur Moats and Danny Batten will both likely move to linebacker in Buffalo. They’re developmental prospects, but they should see time early on. The Bills needed to add depth at linebacker in order to make the transition to a 3-4 defense.

Levi Brown was a solid 7th-round pick. He’s a developmental prospect with some upside, but the Bills really needed to find someone earlier in the draft. The Bills just don’t have the veteran presence at quarterback for Brown to learn from. This was a less-than-ideal landing spot for him.

I love the pick of Kyle Calloway in the 7th round. I was surprised to see him fall this far. He doesn’t have a high ceiling, but he can certainly contribute and provide some much needed depth on their defensive line.

Overall, the Bills made some nice mid and late-round picks. However, they failed to find a franchise quarterback or a left tackle – the two positions that were far and away their biggest needs. This is the type of draft that simply destroys a franchise. The Bills are fading fast as an organization and they needed a solid draft to avoid joining the likes of the Raiders, Browns, Lions and Rams as the perennial bottom dwellers of the league. Based on their inability to address key areas of need, they all but guaranteed themselves of another top-10 selection in 2010.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bills, Draft Grades - 2010 1 Comment

Senior Bowl Practice Notes: Tuesday

It was an eventful day at the Senior Bowl. A number of players made statements – both good and bad – about their draft stock.

What stood out most to me were the struggles of two small school offensive linemen. Both Mike Iupati and Vladimir Ducasse struggled throughout the day.

Iupati look fairly good when lined up at guard, dominating Purdue DT Mike Neal and Louisiana Tech DT D’Anthony Smith in one-on-one drills. But when he moved out to tackle he really struggled. At one point Cal DT Tyson Alualu bull rushed Iupati and knocked him on his back. Then later in the day in a battle of small-school prospects Arkansas State DE Alex Carrington tossed Iupati to the ground effortlessly. Iupati remains the top guard on my draft board, but he no longer looks like a 1st-round pick in my mind.

Ducasse also struggled and did far more damage to his stock than Iupati. Ducasse didn’t enter with the same hype, but there were those that felt he had a chance to sneak into the 1st round with a strong performance. He certainly has the size for the position, but he’s got a lot of work to do to catch up to the guys who have been playing in the FBS. Ducasse lined up at both guard and tackle and struggled in both positions. His footwork was poor at both positions and he played too upright. Michigan DE Brandon Graham took advantage and breezed past him with minimal effort. After today’s performance he’ll have to work hard to earn even an early 3rd-round grade.

Speaking of Brandon Graham… wow. He looked very impressive today. I don’t think I saw a single lineman get the better of him. There were times when they fought to a stalemate, but Graham was never the loser. He looked great against Ducasse but really stood out against Utah OT Zane Beadles. On consecutive reps he used a simple speed rush and then a spin move to easily get past Beadles. He made a strong case to receive a 1st-round grade.

Another note on Graham, according to Will Spencer of DraftBreakdown.com he was particularly excited to speak to the Ravens. Here are two of Will’s tweets on it… 1st tweet, 2nd tweet.

Alex Carrington was another lineman that looked very good. I already mentioned that he dominated Mike Iupati, but he looked good throughout the day. He’s tall and very athletic and appears to have excellent upper body strength. Its still early – we’ve really only seen him excel in pass rush drills – but he could earn a 2nd-round grade.

A few other quick notes:
- Rutgers CB Devin McCourty struggled when in press coverage today. He just doesn’t seem to have the quick feet or the strength to play near the line of scrimmage. Though he does have the speed to make up mistakes. He also got his hands on a number of passes, showing good leaping ability.

- Cincinnati WR Mardy Gilyard looked very good. In possibly the best matchup of North squad receivers and corners he burned Cal CB Syd’Quan Thompson.

- Speaking of Thompson, he looked good throughout the day. I am very impressed with his physical play. His physical nature will help ease team’s concerns about his lack of size.

- I was impressed with Clemson WR Jacoby Ford throughout the season, but he didn’t stand out at all today. I really expected him to burn some of these cornerbacks with his sprinter’s speed but it just didn’t happen. Although I will say he has very good hands and adjusts to the ball well. He made a great catch on a pass that was tipped by Devin McCourty.

- Ohio State S Kurt Coleman struggled in pass coverage. His stock definitely has taken a blow this week.

- Virginia S/CB Chris Cook has great size and plays very physical when lined up at cornerback, but I was concerned he wouldn’t have the speed for the position. So far, however, it hasn’t been an issue.

- Notre Dame C Eric Olsen had a terrible day. I felt bad for him watching him get pushed around time after time. He simply couldn’t stop anyone’s bull rush. He weighed in at 310 pounds, so he isn’t undersized. He just doesn’t have the strength to compete.

- Fresno State RB Lonyae Miller looked very poor in blocking drills. He’s a big, physical running back and someone with his size needs to be able to block to earn a roster spot at the next level.

- Oregon RB LeGarrett Blount also had issues blocking. Although from watching his feeble attempts it looked as though he hadn’t even been taught how before. When someone looks that bad, sometimes its not such a bad thing cause it gives you hope that it can easily be fixed with some simple coaching.

- Unfortunately I didn’t catch the South squad practice so no Tebow updates today. I’ll have full reports on both squads tomorrow.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft Comments Off