The annual game of charades known as the Bills' pre-draft luncheon will be held Wednesday afternoon in Ochard Park.
General Manager Doug Whaley will be at his evasive best, offering up as much misdirection as possible when he's not speaking in vague terms. He'll surely heap loads of praise on individual prospects, even ones the team has no intention drafting.
That's not to say that there is no value in the proceedings, however (outside of the free lunch). Here are a few of the questions I have for Whaley, formed in part with the hope that he'll provide honest responses:
1. Under your leadership, the Bills have used free agency to fill perceived "holes" on the roster to allow you to draft the "best player available," regardless of position. Given the approach to free agency this year because of salary-cap restraints, and the losses on defense, do you feel the team has filled all those "holes?"
Reasoning: Bills coach Rex Ryan made it clear Monday during the start of the team's offseason program that there are still holes on the roster. If Whaley agrees, it could point to a need to fill those holes through the draft. A look at the roster shows the defensive line and linebacker as two position groups that could use reinforcements.
2. How has the Sammy Watkins trade impacted your willingness to move up or down in the draft?
Reasoning: The trade for Watkins is really Whaley's defining moment. It showed he's not afraid of being aggressive to really go after a player he wants. However, it's still unclear exactly how the trade should be graded. Watkins has been very good in two seasons, and clearly the potential is there to be great. But he'll always be compared to Odell Beckham Jr., who was taken after him and has had a better first two seasons. Remember, in the year the Bills did move up for Watkins, there were rumors they were in talks with Houston to go all the way up to No. 1. With rumors circulating about the Cleveland Browns potentially trading out of the No. 2 pick, it will be interesting to hear Whaley's thoughts on the topic, provided he offers more than the usual "anything is possible" rhetoric.
3. When evaluating a prospect like North Dakota State's Carson Wentz, how much is put into the inferior level of competition compared to prospects from Power Five conference schools?
Reasoning: At heart, Whaley is a scout. He loves this time of year. When he wants to, he can very clearly articulate what goes into the work. Finding "hidden gems" at the lower levels of football is what every scout is after. Wentz isn't that, since he's a lock as a first-rounder, but Whaley undoubtedly has fascinting insight on scouting outside of the big-time programs.
4. Where is this draft the deepest?
In the past, Whaley hasn't shied away from this question. Knowing the Bills think they can find a quality defensive tackle, say, in the third or fourth round, could give us a better idea of their willingness to wait on those positions in earlier rounds.