Vic Carucci's Bills Mailbag: Won't be shocked if they trade down - The Buffalo News
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Vic Carucci's Bills Mailbag: Won't be shocked if they trade down

You have Buffalo Bills questions that you've submitted to me via Twitter @viccarucci.

I have answers:

@Roughness_77: Do we go offense or defense in round one? Are we using our pick at 10 or trading back?

VC: I wouldn't be shocked if the Bills chose to trade down, provided there's a team that has a player it covets targeted at that 10th overall spot.

Given their low-keyed approach to free agency, with a slew of modest signings and re-signings, it's easy to envision the Bills sticking to a plan that would encourage additional picks rather than a singular splashy choice. Also, the Bills enter the draft with six picks, and my understanding is that Sean McDermott, who is calling the shots, wants more.

My sense is there will be at least one suitor, and possibly more, for the Bills' first-round pick.

However, if they end up keeping it, I can see them going for defense. New head coaches tend to put their mark on their first draft, and McDermott's is obviously rooted on that side of the ball.

The priority would figure to be cornerback, but linebacker and safety aren't very far behind.

@MatthewMB266: I'm sure you've answered this a million times but do you think there's a good possibility they draft Chad Kelly late?

VC: I don't know if I'd call it a good possibility, but I'd say it's a possibility.

By most accounts, Kelly is, by far, the most physically talented quarterback in this draft class. His well-documented off-field issues, along with his recovery from a second major knee injury, have seemingly crushed his stock.

The NFL's withdrawal of his invitation to the Combine further damaged his standing with teams, although one undoubtedly will at least take a flier on him in the latter rounds.

It's hard to gauge whether that team will be the Bills, especially given McDermott's extremely low tolerance for bad behavior. The character grades of the players he has added via free agency are all pretty high.

@Bump_Miller: Who do you like for Bills QB? Should it be Cardale Jones so he gets the reps & develops?

VC: If you're talking short term, there's no question that it's Tyrod Taylor. Now, that term might only prove to be 2017, given the easy out the Bills have from his contract after this season under the terms of his restructured deal.

But Taylor always figured to be the best option for this season. The issue was an onerous contract-extension that Taylor made a better fit for this season by agreeing to take a $10-million pay cut over two years.

I get the point about wanting Jones to receive some badly needed playing time, but that will have to be reserved for the preseason, provided he sticks around. He was someone General Manager Doug Whaley selected and McDermott inherited.

At least one member of the previous coaching staff had big problems with his lack of maturity and commitment to the considerable amount of work required to be a successful quarterback. Something tells me McDermott won't have a whole lot of patience if Jones is making as many in-training-camp/in-season trips back to his native Ohio as he did in 2016 for various personal issues.

@mcclennon99: Are you getting any kind of a vibe from the players on the removal of the locker room pool table?

VC: Not a whole lot, although that shouldn't come as much surprise. Very few players who wish to remain with the Bills are going to want to say a whole lot, even privately, about stricter rules imposed by a new coach who has only been on the job a few months.

From what I could gather during the time media were allowed in the locker room each week during the season, the pool table was the least popular recreational activity available to players. The ping-pong table easily drew the heaviest action, and McDermott let it stay. He said, at least partly tongue-in-cheek, it was because it helped with "ball skills," although some of the more avid ping-pong players on the team are linemen.

My guess is McDermott figured out that getting rid of the pool table and video games -- whose popularity had also waned in the last year or so -- would cause far less of an uproar than ditching the ping-pong table. A little compromise never hurts.

@CharleeDegeorge: First round pick seems easy, lots of options. Who should Bills fans look forward to in rounds 2 and 3 maybe 5?

VC: I don't have any whos, but I can give you some whats. As I mentioned, if the Bills keep the pick, I can see them going defense with their first pick, probably cornerback. After that, I think, in no particular order, they'll look to add a linebacker, a wide receiver, and probably a safety.

I can also see them going for a tight end.

@thelastbillsfan: would u please analyze the 2nd Dary evolution. So glad 24 left! Not a hitter Big weakness last season. Big fan!

VC: I think the Bills picked up a couple of bright and talented safeties in Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer.

Hyde will likely serve as the chief communicator for the rest of the defense on the field and in the meeting room. He did a nice job in that role well for the Green Bay Packers.

If Poyer can stay healthy, he should prove to be a tremendous addition because of the athleticism and hard hitting he brings to the table.

@NigelFancy: who is your favorite player?

VC: Wow! That's a loaded question, to say the least.

I can honestly say I don't have any real favorites, in terms of having a rooting interest. To do this job well, I've found it's best to remain as neutral as possible about the teams, players, coaches, GMs, owners, and league officials I cover.

Still, we're all humans in this business, and there are individuals with whom you develop a rapport -- or whatever the opposite of that might be. In the case of players, I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a certain fondness for the ones who tend to show a willingness to help me do my job. Some are simply more engaging than others, and the Bills have several who fall into that category such as Corbin Bryant, Richie Incognito, Eric Wood, LeSean McCoy, and Sammy Watkins.

One of the all-time best when it came to dealing with the media was Nickell Robey-Coleman. Really going to miss that guy.

@JJjstone43: what's updated cap space?

VC: Based on information from pro sports salary websites spotrac.com and overthecap.com, the number seems to be somewhere in the range of $17 or $18 million.

@8three7six6zero: with a female owner, are the Pegulas taking a harder stance against prospects w a DV in past?

VC: I'm not sure how much Kim Pegula is influencing the type of players the Bills select. However, I do think solid character has become a far more important factor with McDermott in charge. He no doubt has that in mind as he remakes the roster.

@Jiillyy: do you foresee the Bills getting something done long-term with Mike Gillislee?

VC: Yes. I think they're motivated to keep him, although the cap room is a factor in how far they're able to go to make it happen.

@zicopula: Carolina got by last season w/o top CB, think McD/Frazier go that direction for this season? Could LB be in mix at 10 to run D?

VC: I don't think it's necessarily McDermott's preference to not have a top cornerback, but that's how things worked out with Josh Norman's and Stephon Gilmore's respective departures from the Panthers and Bills for big free-agent money.

I can see the defense getting by with Ronald Darby and Kevon Seymour as the starters, and having some good competition for the nickel and reserve spots.

@LouSperanza: My gut is telling me that Bills Dee ranking will move up 10 or 15 spots based on new guys and Sean's schemes. Your thoughts?

VC: I agree the defense will be better. I'm not sure about 10 or 15 spots, but it wouldn't shock me if the Bills rank higher than 19th in the league largely on the strength of better teaching, organization, and discipline from McDermott and his staff.

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