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Willy confident about NFL chances

University at Buffalo quarterback Drew Willy is confident he will get a shot with some team in the NFL this summer.

How much of a shot will depend in part on how much he impresses scouts this week at the NFL Scouting Combine and later this spring in on-campus workouts.

Willy, who led UB to the Mid-American Conference title this season, showed off his passing arm to NFL scouts Sunday and will keep throwing the next two days during workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Willy has good size, at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds. He could be a late-round pick. But even if he isn't drafted, he's expected to be invited to some team's training camp.

"I've heard anywhere from the fifth [round] to an undrafted free agent," Willy said of his draft prospects. "I'm just trying to prove myself this week, hopefully improve my draft stock, show these coaches where I'm at mentally on the chalkboard, just interview well and be myself. I think I can offer a lot of things that can help a program."

Willy completed 65 percent of his passes for 3,304 yards as a senior, with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions.

He does not have a cannon arm. But he is accurate and showed a great ability to avoid mistakes for the Bulls.

Willy said he gained confidence from working the past two months with former NFL player and coach Jerry Rhome, now a quarterback guru of sorts in Atlanta.

"I think there might be some questions," Willy said about his arm. "But Coach Rhome has really helped me with that. He said I can throw it with anyone in the NFL, so he said that's not even an issue. . . . He pretty much liked my whole demeanor, my getting back in the pocket. We just worked on [studying] different protection stuff. There's a lot more different defenses you're going to see at the next level."

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Buffalo Bills cornerback Jabari Greer isn't quite out the door of One Bills Drive yet. Sources familiar with the negotiations told The Buffalo News that more talks will be held on a possible contract extension this week, and those talks could continue through Thursday. The NFL's free agency season begins Friday.

Greer's contract is up, and The News reported Saturday that he is expected to hit the free agent market. It still would be a bit of a surprise if the Bills were able to strike a deal, given the market for cornerbacks in the NFL. However, both sides have agreed to keep talking this week, sources said. Greer repeatedly has stated how much he likes playing in Buffalo and apparently is willing to give the Bills every opportunity to strike a deal.

After quarterback, cornerback has become the gold position in free agency, with the market taking a dramatic upturn in recent years. Nate Clements' eight-year, $80 million deal was a big part of that.

In the past six months, young corners who have signed big deals have included the Giants' Corey Webster (five years, $43.5 million) and the Colts' Kelvin Hayden (five years, $43 million). Just two days ago, Philadelphia signed nickel cornerback Joselio Hanson to a five-year, $21 million deal. He has just one career interception.

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Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew ran times of 4.85 and 4.87 seconds in the 40-yard dash Saturday.

He was projected as a first-round pick by many before the combine. How much will that hurt his draft stock?

"I made the comment before he ran his first 40 that he's not a blazer," said analyst Mike Mayock of the NFL Network. "He might be a 4.75 guy. I was surprised he ran 4.85. It doesn't change one iota what I think he is. I still think he's plus or minus Jason Witten. He's an in-line tight end who will block his tail off. He might not be as fast as some of those guys, but he can separate and catch a football."

Nevertheless, it probably decreases his odds of being taken in the first half of the first round.

Witten, a third-round pick in 2003, has made five Pro Bowls for Dallas. He was the 69th overall pick. But he ran a 4.65 in the 40 at the combine.

e-mail: mgaughan@buffnews.com

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