Rex Ryan has a reputation as a straight shooter and an engaging interview. I'm certainly looking forward to dealing with him as the Bills' head coach. But there are times when any NFL coach is required to talk like a company man.
Ryan had one of those moments on Tuesday at the Senior Bowl in Alabama. He told our Vic Carucci that he supported Doug Whaley's decision to trade up for Sammy Watkins in last year's draft -- sending first- and fourth-round picks to the Browns for the privilege of moving up five spots to snag Watkins at fourth overall.
"That was a bold move, but it wasn't a brash move," Ryan said. "It was a bold move. A guy like Sammy Watkins comes down the pike once every 10 years. So think I think he just went for it, and obviously, we're fortunate to have Sammy."
What did you expect Ryan to say? That he was laughing in the Jets' draft room the night the Bills made that outlandish trade, like the rest of the NFL? Of course, he defended it. I'm sure he nodded his head during his job interview and told the Pegulas he was ready to defer to Whaley on personnel matters, too.
Come on, how do you think Ryan would feel if he were still coaching the Jets and didn't have this year's first-round pick? The Jets are desperate for a quarterback. They have the sixth overall pick. They might have a shot at Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston. I'm guessing he wouldn't be happy if they had traded the pick for a wide receiver.
Ryan said a player like Watkins comes along every 10 years. He's mouthing the company line. I'm surprised he didn't call Sammy a "generational pick." If Watkins is that rare, what does it say about Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans or Kelvin Benjamin, all of whom had 1,000 yards as rookies?
Watkins might wind up being the best receiver in the rookie class. That's not the issue. But to call him a once-a-generation talent is ludicrous. Talented wideouts are a plentiful commodity nowadays. You don't mortgage the future to get one. You know what comes along once every 10 years, if you're really lucky? Franchise quarterbacks.
So while I'm looking forward to a fun and free-wheeling time with Ryan as head coach, I'll keep in mind what the New York writers told me: Sometimes, Rex is simply full of it.