Here are my three thoughts on the Buffalo Bills six days before the NFL Draft:
> The phone calls are set to begin next week. Members of the Bills' player-personnel department will be dialing up other teams around the NFL to gauge interest in trading the 19th overall pick. It's possible at least one of those conversations will entail the Bills moving up, but it's more likely they'll deal with them moving down. These talks take place routinely, and in most cases trades don't materialize. But there's reason to think the Bills just might be able to find a partner that makes an attractive enough offer to convince them to give up their current spot in the first round in exchange for a lower one and extra picks. The logic for the Bills is that, on the assumption they follow conventional wisdom and select a defensive lineman, the draft is deep enough at that position to allow them to get a player they want later while adding more choices. However, it's the logic for other teams choosing below the Bills that could very well be the driving force for a deal to happen. "When you're picking in that 17 to 20 range, that's a hot spot for teams to trade up," former NFL general manager and current ESPN analyst Mark Dominik said. "When you set your draft board, there aren't exactly, in the case of this year, 31 first-round picks on everybody's board. Generally, there are 20-25 first-round graded players. And the reason there's so much action there is because some of these teams are down to the last guys (on their board) they feel are a first-round talent, and they want to make sure they get one of them." For the Bills, or any team, the best way to enhance the chances of making draft picks count is to have as many as possible.
> If Doug Whaley is to be believed -- and this is the time of year when NFL general managers do a lot of fibbing -- the Bills will more than likely emerge from the draft with a quarterback. The question is, how much emphasis will there be on the size of that QB's hands? That was a big topic during the NFL Scouting Combine, especially after Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson said he preferred a quarterback with larger hands to better grip the ball in inclement AFC North weather. Whaley acknowledged it's part of the Bills' thinking as well, but he doesn't seem nearly as concerned about it as Jackson. "It goes into the evaluation, but you desire just the best guy," Whaley said. "It's just one of those things where everybody wants that ideal 6-5, 230, with 10-inch hands, he's got a bazooka. Those guys are hard to find, but that doesn't mean guys that have 9-inch hands that are 6-foot cannot still perform and perform well. I think the biggest factor for us, though, is less hand size but more on the arm strength, just because you've been in that stadium, come December and the wind coming off that (lake). That, to us, we weigh with a little more importance than the hand size."
> I'm struggling with the idea that Rex Ryan has suddenly become "The Great Compromiser." Preston Brown definitely wants us all to believe as much. It seems that every time the Bills' linebacker does an interview, he reveals how Ryan is giving in to his and his defensive teammates' wishes to have a more simplified scheme, such as the one that helped them rank fourth in the NFL in 2014. Brown couldn't wait to reveal that such was the case in the final two games of the regular season, when the defense had two of its better performances in wins against Dallas and the New York Jets. Then, during a recent appearance on WGR 550, Brown said "a whole bunch of simpler plays" are among the 50 already installed during the team's offseason conditioning program. "Our checks are limited," he added. "And they're kind of the same kind of checks. So it's not as wide as it was last year coming into it." I have a feeling it just might be a bit premature for Brown or anyone else to assume there will be a dramatic shift in Ryan's approach. Ryan knows very well that the checks, and everything else that makes his defense complex, are part of something with which he has had many years of success. When he introduced the "All In" slogan showing up on the players' workout clothes this week, he intended it mainly for his defensive players to accept what he's preaching and not have the sort of pushback that Mario Williams and others gave last season. Considering that Rob Ryan is on hand to help reinforce the scheme, along two other newcomers to the coaching staff (Ed Reed and John Blake), I'm going to need to see and hear a lot more before I'm "all in" on the compromise vibe.