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Sully's Mailbag: That Chiefs pick doesn't look so good now

As soon as the Bills traded for the Chiefs' first-round pick in next year's NFL draft, rooting against Kansas City became a secondary pastime for Buffalo fans. The worse they finish, the higher the pick.

Naturally, the Chiefs knocked off the Patriots in the season opener Thursday night, 42-27, scoring the most points of any opponent during Bill Belichick's time. Andy Reid's squad also piled up 537 yards of offense, the most of any Pats opponent in the Belichick era.

So reports of a Chiefs demise appear to have been exaggerated. They might not be a Super Bowl team, but they're still very good. They have won 23 of their last 27 regular-season games. The chances of that draft pick being in the top half seem remote.

But look on the bright side. With Miami's game postponed, the Bills-Jets game at New Era on Sunday is for first place in the AFC East. Let's get to the mail:

Bill McCarthy asks: We've seen some good preseason work out of Mitch Trubisky, DeShaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes II and DeShone Kizer. Did the Bills miss the boat? Are those teams' scouting departments so much better?

Timothy M. Vickers asks: Stipulating that it was only preseason, Mahomes looked great. What's your opinion, if any?

Sully: I've always got an opinion, Tim. Yes, for a supposedly weak quarterback class, the rookies you mentioned have looked good in the preseason, suggesting that the draftniks might have underestimated them.

However, I'll reiterate what I said to the Nathan Peterman zealots. Calm down. It was preseason. Rookies often perform well in August. Time will tell with this quarterback class. Only Kizer is currently starting. Let's see how they perform when defenses are playing their starters and throwing exotic schemes at them.

Mahomes is a tremendous talent. Andy Reid thought so or wouldn't have made the deal with the Bills. But people who thought he was ready to unseat Alex Smith as the starter are reconsidering after Thursday's opener, in which Smith threw for 368 yards and four TDs against the Pats.

Predicting quarterbacks is difficult, even for the guys getting paid to do it. It's hard to translate from college to the NFL, which is why the draft gurus are so often wrong. For all we know, they undersold last year's class and are overestimating next year's, which is supposed to be outstanding.

The Bills' new regime clearly believed next year's crop was better. They have six picks in the first three rounds. They're almost certainly planning to take a quarterback high in the draft. It'll be awhile before we find out if they were right, or if they missed a great opportunity to grab a franchise QB in the last draft.

Lou Speranza asks: Considering all the talk on our batch of 2018 draft picks do you feel our front office up to the task? Does national media?

Sully: First of all, it was a wise move to blow up the scouting department. The previous crew miscalculated consistently, which is the main reason for the 17-year playoff drought. By the way, considering that Brandon Beane is moving out Doug Whaley's draft picks like recycling to the curb, does anyone believe Whaley had any say in last year's draft?

At least these guys have a plan. The more picks you have, the better your chance to get lucky. They inherited a thin roster with virtually no young value players early in their contracts. That surely played into their thinking to accumulate draft picks.

The national media have been kind to the new regime. But it's too early to judge the scouting staff. They'll be judged on two or three drafts, not one, and on the success of their next franchise quarterback.

Joseph Genco asks: Why is Ryan Groy buried on the depth chart? He deserved a chance to compete to be a starter.

Sully: Groy isn't buried on the depth chart. He's the backup for center Eric Wood and left guard Richie Incognito. Groy proved he could start in the NFL when he took over at center for the last nine games after Wood broke his leg.

Pro Football Focus said Groy didn't allow a sack as a starter. The Rams gave him a two-year, $5 million offer sheet, which the Bills matched. So they hold the Wisconsin product in high regard. There was speculation that the Bills would cut Wood to save cap space and give Groy the job. But Wood recently signed a two-year extension valued at $16 million.

ZBIV42 asks: Am I the only one fully expecting a 9-6 snoozer from Bills/Jets?

Sully: Are you predicting a win in OT, with the fans tearing down the goal posts like in 1988? I don't expect a classic, but I think it'll be a lot higher scoring than you expect, with the Bills winnning, say, 27-24.

The offense has struggled in preseason with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. The lack of downfield receiving threats will allow teams to creep up against the run and go after Tyrod. But let's not forget that they scored 399 points last season, the most since 1998.

People are overestimating the defense. When I mentioned their strong showing, Kyle Williams said "it was preseason." They were brutal at times last season and have an entirely new secondary. I don't see them being in the top half of the league.

Paul Emborsky asks: Before the first game can we please ensure new coach has a process in place for reviewing instant replays/challenges?

Sully: I asked McDermott on Wednesday. His response:

"Yeah, we communicate. That was a big part of our process through the preseason. Even the first practice we had here, that was part of the dry run. So I’ve got good eyes upstairs. I rely on those guys and we’ve done a good job so far with the flow of communication back and forth."

McDermott said new situations arise every year, and there's "an active and ongoing learning curve and things that we try our best to stay on top of."

@jonorick asks: What's your take on Sox stealing signs from Yankees. Hasn't this been going on in one form or another forever?

Sully: Yes, it's been going on since the 1800s. But MLB is investigating the Yankees' claim that the Red Sox were stealing signs from their catchers and using an Apple Watch to relay them to hitters.

MLB has no specific rules against stealing signs, but in 2000 issued a memo saying teams could not use electronic devices or binoculars in the dugout "for the purpose of stealing signs or conveying information designed to give a club an advantage.”

The Sox could be fined or lose draft picks. Dustin Pedroia pointed out that teams are allowed to have iPad Pros in the dugout. Pedroia said it's a non-issue. If your signs are being stolen, change them, he said.

I think this is another example of baseball's silly gamesmanship. If the Sox hitters have an advantage against the Yanks, you wouldn't know it from the numbers. They've made CC Sabathia look like he's 25 again.

@DaveTRW asks: When is the Bucky & Sully show coming back?

Sully: So kind of you to ask, Dave. You'll soon have two chances to catch our scintillating act. The TV show, Sports Talk Sunday, returns this weekend at 10 a.m. on Channel 2 and will run for 40 weeks. Also, the Bucky & Sully Show will air from 4 to 6 p.m. on Mondays on Sports Radio 1270AM.

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