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[BN] Blitz newsletter: Why didn’t the Bills pick Khalil Mack?

The Oakland Raiders drafted Khalil Mack out of the University at Buffalo with the fifth pick in 2014 after four teams — including the Buffalo Bills — passed on him. With Mack returning to play in Western New York today for the first time since his senior year at UB, Tim Graham explores how some scouts missed on “the NFL's brightest defensive star.”

“In retrospect, he not only should have been the top selection, teams should have traded multiple picks to jockey to the front of the line,” Graham writes. The Bills instead traded multiple picks in order to draft Sammy Watkins. “Should they have taken Mack? Yes,” Buffalo native and former Chicago Bears college scouting director Greg Gabriel told Graham.

Pregame primer: Jay Skurski provides all the details you need to know for today’s Bills-Raiders game at New Era Field.

The purge continues: Friday night’s trade of highly paid but underachieving Marcell Dareus indicates that Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane “intend to construct their own roster, to draft and develop their own stars and decide whom they want to pay big bucks,” Jerry Sullivan writes in his Sunday column.

Selling low on Marcell: “The trade was a classic case of addition by subtraction,” Bucky Gleason writes. “The new regime couldn’t get him out of here fast enough once it became evident they couldn’t get through to him.”

View from Jacksonville: After Dareus passed his physical on Saturday, Jaguars executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin released a statement touting, “Marcell Dareus is an experienced player who has been productive throughout his career. He will be a good fit with our team and our defense. … This was a great opportunity to acquire a proven player who can come in and help us immediately.”

Sports Talk Sunday: Sullivan, Gleason and Bills beat reporter Vic Carucci discuss the Dareus trade at 10 a.m. today on WGRZ. Preview the show here.

Matchup watch: The Bills will send extra blockers at Khalil Mack as often as they can, but how well right tackle Jordan Mills holds up in the few one-on-one situations he finds himself in will go a long way toward determining who wins today, according to Mark Gaughan’s analysis. When the Raiders have the ball, quarterback Derek Carr will be hard to hit, Gaughan writes.

Injury report: Cornerback E.J. Gaines (hamstring) and tight end Charles Clay (knee) will not play for the Bills today. Safety Jordan Poyer (knee) is questionable. For the Raiders, cornerback David Amerson (foot) and Gareon Conley (shin) have been ruled out while Karl Joseph (groin) is listed as doubtful.

Banyard brought back: The Bills re-signed running back Joe Banyard on Saturday to fill the roster spot vacated by the Dareus trade.

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Power rankings: Vic Carucci moved both the Bills and Raiders up from last week. Which team is higher on the list?

Tyrod watch: The Bills quarterback was super-elusive last week and has been better throwing from inside the pocket than out.

Flag day? Ed Hochuli has been getting an arm workout on Sundays this season. Hochuli’s officiating crew, which will work today’s game, is leading the league in penalties called per game.

Weather forecast: The warm and sunny days were fun while they lasted. This one is going to be damp and chilly, according to meteorologist Don Paul.

All-time stats: The AFC Championship game triumph in 1991 and another playoff victory in 1994 are series highlights for the Bills, but the Raiders have won more often in the regular season.

Trivia: Who holds the record for the longest rushing touchdown in Bills history?

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