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Bills Notebook: Pre-draft visits wrap up with a pair of receivers in town

The Buffalo Bills wrapped up their pre-draft visits Wednesday by welcoming a pair of wide receivers.

According to a report from NBC Sports' Josh Norris, Memphis' Anthony Miller and Maryland's D.J. Moore both toured One Bills Drive on the final day draft prospects can visit teams.

Miller was ultra productive for his hometown Tigers, making 191 catches for 2,896 yards and 32 touchdowns in his final two seasons. He set single-season records for receptions (95), receiving yards (1,434) and 100-yard receiving games (eight). A state 110-meter hurdles champion in high school, he walked on to the Memphis football team after receiving no scholarship offers out of high school.

He took part in interviews at the NFL Scouting Combine but did not do drills as he recovered from a fractured foot. At Memphis' Pro Day, he had a vertical jump of 39 inches and was told that he ran the 40-yard dash between 4.46 and 4.52, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

He's expected to be a second-round draft pick, meaning he could be an option for the Bills at either No. 53 or 56 if they keep those picks. Moore, on the other hand, might go in the first round.

The 6-0, 210-pounder ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at the combine, and has been viewed as a late riser in the pre-draft process.The 2017 Big Ten Receiver of the Year and first-team all-conference selection caught passes from four different quarterbacks last season, making 80 receptions (a school record) for 1,033 yards and eight touchdowns.

NFL teams can host up to 30 prospects on pre-draft visits. Although the Bills have not confirmed any of the visits, a total of 24 players were reported to have made one. It's possible that the Bills did not use all 30 visits, or perhaps the other seven were kept quiet by both player and team. The reported list of visitors, by position, includes:

Quarterbacks (4): Wyoming's Josh Allen, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph.

Wide receivers (3): Memphis' Anthony Miller, Maryland's D.J. Moore, LSU's D.J. Chark.

Running backs (2): San Diego State's Rashaad Penny, Arizona State's Kallen Ballage.

Tight ends (1): Indiana's Ian Thomas.

Cornerbacks (5): Ohio State's Denzel Ward, LSU's Donte Jackson, Iowa's Josh Jackson, Louisville's Jaire Alexander, Florida's Duke Dawson.

Defensive linemen (4): Miami's RJ McIntosh, Southern Cal's Uchenna Nwosu, Kansas' Dorance Armstrong, Boston College's Harold Landry.

Linebackers (5): Georgia's Roquan Smith, Boise State's Leighton Vander Esch, Alabama's Rashaan Evans, BYU's Fred Wagner and LSU's Corey Thompson.


One of Brandon Beane's favorite offseason lines is about how his team doesn't play meaningful football until September.

That's a good thing for the Bills, who still have some clear roster needs. There will be an opportunity to fill some of those at next weekend's NFL Draft. Ahead of that, the analytics website Pro Football Focus published a list of the worst position groups in the NFL by using a combination of its own grades, context from its analysis team and advanced numbers from the PFF database. The results were not kind to the Bills.

Buffalo appeared on PFF's list three times, with the team's quarterbacks, wide receivers and defensive tackles all being chosen as the worst in the league.

Of those three, the only real surprise would be defensive tackles.

Regarding the team's quarterbacks, here's how PFF reviewed the position: "With the trade of Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland, the Bills officially declared themselves in the hunt for a first-round quarterback. The signing of (AJ) McCarron isn't likely to fill the need, and last year's fifth-rounder (Nathan) Peterman showed he wasn't ready for a starting role. McCarron has only four career starts to his name, all in 2015, and while he showed flashes of solid play, he finished that season with a nondescript grade of 73.3. He struggled in Cincinnati's playoff game against the Steelers, and his work down the stretch was not enough for him to warrant a potential starting opportunity on the open market this offseason."

The team's wide receivers received this evaluation: "Wide receiver is a big question mark in Buffalo. The Bills traded for (Kelvin) Benjamin during the 2017 season, but his career-best yards-per-route-run average of 1.99 ranked 17th in 2016, while he has ranked outside the top 30 in his two other healthy NFL seasons. Wide receivers currently on the roster behind Benjamin and (Zay) Jones combined for just 25 receptions last season. With a likely three-way battle between McCarron, Peterman and a rookie at quarterback, adding some playmakers should be high on the Bills' to-do list heading into the draft."

After re-signing Kyle Williams and adding Star Lotulelei in free agency, defensive tackle is a surprise to see on PFF's list.

"The Bills traded Marcell Dareus last season and were unable to patch up the (large) hole he left in the defensive front. Current free agent Cedric Thornton saw many of the vacant nose tackle snaps, but was unable to hold up at the point of attack playing out of position, earning a career-low overall PFF grade of 43.3 and an even worse 40.4 grade against the run. The team signed Lotulelei in free agency to address that need, but Lotulelei is also coming off the worst season of his career (49.5 overall grade). A former first-round pick, Lotulelei's career has been in free fall, and his best grade in the NFL was during his rookie year in 2013. Even against the run, his play has been far from dominant, and he notched just 45 defensive stops over the past three seasons of play."


Get your credit card ready, Bills fans.

The team's 2018 schedule, along with the other 31 teams in the NFL, will be released at 8 p.m. Thursday. The made-for-TV extravaganza will air -- for two hours -- on NFL Network.

In addition to the home-and-away games with each of their divisional rivals, the Bills will face teams in the AFC South and NFC North in 2018, along with one game each against the teams from the AFC West and AFC North that finished in the same spot as the Bills did in the AFC East (second).

That means the rest of the home schedule outside the division includes games against Jacksonville, Tennessee, Chicago, Detroit and the Los Angeles Chargers.

Road trips outside the division are to Indianapolis, Houston, Green Bay, Minnesota and Baltimore.

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