The Bills are bobbing in the ripple effect caused by the Donovan McNabb trade.
The Philadelphia Eagles' controversial decision to move their veteran Pro Bowl quarterback to the Washington Redskins likely means Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen -- assumed a target of the Redskins prior to the franchise acquiring McNabb -- will be available when the Bills select ninth overall in the draft. It also means one less left tackle will be available since the Redskins are now expected to fill that need on their team with the No. 5 pick.
It all means the Bills' brass has a lot to consider leading up to Day One of a three-day draft process kicking off April 22.
Bills' GM Buddy Nix and coach Chan Gailey are committed to giving incumbent quarterbacks Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Brohm each a turn at winning the starting job in 2010. But they also want to add a fourth candidate to the mix.
If it's Clausen, the cocksure Golden Domer who has talent but no consensus support as a surefire first-round pick, then he would immediately be labeled the team's "QB of the future" given his draft status. The Bills need to be sure Clausen is worth the ninth choice because their need at left tackle is perhaps even more glaring than quarterback, a situation they created by trading Jason Peters to the Eagles a year ago.
Buffalo's 30th ranked offense allowed 46 sacks last year as the line dealt with injury after injury. When he was healthy, left tackle Demetrius Bell struggled and now he's coming off a knee injury.
The Bills' obvious draft strategy is to take a left tackle at No. 9 and then a quarterback in the second round, perhaps Tim Tebow or Colt McCoy, two very productive college players who haven't won the scouts over as first-round picks.
Because so many teams need left tackle help, Buffalo can ill afford to wait until the second round to fill that position, at least not with a player they can be sure can contribute right away.
Detroit (2), Washington (4), Kansas City (5), Seattle (6) and Oakland (8) could each take a left tackle. If that happens, the Bills will need a Plan B ready because the talent pool will quickly drop into second-tier value.
One option being discussed is obtaining Baltimore restricted free agent Jared Gaither. The Ravens have placed a first-round tender on him but teams could obtain him in a trade for less than that. The hitch is then signing him to a contract worth more than $6 million a year. If Washington or Oakland swoop in and take Gaither, then a rookie prospect is freed up for Buffalo.
--Chan Gailey on what he saw out of Florida quarterback prospect Tim Tebow during his workout: "I think it's obvious to everybody he's a very engaging young man. He's a very intelligent football player. I really enjoyed the short time I had with him talking football, talking life and just what he's all about."
As for Tebow's throwing motion that he's been working on, Gailey said: "He made drastic improvement from where he was during his college career to where he threw in his individual pro day. He made good progress. Whether that sticks when there's bodies flying around you and in the heat of the battle, there's a lot of reps between those two times from doing it with a pro day with nobody running around you trying to hit you and when the bullets are starting to fly."
--Staying healthy is easier said than done in the NFL but it's something QB Trent Edwards knows needs to happen for him to salvage his career. Edwards has battled numerous injuries in his young career, including concussions. "I think I took some hits I probably should have tried to avoid," he said. "There were some games that didn't go the way we needed to. The ball didn't bounce our way. There were plays left out on the field. It's tough. Football's a team sport. Obviously the quarterback's the one they're going to look at to put the blame on. Obviously I was that person that took a lot of the blame last year and rightfully so. I can definitely take that."
--Barring a trade of Marshawn Lunch, the Bills like their tandem of Lynch and Fred Jackson. But they would like to add a change-of-pace player into the mix, someone with shiftiness. It's known that Mississippi's Dexter McCluster, a 5-7, 175-pound scat back, is on Buffalo's radar.
--The Bills are also expected to address depth on their defensive line, particular nose tackles to play their new 3-4. One name to watch in the second round is Cam Thomas, a 6-3, 330-pouind nose tackle from North Carolina. Louisiana State's Al Woods is another space eater but he's only started one season.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"What makes up a game is four or five plays, a play here, a play there and things are completely different. This defense, new offense, new attitude, new change of pace is the difference in the fourth quarter and we win half of those football games and we go 10-6 or 9-7. Right now we are just working hard ... we are just trying to plug away and win those games in the fourth quarter this year rather than fade away and lose." -- DT Kyle Williams on the attitude adjustment underway this off-season.
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