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Buffalo Bills’ 2021 Draft Picks

28 May

Following a successful 13-3 season that saw them reaching the AFC Championship game, the Buffalo Bills drafted lower than usual in 2021. General manager Brandon Beane and the Bills’ front office had to work harder to identify players who can help the team reach it’s ultimate goal. Here is a summary of the choices they made:

 

 

Round 1 – Gregory Rousseau (Edge, Miami, FL) – a long, lanky pass rusher with loads of potential, he opted out of the 2020 college season so he joins the team as somewhat of an unknown. Still, at pick 30, he could be a steal as he’s capable of top 10 production. At 6’5 with a long wingspan, he could be effective at disrupting passing lanes.

 

 

Round 2 – Carlos “Boogie” Basham Jr. (Edge, Wake Forest) – Buffalo doubled down on one of it’s biggest needs, pass rushers. Some scouts think he may be more ready to make an immediate impact than Rousseau. The Bills have 2 30+ starters on the edges now so both of their top picks project to be future starters.

 

 

Round 3 – Spencer Brown (OT, Northern Iowa) – after addressing the defensive front in the first 2 rounds, the Bills added beef to the offensive line with this choice. He is 6’8 and 311 pounds and very athletic for his size. He’s a top candidate for the swing tackle spot in 2021 and possibly a future starting right tackle.

 

 

Round 5 – Tommy Doyle (OT, Miami, OH) – After doubling down on pass rushers early, the Bills do the same on the O-line with this pick. Doyle played hockey growing up so he has athletic ability. His strong suit is pass blocking, so he’s a good fit for Buffalo’s offense.

 

 

Round 6A – Marquez Stevenson (WR, Houston) – a speedster, his skill set closely matches the departed John Brown. That, combined with kick return ability, gives him a great shot at cracking an already deep receiving corps.

 

 

Round 6B – Damar Hamlin (S, Pittsburgh) – safety depth is thin entering this year’s training camp, so Hamlin has a good chance of making the final roster, especially since he comes with a reputation of being a top special teams performer.

 

 

Round 6C – Rachad Wildgoose (CB, Wisconsin) – his name alone will make him a fan favorite, but his ability to play both on the boundary and in the slot will make him popular with the coaches, who value position versatility. Like all of the late round picks, his willingness to contribute on the bomb squads will go a long way in his chance to stick.

 

 

Round 7 – Jack Anderson (OG, Texas Tech) – the Bills appear to have tried to add some meanness and physicality to the their O-line in this draft, and Anderson’s Junk Yard Dog mentality will help him in his long shot bid to survive. Also, the fact that he can also slide over from guard into the center position will make sure the coaches give him a long look.

 

As for undrafted free agents, the Bills inked a few intriguing players, but with their deep roster it’ll be hard for these guys to make the final 53. The Bills lost Lee Smith and Tyler Kroft from last year’s roster so tight end Quinton Morris from Bowling Green has a legitimate shot. Buffalo didn’t add a veteran cornerback for depth purposes for the first time in years, so 2 undrafted prospects, Nick McCloud from Notre Dame and USC’s Olaijah Griffin (rapper Warren G’s son) could sneak onto at least the practice squad. San Diego State safety Tariq Thompson tested unimpressively at his pro day, but was an extremely productive ball hawk in college. Backup safety is definitely a spot where an undrafted rookie can make his mark.

 
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Classic Team Logo of The Day

28 May

Logo of a college football team that plays in the Sun Belt Conference, the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Their program began play in 1928 and they’ve won 22 conference titles. Mountaineer alumni who have gone on to play pro football include Dexter Coakley, Travaris Cadet, Larry Hand, Derrick Graham, Dino Hackett, Sam Martin, Mark Royals, Bjorn Nittmo and Matt Stevens.

 
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Classic Sports Card of The Day

28 May

1984 Topps football card of former NFL linebacker Eugene Marve, who enjoyed an 11  year career in the league with 3 different teams, most notably with the Buffalo Bills. He was the first player ever drafted from Saginaw Valley State, and was a productive middle linebacker for the Bills in the early to mid 1980s. His son Robert was a college quarterback at Miami of Florida and Purdue. Marve passed away recently at the age of 60.

 
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One Play For The Rest Of Your Lives

27 May

The following is a first-hand account of a football memory written by Rayonsports columnist Connor Pohlman:

On a brisk October day, I was packing up my books in my backpack, getting ready to leave my last class of the day. I was a junior then, and was anxiously waiting for my playoff football game later that night. Our team was undefeated that year, and since I was a junior, I had a small role on the team, only playing a limited amount of snaps, but still cherished every moment I was fortunate enough to experience. This game was important, as the winner would go on to play at the time, New Era Field, for a chance to win the Section VI Championship. If only I knew that the remaining hours of the day would be a rollercoaster of emotions. Driving to the school on that game day was a nerve-wracking experience. I felt a lot of pressure to perform well for my teammates and my school. The sight of the large W which represented West Seneca West that is posted on the wall near the sports entrance would always give me butterflies in my stomach. When I walked into the locker room, the smell is one that still sticks with me to this day… yes, the stink of it. Looking back to it, I get a sense of nostalgia thinking about it though. I put my equipment on, and looked around at the seniors, who were
contemplating the fact that this game could be their last. I wanted to do everything I could to assure they would live to fight another day. Once everyone was ready and warmups were done, we all waited in the locker room for our head coach, Mike Vastola, to give his pregame speech.
Something that the entire coaching staff preached was being a good man first, then a good player second. I as well as them, believe in and try to live this philosophy. While walking out of the locker room onto the path to the field, I could already hear the sounds of the game. Music was playing, fans were murmuring, and cheerleaders were practicing their routines. The sound of our cleats walking in unison on the stone path sounded like soldiers marching in formation. This experience was virtually new to me at the time, as I had only been a part of one other playoff game my first year on varsity football. Before I knew it, I was out on the field for the opening kickoff. Once the ball met the air, I along with my teammates chased after it down the field. The play always seems longer than it actually is. Adrenaline running through my body, I jogged back
to the sideline once kickoff was over with, now watching my team perform. We got off to an early start going up 7-0. In a blink of an eye it was then 14-0. They went back on offense, but our defense shut them down fairly quickly. I would play a few snaps every now and then, and when the adrenaline rush wore off, I started to tire. At that moment, nothing could’ve tasted better than the cold water stored in the Gatorade squirt bottles. When we got the ball back, we methodically drove down the field and punched in another touchdown. 21-0. A few more drives of no scores followed our fast start and at halftime, the score was 21-0 us. Some of us were riding high, but the team leaders drove home the message that we haven’t done anything yet, and that the job
wasn’t finished. Taking a knee in our end zone listening to our captains and coaches talk to us was always a learning experience for me, but especially on this night. It was important for me to keep my emotions in check and not get too excited, as the game certainly wasn’t over yet. The feeling of my gloves going back onto my hands never got old. The second half of the game was underway, and we were in for a rude awakening. Starpoint had the ball to start the half, so we went out on defense. Their offense found something that worked, so they kept going to it. They eventually found themselves in the end zone for the first time all game. 21-7 now. It was at this moment where I realized a victory wasn’t as assured as I thought it was going to be. The mood on our sideline shifted, and I noticed some of our players and coaches had a nervous aura about them. I wasn’t sure how to feel exactly. Throughout the year, almost every game seemed to come easily. But now was when we were going to be truly tested with adversity. Just like when we were scoring, it seemed like mere moments until they scored again and it was 21-14. Blink again and it was now 21-21. Everyone started to lose hope when they got the ball back and managed to quickly score again. In the span of mere moments, they were now leading 28-21.

What I remember most about standing on the sideline was just taking in everyone’s attitude and demeanor about the situation. Many were disheartened, but our resilient guys never lost hope. “Just take it one play at a time boys. Just focus on the now, don’t worry about the score” Coach Vastola told my group of receivers I was standing with. When we got the ball back, we stayed hopeful and found the end zone again finally, evening the score at 28. From then on, the field became a western shootout, constantly going back and forth. 35-28, 35-35, 41-35, 42-41. The score would’ve been tied at 42 at this point, but Starpoint had a failed 2-point conversion. There was less than 3 minutes now in the game. The moment when Starpoint scored once more, and
had a successful 2-point conversion is when I could hear my heartbeats every thump. 49-42 with 2:11 to go. I didn’t take any moment for granted, appreciating every second and every little detail of my surroundings. My teammates are like brothers to me and I didn’t want it to end so soon. As our offense took the field for the final drive I just kept remembering, “come on guys, one play for the rest of your lives.” All we needed was one big play to secure a victory. Our offense drove down the field play by play, clock running still. I remember the time exactly. 47 seconds. That’s how much time was left when we scored a touchdown. The score was 49-48. Instead of going for the tie, our coach made the bold decision of going for 2 and the lead. When the ball was snapped, it seemed as if everyone at the field took one collective breath and held it. Everything happening on the field was in slow motion for me. I watched as our running back made one cut, and muscle his way into the end zone to take the lead. That moment of relief as we watched the clock run out with our team having one more point could not be understated. I ran into multiple teammates hugging them and jumping up and down.
I believe that football represents what America should look like. People from all backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, and beliefs, coming together to achieve one goal. That’s what I loved about playing football, and what I still love about the game today. From this game, I learned so much about appreciating every little moment of life, and everything I’m blessed to have in it. Never take anything for granted, enjoy the moment, and don’t worry about the future. This game taught me more about life and about myself than I could have ever imagined, and that is why I believe this moment made me grow not only as a football player, but as a man.

 
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Classic Team Logo of The Day

27 May

Alternate logo of a high school football team that plays in Section VI in Western New York state, the West Seneca West Indians. The logo is also the prime logo of the school’s wrestling team. The Indians’ gridiron program is one of the state’s most respected, and won the NYS Class A state championship in 2017.

 
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Classic Sports Card of The Day

27 May

1997 Pacific Philadelphia football card of former NFL offensive lineman Justin Strzelczyk, who played 9 seasons at tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He attended West Seneca West High School, where he starred in football and basketball. He also played hockey as a youth. Strzelczyk died tragically in a car accident at the age of 36 in 2004.

 
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NFL – Bills’ 2021 Mock Draft Predictions

20 Apr

The long wait is over! The seven round mock drafts for the Buffalo Bills for 2021, compiled by the expert staff at Rayonsports.com, are ready to be revealed. Here are the predicted choices for Buffalo made by Connor Pohlman, Josh Pohlman, Scott Prelewicz and Ray Prelewicz. I’ve added some comments to show why the picks would be justified:

 

Round 1, Pick #30

Connor Pohlman – Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech) – a young corner to man the spot opposite Tre White is a popular pick among draft experts. Farley would be a top 10 prospect without injury concerns and there’s a chance he falls to this pick.

 

Josh Pohlman –  Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech) – see above.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Joe Tryon (Edge, Washington) – scouting reports list his best position as an outside 3-4 linebacker but he has the versatility to play in any system. He opted out of the 2020 season so there’s hesitation to pick him by some clubs high in the first round.

 

Ray Prelewicz – Landon Dickerson (OL, Alabama) – a surprise pick with a long term goal of Dickerson eventually replacing Mitch Morse at center. He has played all 5 positions on the offensive line and the Bills value versatility highly.

 

Round 2, Pick #61

Connor Pohlman – Quinn Meinerz (G, Wisconsin-Whitewater) – a small college diamond in the rough, he opened eyes at the Senior Bowl and catapulted up draft boards. Not very athletic but makes up for it with exceptional strength and good technique.

 

Josh Pohlman – Pat Freiermuth (TE, Penn State) – the Bills are a little light at the tight end position on the current roster so a good prospect like Freiermuth makes sense here. He’s an excellent receiver with good hands and an adequate blocker in the run game.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Pat Freiermuth (TE, Penn State) – see above.

 

Ray Prelewicz – Asante Samuel Jr. (CB, Florida State) – there will be a number of good CB prospects available at this pick, but most are slot corners. Samuel has the ability to play on the boundary and with good NFL bloodlines, should be able to handle starting on day one.

 

Round 3, Pick #93

Connor Pohlman – Hamsah Nasirildeen (S, Florida State) – the Bills have a pair of solid starting safeties, but with both over 30 they need to plan for the future. One description of Nasirildeen has to appeal to the Bills considering the teams they face in the AFC – “tight end neutralizer”.

 

Josh Pohlman – Deonte Brown (G, Alabama) – at 6’3 and 364 lbs. he is an imposing road grader who could help the Bills improve their run game. Brown is a good pass protector and excels at neutralizing inside pressure.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Trey Smith (G, Tennessee) – very high character player who has encountered some medical issues with blood clots that may drop him down some teams’ draft boards. His best asset is power run blocking, which the Bills could use an infusion of.

 

Ray Prelewicz – Alim McNeil (DT, North Carolina State) – the Bills need to toughen up the inside of their defensive line, with the uncertainty of Star Lotulelei returning in shape from opting out in 2020. McNeil is an excellent DT1 prospect. He’s a top notch run stuffer with potential to develop as an inside pass rusher.

 

Round 5A, Pick #161

Connor Pohlman – Demetric Felton (WR, UCLA) – small, quick slot receiver who also lined up as a running back for the Bruins. His best NFL fit is as a gadget player in an offense that uses multiple receiver sets, which makes him ideal for Brian Daboll’s offense.

 

Josh Pohlman – Jonathon Cooper (Edge, Ohio State) – he mostly projects as a designated passing down edge rusher, but the Bills rotate their defensive linemen a lot so he could be a fit. He’s not the prospect that other Buckeye players like Chase Young or the Bosa brothers were, but he’s good enough to play in the NFL.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Anthony Schwartz (WR, Auburn) – a small but fast deep threat, he is a track guy but also a real football player. The loss of John Brown to the Bills could open up a spot for a home run hitter like Schwartz.

 

Ray Prelewicz – Elerson Smith (Edge, Northern Iowa) – definitely a developmental project who would need to get stronger to survive in the NFL but has very high potential. He is similar to Darryl Johnson, another later round gem uncovered by the Bills’ scouts.

 

Round 5B, Pick #174

Connor Pohlman – Tommy Kraemer (G, Notre Dame) – he’s a four-year starter for a major college program so his experience alone will help him in his quest to play in the NFL. He could be valuable O-line depth for the Bills but doesn’t project to being a starter.

 

Josh Pohlman – Josh Imatorbhebhe (WR, Illinois) – a big, athletic wide receiver whose lack of real production will drop him into the later rounds of the draft. He has enormous potential, however, and the Bills could afford to develop him on the practice squad as a future contributor.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Malcolm Koonce (Edge, Buffalo) – a local prospect that the Bills should have a good scouting report on. He’s a long, rangy pass rusher whose weakness is getting overpowered against the run. He’ll need development time but could become a solid pro.

 

Ray Prelewicz –  Malcolm Koonce (Edge, Buffalo) – see above.

 

Round 6, Pick #213

Connor Pohlman – Chris Rumph II (Edge, Duke) – he’s small but as a coach’s son understands the game well and plays with good technique. He may have to carve out a role as a versatile specialty defensive player with a role on special teams.

 

Josh Pohlman –  Malcolm Koonce (Edge, Buffalo) – see round 5B picks above.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Rachad Wildgoose Jr. (CB, Wisconsin) – here’s a guy who you hope makes it in the NFL for his name alone. A shoulder injury left him without much game tape for scouts to analyze but he can play either on the boundary or the slot.

 

Ray Prelewicz – Drake Jackson (C-G, Kentucky) – at only 290 lbs. his only spot in the NFL may be at center, unless he adds weight and strength. His best trait is experience, as he was a four-year starter in college.

 

Round 7, Pick #236

Connor Pohlman –  Rachad Wildgoose Jr. (CB, Wisconsin) – see round 6 pick above.

 

Josh Pohlman – Jaret Patterson (RB, Buffalo) – after the stellar season he had for the Bulls, including an eight touchdown performance, this would be an excellent final round pick for Brandon Beane. There is way too much high-end potential to pass up.

 

Scott Prelewicz – Damar Hamlin (S, Pitt) – he is a willing tackler and has adequate ball skills but can be susceptible to double moves in the pass game. A long shot prospect, as most seventh rounders are, who would have to make an impact on special teams.

 

Ray Prelewicz –  Jaelon Darden (WR, North Texas) – wide receiver is a very deep position group again this year, and some good prospects will fall into the late rounds. Darden is a small but fast option who would be good as a gadget player for Brian Daboll and also a possibility to boost the kick return production.

 
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Classic Team Logo of The Day

20 Apr

Logo of a rabid fan base that lives and dies by its’ local NFL team’s fortunes, the Bills’ Mafia. The term is so widely known, used and loved by the Buffalo Bills’ fan base that the team actually trademarked the name. Members of the group have been involved in donating to charities over the years, including donations to Bengal QB Andy Dalton’s charity after he engineered an upset over Baltimore that sent the Bills to the playoffs in 2017, and to Oshei Children’s Hospital, Josh Allen’s favored charity, after the young quarterback’s grandmother passed away.

 
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Classic Sports Card of The Day

20 Apr

1963 Fleer football card of former pro football cornerback Booker Edgerson, who played 9 seasons in the AFL, mostly for the Buffalo Bills. A key member of the Bills’ back-to-back AFL titles in the mid-1960s, he was the embodiment of a “lockdown corner” before that term was popular. Edgerson was a track star as a sprinter and long jumper in college. He was a two-time AFL All Star, is a member of the Bills’ Wall of Fame, and has been active in charitable endeavors through the Bills’ Alumni group.

 
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2021 NFL First Round Mock Draft

19 Apr

The team of expert analysts at Rayonsports.com has once again put their collective heads together to produce a first round mock draft for the NFL’s upcoming selection meeting of college prospects. Connor Pohlman, Josh Pohlman, Scott Prelewicz  and Ray Prelewicz took turns making the clubs’ choices for the 32 picks. Here are the final results:

 

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (Connor Pohlman) – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
  2. New York Jets (Josh Pohlman) – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
  3. San Francisco 49ers (Scott Prelewicz) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
  4. Atlanta Falcons (Ray Prelewicz) – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
  5. Cincinnati Bengals (CP) – Penei Sewell, T, Oregon
  6. Miami Dolphins (JP) – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
  7. Detroit Lions (SP) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
  8. Carolina Panthers (RP) – Rashawn Slater, T, Northwestern
  9. Denver Broncos (CP) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
  10. Dallas Cowboys (JP) – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
  11. New York Giants (SP) – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
  12. Philadelphia Eagles (RP) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
  13. Los Angeles Chargers (CP) – Christian Darrisaw, T, Virginia Tech
  14. Minnesota Vikings (JP) – Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
  15. New England Patriots (SP) – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
  16. Arizona Cardinals (RP) – Teven Jenkins, T, Oklahoma State
  17. Las Vegas Raiders (CP) – Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
  18. Miami Dolphins (JP) – Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Florida
  19. Washington Football Team (SP) – Alex Leatherwood, T, Alabama
  20. Chicago Bears (RP) – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
  21. Indianapolis Colts (CP) – Sam Cosmi, T, Texas
  22. Tennessee Titans (JP) – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
  23. New York Jets (SP) – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
  24. Pittsburgh Steelers (RP) – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
  25. Jacksonville Jaguars (CP) – Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC
  26. Cleveland Browns (JP) – Elijah Moore, WR, Mississippi
  27. Baltimore Ravens (SP) – Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
  28. New Orleans Saints (RP) – Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan
  29. Green Bay Packers (CP) – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
  30. Buffalo Bills (JP) – Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State
  31. Kansas City Chiefs (SP) – Zach Collins, LB, Tulsa
  32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (RP) – Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

 

Alabama coach Nick Saban, once again, produced a high number of NFL-ready players this season. Our mock draft totaled 7 first rounders altogether. Three clubs who need to improve have multiple first round choices to try to accomplish that – Miami, Jacksonville and the New York Jets. At the other end of the spectrum are the Los Angeles Rams, Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks, all of whom have no opening round picks. The Seahawks, in fact, have only 3 picks in the entire draft.

COMING SOON: Our draft experts submit their seven round mock drafts for the local club, the reigning AFC East champion Buffalo Bills.

 
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