Catching Up On Some Visits…


On Tuesday, the Bills met with two Tar Heels and a Bear.  Apparently, Quan Sturdivant actually visited on Tuesday along with his former teammate Robert Quinn, instead of what was originally reported by Pro Football Talk.  Joining those two was Cal DE Cameron Jordan.

On Wednesday, Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers and and Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt visited the team facilities.

Finally, on Thursday, the team met with another UNC player in LB Bruce Carter and Iowa DT Christian Ballard.

Here’s my run-down on the prospects I haven’t already covered:

-I’ve driven myself nuts trying to give Robert Quinn the right grade.  Before I studied tape on him, from a spectator’s point of view, I thought he was an incredible athlete and could be a game-changer.  After really delving into his play, I came away pretty disappointed.  I don’t see consistent physicality out of him.  On some plays, he’s crushing the QB from behind with the tomahawk to force a fumble.  On others, I’ve seen him literally run around the ball carrier he had a clean shot at, and try to wrestle him down from behind.  He’s not always willing to jump into the fray of things, either.  When he’s on, he’s a devastating pass rusher.  He is just a freak that he can carry that much weight and still be that quick.  I’d like him to develop more pass rush moves, because he relies too heavily on the outside speed rush.  People like talking about how he dismantled BC’s Anthony Castonzo, but Castonzo’s technique is poor at times and he’s not always fast off the ball.  In the end, I begrudgingly gave Quinn an 8.2 (3rd round).  He has the raw potential and rare athleticism to be one of the best in the game, but he is too inconsistent for me to feel comfortable pegging him as an instant starter.  He would be a great fit on a talent-rich team that can afford to be patient and develop him a bit.  Some teams can afford to take gambles on All-Pro potential early in the draft, but the Bills are not one of those teams at this point.

-After originally doubting Cameron Jordan early in the process, I’ve seen enough to feel comfortable saying he can be a Pro Bowl-level talent at the 5-technique.  He’ll probably have to bulk up a little more, but he has the long arms (35 inches), work ethic, quickness, and physical nature to push himself into the upper-tier of defensive lineman.  There’s a reason why his opponents consistently acknowledge what a pain in the butt he is to deal with.

Da’Quan Bowers would be a scary pick for me.  While he finally showed last season why he was the #1 recruit coming out of high school, I don’t see him ever reaching his potential at the next level.  He’ll be able to get by on God-given ability to the point of being a solid starter (8.9, 2nd round), but he’s just not passionate enough about the game.  Any player that didn’t care enough to work hard to improve themselves, before being told to grow up by their father and best friend, do not love the game and won’t be able to handle the adversity and the toll this game can take on players.  Not to mention, that those two positive role models in his life have now passed on.  You need to find players that are self-motivated if you want them to reach their potential.

J.J. Watt is another Mike Mayock special.  As much as I like Mike, he has the power to sway national perception on a guy in a week.  Originally thought of as a 1st or 2nd pick, he’s now supposedly in the top 10 category.  I’m not buying into his skill set just yet, though.  He, by far, has all the measurables you’d want in a 34 DE.  He also has a reputation of being a complete class act off the field.  That all being said, I don’t feel he plays the way he worked out in shorts.  He doesn’t have a ton of quickness or change direction that well.  He lacks the stamina to be consistently effective.  There are some plays where he looks like he just gets tired in the middle of it.   He’s solid against the run, but he plays too high at times which allows for him to get blown back.  I gave him a high 3rd round grade because he has the potential to start down the line, but he looks like a guy that can dominate in shorts, but doesn’t necessarily play that way on game day.

-If Bruce Carter was a more physical, aggressive player, I’d say he’d be a top 15 pick.  I have him graded as a mid-2nd rounder.  The ball skills are there to make a play.  He has good speed and can play some zone coverage, but he’s just not a hitter.  He’s an average tackler at best.  He doesn’t run through the ball carrier, he tries to lunge at him and drag down from behind.  Given his physical attributes, I think he can become at the very least a starter in a 34 or 43 defense.

Christian Ballard has some ability.  He shows good burst, hustle, and can be a hitter if he gets a chance to put a lick on someone.  He was also team captain in high school, which shows some leadership.  However, he doesn’t have great quickness and plays a bit stiff out there.  He doesn’t consistently play with sound leverage and can get shut down.  He’s average at shedding blocks, but when he does he’ll occasionally lose gap responsibility.  I view him as a high 4th rounder that has the potential to develop into something more down the road.