Exclusive: How Bills set up draft board

I was certain Tom Modrak lost his mind on Thursday when he described how he and Tom Donahoe set up the draft board. I thought, "Give the whole entire league all of your trade secrets now, why don't you?" These guys are as open and straightforward as former Iraq minister of information, Mohammed al-Sahhaf.

 

It seems Modrak and Donahoe use a horizontal- and vertical-band format. Back in the day they just used a horizontal-band format until they discovered how flexible the horizontal-band format was when it was combined with the vertical-band format. That helped them better gauge value areas and more quickly pinpoint the players they would go after.

Yes, for those geometry fans out there, it was as if the y-coordinate was suddenly discovered.

Unfortunately, now Donahoe and Modrak can expect every NFL team to use the horizontal- and vertical-band format when they're picking players next Saturday and Sunday.

The good news is that with the efficiency that the horizontal- and vertical-band format provides, fans can expect the NFL Draft to last like five minutes …

Speaking of using the word "like" as I did in that last paragraph, I watched "The Bachelor" on Wednesday night and I noticed that these young women say "like" and "sort of" in nearly every sentence they utter. I think they need to be more forceful in their speech and describe things exactly the way they think they are.

Of course, maybe they don't even know they're saying those words. Maybe they're filler words intended to provide a sound so that there is no awkward silence between thoughts. Who knows?

I don't think former Bills tight end Bobby Collins knew that he said, "You know what I'm saying," after every thought he had. During his second season with the team, I think somebody told him that he should cut down on his use of "You know what I'm saying." So he started saying, "You know what I mean" about as often as he said, "You know what I'm saying."

Collins signed with the Falcons in January and they allocated him to NFL Europe, but he's on Frankfurt's injured reserve list …

Antoine Winfield was surprised that Travis Henry signed a one-year contract extension, but concluded that Henry probably got a large sum of money upfront. He agreed with Henry's reasoning for not wanting to sign a long-term contract (Henry had said that he thinks he'll be even better in the next two to three years, and thus, more valuable to a team heading into unrestricted free agency).

"He's probably right," said Winfield. "Look at the offense we're building. We're going to be running the ball a lot more. It's going to be more ball control, so Travis will be running a lot more." …

Did you know that former Bills wide receiver Don Beebe burned Bills defensive coordinator and former Oilers cornerback Jerry Gray for the 38-yard touchdown that started Buffalo's comeback from the 35-3 deficit in the 1993 AFC Wild Card game vs. Houston? Some said that Beebe stepped out of bounds, and he very well might have, but still he was wide open …

Here are some spare quotes from yesterday's Bills Draft luncheon with Donahoe and Modrak at One Bills Drive:

Donahoe: "We feel better. We have a better roster; better names; the depth is better. Positions on the roster are better. We're entering the most important phase and that's the draft so we can add to the roster and add to the talent level …

"A couple of years ago when we started, we were just trying to get picks, because we were trying to fill up the rest of the roster. It's different now. Next year will be different and the year after that will probably be different …

"We probably could use more depth in the secondary, wide receiver and running back. There's probably not any area of the team where you can say, ‘This is not an area that we'll look at.'" …

Modrak: "What we see on tape is what really counts (in analyzing draft prospects). The workout is a part of it, but it's not as big a part of it to me …

"My point (about workouts, such as combine workouts and school workouts in front of pro scouts) is, why not do it a couple of times? We're looking for the best, not the worst. We don't want to see the three worst games. We want to see the three best."

Donahoe: "One of the things that is disturbing (is that we have to go all over the place if a player doesn't work out at the combine). The nice thing about Indy is that guys are working out in the same conditions …

"If a player can't get ready in two months (after the college season is over), he's probably not the right type of player …

"(We like the combine for its access to) medical (information), player interviews, and workouts (in that order) …

"(If a player isn't at the combine, we're) spending way too much money the last month of March trying to see guys …

"(We don't put a lot of stock in interviews). Players are probably better rehearsed than they've ever been. The interviews are one avenue to try to get to know the player …

"(We want good character guys, but at the same time,) we're not recruiting players to be in a Boy Scout troop. A concern is one thing, a problem is something else. Sometimes when you check these things out, they're not as bad as they were made out to be …

"(Is this a deep draft? Tom and I were just joking that it's sort of the) scout's lament that it's not a good draft. Maybe they're trying to protect their jobs. But we've never seen it that way.

"(We don't head into a draft looking for balance). We've never sat down and said four on offense and four on defense. It probably just worked out that way." …

Modrak: "We never get to that point where we're satisfied with what we have on our roster." …

Donahoe: "We've thrown people in the fire the last couple of seasons sooner than they probably should have been thrown in. Some people love that kind of pressure, some people don't. We'll see who those players are …

"The most fascinating part about personnel work is that you never know" …

"This is a critical year for Travis Brown. We'd like to see if he can be more than just a three here. He'll be given an opportunity in the preseason to see what he can do …

"We've never gone into the draft and ruled anything out. We do mock drafts and analyze who we might take home."


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