The Rundown: Buffalo's visits analyzed

Draft weekend is almost here. Which prospects have visited and/or worked out with Buffalo? From Robert Ayers (left) to Brandon Pettigrew, the list is full of top-flight prospects. Full scoop and analysis inside...

(Ed's Note: Scout.com's Adam Caplan reported all of the following visits and workouts. For more of Caplan's premium inside scoop read his Insider's Blog.)

VI = visit; WO = workout

Brandon Pettigrew – TE (Oklahoma St.) (VI)

The complete package. Pettigrew is a road-grader in the rushing game, helping Oklahoma State rush for 245 yards per game last season. At 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, he has the size to bust out in the passing game also. Used sparingly in the Cowboys' run-heavy offense, but he still totaled 77 receptions for 1,012 yards and four touchdowns during his junior and senior years. Tight end has been a neglected position in Buffalo for years. Expect that to change Saturday. Neither Derek Fine or Derek Schouman have starting potential. Pettigrew isn't a lumberer after the catch – 40 percent of his yards were the YAC variety.

Eben Britton – OT (Arizona) (VI)

Britton will probably this year's Sam Baker – a good (not great) offensive tackle taken prematurely. Teams panicked in last year's draft at the end of the first round. A flurry of tackles were drafted with clubs trying desperately to climb back into the first round to snag them. Britton is technically sound, if not overpowering. If the Bills pass on a tackle at No. 11, Britton may be their best bet at No. 28.

Andre Smith – OT (Alabama) (VI)


Andre Smith has had a rough pre-draft process.
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If not for his cowardly exit from the NFL Combine and lame response at his pro day, Smith could be the first overall pick. His talent is undeniable. Smith has the thickest trunk of this year's draft class –movable as that ancient dresser in your bedroom. There's a good chance GM's look beyond Smith's three-month malaise and take him. Cincinnati at No. 6 and Green Bay at No. 9 are major possibilities.

Blake Schlueter – OL (TCU) (VI)

Tough as nails. Schlueter played through a torn right labrum injury his entire senior season and he also holds the school record with a squat of 870 pounds. Schlueter projects a late-round center. With Geoff Hangartner signed, center isn't a priority for the Bills, but Schlueter is familiar with zone schemes which offers versatility.

Andy Levitre – OL (Oregon St.) (VI)

Visit went well with the Bills. Levitre told me he'd perfectly fit into Buffalo's scheme. Nothing really daunted him through the team film sessions. He's the No. 1-rated guard on the Bills' board.

Fili Moala – DT (USC) (VI)

As a gap-oriented tackle, Moala is perfect for Dick Jauron's Tampa 2 defense. Moala is most effective slanting into gaps defensively. His long wingspan wreaked havoc on USC's loaded defense last fall. Work ethic has been questioned.

Corvey Irvin – DT (Georgia) (VI)

JUCO transfer is raw. In his only year starting at Georgia, though, Irvin had 8.5 tackles for loss. He has 34-inch arms and has a nifty swim move inside. Definitely a raw prospect, but could be a steal in the fourth round. With a handful of tackles in place, Irvin wouldn't need to step in right away.

Robert Ayers – DE (Tennessee) (VI/WO)

Very serious interest here having visited and worked out for the Bills. He's a bull rusher, not necessarily fast off the edge. Ayers has character and effort concerns, but has natural ability. Ayers' ascension into the first round projections is a product of his knockout performance during Senior Bowl week where he owned Michael Oher. During the season, Ayers also won his duel against Andre Smith. In 12 games with the Vols in '08, Ayers totaled 15.5 tackles for the loss. The Bills could reach for Ayers at the 11th overall pick because there's no way he slips to No. 28 now.

Paul Kruger – DE/OLB (Utah) (VI)

Faced unbelievable adversity in college after getting stabbed in the abdomen. Read here for the moving story. On the field, Kruger has a nonstop motor. He's not very flexible, but Kruger is as competitive as they come. Last fall he had 16.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.

Connor Barwin – DE-OLB (Cincinnati) (VI)

Switched to defense for his senior year and the rest is history. Barwin had more sacks than anyone in the Big East last season. At 260 pounds, Barwin ran a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash. Yikes. Click here for the full story on Barwin's visit to One Bills Drive. Barwin is exactly what Buffalo's defense needs – instant adrenaline to the pass rush. There is no one in the draft with his raw blend of size, speed and athleticism. Barwin also played on the Bearcats' basketball team.

Jason Phillips – LB (TCU) (VI)

Gritty overachiever. Phillips played through a bevy of injuries through his four years of starting at TCU (shoulder, wrist, etc.). Not very athletic, but Phillips should enhance any special teams unit immediately. Doesn't project well at outside linebacker, which is what the Bills need. Instead, Phillips could excel as an inside ‘backer in a 3-4.

Clint Sintim – LB (Virginia) (VI)


Clint Sintim is NFL-ready at outside linebacker.
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The closest thing this draft has to Shawne Merriman. Sintim played the same "30" technique that Merriman did, lining up on the strong side. In this role, he flourished in opponents' backfields with 11 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. While Sintim lacks speed (4.78 in the 40), he is pro ready. His success at Virginia was not the product of a gimmick system. If the Bills have a chance to draft him in the second, it'll be difficult to say no.

Vontae Davis – CB (Illinois) (VI)

The brother of Vernon Davis, Vontae Davis has ideal build (6-foot, 205 pounds) and is a shutdown corner. But he is also considered a major character risk. Davis often talked back to coaches in college and meandered on selfish free-wheeling in coverage. Pure talent is bellied by a me-first attitude. Don't expect the Bills to take Davis unless he endures a colossal slip. Buffalo has far more pressing needs than cornerback.

Darius Butler – CB (Connecticut) (VI)

The fastest corner in the draft with a 4.46 at the Combine, Butler should get taken at the tail end of the first round. But as mentioned, the Bills have bigger needs than corner. The possibility of Terrence McGee bolting in free agency shouldn't incite any panic yet.

Chip Vaughn – S (Wake Forest) (VI)

Well, we didn't think the Bills would ever need to look at a safety but the off-field exploits of Donte Whitner and Ko Simpson could make Russ Brandon consider safeties earlier than expected. Vaughn could be a high value pick in the fourth or fifth round. He is dependable in run support – as a junior he had 105 tackles. Vaughn won't make many plays in deep center, but as a in-the-box strong safety, he could contribute.

Nic Harris – S (Oklahoma) (WO)

A ‘tweener. Many teams envision Harris playing outside linebacker in the NFL. Before a hamstring injury, Harris wooed scouts at OLB during Senior Bowl week. He certainly has a nose for the ball. With the Sooners, Harris had seven interceptions and six forced fumbles. Still, don't expect Harris' dominance to transition well. He lacks speed and isn't a big hitter. Harris will be lucky to get drafted.

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