On how the Jason Peters contract situation impacts decision-making heading into the draft: Bills Chief Operating Officer/General Manager Russ Brandon: Obviously we talked about this to nausea and I’ll talk about it one more time. Obviously we value Jason (Peters) greatly as a player and he’s a guy that we signed as a college free agent, as you all know, a player that we developed, a player that we signed to a contract early in his career, and obviously, Jason, he’s done a great job and played very well. At the conclusion of the year we talked to Jason and we’re in a situation where we value him a great deal. We’d like to have him on this team and we’ll see where it goes from there. On if he feels that there needs to be some resolution with Peters before the draft begins: Russ Brandon: I think we’re just going to see how the situation plays out with Jason. Like I said, we value him, we want him on this football team, we expect him to be on this football team and we will continue to work with he and his representatives. On if this year is a good year to have multiple picks in the first round: Vice President of College Scouting Tom Modrak: I think it’s always good to get extras. Maybe that’s a little selfish on my part. I think the team can benefit from it and it would be a good year to do that. I’m not going to get into measuring the value of the early first (round) to the last part of the first. There is a bit of a difference, but nevertheless you’re going to get good players at any of those areas. On if there is a need to look at the defense after addressing offensive needs in free agency: Russ Brandon: We went into the offseason with a very strategic plan that we all needed, as a group, as you all know we had a plan going into the offseason. I think one of the things, a misnomer is when free agency begins, it doesn’t end, so we’ve been able to address some situations through free agency. You mentioned Geoff Hangartner, that was one of our priorities. A backup quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick, we wanted to add another playmaker which we were able to do with T.O. And then bring in a versatile offensive lineman that can play a few positions in Seth McKinney. We also addressed a couple of our defensive needs in bringing in a corner in Drayton Florence, obviously, a highly valued player, and the backup linebacker in Pat Thomas. As we go through the process, obviously the draft is a huge component to our overall plan and we’ll see how it all falls out. On bolstering the defense, especially at defensive end and linebacker: Russ Brandon: If he can help our football team, absolutely. I think that’s the difficult part about this luncheon, so to speak. We never get into specifics, as you all know, but we’re always looking to better our football team and if that’s an area that we can improve upon, we will. Obviously Aaron (Schobel) coming back is very important to us. He’s an elite player in this league and last year was the first time he had been injured, so we’re looking forward to getting him back on the field. On assessing the depth at outside linebacker in the draft: Tom Modrak: It’s solid. I don’t know if you can point to three or four guys right at the top, but I think it’s solid. And I think there’s some depth in it. I think there would be some players coming out of both of those positions. I think linebacker is a good position. On if this is a good year to find a tackle that could step in and start immediately: Tom Modrak: I’m not sure if there’s ever a time to have somebody step right in and play left tackle. It happens, and people do it occasionally, but it’s a difficult process for any rookie. Everything’s accelerated now at this time. Is it a good year? Yeah, we’ll make it be a good year. That doesn’t mean we’ll reach, and that doesn’t mean we’ll go out of where we think the value is, but if we go down that direction, hopefully we’ll get a solid player that will eventually get on the field. On if he agrees with the assessment that five tackles could go in the first round this year: Tom Modrak: I think so. The things that go into it, in addition to the quality of the talent, is if there’s a void, you take the best player. So let’s say there’s not as many wide receivers and quarterbacks and so on, so the tackles get accelerated up, but I think your number would be a good guess for amount, though. On what Penn State DE Aaron Maybin ran in his 40-yard dash: Tom Modrak: He’s a 4.65-4.7 guy. That’s him, basically. He may run faster on some days, but that’s true of everybody. I’m not being cavalier about it, but if he runs fast, he covers the field and so his play speed is very good. That’s maybe even more of an issue. You like to have the support of the clock, but his play speed is real good. On how many defensive ends available at the 11th pick could be immediate impact players: Tom Modrak: I think some part is where people go. If somebody takes a defensive end that plays a different kind of scheme or they have talent already and he doesn’t get on the field because they have talent already at the position, but how many have the capability? It’s very hard to say. There’s probably a couple in that group that will wind up eventually, but it’s not quite as easy as people think. There’s not a lot of guys that get to be stars their first year, even at defensive end. There are a couple of them that are capable and that’s a pretty vague couple. On what carries more weight in scouting: good measurables with limited college production, or lots of college production and not-so-good measurables: Tom Modrak: If I understand that right, it’s how he plays on video. His production or how he plays the game. You can be fooled by pro days, you can be fooled by a lot of things, and occasionally, I’m fooled by the video. That happens, too, but your odds are so much better if you look at the tape, it doesn’t lie. I know that’s an old cliché. The difficulty at this time of the year, for all teams is just not to get enamored by the guy that runs fast and jumps high. If he plays, that’s fine. On how much a lack of measurable can take away from someone who looks good on film: Tom Modrak: It makes you talk about them more. I think that’s a good thing and that’s what we’re doing now. If a guy doesn’t run quite as fast as you hoped he would for that position, or whatever it might be, you had better satisfy yourself with the fact that he overcomes it with other things, whether it be instincts, toughness, all of those kinds of things that you know. Then, that’s when you go around the room and talk about those things as much as anything, because you want to be sure. On how important it is to find a player that can have an immediate impact, in light of the nine-year playoff draught: Russ Brandon: It’s a critical year. We stated that right at the conclusion of the season. We’re always looking for impact players through the entire draft. Thanks to the work that Tom and his staff have done, we’ve really been able to add to this football team over the last few years. As I told everyone at the conclusion of the year, 7-9 is not good enough and we need to get back to where our fans expect us to be and that’s playing football in deep January. And obviously the draft is an important layer to making this football team better. On if they are still not looking at tight ends that are primarily pass-catchers and not blockers: Tom Modrak: I think we make those statements, but we don’t like to pin ourselves into the corner with that. You have to look and see where the value is with a guy and see if he can help you in certain ways. Of course, I think now, as much as ever, you have to be making sure that guy is the right guy for you and what you’re going to be able to utilize him. But I would rule out the pass-catching personally, a talent like that, certainly if he blocks and catches and does that, then he’s in the top 15, but I wouldn’t rule anything out at this point. That isn’t really my thought process at this point, to rule anybody out, we’re trying to build it. Some guys will fall by the wayside. On how much Michael Crabtree’s draft stock was affected since he wasn’t able to run the 40: Tom Modrak: I don’t think it will hurt. At worst, it will be maybe a couple positions in the first round. Going back to what I said, I still think the video, for almost everybody pays. Now, when you get that high, it gets to be, you’re starting to look at everything through a magnifying glass, and if you don’t see some things, it might give you pause, but I don’t think it will be more than a little bit, if it’s anything. On the depth of the tight end class, and the strengths of Jared Cook, Shawn Nelson, and James Casey: Tom Modrak: Last first. (Jared) Cook is a pass catcher, (Shawn) Nelson, similar, with some blocking abilities, and (James) Casey, multi-purpose, line up everywhere, do everything, and have a plan for him and it’ll be good. Don’t put him at one position, let him use his talents all over the place. I think it’s good in this regard. There are a lot of good players that will play in this league, there are a lot of good players that have specific qualities that won’t player everywhere in this league. On if they are considering character of prospects more this offseason, in light of recent arrests: Russ Brandon: We always value character. It goes into the overall operation of our draft and everything we do here when evaluating a player. Much like you look at a vertical jump and a 40 time, you look at that aspect as well. You handle every case in a different manner and you reach a conclusion where you feel comfortable within the organization and that’s really how we come up with that, from an overall standpoint in the organization. Tom Modrak: if I may, that’s what we do. That’s my responsibility to make a recommendation on those things because we pool that information and we do our due diligence, our work on it, and a couple things have gotten left of center here, that’s where my department comes in. On if has gotten more difficult: Tom Modrak: I don’t know. That’s something that we’ve always tended to. We think it’s important. We’ve always attended to it. I understand what’s recently gone down, but that doesn’t mean that we look past it any less. On if that’s something they have to pay more attention to in light of this offseason: Tom Modrak: That’s clever, but I think that if you look over the history, that’s not true. We did hit a couple in a row and that’s not good, but we look at everything hard. We look at everything and every year we repeat it and we didn’t back off of any of it. On if you are finding there are more players with problems than in years past: Tom Modrak: I think the thing you have to factor into is how much information there is out there, so I can’t answer the question properly. Russ Brandon: I think it’s important. We’re in a different day from the standpoint of Facebook and MySpace and Twitter and blogs and camera phones and all of the different things that we talk about. It is not 10 years ago and it is not 40 years ago. From our standpoint, we do, and Tom and his staff, we all do a tremendous amount of due diligence when you go into this process and I think it’s also important that we don’t rush to judgment when you look at it in an overall schematic. The fact of the matter is simply this: when something goes awry, like we had in the past month, it’s on page one, but you all know the community service and all of the different things our guys do on that front, you’re lucky to get a story on. You all know that we’re held to a higher standard and we are in complete agreement with the NFL Conduct policy and what they’re trying to achieve at that level. We believe in it, we have an enormous amount of player programs that we employ during the offseason and during the season for our players and it’s imperative that everybody at One Bills Drive and in our organization is held accountable. On how he defines character: Russ Brandon: Like I said, I think you have to look at it in a global sense. Do the work, do the due diligence, and from our standpoint, any time there’s a negative light shone upon this organization, it effects everybody at One Bills Drive. It affects everybody in our community, quite frankly. Any clubhouse, locker room, is a microcosm of society. We’ve got 85 players on this team and 150 people in this organization and to say that you’re not going to have a problem crop up here and there is ignorant, but we do every single thing in our power to educate and try to make sure that these situations do not occur. On if Brandon Pettigrew’s issues with the law are enough to raise questions: Tom Modrak: I guess I don’t look at that as checkered. He turned around when the guy reached for him and he hit him, supposedly, as you would if anybody grabbed you from behind. No, he’s not off of the board. On what they like about Pettigrew: Tom Modrak: He’s a catch and block candidate, which is hard to find. He’ll do both. He’s a rangy guy. He catches the ball really well. He’ll improve his route-running based on because he’s athletic enough, and he’ll block. Again, that’s not always the case. On Pettigrew’s speed: Tom Modrak: I think it’s good. Do I think he’s going to be a 4.5 guy? No, but he plays pretty fast. He is what he is. Against Cover-Two he’ll get down the middle of the field, then when you add that height and the linebacker is trying to trail him it adds to it. On if the pool of tight ends has been opened up by Coach Jauron saying he was willing to go away from a blocking tight end if he was a superior pass-catcher: Tom Modrak: Really, when you put a guy’s profile together, it’s not just catching. It’s running routes, it’s having courage in the middle of the field and it’s run after the catch. There are a lot of things that go into it. We just mentioned Pettigrew. His thing just happens to be that he throws blocking in with a lot of that. Does it open it up? Sure, but we’ve never not evaluated those people as they are. That’s what the evaluation process we’re all going through right now is talking about, is those guys to try to know where they fit, how they fit, painting a picture from our end so we can get the kind of guy that fits. On if there is a tight end out there that is good enough to justify using the 11th pick on: Tom Modrak: The easy answer on that is yes. I don’t want to get philosophical, and different years there are different pools, there are different availabilities. Not only that pick at 11, but it’s impact. I mean we always talk about first-rounders, no matter if they’re the fourth pick or the 32nd pick and there is a difference. I know it’s easier to say first-rounder. Is there an 11th tight end? Yeah, I could see a guy stepping up and doing that. Hopefully identify him if we go that way. If not, whoever we identify, hopefully he justifies that 11th. On evaluating players when they play against inferior competition: Tom Modrak: You talk about that because you’re trying to match up the production and talk about their competition. However, it’s still how a guy plays on the field more than his measurables, if he plays well. Now, if he doesn’t have the measurables and he plays at a low level and he only plays ok, it’s really pretty tough to make that into something. But you look at guys certainly at the lower level of competition if he has those, and then you determine if he can play and transfer his stuff from Saturday to Sunday. On USC safety Kevin Ellison, and if he can play safety and linebacker: Tom Modrak: We were just talking about him, thanks for that, because it’s fresh. He’s really a good football player. The measurables on him are not always exactly where you want them for either position, but he’s a good football player and I think that’s the key to any of them. I bet on some boards he’ll be a strong safety and some he’ll be a linebacker. On if every aspect of a player’s life is fair game to be asked about: Tom Modrak: You know they’re going to get asked. I would think that a guy wouldn’t refuse to answer those questions either. It’s public knowledge and it’s part of his life. I’m not sure what a team asks for what reason, but, yeah, everything’s open. It’s major league investments that are going on. I think most teams, they have a plan for asking questions like that. On if the team needs more than the seven picks it has: Russ Brandon: You would always like to have more picks, absolutely. But from our standpoint, we’re comfortable with the seven. Like I said, the draft is another layer in the whole process. Free agency kicked it off a month and a half ago and we feel really good about the team that we’ve built over the last few years and we’re going to add to it in about seven days.