What will we learn about Bills in April?

April, 2, 2014
Apr 2
On Monday, we asked the following question: What did we learn about the Buffalo Bills in March?

Now we'll ask this: What do we expect to learn about the Bills in April?

As the Bills move into the fourth month of the offseason, here's what is on the radar:

Slower month: This is the first year that the NFL will hold the draft in May. That makes April one of the quietest months on the league's calendar, while condensing the rookie minicamp, organized team activity, and minicamp schedules in May and June. While the extra few weeks gives scouts more time to prepare, it also takes away time that coaches have with rookies following the draft. We'll have to see if the NFL sticks with this schedule in future years. At this point, there hasn't been a long-term commitment to holding the draft in May.

Schedule release: The most significant event in April will be the release of this season's schedule. An exact date has yet to be announced, but the NFL traditionally reveals the full slate of games in mid-to-late April. We already know the Bills' opponents for next season, but there is still intrigue when the times and dates are set. Will the Bills open the season at home or on the road? When will their bye week fall? Will they play in more than one prime-time game? Where will they travel in the preseason? Those questions should be answered by the end of the month.

Pre-draft visits: From a personnel standpoint, these will dominate the month. The Bills hosted Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas and Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer on Tuesday. Each team is allowed up to 30 visits before the draft. While a player visiting could signal legitimate interest from the Bills, it could also simply mean that the personnel staff needed more information on a particular player. It's dangerous to read too far into any one visit, but grouped together they could tip off what positions the Bills may be targeting more than others in the draft.

More roster tweaks: General manager Doug Whaley recently said the Bills are no longer "actively in the free-agent market," but that doesn't mean they are done making moves until the draft. Smart teams will build depth across their roster before draft day, allowing themselves greater flexibility. The Bills lack experienced depth at quarterback and safety, while they could use more complementary pieces along their defensive front seven. Quality players remain on the market.

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter



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