NFL Nation: Cyril Richardson

How much does size matter?

To the Buffalo Bills, quite a lot. On Tuesday, we noted how the Bills have the NFL's tallest group of receivers. That's just one position, but it's not the only spot where the Bills top the league's charts -- at least on paper.

The Bills also have the NFL's heaviest offensive line, and it's barely even a contest. The average weight of their 15 offensive linemen is 325.2 pounds, far and away the biggest group in the league. Only the Oakland Raiders, at 320.3 pounds, come close.

Unlike at receiver, where most of the team's height is concentrated in players at the bottom of the depth chart, the Bills have both starting linemen and developmental blockers who break the scales.

Left tackle Cordy Glenn, who has started 29 games since being drafted in the second round two years ago, is listed at 345 pounds, making him the fourth-heaviest offensive lineman currently on an NFL roster. He's tied with rookie Seantrel Henderson, the Bills' seventh-round pick, who also checks in at 345 pounds.

In addition to Henderson, the Bills added 343-pound Cyril Richardson in the fifth round earlier this month. Ideally, Richardson and Henderson will both stick on the 53-man roster and could have eventually have potential to start.

The two draft picks are the latest in a pipeline of massive offensive linemen that general manager Doug Whaley has brought to Buffalo. They're projects for coach Doug Marrone, a former offensive line coach, as well as Pat Morris, the Bills' current offensive line coach.

The Bills ended last season with a trio of developmental guards who are on the larger side: Antoine McClain (336 pounds), Mark Asper (325 pounds), and J.J. Unga (320 pounds). Whaley plucked Unga off the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad, while McClain was claimed off waivers from the Raiders. All three may have an uphill battle to make the cut this season.

No matter who the Bills keep of their current bunch of 15, the size of the group will be striking. It's Whaley's vision to beat his opponents with superior size, and he'll have plenty of it along his offensive line this season.

But will it make the difference? Much like the Bills' ongoing expedition to find a productive, tall wide receiver, the Bills' super-sized offensive line will need to show that their eye-opening height and weight figures printed on the roster are more than just numbers.

The results will need to come on the field before Whaley's strategy can be given the stamp of approval. Take last season for instance. The Bills gave Colin Brown -- a mountain of a man, at 6-foot-7 and 326 pounds -- the nod at left guard to start the regular season. He struggled in five starts and was finding new work by October, replaced by an undersized Doug Legursky.

The Bills should be leery of a similar outcome with Chris Williams, a free agent whom they signed to a four-year deal in March. Williams, who is 6-foot-6 and 326 pounds, has a shaky track record as an NFL starter. He'll slide in at left guard. Could Buffalo be a good fit for him? Of course. But if it isn't, Legursky will be the likely fallback option.

Pass protection will be another consideration. Size and brute strength work well in the running game, especially in power blocking schemes, but technique and athleticism come more into play in the passing game. Glenn handled EJ Manuel's blindside well last season but there were breakdowns elsewhere. With new starters possible at both left guard and right tackle, keeping Manuel upright will be key this season.

In the meantime, the Bills have another distinction to celebrate. With rosters nearly complete after the draft, the Bills have emerged with the NFL's premier size at both receiver and offensive line.

Now they have to show why that matters, on the field -- where it counts.
David FalesJohn David Mercer/USA TODAY SportsThe Senior Bowl gives players a taste of what February's NFL combine will be like.
MOBILE, Ala. -- One of the first things the players did at the Senior Bowl this week was get their official height and weight recorded.

It happened on a stage in an exhibit hall at the Mobile Convention Center in front of hundreds of scouts, NFL personnel people and executives, and members of the media in chairs and bleacher seating. The players stood behind a curtain until their name was called and then walked onstage, wearing nothing but their underwear.

The rest of the week was only slightly less weird.

There were interviews with scouts, team executives, the media, agents and their representatives, vendors and PR reps. Former NFL players wandered around. People with "business opportunities" tried to latch onto players.

It's a hectic, tumultuous experience for the players participating in the Senior Bowl, but it's also great training for what they're going to experience at the NFL combine in Indianapolis next month. This week has given them a taste of what to expect.

"This is a good precursor for the combine," Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said. "They get the interviews. They get their first interaction with coaches and scouts and really kind of digging into their background or family life and everything that they do. It'll school 'em up for the combine a little bit."

As each player's height and weight is announced, heads dip in unison as the hundreds in attendance diligently record the numbers on handouts that already include each player's hand width, arm length, and wingspan. That's not so bad considering what they'll experience at the combine, when they can be examined by the doctor of each of the NFL's 32 teams.

"We got into the big auditorium in the back and it's dead quiet and it's just the players back there, so we're like, 'Ah, there's no one. There's a couple people out there,'" offensive lineman Brandon Linder said. "And I guess someone got a picture on their phone of what was out there and they started showing around. It was an amphitheater of people. But it wasn't a big deal.

"It was pretty cool, walking across all serious, you get your height and weight and you walk off trying not to trip."

At least that doesn't require much thought. The interviews, however, are another matter. Some are planned, but others are pretty much spontaneous. After team meetings, practices and meals, players have to walk through the lobby and second-floor Senior Bowl headquarters of the team hotel, where at any moment a scout, agent, vendor, PR rep or member of the media can appear and ask for a few moments.

The meetings with the scouts and team officials are obviously the most important and most are pretty straightforward.

"It was very chaotic at the hotel and it still is," offensive lineman Jon Halapio said in the middle of the week. "I was used to interviews and stuff at Florida, but it was always about the games and stuff, but this was the first time I've had an interview asking about who I am as a person, about my personal life and stuff like that. It made me feel like, wow, this is an actual interview for a job."

And, as in any job interview, some of the questions are a bit unusual.

The Cleveland Browns, for example, dropped this one on some of the players they interviewed: Name as many uses as you can for a brick in one minute.

"I named a couple things," offensive lineman Cyril Richardson said. "I named paperweight, counter-balance, and stuff like that.

"Somebody warned me about it. I was like, 'Really?'"

Unusual for sure, but certainly less shocking than being asked if your mother is a prostitute as Dez Bryant was in an interview with the Miami Dolphins.

Players can expect the interviews at the combine to be even more intrusive. Each will meet with a representative from every team but the top players will often meet with the general manager and head coach as well. By then teams will have done more research on the players' pasts and will probe for answers about character issues, off-the-field issues, and any other potential red flags.

"I know it's a little bit more intense at the combine -- a lot more intense -- but this kind of gives you a taste and a feel for what you're going to get," San Jose State quarterback David Fales said.

One of the more infamous parts of the combine is the Wonderlic test, which is a timed 50-question test given to each player to assess their aptitude for learning and problem-solving ability. The players aren't given that test in Mobile, but they do take some similar exams.

One of the questions on this year's test was to determine to which of five people a fish belongs. Players were given clues.

"Those [tests] are a little off-the-wall," said receiver Jeff Janis, who admitted he didn't get the correct answer to the fish question. "I'm not sure what they're for, but I just filled them out and did my best."

While this week is a good trial run for the combine, it's particularly beneficial for small-school players who have not been exposed to this kind of environment. Players from LSU, Oklahoma, USC and Wisconsin have dealt with intense media coverage and have had numerous NFL scouts on their campus and at practice.

That's not the case for a guy like Janis, who played at Division II Saginaw Valley State, or cornerback Pierre Desir, who played at Lindenwood University in Missouri, another Division II school.

"It's been a crazy experience, something I'm going to remember forever," said Janis, who received his combine invitation a month ago. "I've just kind of been soaking everything up. This isn't something that happens very often where I'm from. I'm just trying to learn from everybody and take in as much as I can.

"It's different, but I realize that it's part of the game. I just kind of sit back and just enjoy it and have fun with it."

Jaguars Senior Bowl primer

January, 20, 2014
Jan 20
1:15
PM ET
MOBILE, Ala. -- Nearly the entire Jaguars football staff is on hand for the Reese’s Senior Bowl. The Jaguars will coach the South team and the Atlanta Falcons will coach the North team, but each will switch rosters for a day on Thursday so they can interact with all the players.

Here’s a primer of what to expect:

Help wanted: Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said he expected his staff to remain intact, but linebackers coach Mark Duffner left the team on Sunday night to take the same position with the Miami Dolphins. Duffner just finished his eighth season with the team. Defensive coordinator Bob Babich, who spent seven seasons as a linebackers coach with the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams, will work with the linebackers this week. In addition to being a college all-star game, the Senior Bowl is also part coaches convention. Unemployed assistants are here trying to land jobs and head coaches are also here trying to fill staffs.

Keep your eye on: The Jaguars certainly have a lot of needs to fill, beginning with quarterback and pass rusher. So naturally all the quarterbacks -- particularly Derek Carr, Tajh Boyd and David Fales -- are players to watch during the practices and games. Though he is unable to play because of a torn ACL he suffered in late November against Kentucky, Aaron Murray is here to participate in meetings and interviews. It’s a smart decision and one that GMs will like.

As for those pass rushers, Jeremiah Attaochu (who played linebacker at Georgia Tech), Michael Sams, Kareem Martin, Chris Smith, and James Gayle are defensive ends to watch. At outside linebacker, Trent Murphy and Christian Jones are worth watching.

Unfortunately, two of the country’s top pass rushers won’t be here. Buffalo’s Khalil Mack has opted not to participate and UCLA’s Anthony Barr will miss the week because of an undisclosed injury. Both are considered top-10 draft picks.

Some other players to watch: WR Jordan Matthews, TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE Jacob Pederson, G Cyril Richardson and C Weston Richburg.

What you’ll get: Each day I’ll provide Jaguars news and notes as well as observations from practice. I’ll concentrate on players at positions that correspond to the Jaguars’ top needs (QB, DE, OLB, interior OL, RB, WR) but there will be other players as well. I’ll have several blog posts a day and you also can follow me on Twitter @ESPNdirocco.

ETC.: Among the other players who either opted out or cannot participate because of injury are RBs Carlos Hyde (opted out), Andre Williams (injury) and Tyler Gaffney (injury), OTs Jake Matthews (opted out) and Taylor Lewan (injury), WR Tevin Reese (injury), and DT Dominique Easley (injury).

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider