NFL Nation: Jerry Huges

Final thoughts from Bills-Giants

August, 6, 2014
Aug 6
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- As the focus shifts to the Buffalo Bills' next preseason game in Carolina, providing some final thoughts from the Bills' loss Sunday to the New York Giants:

  • Where's Alan Branch? That was our first thought when the Bills' second-team defense saw its first action late in the first quarter. The Bills used Stefan Charles and Corbin Bryant as their top two reserves at defensive tackle behind Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams. Branch didn't see the field until after the two-minute warning of the first half, and then not again until later in the third quarter. For a 29-year old veteran who signed a three-year extension with nearly $4 million in guaranteed money last December, that is surprising. Branch failed the Bills' conditioning test to start camp, but presumably was the favorite to start if Dareus faces a suspension to start the season. Branch's roster spot might not be in jeopardy, but his playing time in Sunday's game indicates his position on the team has slipped since last season.
  • Linebacker Brandon Spikes said after Tuesday's practice that the defense "dominated" when the first team was on the field Sunday. Much of that success can be attributed to the push generated by the front four on the defensive line, which leads to this thought: How much will defensive end Jerry Hughes benefit next offseason from playing with three Pro Bowlers this season? Though the Bills' decision not to extend Hughes this offseason makes sense -- you probably want to see more than 16 games of production before handing out a long-term deal -- Hughes could hit it big in free agency next spring. If Williams and Dareus create double-teams inside, Hughes will face a lot of single-man protection on the outside.
  • As Seantrel Henderson and battles on the right side of the line have been the centers of attention along the offensive line, left guard Chris Williams has flown under the radar. He played the entire first quarter and the first drive of the second quarter Sunday. He was solid in pass protection. Against the run, he had a few notable breakdowns. Williams tried to cut block Jonathan Hankins on the back side of a Fred Jackson run but couldn't execute, allowing Hankins to stop Jackson in the backfield. That replay was shown on national television, so it was hard to miss. In the second quarter, Giants linebacker Devon Kennard was quick to diagnose a Bryce Brown run to the left, shooting the gap to Williams' left. Williams was slow to get off an inside double team and was blown back by Kennard, who stopped Brown for a loss.

Kiper's grades: Jags the worst

April, 25, 2010
Mel Kiper’s draft grades are in. Insider

Here's my standard draft grade disclaimer. Yes, grades before a guy sets foot on an NFL practice field are a silly concept. Still, they are what a huge percentage of fans will be looking for Sunday. So here are my notes from Kiper's Insider file.


He calls first-round corner Kareem Jackson “a predictable, safe pick” and said Ben Tate looks even better as a value at 58 considering Minnesota traded up to take Toby Gerhart at 51. Sixth-rounder Trindon Holliday “could be the next Dante Hall.” Even seventh-rounder Dorin Dickerson “has promise at tight end if he can add strength.” (The Texans are going with him as a wide receiver to start.) “Nothing amazing, but plenty of promise.”

Kiper's grade: B


No end has the “polish and versatility” of Derrick Morgan and he fills the hole left by Kyle Vanden Bosch. He questions Damian Williams' speed, and while he likes Rennie Curran, he called him “a slight reach” in the third. And “between math whiz Alterraun Verner and Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle, they'll have the smartest secondary in football if both stick.”

Kiper's grade: C+


He likes Jerry Hughes but thought Pat Angerer was a reach in Round 2 and “could have been around even at that No. 94 slot where Indy picked Kevin Thomas.” He rates Thomas a risk because of injury history. In general, nothing flashy. “But I'm never going to believe Bill Polian won't prove me wrong on at least one of these guys.”

Kiper's grade: C


Kiper calls GM Gene Smith’s second draft disappointing, starting with the over-valuing of Tyson Alualu at No. 10. “To take a guy you could conceivably get 15 to 25 slots later, you're cheating yourself not just out of sixth- and seventh-round guys, but potentially a late second- or third-rounder. You have to know not just the pick, but the relative value.” Of the Jags' six picks, only Alualu rated in Kiper’s Top 100.

Kiper's grade: D