Pettigrew should be the pick
Brandon Pettigrew (Getty Images)
Brandon Pettigrew (Getty Images)
BFR Publisher
Posted Apr 25, 2009


Bills must take rare specimen with the 11th overall pick...

Try not to spill chicken wing sauce all over that new Terrell Owens jersey. The 11th overall pick will come soon enough.

If you’ve been keeping tabs on the BFR, you know that Buffalo is exploring a trade up in pursuit of a left tackle (check here and here).

Such a decision would require the Bills to fork up a deal close to the one they refused to give Jason Peters – which has set the Rockpile Forums ablaze. Of course, draft day trade talks swirl violently at about this time. Smokescreens are the norm. Personally, I think the Bills will have difficulty climbing into the Top 5. Far too many teams are in hot pursuit of Mark Sanchez. According to a source, four teams are talking with the Kansas City Chiefs for the No. 3 pick to get the USC quarterback. We’ll keep you updated on any developments.

So what will happen this evening? Buffalo’s fascination with Brandon Pettigrew may conquer. Yes, there’s that uncomfortable void at left tackle. No team wants to leave the blind side unguarded. But with the 28th overall pick, the Bills are ensured a serviceable tackle – Phil Loadholt, William Beatty and Eben Britton are talented bigs that could start immediately. All have quick feet and strong bases. Unless other teams – like last year – frantically jump back into the first round to intercept one of these three, the Bills should be fine at tackle.

Pettigrew is simply too multi-faceted for Buffalo to ignore. People forget that he’s basically an extended tackle at tight end.

At Lee High School in Tyler, Texas, Pettigrew would spend half of every practice with the offensive linemen. He’s a mean 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, Pettigrew would prove invaluable to the run game. Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson and Dominic Rhodes all are stretch-oriented backs that love sliding off the tackles outside hip. Pettigrew could consistently bust open first downs. With Oklahoma State, he averaged 54 knockdown blocks per year as the Cowboys rushing game churned out 245 yards per game (eighth in the nation).

More importantly, Pettigrew gives Trent Edwards something no Bills quarterback has had this decade – a mid-range security blanket. For years, the Bills have ignored the tight end position. Middling free agents (Robert Royal, Michael Gaines, Mark Campbell) and half-hearted mid-round draft picks (Tim Euhus in the fourth and Kevin Everett in the third) haven’t panned out. It’s time for Buffalo to invest heavily in a two-way tight end. Forty-percent of Pettigrew’s receiving yards came after the catch with the Cowboys. He was rarely utilized because of the ground game’s success, but some experts say his raw combination of size and athleticism is the best the position has seen since Jeremy Shockey.

No, the 11th overall pick is not too high for Pettigrew. Multiple teams ahead of Buffalo at No. 28 are considering Pettigrew. Rather than getting cute and maneuvering a few spots down from No. 11, Buffalo should take Pettigrew. He’s precisely what the offense needs to take a big leap forward. Terrell Owens and Lee Evans will demand weekly attention from defensive backs, leaving some gaping holes underneath for Pettigrew. A tight end that Pettigrew studies closely, Jason Witten, benefited from this effect with the Dallas Cowboys. Edwards is a savvy quarterback that’d work well with an always-open, 7/11 target. Unlike J.P. Losman, who often had the attention span of a water bug in the backfield, Edwards possesses to poise to calmly go through his progressions. He just needs a goliath receiver to lean on in key situations.

For Buffalo to cap a stunning off-season with a bang, it should take Brandon Pettigrew right there at the 11th overall pick. Needs at tackle and outside linebacker can be sufficed later on.

thdunne@gmail.com

For more on Pettigrew, read this feature that ran earlier in the week.

And be sure to rant and rave all weekend in the BFR Rockpile Forum.



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