Three top prospects -- Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder and Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston -- spent Thursday visiting the Buffalo Bills' complex as the team, which owns the No. 3 overall pick, continued preparations for the April 28-30 NFL Draft.
Fairley, who set a school record with 24 tackles for loss and led the Southeastern Conference with 11.5 sacks in the Tigers' run to the BCS national championship, reportedly will visit with eight teams with picks in the overall top 10.
"The strengths I think I bring to the field are I'm a great pass-rusher and a great run-stopper," Fairley told the Bills' official website. "I try to dominate inside in the middle, and I think that's what teams are looking for, and I hope I can be that guy that they look for."
"We had a prior relationship," said Ponder, who worked out with the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday in Tallahassee, Fla. "When he was the coach at Georgia Tech, they recruited me pretty hard, and they were probably my second choice, next to Florida State. I actually had a good relationship with (Bills offensive coordinator/running backs) Coach (Curtis) Modkins. He was the guy that recruited me personally."
Gailey predicted Ponder's transition to the NFL will be simplified by his experience in Florida State's offense.
"He was in more of a traditional pro offense than maybe some of the other quarterbacks in the draft, so I think his transition will be a little easier," Gailey said. "He was hurt a lot. That's always a question and something that you have to make sure you research extensively to feel comfortable about a guy like that. Mentally and physically talent-wise, he's fine. I think he's got a chance to be very successful."
According to the Bills' website, Houston posted 10 sacks, 44 quarterback hurries and 18.5 tackles for loss for Georgia while transitioning from defensive end to outside linebacker after the Bulldogs switched from a 4-3 to 3-4 scheme. He has met with Baltimore Ravens officials and has pre-draft visits scheduled with the Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs. He also reportedly has private workouts scheduled with the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants.