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Revisiting the pretty bad 2015 draft class

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On 4/3/2020 at 7:00 PM, Kirby Jackson said:

FWIW, teams are ready for the 2021 draft now. They’ve scouted everyone and have books on the players. Obviously things change but they 100% know the strengths, weaknesses and depth of the draft the following year. They haven’t finished their work but have a pretty good sense of what it will look like. BLESTO and National meetings are right after this draft I think 

 

They are. BLESTO is normally less than a fortnight after the draft. 

7 minutes ago, T master said:

Whaley had some good points to his tenure of being a GM the guy wasn't afraid to wheel & deal it's just who ever was giving him his inside info apparently wasn't real good & he wasn't good at deciphering that info not to mention who ever was over seeing the construction of the contracts at that time was dumber than a box of rocks & put the team in cap hell .

 

The one thing that Whaley failed miserably at was letting the coaches change all the good things that the team had going for it at the time the new HC was hired, allowing Rex to first change a top 5 defense that had been drafting players for a 4/3 & playing a 4/3 at a very high level to change to a base 3/4 then fire the guy that was making it work was just ignorant !

 

If it ain't broke don't fix it he should have as the GM tell who ever came in the D is fine don't touch it be a HC & use what you have at your disposal & just make th team better allow those in place that are doing a good job to continue doing what they are doing & move forward but because Rex changed all the crap he did it put the team & Whaley by allowing it to happen on the unemployment line .

 

 

 

He didn't have the power to tell the HC what to do. 

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7 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

 

They are. BLESTO is normally less than a fortnight after the draft. 

 

He didn't have the power to tell the HC what to do. 

Next year’s draft has some high end playmakers as well!! Waddle, Chase, Olave, Ross, DeVonta Smith and Rondale Moore (amongst others) should all be in there. They are saying that 2020 may be the most talented WR group ever and that may last all of a year. Those guys next year, in a lot of cases, were ahead of this group. Add in the 2 QBs at the top of the draft and 2021 is looking exciting. There will be lots and lots of “TD makers.”

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My memories of Whaley are mixed. On one hand there were some nice picks, and Hughes for Sheppard/McCoy for Alonso demonstrated his pro personnel chops. There were some value bin pickups as well as some nice draft picks and I'm even thinking of a Preston Brown who wasn't a star by any means but was solid and made it to his second contract. Think about it, the bar is that low for the entire drought: the elite group of Bills draft picks who went on to have a career in this league, usually outside of Buffalo. I digress.

 

He was decent (above average?) at scouting college and pro personnel. As much as I didn't like the Watkins trade much of it is hindsight and I think most of us can agree that Watkins has a high ceiling (which he will probably never reach). Much like the current guy, Whaley also liked to call his shots and take them; he wasn't afraid of risky moves if he was "fired up" about a guy.

 

Where I will knock him is his apparent lack of strategy, i.e. he handled the draft and in-season waiver transactions in an acceptable manner, but lacked any clear strategy to build a roster and manage the cap with any plan for sustainability. He liked to say he wanted to "stack drafts" and pile talent on top of each other but everyone says a variation of this and it never happened. Many of you are much more knowledgeable about the college and pro game than I am so I will defer to you but I'm just looking at the results of who stayed, who we extended, and who we couldn't afford to keep. His tactics were generally sound but managing the cap/building the roster was an obvious strategic deficiency.

 

A failure of the entire front office, the coaching regimes and ownership for that matter was the inability to build a culture. Even with solid citizen/pantheon Buffalo Bills like Kyle Williams, Eric Wood and Fred Jackson leading the way, there was no culture established except one of mediocrity and missing the playoffs. The Bills were never outright trash and thus never earned the best lottery pick, but they never good enough to seriously think about the post-season. Thus, any positive influences couldn't contain bad apples; this isn't to sing McBeane's culture/we are family praises, but the league cares about winning and a winning locker room can absorb problem children. The Bills never had the luxury of this kind of cultural foundation; they might finally have it going into next season.

 

The juggernaut 2014 Bills, much lauded for their defense and being (by default) the best team in a historically inept run, were indicative of this. The numbers looked nice but they weren't good enough to win games that mattered, when it mattered. Beating the Patriots B-team sans Brady on the last game of the season, despite being in Foxborough, doesn't count for me. But Whales deserves credit for this team, the dandelion in a field of weeds. And in his defense, he needed somebody above, whether it was Brandon on behalf of Wilson or the Pegulas, to step in and make it clear that the head coach and GM HAVE to work together, under threat of torture, or both of them would be burned at the stake.

 

Pure conjecture but I'll blame Brandon for that; he was the defacto "owner" during Whaley's tenure and could have done more to build that culture from the top down, because that's where it starts. And to reiterate, I have no proof this occurred, but I've seen nothing to indicate Brandon cared about anything other than selling tickets, despite saying all the right things.

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9 hours ago, GunnerBill said:

 

They are. BLESTO is normally less than a fortnight after the draft. 

 

He didn't have the power to tell the HC what to do. 


that’s what Whaley apologists want to believe 

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1 minute ago, Phil The Thrill said:


that’s what Whaley apologists want to believe 

 

No. That is the fact. There is plenty to criticise Doug for without making things up. He never had control of a Head Coaching search and he was always tasked with finding players for his coach's systems. 

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Posted (edited)

they traded up in 2014 because pegula told them they'd both be out on their ears together if things didnt improve.

 

they mortgaged the future for their own survival.

 

had they stayed were they were, they could've had Lewan, OBJ, Aaron Donald, Zack Martin.......(sickening)

Edited by papazoid

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7 minutes ago, technobot said:

My memories of Whaley are mixed. On one hand there were some nice picks, and Hughes for Sheppard/McCoy for Alonso demonstrated his pro personnel chops. There were some value bin pickups as well as some nice draft picks and I'm even thinking of a Preston Brown who wasn't a star by any means but was solid and made it to his second contract. Think about it, the bar is that low for the entire drought: the elite group of Bills draft picks who went on to have a career in this league, usually outside of Buffalo. I digress.

 

He was decent (above average?) at scouting college and pro personnel. As much as I didn't like the Watkins trade much of it is hindsight and I think most of us can agree that Watkins has a high ceiling (which he will probably never reach). Much like the current guy, Whaley also liked to call his shots and take them; he wasn't afraid of risky moves if he was "fired up" about a guy.

 

Where I will knock him is his apparent lack of strategy, i.e. he handled the draft and in-season waiver transactions in an acceptable manner, but lacked any clear strategy to build a roster and manage the cap with any plan for sustainability. He liked to say he wanted to "stack drafts" and pile talent on top of each other but everyone says a variation of this and it never happened. Many of you are much more knowledgeable about the college and pro game than I am so I will defer to you but I'm just looking at the results of who stayed, who we extended, and who we couldn't afford to keep. His tactics were generally sound but managing the cap/building the roster was an obvious strategic deficiency.

 

A failure of the entire front office, the coaching regimes and ownership for that matter was the inability to build a culture. Even with solid citizen/pantheon Buffalo Bills like Kyle Williams, Eric Wood and Fred Jackson leading the way, there was no culture established except one of mediocrity and missing the playoffs. The Bills were never outright trash and thus never earned the best lottery pick, but they never good enough to seriously think about the post-season. Thus, any positive influences couldn't contain bad apples; this isn't to sing McBeane's culture/we are family praises, but the league cares about winning and a winning locker room can absorb problem children. The Bills never had the luxury of this kind of cultural foundation; they might finally have it going into next season.

 

The juggernaut 2014 Bills, much lauded for their defense and being (by default) the best team in a historically inept run, were indicative of this. The numbers looked nice but they weren't good enough to win games that mattered, when it mattered. Beating the Patriots B-team sans Brady on the last game of the season, despite being in Foxborough, doesn't count for me. But Whales deserves credit for this team, the dandelion in a field of weeds. And in his defense, he needed somebody above, whether it was Brandon on behalf of Wilson or the Pegulas, to step in and make it clear that the head coach and GM HAVE to work together, under threat of torture, or both of them would be burned at the stake.

 

Pure conjecture but I'll blame Brandon for that; he was the defacto "owner" during Whaley's tenure and could have done more to build that culture from the top down, because that's where it starts. And to reiterate, I have no proof this occurred, but I've seen nothing to indicate Brandon cared about anything other than selling tickets, despite saying all the right things.


You are higher than on Whaley than I am.  I believe he’s a below average GM and I think he was alway in over his head.  He wasn’t organized.  Wasn’t professional.  And most importantly, not successful.  Not a GM,  Director of Pro Personnel yes.  That’s where he excelled and where most of his “hits”’are.  But that is is ceiling IMO.  

 

His record in the draft was spotty and average at best.  Doug’s biggest mistake was his ego.  He doubled down on EJ since he was highly involved in drafting him (#FACT) and tried to make a big swing at Sammy to impress the new owners.  This move was reckless
 

The biggest indictment of Whaley is he had no clue how to BUILD a team.  No vision.  Every move he made was to go broke to win Super Bowl that season, ignoring the fact that his team was not even close and had no answer at QB.  There was never a plan.  It was always go for broke and that led the team straight into cap hell without a QB contract.  That’s damn impressive.  Also Whaley embarrassed the franchise and made the team into a laughing stock.

 

I will say - the dysfunction behind-the-scenes at One Bills Drive with Terry having no clue and Russ being Russ did not help at all.  But Doug “dug” his own grave.  He’s not a GM as evidenced by the fact that no team will give him another shot as GM.  It’s been 3 years and he’s exiled.  
 

I can’t understand the love some Bills fans have for a GM that failed to lead the team a record below .500.  
 

The best move Terry ever made was firing Doug and bribing in McDermott and Beane.  I just wish it happened in January 2017. 

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1 minute ago, papazoid said:

they traded up in 2014 because pegula told them they'd both be out on their ears together if things didnt improve.

 

they mortgaged the future for their own survival.


That’s partly true.  Pegula didn’t say this after the 2013 season.  But he was a new owner and many believe Doug traded up to impress management and because he wanted to prove that his former selection was a good QB.  Either way a lot of ego was involved.  He did it to himself.  

 

The rumored edict didn’t come until the start of the 2016, three seasons later.

23 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

 

No. That is the fact. There is plenty to criticise Doug for without making things up. He never had control of a Head Coaching search and he was always tasked with finding players for his coach's systems. 


But those players that he found to fit a coaches systems were really not that good.  His biggest hit might be Shaq Lawson.  Not great shakes

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5 minutes ago, Phil The Thrill said:


But those players that he found to fit a coaches systems were really not that good.  His biggest hit might be Shaq Lawson.  Not great shakes

 

I'd say Darby in the 2nd was probably his best pick. But sure, his draft record was poor. And he deserves criticism for that. For the Bills letting Schwartz walk and then dismantling his defense to construct Rex's failed vanity project. That was on the Pegulas. 

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On 4/3/2020 at 12:46 PM, Hatszel said:

I think Whaley gets a bad rap.   He did what he could with each Coaching staff and tried to get them what the coach wanted.  I agree that when the trade went  down it should have been Mack to trade up by giving up a 1 to get a receiver in a receiver heavy draft was foolish.   In the draft simulators that year I traded back and would have drafted Martin, Evens and Bryant with the first 3 picks.

 

I have stated many times you need a GM and coach to be on the same page of which DW was not. He needed a coach who wanted big athletic defensive  lineman and knew how to use them. He got Rex who wanted space eaters and great LBs. It is like hiring a 5 star Italian to cook Asian.

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Doug Whaley was a decent GM and he certainly wasn't helped by bad coaching, but he couldn't spot a good QB to save his life. He also passed on Mahomes. He wasn't too bad at spotting defensive talent, though. I could see him being hired as a Pro Personnel Director maybe. He did OK in that job.

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On 4/3/2020 at 11:57 AM, Albany,n.y. said:

Looking back to the draft held 5 years ago, many teams came out disappointed in the results.  A 1st round pick is supposed to be a difference maker & be with the team beyond 5 years, yet of the 32 picks, due to injuries, busts & free agents looking to move on, only 7 are still with the team that drafted them.  Even worse, of the top 10, only 1 player is still on his drafted team.  The 1st 2, QBs Winston & Mariotta fell out of favor & were not wanted back by their teams after 5 seasons. Any QB at the top of the draft who is jettisoned after 5 years is a wasted pick.  

  

The Bills, who didn't have a 1st rounder, didn't pick a single player of much consequence and none are still with the team.  2nd rounder Darby was traded after 2 seasons for a 1 year rental of Matthews and a 3rd round pick (H. Phillips).  Due to injuries he has been a disappointment and recently signed with his 3rd team as a UFA.  3rd rounder Miller lasted 4 up & down seasons with the Bills and lasted only 1 year with Cincinnati after signing with them.  He also is now on his 3rd team.  The rest of the picks were JAGs who have bounced around with only 1 of the remaining 4 still (barely) in the league.  

 

Ironically, one of the best picks of that draft was Minnesota's 5th rounder, WR Stefon Diggs. While he too is no longer with his original team, Minnesota got a haul of draft choices from the Bills.  The players from the 2015 draft currently on the Bills are Diggs, Yeldon, Morse, Feliciano, & undrafted Spain, so the Bills got something out of the class of 2015 .  

A first and a future forth is not really a "haul." The other fodder picks were extras received from other trades. More than fair compensation.

 

That being said the 2006 draft, outside of Kyle Williams might be one of the worst classes as a whole 

Whitner at 8th overall. To this day this has to be one of the biggest reaches of all time.

 

McCargo at 26 was another pretty remarkable reach. Considering most saw him, at best as a late second rounder. Yet, we traded up to freaking 26th.

 

Youboty

Simpson 

KYLE WILLIAMS 

Brad Butler

Keith Ellison 

 

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On 4/3/2020 at 12:46 PM, DrDawkinstein said:

 

It isnt giving him much credit. Most GMs know what the next class is looking like, and usually even 2 classes out.

 

I specifically remember talk from that weekend out of the Bills that they werent thrilled with the way the 2015 was looking, so it made it easier to make the trade. Might even be able to find articles that show the quotes (although it seems most have been archived from my quick googling).

 

Yes, getting a WR for his QB was the main part of it. But the looks of the 2015 class made the decision easier.

 

Whatever you think about his all-around GM abilities, Whaley and his team were great scouts and always had a good idea of what the next year's class looked like.

Attributing foresight to Doug Whaley, sure.

 

Next you will tell us Bills fans are Into sobriety. 

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1 hour ago, GreggTX said:

Doug Whaley was a decent GM and he certainly wasn't helped by bad coaching, but he couldn't spot a good QB to save his life. He also passed on Mahomes. He wasn't too bad at spotting defensive talent, though. I could see him being hired as a Pro Personnel Director maybe. He did OK in that job.

 

He didn't pass on Mahomes. He was not running that draft. 

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On 4/6/2020 at 7:51 PM, technobot said:

My memories of Whaley are mixed. On one hand there were some nice picks, and Hughes for Sheppard/McCoy for Alonso demonstrated his pro personnel chops. There were some value bin pickups as well as some nice draft picks and I'm even thinking of a Preston Brown who wasn't a star by any means but was solid and made it to his second contract. Think about it, the bar is that low for the entire drought: the elite group of Bills draft picks who went on to have a career in this league, usually outside of Buffalo. I digress.

 

He was decent (above average?) at scouting college and pro personnel. As much as I didn't like the Watkins trade much of it is hindsight and I think most of us can agree that Watkins has a high ceiling (which he will probably never reach). Much like the current guy, Whaley also liked to call his shots and take them; he wasn't afraid of risky moves if he was "fired up" about a guy.

 

Where I will knock him is his apparent lack of strategy, i.e. he handled the draft and in-season waiver transactions in an acceptable manner, but lacked any clear strategy to build a roster and manage the cap with any plan for sustainability. He liked to say he wanted to "stack drafts" and pile talent on top of each other but everyone says a variation of this and it never happened. Many of you are much more knowledgeable about the college and pro game than I am so I will defer to you but I'm just looking at the results of who stayed, who we extended, and who we couldn't afford to keep. His tactics were generally sound but managing the cap/building the roster was an obvious strategic deficiency.

 

A failure of the entire front office, the coaching regimes and ownership for that matter was the inability to build a culture. Even with solid citizen/pantheon Buffalo Bills like Kyle Williams, Eric Wood and Fred Jackson leading the way, there was no culture established except one of mediocrity and missing the playoffs. The Bills were never outright trash and thus never earned the best lottery pick, but they never good enough to seriously think about the post-season. Thus, any positive influences couldn't contain bad apples; this isn't to sing McBeane's culture/we are family praises, but the league cares about winning and a winning locker room can absorb problem children. The Bills never had the luxury of this kind of cultural foundation; they might finally have it going into next season.

 

The juggernaut 2014 Bills, much lauded for their defense and being (by default) the best team in a historically inept run, were indicative of this. The numbers looked nice but they weren't good enough to win games that mattered, when it mattered. Beating the Patriots B-team sans Brady on the last game of the season, despite being in Foxborough, doesn't count for me. But Whales deserves credit for this team, the dandelion in a field of weeds. And in his defense, he needed somebody above, whether it was Brandon on behalf of Wilson or the Pegulas, to step in and make it clear that the head coach and GM HAVE to work together, under threat of torture, or both of them would be burned at the stake.

 

Pure conjecture but I'll blame Brandon for that; he was the defacto "owner" during Whaley's tenure and could have done more to build that culture from the top down, because that's where it starts. And to reiterate, I have no proof this occurred, but I've seen nothing to indicate Brandon cared about anything other than selling tickets, despite saying all the right things.

 

I would agree with this.

 

Doug Whaley generally had a good eye for talent.  He very rarely bombed his top picks, and actually put together a decent collection of talent during his time here.  But in this league, being a good scout is not enough to be a good General Manager.

 

GMs need to be responsible for constructing a UNIFIED team, where the scouts, coaches, coordinators and players work as a single unit.  It's not just about collecting talent.  Whaley often talked about "just getting good players" and then letting the coaches figure out how to use them.  This is exactly why he failed.  He was never of  the same mind as Doug Marrone or Rex Ryan, and the pieces never fit together.

 

GMs also need to have an understanding for how to structure contracts and how the salary cap works.  He needs to plan how the financial puzzle will work 2, 3, 4, 5 years down the road.  Whaley handed these duties over to Jim Overdorf, and it showed.  Even without a franchise QB, the Bills drifted closer and closer to cap hell every season. 

 

Look at a team like Cleveland, and you see a similar dynamic playing out.  The team has been drafting fairly well, and now has a strong collection of talent.  But the pieces don't fit, the GM/Coach don't seem on the same page, and they are clearly underachieving in the victory column.

 

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On 4/3/2020 at 12:11 PM, JustWinPlease said:

That's giving Whaley an awful lot of credit...I think he made the trade because he thought he had to, in order to get his young QB a WR.

No way do I think he knew enough about the 2015 draft class to make that kind of decision.

 

Totally agree.  GMs and NFL personnel units don't have time to keep track of entire future draft classes, primarily because they have to take care of their immediate business -- which college players are likely to be available in the current draft -- and not worry about kids who may or may not be available -- or even be desirable when they're eligible -- in a future draft.   Scouts may follow individual players and supply leads to personnel departments on promising freshmen and sophomores but GMs aren't going to plan their current draft boards based on who may or may not be in next year's draft. 

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On 4/3/2020 at 1:36 PM, Rigotz said:

 

-He helped hire a dumpster fire head coach.

-He traded a future first round pick for a WR that is significantly worse than many players drafted after him.

-He put us in salary cap hell with massive contracts to guys like Dareus

-He established zero culture 

-He never made the playoffs

 

Maybe he "gets a bad rap" because he was a horrible GM.

The 5 things above are the 5 most important things a GM can do and he failed at all of them.

Yes, but he rocked the 'business suit and sunglasses' look...😁

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On 4/3/2020 at 12:11 PM, JustWinPlease said:

That's giving Whaley an awful lot of credit...I think he made the trade because he thought he had to, in order to get his young QB a WR.

No way do I think he knew enough about the 2015 draft class to make that kind of decision.

But when Beane does it, he’s a genius.  Lots of double standards on this board.

On 4/3/2020 at 12:12 PM, BuffaloBillies said:

I actually liked Darby. I thought he was well above average when we traded him. Too bad he had that ugly injury in Philly.

For real.  He was a starting cb on a SB champion. 

On 4/6/2020 at 9:14 PM, papazoid said:

they traded up in 2014 because pegula told them they'd both be out on their ears together if things didnt improve.

 

they mortgaged the future for their own survival.

 

had they stayed were they were, they could've had Lewan, OBJ, Aaron Donald, Zack Martin.......(sickening)

Lewan isn’t that great (Titans can complain about him all the time, Tom if penalties as seen in the Bills game) and you’re full of crap if you thought OBJ was going to be the player he is.  Sammy was far and away the better college player.  Sammy after 3 years had numbers similar to Julio and he wasn’t exactly playing with Matt Ryan.  But yeah, you shouldn’t trade up in the first round unless it’s a qb (and those can be pretty risky too).

 

good think the new regime doesn’t do this.  Oh wait, they do it all the time!  

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3 hours ago, GreggTX said:

Doug Whaley was a decent GM and he certainly wasn't helped by bad coaching, but he couldn't spot a good QB to save his life. He also passed on Mahomes. He wasn't too bad at spotting defensive talent, though. I could see him being hired as a Pro Personnel Director maybe. He did OK in that job.

You’re crazy if you think he was running that draft.  We took Jones and Proehl because McDermott was friends with Jones’ coach and Proehl’s dad. 

On 4/6/2020 at 8:54 PM, Phil The Thrill said:


that’s what Whaley apologists want to believe 

You mean people who tell the truth and not just make up things to fit their agenda.  Whaley certainly made mistakes.  You shouldn’t trade up for a non-qb in the 1st.  EJ (though he believed in the guy and thought Marrone didn’t develop him right and he didnt).  But he was never given full power to hire coaches yet worked with every coach they hire.  And that 2014 team, next to the 2004 team, might be the most talented team of the last 20 years and probably would have beat our 2 playoffs teams.  
 

he’s not close to as bad as he is made out here. 

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Agree with Biscuit. I articulated poorly: I'm not a Whaley fan, but at the same time he was the best by default. Middle age has made all the memories of the drought blur into one hazy nightmare, but Whaley's drafts felt different because we actually hit on a pick or two each year. Levy-Brandon-Nix (and yes Nix is Whaley) had lowered my hopes to the point I just wanted a first/second round pick to pan out and stick, nevermind become a star.

 

This is why McBeane feels next level, because they seem to consistently hit at the top of the draft and find gems in the middle/late rounds. But there have certainly been mistakes.

 

My blame for not building a culture is a shot at ownership: Wilson/Brandon as hand-of-Wilson/and of course the Pegulas. Pairing a GM and head coach who aren't aligned was decided by the level above Whaley.

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