1 (3) - DL Marcell Dareus, Alabama
Presuming Auburn QB Cam Newton would be off the board to Carolina, the Bills were set to pick whichever impact front-seven defender Denver passed on; Dareus or Texas A&M pass-rushing specialist Von Miller. With Miller selected at #2 overall, Dareus was the logical, prudent choice and consistent with the philosophy touted by GM Buddy Nix that the Bills would select the best players available on their board at positions of need. Dareus was a consensus top 3 prospect and NFLN's Mike Mayock's and ESPN's Todd McShay's top player overall. Dareus is big, powerful, and surprisingly athletic; an ideal fit as a zero- or five-technique in the 3-4 scheme and also capable of playing on the guard or center in the 4-3. He immediately legitimates the Bills' defensive line next to Kyle Williams and allows last year's draft picks Torrell Troup and Alex Carrington further time to develop. Any concerns about Dareus' weight are off-set by his superior character and work ethic.
2 (34) - CB Aaron Williams, TexasIt seems the Bills can't help but select a defensive back (or two or three) in every draft year. Whether that be due to the nature of the position or a crippling obsession with Tom Brady, is for another debate. At 6'0" 205, Williams is a big, physical, aggressive CB also capable of playing free safety. His most useful attribute is the ability to play on both the outside wideout as well as on the slot receiver. As a rookie, depending on McGee's health and McKelvin's general incompetence, Williams could see time as either a starting CB or as an impact #3 in the Bills' nickel package. In effect, with their top two draft picks, the Bills selected two players who can start at five different positions. Williams' primary weakness is straight-line speed as he may not be able to keep up with faster wideouts 30 yards downfield. No matter, his versatility and strength are key, and with the Bills possibly losing Donte Whitner, Drayton Florence, and Ashton Youboty in free agency, the secondary had become a major need mostly overlooked by fans.
3 (68) - ILB Kelvin Sheppard, LSU
The Bills' defensive coaches had the pleasure of working with Sheppard at the Senior Bowl, which was followed-up by a glowing visit to One Bills Drive. From that point forward, many fans had this marriage pegged. Sheppard is a big, strong, and cerebral inside LB who made all the defensive play calls at LSU. He was considered their emotional leader. Sheppard, who has been compared to former Bill London Fletcher, is a good insurance policy for pending free agent Paul Posluszny. If Posluszny re-signs in Buffalo, which he has indicated he will, Sheppard should have little trouble beating out deteriorating Andra Davis for the other starting inside spot. In pre-draft reviews, many analysts were concerned with Sheppard's speed from sideline to sideline. However, Bills' coaches stated that Sheppard, at 250 lbs, performed better in this regard at the Senior Bowl than he had on previous game tape. Considering value and need, this was the Bills' best pick of the draft.
4 (100) - S Da'Norris Searcy, North Carolina
The Bills kept with the theme of defensive versatility with the selection of Searcy, who is capable of playing either strong or free safety. At 5'11" 225, Searcy is a big safety with fluid hips who appears to play faster than his clocked dash times (4.5s). Oddly, pre-draft reviews on Searcy were mixed; some labeling him as tough and physical against the run and others documenting an apparent reluctance to engage with ballcarriers. Most significantly, Bills coaches and scouts have complimented his willingness to get in the box against the run, and his potential to contribute as an emergency kick returner. Of all North Carolina players involved in last year's academic scandal, Searcy's role has been downplayed, suggesting that administration and bureaucracy, rather than anything substantive actually led to his brief suspension.
Good stuff, right? Join us tomorrow for Part TWO of The Wire's 2011 NFL draft day fallout, in which he breaks down Buffalo's late round picks, including a brand-new DGWU favorite (please refer to earlier Sexual Chocolate joke). What's the best part about having The Wire on board? His college football knowledge you say? Naw. Excuses to play videos like the one below.