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Bills players dish on these seven NFL Draft prospects

Posted Apr 19, 2018

In exactly one week from today, the 2018 NFL Draft will officially be underway. With the prospects preparing for one of the biggest days of their lives, we spoke with some current Bills players about their former college teammates.

1. LSU WR D.J. Chark
A teammate of Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White for two seasons (2015-2016) at LSU, it’s the consensus that Chark’s the fastest wide receiver prospect in this year’s draft. At the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine, he had the top 40-yard dash among all WRs with a time of 4.34.

“Speed, speed, and more speed,” White said about his former teammate. “I’m going to let you know right now, he’s the most underrated prospect in the draft right now.”

Chark could be a late first-round pick, but it’s more likely that he’ll be a second-round selection. He really improved his stock through the pre-draft process and added career-highs in catches (40) and receiving yards (874) in his final season at LSU.

“You know, playing in the system he played in, not having a consistent quarterback back there, and having Leonard Fournette, Derrius Guice, guys like that in the backfield who’re going to get the ball more times than not,” said White. “He did a great job with the opportunities he got and burst onto the scene.”

2. LSU CB Donte Jackson
Just like Chark, Jackson spent two seasons in Baton Rouge with Buffalo’s first-round pick from a year ago. White is well aware why Jackson is viewed as one of the top CBs in a deep corner class, considering they patrolled LSU’s secondary together for over 20 games.

“If you like a guy with speed, confidence, and swagger on the field, he’s the guy,” said White. “I feel like the guy knows football. He has a great knowledge for the game.”

The NFL is littered with elite defensive backs from LSU. That’s why they’re referred to as ‘DBU.’ White mentioned that Jackson is capable of being the next great DB to come out of Death Valley.

“Most definitely. It’s a year-to-year thing, man,” he said. “Our defensive backs coach, Corey Raymond, does a great job of recruiting and eyeing the guys. He does a great job of evolving them and turning them into the great defensive backs they can be.”

Jackson is expected to be a first-round pick.

3. Boston College LB Harold Landry
In three seasons together at BC, Landry and Bills linebacker Matt Milano were a solid duo for the Eagles defense. Landry really burst onto the scene after a sensational season in 2016, posting 50 tackles, 22 tackles for a loss, 16.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles, four passes defended, and one interception.

“I just remember him always being around the facility, before and after practice. After practice he was doing drills for a couple of hours and then he’s getting treatment,” said Milano. “My biggest memory of him was just always being there and working. I think it showed that season.”

4. Clemson LB Dorian O’Daniel
A teammate of Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson for two seasons (2014-2015) at Clemson, O’Daniel and the Tigers claimed the College Football Playoff National Championship in 2016.

Even though they only spent two years together, Lawson still noticed NFL-talent in O’Daniel’s game.

“Man, I noticed when he played against Georgia Tech. It was his first week playing and he had like eight tackles and three sacks,” said Lawson. “He was very athletic. He could cover anybody. He was fast.

“I paid a lot of attention to him this year. He blew up, man. He’s been doing good and I’ve been watching him progress.”

O’Daniel is forecast as a day three pick.

5. Pitt OT Brian O’Neill

In O’Neill’s three seasons (2015-2017) at Pitt, he spent two of them with Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman. As an offensive lineman, O’Neill spent a lot of time blocking for Peterman, but that wasn’t the case from the get-go.

“Well first of all, unbelievably athletic,” Peterman said about O’Neill. “I mean, when I first got there I was throwing passes to him as a tight end. So, he can move really well.

“Then, that summer is when we made the switch. He gained like 25 to 30 pounds that summer. I think that obviously showed his work ethic. It’s not easy to do that. Then to remain that athletic and lean is impressive.”

O’Neill, who participated at the Senior Bowl, is expected to come off the board on day two.

6. UCLA QB Josh Rosen
Bills offensive lineman, Conor McDermott, blocked for Rosen for two seasons (2015-2016) at UCLA. In 2015, Rosen’s freshman year, he was sacked the second-fewest times (14) in program history.

“I had him when he was fresh out of high school, so he was real young, but he came in with maturity and worked hard,” said McDermott. “He came in as a leader from the start. He’s just grown with that maturity and leadership during his three years at UCLA.”

Although Rosen is regarded as the purest passer in this year’s draft, some experts have questioned his qualities as a teammate. McDermott was quick to dispel the negative words about his former quarterback.

“I know those negative words aren’t true, because during my two years with him he was very passionate and had a strong love for the game,” he said. “He was just a very smart player. Everybody in the locker room loves him. He’s a great team player.”

Rosen is projected as a high first-round pick.

7. Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch
A teammate for three seasons at Boise State with Bills linebacker Tanner Vallejo, Vander Esch really rose to fame in his final season (2017) with the Broncos. To close his collegiate career, he set highs in tackles, tackles for a loss, sacks, interceptions, passes defended, and forced fumbles.

“I think what you can expect from this level is what he did last year,” said Vallejo. “He’s always been behind someone. There were a bunch of older dudes there in my class. So, we kind of took him under our wing and taught him the defense.”
In 14 games last season, Vander Esch recorded 141 tackles, over eight tackles for a loss, five passes defended, four forced fumbles, four sacks, and two interceptions. All six of those stats were the best marks of his three-year career.

“Now, what you saw last year, that’s just who he is and he built into his frame,” said Vallejo. “I think just his blue-collar mentality, the way he works and where he comes from, he’s got a good background and family. I think he’ll take off just like he did last year.”

A late riser, Vander Esch is projected as a late first-round pick.