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Dareus and Kerrigan latest to visit

Posted Mar 30, 2011

Their scheduled visits were widely reported, but two of the more notable defensive linemen in this year’s draft class were at One Bills Drive Wednesday morning.

Bills GM Buddy Nix indicated earlier in the week that the schedule of pre-draft visits for the club was going to be a full one.

“We’re bringing  in 25 (prospects), we can bring in up to 30,” said Nix. “There might be more.”

Nix confirmed on Monday night at a State of the Bills event for premium season ticket holders that Dareus would be visiting this week.

Dareus is considered one of the best defensive linemen in what has been touted as a very deep class. He figures to be of particular interest to the Bills and other clubs that employ a 3-4 defense because he played defensive end in that scheme for Nick Saban at Alabama.

“I think that playing with Coach Saban and the defense we played in was a pro style defense,” said Dareus. “I’m ready for the league. We did all the things that NFL teams would do. There were a lot of things that came with it, a lot of stunts, and a lot of things we had to learn, a lot of coverages and calls and I’m ready for all of that.”

At 6’3” and change and 319 pounds, Dareus could easily kick inside and play a defensive tackle position in a 4-3 or perhaps even nose tackle in a 3-4. His uncommon versatility is due to his athleticism. Dareus ran a 4.93 40 time at the combine and a 27-inch vertical leap. He broad jumped almost nine feet at his pro day and put up 24 reps on the bench.

Dareus is also reportedly scheduled to meet with Carolina, Denver, Cleveland, San Francisco, Tennessee and Washington. He's expected to be off the board in the first five picks.

Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan is also spending time at One Bills Drive Wednesday. The Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year is coming off a year in which he led the nation in tackles for loss with 26, was second in forced fumbles (5) and finished third in the FBS (Division I-A) in sacks with 12.5.

The biggest question might be where the Bills see Kerrigan lining up. He played defensive end in a 4-3 at Purdue, but 3-4 teams might see him as an outside linebacker. Kerrigan certainly showed he has the athleticism to handle the transition to linebacker posting a 4.67 40 time at the combine along with a broad jump over 10 feet and a vertical leap of 33 ½ inches. He also put an impressive 31 reps up on the bench.

“In my training for the combine I've been working on a lot of drops from a 3-4 linebacker standpoint and I feel I've made a lot of strides with that. Whatever a team wants, I'm willing to play, whether it's a 3-4 linebacker or a 4-3 defensive end.”

Kerrigan was also a participant at the Senior Bowl on the North Team. The Purdue pass rusher has also met with Jacksonville with other visits scheduled with Baltimore and the New York Jets. He's considered by most draft analysts to be a sure fire first-round pick.