The Bills have made no secret that they have to bolster their pass rush. Finishing 27th in the league in sacks in back-to-back seasons make it plain. Unfortunately what’s also plain to the eyes of NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock is the fact that this year’s defensive end class lacks depth.
“I’m not big on the defensive ends in this class,” Mayock said. “There aren’t a whole lot of real strong defensive ends and outside linebackers in this draft.”
Bills head coach Chan Gailey knows the dilemma when your top need doesn’t match up with the top position groups in the draft pool, but insists they won’t stray from their board.
“That’s the biggest problem you have is trying to elevate somebody because of need,” said Gailey. “I think anytime you try to do that you put yourself in a position to be in trouble down the line. It may not be an issue right there, but down the line it creates a problem for yourself because you passed up a player that you may have had rated not at the position of need, but that’s a really good football player that’ll help your team on down the line.”
With Buffalo picking 10th overall, there’s a good chance there will still be quality pass rushing talent on the board, but the Bills are not going to force themselves to fill a need if the value is not appropriate. The reason the value may not fit at 10 is because as many as four teams in front of them in the draft order that could address their pass rush before the Bills are on the clock.
Division rival Miami is just one example. Picking two spots ahead of Buffalo and switching to a 4-3 defense as well, Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland confirmed they’re in the market for another pass rusher despite having Cameron Wake on their roster.
“Never have enough of them,” said Ireland. “I’d like to have three or four more of them if you can find them. Pressure players on defense are the hardest guys to find. It’s a core position for this team. We’ve got to try to find some more.”
Jacksonville, which picks seventh, and Carolina picking ninth also have pass rush needs.
Gailey wants a defensive end that can get to the quarterback first and foremost and has enough size to set the edge in the run front. Buffalo’s head coach has sat in on preliminary meetings with the college personnel staff and believes there should be enough quality in the draft pool to help what many outside observers feel is Buffalo’s most pressing need.
“We met a little bit prior to coming to Indianapolis,” said Gailey. “Just hearing what they had to say about personality, work habits, things like that so we can get a good idea of what we’re looking at when we come to Indianapolis. But there’s some good quality there. Whether or not it’s there when it’s our turn to pick or if there’s somebody better there we’ll have to decide when we get to the pick.”