After selecting nose tackle Torell Troup in the second round to help anchor defensive coordinator George Edwards' new 3-4 defensive scheme, the Buffalo Bills' third round selection indicated a move in a similar direction. That move, according to Bills brass, wasabout getting big and doing so quickly.
As offensive tackles -- an important positional need by most accountsfor Buffalo -- methodically fell off the board, the Bills turned their attention once again to the defensive side of the ball.
With the 72nd pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, the Bills in the third round selected Alex Carrington, aprototype 3-4defensive end out of Arkansas State on Friday night.
The 6-5, 280-pound end was projected by some scouting services as the sixth-best player at his position available in this year's draft (60th overall) and was projected to come off the board in round two. That, of course, didn't happen, but no matter his position in the draft, Carrington is excited to prove what he can do in the professional ranks.
"I'm ready to get there and get to work," Carrington said following his selection. "I feel so many different things right now. It's amazing. I'm blessed, I'm truly blessed."
Carrington, who became the third player ever selected from his alma mater, left Arkansas State as one of the best defensive ends ever to play in the conference. He earned three All-Sun Belt selections, notching first-team honors in his last two seasons on the Red Wolves' defensive line.
In his career, Carrington recorded 21.5 career sacks, good for fourth in conference history. While his impact was felt almost immediately, his senior campaign displayed a sparkling example of his worth at his position.
With a team-high 14.5 sacks in 2009, Carrington's production accounted for the eighth-best single season total in conference history and third-best in the league that year.
Carrington played in a 4-3 defensive scheme for the Red Wolves, but he feels he will fit into the new 3-4 just fine. And given his size, it looks as though his assessment might be correct.
"I'm pretty confident about coming in and learning the system," said Carrington. "I adapt to things very well, so I shouldn't have any problems coming in and learning the system. And I'm ready to get to work.
"Yeah, I think I'm consistently 285 (pounds). I've got a big enough frame to hold however much weight I need to and play comfortably."
At February's NFL Combine, the defensive end put up some fairly impressive numbers, timing in at 4.92 seconds in the 40-yard dash with a 2.73 split time at 20 yards.
Numbers aside it was his performance at this year's Senior Bowl that stood out for the Bills' newest addition. Coming from a less-visible conference, as compared to much of his competition, it gave him the opportunity to prove his value on a level playing field.
"I think the Senior Bowl helped me tremendously," Carrington said. "I went in there and did very well against much higher competition than what I had been facing at Arkansas State. And I think I opened a lot of peoples' eyes."
When asked if he felt underestimated for playing in the Sun Belt, he responded: "I would say so. I would definitely say so, just not even knowing who I am. But now they do."
Selecting another defensive lineman was not expected, but GM Buddy Nix and Vice President for College Scouting Tom Modrak allowed in a post-selection press conference that there a good reason behind Friday night's draft picks.
"We felt fortunate that we got some guys that fit our defense and hopefully we won't get knocked back four or five yards every time they run the ball," Nix said. "Maybe we can stop the run and work on getting a little pressure on the passer."
Modrak knows any line position in a 3-4 is physically demanding. Standing in there for an entire game just doesn't happen anymore. The Bills see a prospect ready to contribute right away while learning the ropes from some veterans in Marcus Stroud, Dwan Edwards and Spencer Johnson.
"I mean everybody is 330 pounds and they're leaning on you for 60 plays," said Modrak of opposing offensive linemen. "You just can't do that no matter who you are. We think Alex has a chance to come in here and develop. Play behind two good players, play now and continue to get better."