If there's one player particularly excited about the Buffalo Bills' new 3-4 defensive scheme, it would have to be nose tackle Lonnie Harvey. With bulk and power being the main prerequisite for the defensive line in the coming season, Harvey appears to fit the bill.
The 6-3, 342-pounder out of Morgan State has all that and then some – topped off with some speed and agility not typical of a man his size. How far those assets will take him remain to be seen.
After the Bills drafted fellow nose tackle Torell Troup out of Central Florida in the second round of this year's draft, Buffalo had acquired yet another viable option in that role. Knowing veteran Kyle Williams will most likely fill the starter's role, where Harvey fits is tough to figure.
What is clear is Buffalo's coaching staff looks ready to give him a long look. So Harvey will be carrying all the weight his bulky frame can hold, literally and figuratively, in preparation for the competition that lies ahead in training camp.
"Everybody's great. Everybody's working hard," Harvey said after a rookie minicamp practice Friday afternoon. "Troup looks really good. We expect great things out of him this year. We're expecting great things out of all of us this year.
"There's no slack on anyone's part. If one guy starts to slip a little bit, he's going to see the next guy do well and try to be better. The competition's pushing everybody to another level."
Words of wisdom from the man short on professional experience, but stout in his competitive nature.
Harvey came to the Bills roughly midway through last season after being released by the Carolina Panthers. After Buffalo signed him to their practice squad, Harvey recognized the opportunity lain before him. And when news of the new 3-4 defensive scheme surfaced, Harvey was ecstatic.
"I felt like it was a great opportunity to get here after getting released in Carolina," he said. "In college I was used to playing the two-gap system. I feel like it's just another opportunity. It's a blessing in disguise. I walk into a scheme now that fits my body type.
"I'm able to take full advantage of my size, my strength and my leverage to win on blocks and create gaps for the linebackers to fill. It's just built around what I can do, what I specialize in. It's definitely a good thing."
Yet another positive Harvey has taken from the Bills this offseason has been the hiring of John Gamble and Eric Ciano as co-strength and conditioning coaches. Harvey feels they've helped to improve his endurance.
"I feel great. I still feel like I can go," he said after practice last weekend. "Thanks to the offseason conditioning program, I feel good."
Harvey admits he's not a cocky man, and his persona definitely backs his personal assessment. But he does know what he can accomplish on a football field.
"It's kind of scary when you've got a 350-pound lineman running you down," he said. "I feel like that's one of my biggest attributes. A lot of people don't think I can run because I'm so big.
"I also take pride in being one of the most powerful people on the field at any given time. That's not a cocky statement. I just have great confidence in my ability."