Upon completion of the NFL draft, Buffalo's work continued as general manager Doug Whaley and his staff finalized the roster in anticipation of rookie minicamp. While the defensive line will likely be a team strength again in 2015, Buffalo added three proven collegiate pass rushers to undrafted free agent contracts. With no defensive ends selected in the draft, each newly signed rookie has a great opportunity to prove themselves throughout the rest of rookie minicamp.
Texas defensive end Cedric Reed (56) was not projected to go undrafted. After a 10-sack junior season and first team All-Big 12 honors, Reed returned for his senior year. A demonstration of toughness, Reed started every game for the Longhorns in 2014, albeit with torn meniscus that required surgery at season's end. His production decreased from his junior season and the recovery from surgery held Reed out for the majority of the physical pre-draft process, devaluing his stock. Finally healthy, the 6-5, 272-pound Reed chose to sign with Buffalo in large part because the team did not select a defensive lineman in the draft.
"Thats definitely one of the reasons why I came here," said Reed. "Also you know they didn't have many total draft picks so you have a chance to come here at rookie minicamp and kind of blossom over guys that were both selected and invited."
Utah State defensive end B.J. Larsen (69) was a former walk-on before he became a staple on the Aggies' defense. After 27 sacks in his career, the 6-5, 275-pound Larsen comes to the Bills with the same drive and competitive level that he had coming out of high school. The former first team All-Mountain West honoree hopes that his mental approach impresses his new coaches.
"You need to come in and just be able to absorb everything they teach you," said Larsen. "Decrease the learning curve as quick as possible. Just to show them that you can handle everything both mentally and physically. Absorb the new defense in the classroom and apply it on the field."
With a small roster throughout rookie minicamp, Larsen and his new teammates have received maximum practice reps and coaching attention. Because all of this will dramatically decrease once veterans arrive for OTA's, it is critical for everyone in attendance to take advantage of every bit of guidance. Larsen has been specifically motivated by the genuine passion of defensive line coach Karl Dunbar as well as head coach Rex Ryan.
"Coach Dunbar is a great coach," said Larsen. "I can tell that the experience he's had pays off. He's able to coach in a way that is easy to absorb and apply. What I've seen is he's able to teach you so you can apply it and perform well once you get on the field. Coach Rex Ryan, you always see him on TV. He lives up to everything I've seen and heard about. He's a great coach and a great leader and I've really enjoyed all of my interactions with him so far."
Andrew Hudson (54) is another intriguing pass rusher seeking to develop throughout the rest of minicamp. While he played defensive end at Washington, Hudson is making the transition to outside linebacker due to his size at 6-3 and 245-pounds. In what was a highly impressive senior season, Hudson ranked sixth in the nation with 12.5 sacks. The Redlands, California native is focused on proving to the coaching staff that he can quickly master the defensive playbook while transitioning to a new position.
"I'm just going to keep working," said Hudson. "Respect this program, respect this opportunity, and take it all in. I'm here for a reason. I know I can play this game."