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Bills Gab Grades the Teams Picks in the 2011 Draft

By Abe Munch

1st- Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
2nd- Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
3rd- Kelvin Sheppard, LB, LSU
4th- Da’Norris Searcy, S, North Carolina
4th- Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson
5th- Johnny White, RB, North Carolina
6th- Chris White, LB, Mississippi State
7th- Justin Rogers, CB, Richmond
7th- Michael Jasper, DT, Bethel-Tennessee

Synopsis: The Bills came into the draft hoping to improve on their 32nd ranked run defense and add playmakers who could stop the run and rush the passer. Quarterback was also a need but wasn’t addressed in any round by general manager Buddy Nix, leaving Buffalo with only Ryan Fitzpatrick and Levi Brown under contract. Both are 7th round picks.

Best Selection: Marcell Dareus. Buffalo needed size and athleticism up front and Dareus gives them both. He’s able to play the nose tackle or end position in their 3-4 alignment and is a surprisingly effective pass rusher for his size. He should be a cornerstone player for the Buffalo Bills.

Biggest Risk: Passing on a quarterback. The Bills lack depth and stability at the position and Ryan Fitzpatrick still hasn’t proven he can carry an offense or play the position with consistency. With Levi Brown the only other option on the roster (cut during training camp and brought back later) the Bills may need to add a veteran free agent to either challenge or back up Fitzpatrick.

Sleeper:
Johnny White. White wasn’t able to stay healthy this past year and only received significant playing time during the 2010 season. Still, he’s an extremely talented runner. I was very impressed with White in games I scouted, he has great vision, stop and start agility, and runs fluid with excellent balance. Had he stayed healthy he would’ve been drafted earlier. White will make a great change-of-pace running back if he stays healthy.

Grade: C-
After their first two picks the Bills seemed to draft players that likely would’ve been available a round later, or even two rounds later than they selected them. Overall it’s a solid group of potential, but many of these prospects will need time to develop and likely won’t contribute much next season.

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