2012 NFL Draft: Outside Linebacker Prospects for the Buffalo Bills

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2012 NFL Draft: Outside Linebacker Prospects for the Buffalo Bills
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Veteran linebacker Kirk Morrison will have an opportunity to shine in 2012

I recently posted my first complete seven-round mock draft for the Buffalo Bills for the 2012 NFL draft. One of the areas that garnered the most interest was the strong-side OLB position.

After working the past two seasons to become a 3-4 team, the Bills are now switching back to a 4-3 base. However, they’ll still be using hybrid fronts. This means they’ll continue to look for depth and versatility at all linebacker positions.

The Bills recently re-signed OLB Kirk Morrison. Considering defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt’s comments, it sounds like he’ll enter 2012 as a candidate to start on the strong side.

In my mock draft, I have Buffalo selecting Nebraska’s Lavonte David in Round 2, who fits best as a weak-side linebacker.

A lot of folks aren’t as high on David, claiming that he’s a bit too small and lacks ideal size. Don’t forget, though, he’s only an inch shorter and less than 10 pounds lighter than North Carolina’s heralded prospect Zach Brown, currently projected to go late first or early second round by most analysts.

I do have Buffalo taking a more natural strong-side linebacker in Darius Fleming from Notre Dame. Fleming is a late-round prospect who is sound, though he won’t be an immediate impact on defense.

Certainly, there are many other prospects to consider. So I thought it would be useful to compile a list of other potential OLBs who could fit in on the strong side for the Bills.

Here are some names to monitor as we inch closer to April.

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