The Buffalo Bills took a significant step in upgrading their rush in the offseason when they signed pass-rushing sensation Mario Williams in free agency, which makes it likely they won’t spend another pick on a defensive lineman in the 2012 draft.
The Bills lost left tackle Demetress Bell to the Philadelphia Eagles, meaning offensive line is a priority, but I think Riley Reiff may be a bit of a stretch at this point in the draft.
The Bills have made it well-known that they love Alabama safety Mark Barron, and if someone doesn’t trade up before this spot to take him, the Bills have to consider him. But I think the Bills are bluffing on how much they like Barron, and since I have him going to Miami at No. 8, Buffalo will take Luke Kuechly here, the top linebacker for this year’s draft class.
Kuechly is an absolute tackling machine; he set the NCAA record for career tackles by a defensive player, and he did so in just three seasons. Kuechly finished with 191 tackles in just 12 games as a junior, topping out at 23 in one game.
He is said to be the safest player in the draft, and his performance at the NFL scouting combine speaks volumes about his overall athletic ability.
Kuechly ran a 4.58 40-yard dash, he benched 225 pounds 27 times and he posted an amazing 38-inch vertical leap. He is said to be an extremely intelligent football man, and his high IQ should make him an instant leader in the Bills defense.
He is athletic enough that he should be able to replace Hawthorne, and his awards at the college level back up his talent—he was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, he was an All-American and he won both the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Butkus award in 2011.
Kuechly is at his best against the run, but he’s also very adept against the pass; he is a former safety from his high school playing days. Kuechly is the kind of guy a team can build their defense around, and Bills need to take him.
Previous Pick: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa