Due to the big six-year, $96 million contract he signed with the Buffalo Bills during the 2012 offseason, defensive end Mario Williams is now the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.
If Williams can play to that level, he will become the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The Bills defense is poised to take a significant jump in the rankings in 2012, and if that happens, Williams will undoubtedly be recognized as the key figure responsible for that jump.
Williams came up with 14 and 12 sacks in 2007 and 2008. In 2012, Williams will have the benefit of playing next to two very good defensive tackles in Marcell Dareus and All-Pro Kyle Williams.
On the opposite side, Williams will have a strong pass rush coming from either Mark Anderson or Shawne Merriman. This defensive line will be causing all kind of matchup problems for offensive line and blocking schemes. Mario Williams should be in a great position to clean up a very high number of sacks in 2012.
The other thing that is in Williams' favor is that the Bills will allow him to flip from the right defensive end over to the left defensive end, taking advantage of specific matchups. That degree of flexibility will also come in handy and maximizes the impact he should make on the defense.
If the Bills are able to break their streak and reach the playoffs, Mario Williams could be one of the main reasons for that accomplishment. He's a player to watch in 2012. By the way, sleeper picks from this defensive front seven include Kyle Williams and Shawne Merriman. They could have monster years.