Buffalo Bills: Make Defense Dominant Now, Bolster Quarterback Later

Aaron McKinneyCorrespondent IIIMarch 14, 2013

PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei #92 of the Utah Utes battles offensive lineman Torian White #77 of the UCLA Bruins as he rushes quarterback Brett Hundley #17 at the Rose Bowl on October 13, 2012 in Pasadena, California. UCLA won 21-14.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

We all know this draft is not exactly as quarterback-rich as 2012. Maybe it's time to sacrifice an entire year and completely rebuild, because the Buffalo Bills have become a tire fire.

First, don't draft Geno Smith or any other quarterback with the eighth pick. Who knows? Maybe Smith is the next RGIII. Maybe Mike Glennon will be as good as Ben Roethlisberger. Right now, they all have major red flags and should not be trusted.

Chances are Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher will both be gone. Besides, the offensive line isn't terrible, and I believe Doug Marrone decided Andy Levitre's raise wasn't worth it. I'm sure Marrone can retool the line, especially being a former lineman himself.

There will be a highly touted defensive back or two available, but I'm willing to roll with what currently remains. Jairus Byrd is a stud. Stephon Gilmore will have a year of experience. Leodis McKelvin has a second chance, as does Aaron Williams. And lets see what Da'Norris Searcy has to offer. 

A guy like Cordarrelle Patterson will probably be available, but you can get about the same level of wide receiver in this draft on Day 2. Same with tight end. 

That leaves one name for me: Star Lotulelei. His heart condition has dropped him from possible No. 1 to possible second round. My feeling is that, if the Bills want to switch to a 3-4—and all indications are that they are—go get the nose tackle who's necessary to make the scheme work properly. 

Hear me out. The defense isn't that far off. If they go with Lotulelei and make one shift, they have what could be a knockout defense.

They already have the rush linebackers. Mario Williams, although seen as a 4-3 defensive end, was still a Pro Bowl player as a 3-4 linebacker. He has now been reunited with his college teammate Manny Lawson. Lawson has been mostly bust so far, but the fact remains that he still possesses freakish physical attributes. Maybe Mike Pettine can coax it out of him. 

Inside linebacker will be the touchy spot. Kelvin Shephard is still on the roster and should get a second chance at the position. This is a new staff, and maybe he'll work in the 3-4. To fill the other spot I would try to move Mark Anderson inside. He has the right build, and with Lawson on board his talents could be utilized elsewhere if he's capable of the change.

The line should be the strong point. The trio of Kyle Williams, Marcel Dareus and Alex Carrington can form a rotation of "three-technique" ends. Williams could also spell Lotulelei if necessary. 

The front seven could easily switch between 3-4 and 4-3 by allowing Lotulelei to sit on passing downs. It would put more pressure on Shephard, but this is his "make-or-break" year with the Bills. Besides, Pettine says he want to run a hybrid defense. Adding Lotulelei alone would allow it to happen seamlessly. He's not the sexiest first-round pick, and the heart condition is a red flag, but a defense could ease the pain of whichever quarterback plays under center next year.