With Eric Wood, the Bills Finally Got It Right
I have to admit, I've never been more excited to watch a rookie offensive lineman in my life.
Eric Wood, selected 28th overall, wasn't the glamour pick Bills fans wanted to see at this year's draft, but it's exactly what Buffalo desperately needed—a nasty offensive lineman that punishes his opponents and has been termed by analysts as a "finisher."
In the AFC East, Richard Seymour and Kris Jenkins have wreaked havoc on the Bills, but the addition of Wood will neutralize those two from eating Trent Edwards for lunch and gobbling Marshawn Lynch behind the line of scrimmage.
When the Bills hosted the Jets last season, Jenkins was a menace, disrupting plays before they began. The entire afternoon, he was playing on the other side of the ball, sacking Edwards twice and throwing Buffalo's interior linemen around like rag dolls. Big No. 77 was unleashed, partly because he's a fantastic talent.
But, the Bills lacked the strength and tenacity up-front to, at the very least, get a finger on the guy.
It showed in the offseason, after the front office realized they needed to shore up the front line, cutting veterans Duke Preston and Derrick Dockery.
The addition of Wood adds instant help to a team that hasn't drafted an offensive lineman in the first round since the team's No. 4-overall selection of Texas product Mike Williams.
An extreme disappointment, Williams was incredibly soft. Same could be said about Dockery, a bust after signing a behemoth free-agent deal (seven years, $49 million).
Instead, the Bills smartened up and added Wood, a mauler and the total antithesis of Dockery.
It's important to see that Russ Brandon and Co. figured out the biggest offensive line doesn't guarantee success.
Not to be underestimated, the Louisville product is a film-room-aholic. His studious mind-set will immediately pay dividends as a rookie. Already immersed in a pro-style offense at Louisville, Wood will be able to grasp offensive coordinator Turk Schonert's terminology in no time.
Wood can play guard or center, giving the Bills flexibility as they try and piece together a unit in flux. The Bills and Coach Dick Jauron preach versatility, being able to play multiple positions.
It's likely that Wood will begin his career at guard for Buffalo.
The bottom line is that Wood is a blue-collar, blue-chip prospect. Buffalo fans will watch a man who loves to take it to his opponent. In many ways, he reflects the city and its people.
Finally, an offensive lineman who wants to take to his opponent and won't shy away from stating it. Wood might be a rookie, but he's already impressive.
If you were to ask me who will wear those goofy "C's" on the left shoulder of a Bills uniform in a couple years, I'd put my money on Wood.
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