After the past Buffalo Bills season, another area showed that it needed improvement. This area is the linebacker position. Yes, Paul Pozlusny missed a couple games. Kawika Mitchell was put on the Injured Reserve. So did Keith Ellison, who was having another productive season, almost matching his numbers from last season in about half the games.
But it seems that the Buffalo Bills will be switching to a 3-4 defensive scheme next year, and many players are calling for it, and for our first round pick of last year, Aaron Maybin to be on the field, this change may be inevitable.
If the Bills do switch to a 3-4, another ILB besides Paul Posluzny is needed. With the No. 9 overall pick in this year's draft, there is an absolute stud available. His name is Rolando McClain. In free agency, there are also multiple inside linebackers that can help out the Bills and solidify a defense that has more holes than Swiss cheese.
With the No.9 overall pick in this years draft, there is a dominating linebacker who is regarded as the Peyton Manning of the defensive side of the ball in Rolando McClain from Alabama. He is unbelievable against the run, something that was of concern for the Bills linebackers this season, and has great speed and rarely misses a tackle.
If Buffalo decided to trade down within the first round and gain maybe a first and a third for their No. 9 pick, Sergio Kindle could be available late in the first round. Sergio Kindle is a versatile outside linebacker, who has the strength to compete with tackles at the defensive end position as well. Watch a Texas game, and you will see him on the ball holder every down. He can rush the quarterback and he has the speed to keep up with tight ends and running backs.
Brandon Spikes may drop to the second round of the draft, and at the No. 41 overall pick, Buffalo could very well draft him at that spot.
Spikes was a dominating ILB at Florida, and was a vocal leader on the defensive side of the ball. He has the size, strength, and speed you look for in linebackers at the NFL level, and could be a steal in the second round.
This years free agency class of linebackers is unbelievable and the Bills could make an impact here.
DeMeco Ryans has been a key of the Texans defense, but the Texans have a ton of free agents this season, and they might not have the funds to retain him. Ryans wants a long-term contract, but with Brian Cushing and Mario Williams eating a huge chuck of cap space, along with CB Dunta Robinson and WR Andre Johnson desperate for new contracts or victories, Ryans could be wearing red, white, and blue...but in Buffalo.
Barret Ruud also becomes a free agent this offseason, and is a priority for the Buccaneers. The fact that he hasn't been re-signed yet after a number of meetings gives a sign that he may test the market. Ruud is a play-maker and could make a big impact joining Buffalo's defense.
It’s a little surprising they couldn’t get it done midseason. Ruud is one of the league’s best pure tacklers and has great instincts. Ruud’s new deal should be in the area of what Bart Scott received the past offseason (6 years, $48 million) from the Jets. He’s the leader of the defense now and will consistently be among league leaders in tackles for the next several years, as he was again this year. There hasn’t been much said about Ruud and a long-term extension over the last few weeks, unless it’s happening totally behind closed doors.
Ryans has been a stalwart for the Texans, displaying consistency from game-to-game and year-to-year. With rookie sensation Brian Cushing next to him, the Texans have a number of good pieces in the front seven. Ryans would like a long-term contract with the Texans, and Houston will almost definitely re-sign Ryans to keep intact the foundation of Ryans-Cushing-Williams front seven. Though he’d like a long-term extension in Houston rewarding him for his consistency, he would be willing to play elsewhere if another team wows him with a better deal.
With Buffalo's OLB Keith Ellison entering free agency this year, it is unclear whether they will resign him after he was placed on the IR after eight games this year.
If they don't retain him, the Bills could make a splash by signing Karlos Dansby of the Cardinals, Shawne Merriman of the Chargers, or Thomas Davis of the Panthers.
Each of these guys have proven themselves as dominant play-makers in the NFL, and could be a huge force for the Bills.
Imagine a linebacking group with players like Karlos Dansby, Rolando McClain, Kawika Mitchell, Brandon Spikes, Poslusny, and DeMeco Ryans!
How do you think the Bills should address the holes at the linebacking position?
Keep in mind that all this depends on whether the team switches to a 3-4 or not. Either way, acquiring any of these guys would be huge