Analyzing Buffalo's New Defense, Part Two: The Draft

Greg HaefnerSenior Analyst IApril 3, 2010

Prior to Buffalo's switch to a 3-4 defense, the Bills' biggest need on defense going into the draft was simple: Replace Keith Ellison at outside linebacker.

Drafting a rotational defensive tackle and acquiring depth at linebacker were also needs, but upgrading Ellison reigned supreme.

After the switch, with Ellison no longer even a remote possibility to enter the starting lineup, the focus on the defensive side of the ball turns to the nose tackle position, where currently Kyle Williams is the starter.

Now, do not misinterpret this article. Williams is a terrific football player, there is no denying that. But at 6'1", 306 lbs, he certainly does not fit into the prototypical nose tackle category.

With that in mind, nose tackle has become a position likely to be addressed by Buffalo in the first three rounds of the draft, with some mock drafts even suggesting that the Bills could spend their ninth overall pick on Tennesee's Dan Williams (pictured above), the consensus top nose tackle in this year's class.

While I have my doubts about Buffalo addressing their nose tackle needs in Round 1, I do believe that the second round could be the landing spot for the Bills' newest defender if players like Alabama's Terrence Cody or North Carolina's Cam Thomas are available. Cody's resume speaks for itself, while Thomas' excellent Senior Bowl performance has him rocketing up draft boards across the league.

While it remains likely that Buffalo spends its first-round pick on either an offensive tackle or a quarterback, a defensive player was never even in the picture prior to the new staff's switch to the 3-4 scheme.

Of course, the needs on the offensive side of the ball are also well-documented and will not be affected by the switch, but the new need for a nose tackle has shaken up the Bills' plans considerably for next month's event.