2011 Buffalo Bills Season Preview: Marcell Dareus Will Make Instant Impact
The Buffalo Bills selected Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus with the third overall pick, filling a major void on last year's worst ranked run defense in the National Football League. Allowing an average of roughly 170 yards per game on the ground, Dareus was an easy selection for the brass at One Bills Drive to make with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Last year, the Bills opted to transition to a 3-4 defensive front, but only one of their three down linemen was familiar with their position—Dwan Edwards. Kyle Williams, who played defensive tackle his entire career, slided into nose tackle (though he is a bit undersized), and had an unbelievable year. Alongside him, Marcus Stroud slid outside to the five-technique defensive end position, and had an unimpressive season, but was released at the end of the year.
Marcell Dareus has the size, strength and versatility to play all three positions on the defensive line in the 3-4 front, and can slide inside to defensive tackle in passing downs. Putting Dareus alongside Kyle Williams will present a tough matchup issue for opposing offensive line coaches, as one of them has to be double teamed.
Dareus was the cornerstone of an Alabama Crimson Tide defense that won a National Championship just two years ago, and managed to make 66 tackles and sack the quarterback 10.5 times in his two years as a starter.
While offensive lineman are already worrying about containing Williams and Dareus, they now must focus on which linebacker will be gunning for their quarterback. Most likely that man will be Shawne Merriman—a 26-year-old former perennial Pro Bowler, who has made just 44 tackles and four sacks while appearing in 17 games the past three years, after racking up 198 tackles and 29.5 sacks in his first three seasons in the league.
Having Dareus containing offensive tackles while using their base 3-4 defense will definitely benefit the blitzers coming off of the edge, and lining up next to Williams in the 4-3 front will make things a lot easier for inside linebackers Paul Posluszny and rookie Kelvin Sheppard to stuff the middle.
The Bills could've went in another direction with their No. 3 overall pick, but Dareus' versatility, strength and ability to improve the entire defensive group simply was too much to pass on.
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