20 draft pass rushers to know for Bills, Part 1

20 draft pass rushers to know for Bills, Part 1
Posted at 4:13 PM, Jan 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-19 16:28:03-05

The NFL Draft is just one piece of the puzzle for the Buffalo Bills, but with such an importance placed on next season, they’ll need to get their first few picks right. The Bills want the postseason, badly, and making the right moves in late April could be the key to the playoffs.

Each week, 7 ABC will go through and outline some of the players you should know in this year’s draft process. This week, it’s all about the players that put heat on the quarterback — the edge rushers.

The first five of 20 edge rushers to know when it comes to the Bills:

Kyler Fackrell, Utah State
6’5”, 250 lbs.
What he’s all about: The 24-year old Fackrell not only has the prototypical size and length to play the outside linebacker position in the 3-4, but he has the experience doing so, and working in coverage from his time at Utah State. Fackrell is a good athlete that can bull rush an offensive lineman en route to the quarterback. He is not the most fluid of players when it comes to coverage, and he also needs to work on his speed rush just to vary his attack. He could likely be somewhere between the second and fourth round.

How he would fit the Bills: His experience in the defense helps his cause, but so should his potential versatility. If the Bills choose to change up their fronts quite a bit, they could use Fackrell as an additional weapon at strongside linebacker if Manny Lawson is either injured or his level of play declines. Fackrell would be a good fit into the Bills scheme.



Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
6’5”, 252 lbs.
What he’s all about: Despite having the same measurements as Fackrell, Calhoun is nowhere near as versatile as the Utah State star at the time being. Calhoun spent his college career as a 4-3 defensive end, and possesses the proper size and length. He’s also quick off the snap, has a quality speed rush, and does quite well with hand usage when rushing the passer. However, when he needs to use the power elements to his game, he struggles. He lacks the necessary functional strength and lacks power versus both the run and when rushing the passer. He’s a late first-to-early third round type of player as it stands now.

How he would fit the Bills: The Bills may look at Calhoun’s speed to the quarterback as something that can be moved to outside linebacker, but, there are likely many better options in the draft to fulfill what the Bills need out of the position early on in the draft. However, if the Bills opt for other positions, and he’s still available in the second or third round, the Bills could do far worse for a situational pass rusher.



Ian Seau, Nevada
6’2”, 255 lbs.
What he’s all about: The nephew of the Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau, Ian Seau proved he’s a solid player in his own right. The 23-year old has a quick reaction to the snap, a wide array of moves, and is relentless to the ball. He is caught in between a couple of positions, though. His size and lack of length would indicate he’s probably a better fit as a linebacker, but, his playing style and fluidity make him look as though he’s more of a 4-3 defensive end. At this point, Seau is probably a mid-round pick.

How he would fit the Bills: Seau will likely contribute to a team on special teams upon is entrance into the NFL, but, for a Bills team that is seemingly switching to a 3-4 full-time, Seau’s skill-set isn’t exactly a match. It’s hard to ignore the effort and bloodlines, but, he would be much better suited for a 4-3 defense.



Alex McCallister, Florida
6’5”, 240 lbs.
What he’s all about: Surrounded by controversy, it’s really up to McCallister for how good he’ll be. The defensive end was suspended for the first game of the 2015 season due to a violation of University policy, and then was reportedly dismissed from the program due to violation of team rules — although Florida never formally announced the dismissal. McCallister declared for the draft in January, and will have to answer to NFL teams in a truthful and honest manner. There’s no doubting his on-the-field talents. He’s got the shoulder dip, bend, speed, length, and quickness for a 3-4 outside linebacker. He still needs to put on some weight and could benefit from adding more pass rushing moves to his arsenal. At this point, if his character checks out, he could be a mid-round pick. If it doesn’t, he may be a priority undrafted free agent.

How he would fit the Bills: The fit is obvious with McCallister and the Bills. He could contribute to special teams immediately, and be brought along as an impact pass rusher. And, with Rex Ryan as the head coach, the Bills have developed the reputation of giving character-risk players the benefit of the doubt, as well as a chance to prove themselves in the confines of Orchard Park. Again, McCallister’s interviews with teams will be his biggest hurdle to clear.



Dadi Nicolas, Virginia Tech
6’3”, 236 lbs.
What he’s all about: Nicolas is a fluid athlete with good speed, change of direction skills, and could be a weapon on special teams in the National Football League. He is, however, a bit small for the position, and despite his movement abilities, lacks explosiveness at the line of scrimmage. He’s controllable by blockers against the run, and had a minimal sack output in 2015 (2.5 sacks in total). At this point, he’s a late round player and a bottom of the roster type.

How he would fit the Bills: He would provide some depth and serve a role on special teams on a weekly basis, but that would likely be it for Nicolas. If they’re looking for impact defenders, the Bills would be able to find much more intriguing targets in the first four-to-five rounds.



The 20 names to know will continue on Wednesday with five new players, including Ohio State’s Joey Bosa, and a former walk-on that could end up being a steal in the NFL.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia





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