20 draft pass rushers to know for Bills, Part 2

20 draft pass rushers to know for Bills, Part 2
Posted at 12:15 PM, Jan 21, 2016

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

Joey Bosa, Ohio State
6’5”, 275 lbs.
What he’s all about: Depending on where you look, Joey Bosa draws comparisons to players like J.J. Watt and Jared Allen — two wildly successful NFL players — and that gives you the indication that scouting community views him quite highly. Boss has the size, strength, and always seems to play within himself in a game. He’s quick off the snap, has a power element to his game, keeps the offensive linemen off his pads, and plays the edge contain role quite well. With his quickness off the snap, you’ll get some neutral zone penalties when he tries to jump the snap. At this point, Bosa seems destined to be a top 10 pick, and perhaps even the top pick in the draft.

How he would fit the Bills: If for some reason the Bills were actually able to a spot where Bosa would be on the board, which is highly unlikely barring a big trade up in the draft order, they could certainly use him in any look they want to. The 21-year-old Bosa can fit either scheme, but is probably best suited to be a 4-3 defensive end. He could play some rush linebacker, or even moonlight as a 3-4 defensive end just to keep him on the field. However, in all likelihood, Bosa will be long gone before the Bills get the opportunity to turn their draft card in.



Bronson Kaufusi, BYU
6’6”, 265 lbs.
What he’s all about: Every year, there’s always a few of those players that fall into the potential “workout warrior” category, and the 23-year old, former college basketball playing Bronson Kaufusi can do just that. Although he’ll be 24 by the time the 2016 season starts, it’s hard to ignore him on the field because of his size. He’s incredibly long, and his movement ability mimics someone much smaller than him. He has the speed, he’s versatile enough to play in both defensive schemes, has coverage experience, and already has been a 3-4 outside linebacker at BYU. Despite having experience dropping back into coverage, he can’t fully be trusted against tight ends because his change of direction skills aren’t great. Due to his frame, he can also play a little too high sometimes and surrender that leverage to his opponents. At this point, Kaufusi can probably be had somewhere on Day Two of the draft.

How he would fit the Bills: He’ll need to work on his pass rushing skills a bit more once he gets to the league, but Kaufusi would fit into Rex Ryan’s scheme quite well right from the start. He can play as a rush linebacker, we’ve seen that at BYU. But, he also has the size and length to play 4-3 defensive end when the Bills want to vary up their looks. The Bills will likely take a hard look at Kaufusi during the draft process.



[In case you missed Part One of the edge rusher series, click here]


Joe Schobert, Wisconsin
6’1”, 236 lbs.
What he’s all about: When looking at players coming out of college and trying to enter the NFL, there’s usually one mantra I always go by: “Walk-ons never forget.” It certainly isn’t infallible, but, players that started college as a walk-on at their program and had to earn a scholarship usually don’t lose that hard-working mentality that got them there. That brings us to former Wisconsin walk-on Joe Schobert. At his size, Schobert is vastly undersized to play the outside linebacker in the 3-4, which will be his biggest negative due to his skill set. However, what he lacks in size, he makes up for with closing speed, reaction time, coverage abilities, and having a knack for always finding the football. Schobert could rise, but at the moment is likely an early Day Three pick.

How he would fit the Bills: Schobert likely could not be a full-time 3-4 outside linebacker in the scheme. However, that isn’t the only linebacker position with a crying need at this point. The Bills can use an interior player to pair with Preston Brown, specifically if Nigel Bradham is unable to be re-signed by the team. If drafted by the Bills, Schobert could develop into an option as a 3-4 inside linebacker that the Ryan brothers would be able to move around everywhere, and utilize his pass rushing ability on certain downs as well. At the very least, he’ll be a special teams contributor.



Eric Striker, Oklahoma
6’0”, 222 lbs.
What he’s all about: Schobert is undersized, but Eric Striker has him beat in that department. It raises the one obvious question: Where is his best position in the NFL? Striker is a pass rusher that can knife through small areas to get to the backfield, but also has good coverage ability in open space. He’s got a great first step that enables his explosiveness and quickness off the snap. On the negative side, he’ll get swallowed up by a blocker and be taken out of the play, and also will get caught in over-pursuit of the ball carrier. At this point, Striker is a fringe Day Two selection that could go higher if a team falls in love with his skill-set, and has a very specific role in mind for him.

How he would fit the Bills: Striker could fit in Buffalo, but not in the same way that he was used at Oklahoma. The Bills could use him as an inside linebacker, a lot in the same way that Arizona does with the similarly-built Deone Bucannon  for their 3-4 defense. They could also be interested in having him be a safety/linebacker hybrid that they could utilize off the blitz. The possibilities are numerous, and considering where he’ll likely be drafted, he should be on the radar of Bills fans.



Yannick Ngakoue
6’2”, 250 lbs.
What he’s all about: After a successful statistical season at Maryland, Yannick Ngakoue elected to leave school early, and will be one of the youngest players in the draft (born March 31, 1995). Ngakoue certainly looks the part with his frame as an outside linebacker for the 3-4. He also has experience playing both that role, and as a defensive end from his time at Maryland, but that’s about where it ends for Ngakoue. He’s a bit of a ‘tweener to both roles, and needs to get bigger to have an impact on defense in the NFL. He isn’t a fluid athlete and lacks speed, which would limit his ability to cover as an outside linebacker. Another reason to get stronger, he loses his leverage too easily and can get caught off-balance. Ngakoue is a project player, and likely a late Day Three pick or a priority undrafted free agent.

How he would fit the Bills: Although he looks the part of an outside linebacker, his skill-set is not indicative of playing that role in Rex Ryan’s brand of defense. In the pre-draft process, Ngakoue will need to add some weight to his frame to try and convince teams to take a shot on him as a 4-3 defensive end. At that point in the draft, the Bills could just take him on as a project if they see something they can work with, but he likely isn’t a strong fit for what they’re trying to defensively.



Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia





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