20 draft pass rushers to know for Bills, part 3

20 draft pass rushers to know for Bills, part 3
Posted at 3:31 PM, Jan 22, 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 third edition of the series, with five more players of 20 edge rushers to know when it comes to the Bills:

[If you missed it, here's Part 1, and Part 2 of the series]

Shaq Lawson, Clemson
6’3”, 270 lbs.
What he’s all about: After Ohio State’s Joey Bosa, the best pass rushing prospect available in the 2016 NFL Draft is Clemson’s Shaq Lawson. Still only 21 years old, Lawson has everything you could want out of a prospect. He has great size, strength, a bevy of pass rushing moves, shows awareness to the play, and he’s even dropped back into coverage and looked comfortable in doing so. He went up against some big competition throughout the year, and he always was able to shine in any given game. Despite some deficiencies against the run, Lawson is a top-tier prospect available this year. He’s a first round pick, and may even go in the top 10.

How he would fit the Bills: If Lawson somehow were to be available at the Bills, he would be an ideal fit for what they’re trying to do, and, both he and Rex Ryan share the Clemson connection. Lawson can fit into the 3-4 outside linebacker role they’re trying to fill, displaying comfortability and fluidity when dropping back into coverage. He won’t be doing that the majority of the time — that would be reserved for getting after the quarterback, and Lawson can do that incredibly well.



Kevin Dodd, Clemson
6’4”, 275 lbs.
What he’s all about: Coming on this season from a reserve role in 2014, Lawson’s teammate Kevin Dodd has a lot of ability all the same. While he faced a lot of one-on-one matchups, he was a force in most of Clemson’s games throughout the season. Dodd displayed good power and a quickness off the snap. He also uses his hands when attacking the passer quite well, and that helps him both keep blockers off his pads, and to disengage in the event of a running play. While he dropped back in coverage, moving in space isn’t exactly his strength, which could limit his versatility. As he continues to play, he needs to develop more pass rush moves — but that should come with time and NFL coaching. Dodd has first-round ability, but at worst, he should be off the board by early Day Two.

How he would fit the Bills: With his size, Dodd is more of a prototypical fit for a 4-3 defense as a left defensive end, much like he did in his time at Clemson. The Bills could always see him as someone that could fit a pair of roles by getting him into the weight room and adding some weight to his frame. Then, they could use him on multiple fronts, and use him at both defensive end in odd and even fronts. If they’re looking for an immediately versatile option, unless Dodd checks into the combine with additional good weight, he may not be right for the Bills.



Leonard Floyd, Georgia
6’3”, 232 lbs.
What he’s all about: One of two fascinating pass rushing prospects to come out of Georgia this year, tracking Floyd and where he’ll go will be fascinating. Floyd is most typically a 3-4 outside linebacker in the Bulldogs scheme, and he’s an athlete in every sense of the word. He has the speed, quickness, and fluidity you look for in a linebacker. He also flashes the ability to bend and turn the corner on speed rushes, while maintaining a set of powerful hands to help him against both the pass and the run. In coverage, he’s the best bet of the outside linebacker prospects. The problem, though is that he wasn’t really a difference maker when getting after the passer, and his size could limit his effectiveness in being taken up by blockers. Floyd is a fringe first-round pick at this point.

How he would fit the Bills: Floyd would most certainly fit the Bills, and even in a couple of different roles. Not only as a rush linebacker, but he also has some experience as an inside linebacker in his time at Georgia. Also, with his size and speed, the prospects of using him as an occasional runner, and as the all-time coverage option against tight ends could be a game changer for some team. If some of the other pass rushers are off the board at 19, Floyd could garner a lot of consideration from the Bills.



Carl Nassib, Penn State
6’6”, 270 lbs.
What he’s all about: Recognize the name, Bills fans? Carl Nassib is the brother of Ryan, the current New York Giants backup quarterback, and the man many believed the Bills would use their first-round pick on back in 2013. Nassib is a former walk-on at Penn State, and put on a ton of weight over the course of his career to get him to a starting position in 2015. He has the strength, length, is clearly a hard-worker, displays quickness off the snap, and even has a solid bull rush move. Nassib is still learning the position, though, not having a lot of varying moves to get to the quarterback. His awareness against the run also needs some work as well. Nassib is likely a Day Two pick.

How he would fit the Bills: Nassib lacks the versatility that a lot of the other prospects do. His change of direction skills are not ideal, which would make him a liability when dropping into coverage. Nassib is a 4-3 defensive end through and through, but it’s hard to ignore his work ethic. If he’s there in the third or fourth round, the Bills may be inclined just to take him, but, he’s not an exact fit for what they’re doing.



Kamalei Correa, Boise State
6’3”, 245 lbs.
What he’s all about: As pass rushers go, Correa is one of the quickest available in the draft this year. His explosiveness, speed, and reaction time all speak to the fact that he is a high quality athlete. He also displays a good initial punch against the offensive lineman when getting after the passer. His problem, however, is he’s not as genetically blessed as some other players. He’s not a long player, which could limit teams thinking of him as a 3-4 outside linebacker prospect. Correa also needs to develop some counter moves when rushing the passer, and rid himself from allowing blockers to get into his pads too often. Correa will likely go off the board somewhere between the second and fourth round.

How he would fit the Bills: While he may not be the absolute pass rushing prospect like some others, the Bills could always look at Correa the same way that Georgia’s Leonard Floyd would. Correa could always help out at inside linebacker, providing just another element of surprise for the defense. The difference, though, is Floyd could jump right in after having that experience at Georgia, whereas there might be a greater learning curve for Correa. Depending on when he’s available, he’s another one for Bills fans to keep an eye on.



Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia





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