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20 draft pass rushers to know for Bills, Part 4

20 draft pass rushers to know for Bills, Part 4
Posted at 6:40 PM, Jan 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-23 18:41:07-05

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.

Part four of the four-part series continues with five more prospects to familiarize yourselves with:

[If you missed the other parts of the series, here is Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3]

Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky
6’3”, 261 lbs.
What he’s all about: Noah Spence is one of the most interesting stories in the draft this year, because it’s a bit mysterious as to how high he’ll be picked in the draft due to the off-the-field concerns. The former Ohio State standout, Noah Spence transferred to Eastern Kentucky one year ago due to two positive drug tests for ecstasy. Spence got his life back in order, and was phenomenal in his lone season at EKU. Possessing ideal size, Spence has more talent at getting to the passer than most everyone else in the draft, battling both his former teammate Joey Bosa, and Clemson’s Shaq Lawson for those honors. He’s explosive, has the closing speed, uses strength in power moves, he’s a fluid mover, and he can bend to get around the edge on a speed rush. He still has some work to do against the run, but Spence could be an impact defender as soon as he steps foot on an NFL field. If teams think he passes the off-the-field test, Spence should be a top 10 pick. If he doesn’t, there’s really no telling where he would be selected.

How he would fit the Bills: Spence is a versatile pass rusher that can do damage both as a 4-3 defensive end and conceivably, as a 3-4 outside linebacker as well. The Bills are looking for a versatile pass rusher that can fit seamlessly into the plan for 2016. Rex Ryan has been known to give players second chances, so if teams aren’t happy with his answers about his past drug problems, perhaps the Bills are the ones to extend him that chance — and get a potential superstar at 19th overall in the process.

 

 

Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
6’3”, 275 lbs.
What he’s all about: It’s hard to ignore Emmanuel Ogbah because he is usually always making a flash play for Oklahoma State. Ogbah’s strength and violent hands are the most impressive part to his game, but he also shows an explosive first step and closing speed on the quarterback to go along with it. The biggest question about him is whether or not he can be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defensive scheme. If teams believe he can, it will significantly improve his draft stock, which at this point appears to be somewhere in the first two rounds.

How he would fit the Bills: Teams know that Ogbah can play defensive end in the 4-3, but can he be an outside linebacker? That’s a question each one of the teams that run that scheme will have to answer. Even if they don’t believe he can, his ability to get after the passer will be an attractive option at 19 if both Shaq Lawson and Noah Spence are off the board.

 

 

Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
6’2”, 253 lbs.
What he’s all about: If there’s one word to describe Jenkins’ ability on the field, it would be ‘powerful.’ Jenkins flashes heavy hands, good strength, and often wins the leverage game. His awareness on the field is very good, and he could be one of the best run defending edge rushers in this year’s class. The problem, though, is that Jenkins falls short in getting after the passer. He doesn’t possess a lot of moves, which in turn, limits his effectiveness in pass rushing. He lined up a little bit of everywhere for Georgia: at 3-4 defensive end, 4-3 defensive end, and 3-4 outside linebacker. His size will make teams wonder what position would be best for him at the NFL level. Jenkins is likely a Day Two to early Day Three selection.

How he would fit the Bills: Jenkins shows impressive ability against the run, but the Bills don’t exactly need that from someone coming off the edge — they need help getting after the passer. Unless they believe they can convert Jenkins into an inside linebacker in their scheme due to his prowess against the run, there are other players that flash more ability in bringing down the quarterback.

 

 

Shawn Oakman, Baylor
6’8”, 276 lbs.
What he’s all about: Shawn Oakman is a freak of nature, and that's written in the most complimentary way. Listed at 6-foot-8, Oakman makes 276-pounds look like he’s a string bean, which is an enticing feature for NFL teams. His length helps him keep defenders off his pads, and to keep the edge and pin a running play inside for his other teammates. While he flashes some potential getting after the passer, he lacks explosiveness off the edge and isn’t the most fluid of movers. Due to his tall frame, he has the tendency to fall short in the leverage game and can be controlled. Some team could fall in love with what they could do with him, but he has clear flaws in his game. He could go anywhere from the first round to the fourth or fifth round because of it.

How he would fit the Bills: Oakman just isn’t a great fit to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4, but he could be an intriguing 5-technique defensive end if he puts on more weight before getting to the NFL Combine in late February. By doing so, it would help his weaknesses, and make him more attractive to more teams, because at this point, he’s a 4-3 defensive end. If it stays that way, he’s not exactly the type of player that fits Rex Ryan’s defense.

 

 

James Cowser, Southern Utah
6’3”, 258 lbs.
What he’s all about: Cowser is the all-time leader in sacks in FCS, and his mix of size, speed, and quickness off the snap has helped him get there. He always seemed to be around the ball, having a knack for making a big play for Southern Utah. The level of competition he faced will be called into question, as will bull rushing abilities. The other thing he’ll need to do is to develop more moves for when his go-to moves aren’t working as often. He’s firmly a mid-round pick at this point.

How he would fit the Bills: He mostly played defensive end at Southern Utah, so he’ll need to prove he can be trusted moving around, flipping his hips, and dropping back into coverage to be a 3-4 outside linebacker, but his movement abilities from this past season’s games indicate that he could do it. At the very least, as a mid-round pick, he could contribute on special teams right away. Cowser will likely have to grow into being a starter down the line, not an impact defender like some other players available this year.

 

 

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

 

 

 
 

 

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