Though many of the top players available in the draft are underclassmen, the Bills' coaches have spent much of their time examining the top senior prospects while coaching the South team at the Senior Bowl. One player who actually fits both criteria is Texas A&M OLB Von Miller, the winner of the Butkus Award in 2010 who registered 27½ sacks his last two seasons as an Aggie.
Miller played for the squad that Chan Gailey and the Buffalo staff coached in Mobile, Ala. from Jan. 24-29 and played well, impressing scouts and coaches with his unique combination of power and speed. He was named Defensive MVP following the South's victory, and Gailey himself liked what he saw from the 'backer.
"Von Miller would fit in any defense really well," Gailey said in a Senior Bowl news conference. "He looks like he's a very explosive player. He's one of the few guys I happened to see on TV a little bit during the course of the season, and he's an explosive football player. I think he's going to be a good get for whoever gets him. He'd help us, just like he'd help a lot of teams."
The Bills head coach told PFW that working with the players and seeing them up close and personal really helped his staff out in their evaluation process.
"You get to learn the intangibles of the player," Gailey said. We understand exactly what makes a guy tick after spending a week with him. You get to understand his thought processes, his work habits, you get to understand a lot about a guy that you don't get when you're sitting in the stands."
Picking third overall, the Bills would likely be in a position to take Miller if they so choose. Outside linebacker, and especially a pass rusher, is a major position of need for the team. Last year the Bills showed with the selection of RB C.J. Spiller with the ninth pick in the draft that they will take the best player available, regardless of position. In 2011, with a lot of holes to fill on both sides of the ball, the team can't afford to select a player at a position that is already filled, even if that player is supremely talented, a reason selecting Miller — who is both talented and fills a need — makes a lot of sense.