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Bills draft immediate contributor in Dareus

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Posted April 28, 2011 @ 8:27 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

The Bills were in a very nice position at the third pick, especially when it became known that Cam Newton would go No. 1 to the Panthers.

Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix have said they have confidence in QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the offense isn’t why Buffalo missed the playoffs for the 11th straight season.

The defense was.

Three of the best players in the draft, period, all play defense, and the Bills guaranteed themselves one of them. Since Von Miller played for Gailey and crew at the Senior Bowl, most people pegged the pass rusher to Buffalo. But when Nix said last week that run defense is more important than pass rush, you got the feeling the Bills would be more than pleased to have Marcell Dareus fall to them. And now they have a defensive lineman who can help last year’s 32nd-ranked rush defense right away.

There was really no way the Bills could go wrong, as long as they stayed on defense. Some believed Dareus would be the top overall pick, and if you believe that, the Bills got a steal. And don’t think Bills fans aren’t remembering the last defensive lineman the team drafted with its first pick — 1985, a guy named Bruce Smith.

In the Bills’ 4-3, Dareus can slide inside next to NT Kyle Williams, who had a big year in 2010, making it difficult for teams to run the ball up the gut. In the 3-4, Dareus, whose very versatile, can set the edge for the Bills as their five-technique defensive end. With Miller going to Denver, there’s no question that Dareus is the best choice for the Bills. He will be able to contribute Day One and help the run defense that we know Nix values. And Dareus could also help the team’s pass rush with his penetration abilities.

With the 34th pick, it’s very possible the Bills will have a choice of one of the mid-tier quarterbacks. When you look at the teams that need a quarterback, the Bills are not one of them. They could use a quarterback, but taking Blaine Gabbert at No. 3 would not have improved the team immediately like Dareus will. There are very few elite players in this draft that can start Day One. The Bills helped themselves just a few minutes into the 2011 NFL draft by taking one of the players that is ready to contribute.

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