It has been only one week, but Marcell Dareus is sick of the comparisons.
"I'm not Bruce Smith. I never will be Bruce Smith. I'm Marcell Dareus and I'm going to be the best player that I can be," he told PFW.
Comparisons to the Hall of Fame defensive end were easy to come by for Buffalo fans, as Dareus was the highest-drafted Bill since the team took Smith first overall in 1985. But Dareus is ready to make his own mark on a Bills team that hasn't reached the playoffs since 1999 and had the league's worst run defense last season.
"What (Smith) has done is great, but we're two types of players with different styles," Dareus said. "Me, I'm a power D-lineman. I'm quick off the ball, I stop the run and put pressure on the quarterback."
Dareus had time to meet head coach Chan Gailey, GM Buddy Nix, owner Ralph Wilson and defensive coordinator George Edwards last Friday, but because of the lockout he wasn't able to get a playbook. He is training in Atlanta with his agent, Todd France, until the lockout ends.
The Bills' brass told Dareus that he would play right away at left defensive end. At Alabama, Dareus proved his versatility along the D-line and said he loves playing the three-technique as well.
"They are going to let me have a little fun," he said. As for stopping the run, the Bills hope that Dareus' size and power on the edge can improve a defense that allowed almost 170 yards per game on the ground.
"At Alabama, we stop the run first and then we defend the pass," Dareus said. "I live for 4th-and-inches, I live for it."
Dareus has had to deal with plenty of tragedy in his life, losing his father when he was eight years old and his mother to congestive heart failure less than a year ago. Dareus has six brothers and sisters, who he said will help him settle into Buffalo.
"I was like 'shoot, Marcell, you have made it. Lord have mercy, you made it,' " he said about his emotions on draft night. "People said I couldn't read. People said a lot of things. None of that matters when you're doing what you love and having fun with it. I've learned so many lessons through my struggles."
Dareus said motivation is no problem for him and when asked to scout himself, he focused on his character, not his run-stopping abilities.
"I'm accountable for myself. I'm accountable for others. I'm a great listener and coachable. I'm not the type of player that thinks I know everything. If anyone is willing to help me, I'm wide open to listen. I'm like a sponge," he said. "I'm ready to go out there and help the team."