After their debacle in the 2010 draft, the Bills came away with a good group of prospects last week, led by one of the best players in the class. Buffalo still has a lot of its own free agents to lock up, but the future looks brighter now than it did a year ago.
First round, No. 3 overall: Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus
Second round, No. 34 overall: Texas cornerback Aaron Williams
Third round, No. 68 overall: LSU inside linebacker Kelvin Sheppard
Fourth round, No. 100 overall: North Carolina safety Da'Norris Searcy
Fourth round, No. 122 overall: Clemson tackle Chris Hairston
Fifth round, No. 133 overall: North Carolina running back Johnny White
Sixth round, No. 169 overall: Mississippi State inside linebacker Chris White
Seventh round, No. 206 overall: Richmond cornerback Justin Rogers
Seventh round, No. 245 overall: Bethel defensive tackle Michael Jasper
When it's all said and done, the Bills might have gotten the best player in the draft. Dareus can play multiple positions on the defensive line, which is important since the Bills still show a mix between three- and four-man fronts. Kyle Williams and Dareus will provide an elite team of defensive tackles in the 4-3, and Dareus will be able to switch between the nose and end in the 3-4. He's a player the Bills can build their entire defense around.
There really wasn't a lot of quality on the 2010 roster, so a good chunk of the draftees will have an opportunity to earn starting jobs. Dareus and Sheppard should greatly improve Buffalo's run defense, while Williams, Searcy and Rogers could make an impact in the secondary and on special teams. Hairston will have an opportunity to start at left tackle.
The Bills did a nice job, and they should be incredibly excited about Dareus. However, the work isn't really done because they've got to lock up inside linebacker Paul Posluszny as well as free agents Donte Whitner and Drayton Florence, among others. So, the Bills' offseason got off to a strong start, but they need to be great in free agency to improve upon their 2010 season.