by Paul Wanecski
What if I told you the most important peice of the Buffalo Bills defense wasn't a free agent this offseason, isn't in a contract year, wasn't traded and made 15 starts for them in 2013? Before we go into who it is, we will refer to him as "The Freak" from here on out.
LETS COMPARE THE 2015 DRAFT CLASS
The Freak put up the following stats at his NFL Combine, which we will compare against all outside linebackers from NFL.com.
40 YARD DASH:
The Freak - 4.43
This time would have been the fastest among any player registered as an OLB by a significant amount. The next closest were:
Mark Nzeocha- 4.51, Kwon Alexander- 4.55, and Bud Dupree- 4.56
The Freak- 23
Only four players beat this and barely did so.
Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil- 25, Martell Spaight- 25, Mark Nzeocha- 24, and Kwon Alexander- 24
The Freak- 39.5
Showing massive explosiveness in this drill, only one player exceeded this number.
Bud Dupree- 42, Edmond Robinson- 37
The Freak- 124
Here we see a familiar name beating the Freak, showing great burst. Still, top 3 numbers again are enter by The Freak.
Bud Dupree- 138, Zack Hodges- 125
While we saw the name Bud Dupree pop up in several categories, the overall dominance by The Freak in all drills pushes the scales in his favor. These numbers would rank The Freak as the best player entering the 2015 draft at OLB, if he were eligible
LET'S COMPARE AGAINST TOP RANKED DE/OLB DANTE FOWLER
Teams are drooling over Dante Fowler as a top 5 selection. He will most likely transition into OLB in the NFL, so let's compare his combine stats against The Freak.
40 YARD DASH:
Fowler- 4.6, The Freak- 4.43
Fowler- 19, The Freak- 23
Fowler- 32.5, The Freak- 39.5
Fowler- 112, The Freak- 124
So, looking at the top rated projected OLB in 2015, the numbers again aren't even close.
2015 Buffalo Bills
With the Bills signing of Jarius Wynn, they have secured a big body to occupy the end of the projected 3-4 system they will install. Jerry Hughes was signed and projected to play linebacker, which will compliment Preston Brown, who will be playing inside with the pending loss of Brandon Spikes. Nigel Bradham will shift inside, Mario Williams will stay at defensive end on the weak side, given the inside speed presence of Bradham, leaving The Freak to troll the field and crush skulls.
The aggressive attack of the Bills will only be possible with the anchor of The Freak, Manny Lawson, whose skills in coverage and previous success in the 3-4 front will be leaned upon by Rex Ryan. Lawson will allow the defensive to be able to bring pressure from all over the field. Don't forget, he made 15 starts at OLB to Jerry Hughes' 1.