The Buffalo Bills are going into the 2013 season with a major changing of the guard. They have a new GM, new quarterback, and a re-vamped set of offensive weaponry thanks to the 2013 draft class.
I think in a couple of years, this Bills team can be sickly good, but for right now, they are in building mode. I don’t want to say re-building, even though they sort of are, but they had quite a bit to build on from the last couple of draft classes, and I think there is reason to be excited if you are a Bills fan.
Here we will identify three major players on this roster, one from each of the last three rookie classes, that can make 2013 a breakout season.
Third Year– Marcell Dareus, DL
One of the prized picks in the vaunted class of 2011, Dareus has combined for 11 sacks and 82 tackles in his two years in the NFL, but I think he’s poised to take the next step. Mike Pettine will be running a 3-4 defense with the Bills, so Dareus will be playing in the same scheme that he played in when he was so dominant at Alabama, and I think you can move him all over the line.
Dareus is so quick, powerful, and athletic, that I think he could excel as one of the defensive ends or even at nose tackle if the Bills wanted to use him there in some different packages. I think in year three, Dareus will emerge as a guy who consistently demands a double team, causing problems in the backfield for opposing offenses and freeing up guys like Mario Williams to make even more plays.
What Dareus needs to do in year three is improve against the run. He graded out as the #11 overall defensive tackle last season by Pro Football Focus, and he can rise to the top five if he takes his run defense to the next level, something the Bills desperately need for their top young prospect.