Wanted: Prototypical 3-4 Defensive End

It has become apparent early in the season that the Bills sorely lack players to fit their defensive scheme. They have lifelong defensive tackles playing defensive end, and lifelong defensive ends playing linebacker. While the 3-4 defense is supposed to give defensive coordinators options and allow him to surprise opposing defenses, the Bills are short on options. One spot they could use help is at defensive end.

Now 3-4 defensive ends are supposed to be as stout against the run as they are at rushing the passer. The Bills have Dwan Edwards and Marcus Stroud playing defensive end. Both of them are capable run defenders, able to hold up at the point of attack. However, neither has ever blazed a trail to a quarterback, and it is all too painfully obvious that the Bills do not have an outside linebacker able to put pressure on a QB. Bills’ fans may recall the most successful pass rusher in NFL history rushed the quarterback from a 3-4 defensive end position.

Here is what I think the Bills need:

A guy who has a big frame but has a track record of being able to rush the passer. A guy who was able to rack up double digit sacks in college, but is well-rounded and has performed at the college level for more than just one season. A guy with upside who has always been able to hold up at the point of attack. A player who has been a three time all conference defensive end would be a bonus. If he was the defensive player of the year in a conference, having recorded 14.5 sacks in a season, even better. A guy, who despite being the focus of opposing offensive lines, is still able to register double digit tackles for loss in his senior season. Maybe a guy projected to go as early as the second round, but could luckily fall into your lap in round three…

TORONTO, CANADA - AUGUST 19: Alex Carrington of the Buffalo Bills looks on from the sidelines during game action against the Indianapolis Colts on August 19, 2010 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)

What's more likely? A lack of foresight from a Bills' coach or another missed draft pick?

Hmm, wait a minute…the Bills have this player? Then why haven’t I seen him play on Sundays? Is his team too loaded with talent that a third round player can’t make it on the field? Does his team have more than enough players suited to play the 3-4 scheme?

I suppose it’s not like the Bills are down a starting defensive end on Sunday. Plus, their defense has been performing far too well to make any kind of changes. Also, when you have such a sterling record with championship aspirations, it’s difficult to work young players into the rotation. If this was NOT the case, it would be a real head-scratcher to not see Alex Carrington on the field on Sunday. Of course, if that was the case, it would be amazing that he had not yet seen the field to this point in the season…

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Tags: Alex Carrington Bruce Smith Marcus Stroud

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