Three more rookie Bills have now signed their first NFL contracts: fourth-round safety Da’Norris Searcy, fifth-round running back Johnny White, and – to the relief of Bills fans everywhere – first-round selection Marcell Dareus.
Dareus is the crown jewel of the 2011 Buffalo draft class, and should step right into the starting lineup. A run-stuffing lineman with great athleticism and recognition skills, Dareus is being heavily counted on to help repair Buffalo’s bottom-ranked rush defense. Dareus’s deal is reportedly four years and $20 million. Sure beats landscaping.
“He really adds a lot to our defense and also to the defensive line,” said Bills defensive line coach Giff Smith on BuffaloBills.com. “What you’ve got is a guy that’s very well developed run and pass. He can obviously play in base defense and in nickel situations with the pass rush. He’s got the whole gamut. He can do it all so we’re going to put him out there.”
Obviously, after watching a bunch of first-round picks hold out in recent seasons, it’s great that Dareus will be in camp on time. He’s a huge key if Buffalo plans on improving on defense in 2011.
Dareus himself is also pleased that he’s in camp on time: “It was very important to me because we had a lockout going on and I couldn’t be around the team or the coaches,” Dareus told Buffalobills.com. ”So it was really important for me to get into camp on time so we can jell and bond for the season. I really don’t know anybody just yet.”
Searcy is a playmaking safety from North Carolina who is physical in coverage and very comfortable in zone. It will be interesting to see what his role is in 2011.
“I see a young man [in Searcy] that’s physical,” said Bills secondary coach George Catavolos. “He’s 220 pounds, a good tackler, plays well in the box. He has the capabilities of playing deep zone. He’s got good hands. He can make plays catching the ball for interceptions and turnovers. I’m going to be real interested in watching his progression and how he fits into our defensive scheme.”
White is a man that I have been talking up all summer. I’ve maintained that he was a steal in the fifth round. He can really do it all: run, catch passes, pick up the blitz. He’s also going to have a big impact on special teams.
“I thought [White] had a very natural feel as a runner,” said Bills offensive coordinator/running backs coach Curtis Modkins. “He did things instinctively. When you’re a runner there are some things that you can’t teach and Johnny did those things. When I found out that he hadn’t played running back his entire college career I was even more impressed with him.”
Just two more picks have yet to sign: second-round CB Aaron Williams and third-round LB Kelvin Sheppard.