Shaq Lawson’s Injury Will Help Eric Striker Make Bills Roster
After the announcement that Shaq Lawson would need surgery, Bills fans and media analysts began to speculate on which players on the team’s roster would benefit. The three players that were brought up the most were Manny Lawson, Adolphus Washington, and IK Enemkpali. However, there is another player who could benefit more than all of these players and that is Eric Striker.
Striker was signed by the Bills as an undrafted free agent shortly after the draft. He played at Oklahoma and had tremendous results on the field. He started his last three seasons and finished his career with 191 tackles, 45 tackles for loss, and 22.5 sacks according to Sports-Reference.com. The reason why he was not drafted was due to his size. According to NFL.com, he is 5’11” and 227 pounds.
During draft weekend, Striker became an instant sensation when he gave an emotional speech to his family. It shows the type of character and determination that this guy has and players like that are the ones who can surprise and make a roster as an undrafted free agent. He is also doing well so far according to Joe Buscaglia from WKBW who reports that he made some “flash plays” during OTA’s.
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Due to his smaller stature, Striker projects better as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 system where his predominant responsibilities would be rushing the passer. The Bills were hoping that Shaq Lawson could fulfill this role Week 1 but if he is unable to go Striker and Manny Lawson could combine to fill that need. Striker is better at rushing the passer and is a bit quicker, while Lawson is a wily veteran who can cover and is much better against the run.
Striker has been getting inside linebacker reps with Buffalo during OTA’s but part of that is just to shift him around and see how versatile he is. He could potentially play at other positions too. Some scouts thought he could play safety in the NFL while others think that he lacks the coverage skills for that.
The Bills could use some more depth at safety considering Aaron Williams health concerns and so Striker could increase his chances of making the roster if he can show that he can contribute at a number of positions.
If Lawson’s recovery takes closer to six months rather than four, he could open up the season on the PUP list allowing the Bills to carry an additional player on their roster until Lawson can return. Additionally, Striker will get increased reps in training camp against better talent with Lawson out.
If he can make the most of his reps in training camp he could make a big enough impression on the coaches to earn a roster spot and a chance to prove himself at least until Lawson get’s back. If that happened, Eric Striker would certainly be the biggest beneficiary of Lawson missing time due to his surgery.