This post is part of a continuing series in which we break down 13 2011 NFL Draft prospects - our Baker's Dozen - that should interest the Buffalo Bills. Keep up to date on our Baker's Dozen series here.
As draft day draws ever closer, Bills fans are becoming that much more entrenched in their stances, and as such, player weaknesses are being bandied about with more ferocity and volume than ever. That means that my email Inbox has been filled with more "Von Miller" and "Aaron Maybin 2.0" in the past week than it was, combined, since January. I asked Dan Kadar (Mocking the Draft) if he was willing to alleviate some of those concerns, but he wouldn't go too far in doing so.
"I'd love to do that," said Kadar. "I'd say Miller is the best pure pass rusher in the draft. He's lightning quick off the snap, fluid and agile. I'd also say he's somewhat unproven against the run and a project in regard to pass coverage (though he has played some zone). The trouble is that I said the exact same things about Maybin in 2009."
Thankfully, Kadar did note that there is separation between the two as prospects.
"It's something hard to quantify, but Miller looks like he has better intangible qualities than Maybin did," Kadar said. "For instance, Joe Paterno asked Maybin to add bulk to his frame, but Maybin never did. That's a red flag. Miller played with his hand down for two years. For his junior year, they asked him to play the Jack position where he stood up. He did it without complaint and was a team captain. So you could surmise that he's more of a team player. I've never been the biggest Miller fan; I'll admit as much to anyone. But I think he at least cares more than Maybin ever did. Sometimes, that's all is needed to make someone a star."
The other big concern with Miller is his ability to defend the run at the NFL level. Knowing that the Bills will be playing a lot of one-gap 3-4 with Kyle Williams at nose tackle, I asked Kadar whether or not some of those deficiencies would be masked in that one-gap system. Kadar believes that one-gap would suit Miller better, but for a different reason.
"The one-gap style may suit Miller best because it would allow him to blitz more," Kadar said. "Buffalo could use him in a similar fashion to how Pittsburgh uses James Harrison. The two are pretty similar in style, though Harrison is stronger. If they're using a two-gap system, it wouldn't ask Miller to blitz as much. That probably wouldn't be the best way to utilize him. Given that Buffalo has the third overall pick right now, it would be smart to cater your scheme to your talent. If Miller is the pick (which many expect), a one-gap scheme would be wise."