Prior to the 2011 NFL Draft - and therefore well before the Buffalo Bills had added inside linebackers Kelvin Sheppard and Chris White to the roster - GM Buddy Nix told reporters that 2010 sixth-round pick Danny Batten would be changing positions. It would be an adjustment for Batten, who was a defensive end at South Dakota State (and projected best to outside linebacker in the Bills' 3-4 defense), and who missed the entirety of his rookie season with a shoulder injury.
With Sheppard and White on board, however, Nix appears to have changed his tone a bit with Batten's position switch.
"With two inside backers in this draft, people ask me what it means for someone like Danny Batten," Nix commented to Clark Judge post-draft. "Well, it's a possibility that Danny stay outside. Danny is 6-3 and 255, and he can play inside or out. When you go to a 3-4 scheme, you do a lot of projecting of guys in college who are edge rushers and had their hands on the ground. Danny has adjusted very well to standing up, and we think he has a bright future in either place, but his place could be outside now."
As a de facto rookie linebacker, Batten - a highly productive collegian that generated as much buzz prior to the season as his draft classmate, Arthur Moats - is going to be an intriguing background storyline when football starts up again. I like him outside, and hope he stays there, as he's got a chance to be a good Sam linebacker in Buffalo's system.