ESPN's Mel Kiper has released his latest 2012 NFL Mock Draft, and in it, he's penciled Alabama outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw into the Buffalo Bills' No. 10 overall pick, despite the 3-4 outside linebacker's not being a snug fit for their new 4-3 defense.
Kiper points to last year's Denver Broncos as rationale for predicting Upshaw to Buffalo. Poised to switch from the 3-4 defense to the 4-3 with new coach John Fox, the Broncos still saw fit to draft the top available pass-rusher, 3-4 outside linebacker prospect Von Miller, with the No. 2 overall pick. The idea is that coaches will bend their schemes to fit pass rushers, and that's the idea Kiper is pointing to with Upshaw and Buffalo.
Upshaw is not a snug fit as a 4-3 prospect - he can play some end, but is better suited to be a 3-4 linebacker - but the Bills need a pass rusher, and Upshaw is a pretty good one. This is an idea we discussed back in late January: the Bills are so desperate for pass-rushing help that they shouldn't pass up a good one for a lesser one because of their defensive alignment.
Kiper also calls Upshaw an "energetic talent," says he's in the mold of a "more athletic LaMarr Woodley," and believes he'll be ready to harass opposing quarterbacks as a rookie.