Buffalo Bills Provide Positional Clarity For 4-3 Defense

The Buffalo Bills are switching to a 4-3 defensive alignment full-time starting in 2012, and with free agency just around the corner, there's still some confusion about where the team is planning on using some personnel. It looks like the team has tried to clear some of that up by making some changes to their official team roster, as several players are listed at new positions. Let's take a look at the defensive front seven to chart the changes.

DEFENSIVE ENDS: Shawne Merriman, Chris Kelsay, Spencer Johnson, Kyle Moore, Danny Batten, Lionel Dotson, Robert Eddins

Johnson is the biggest name of note; he played end last season, but his natural 4-3 position is as a three-technique defensive tackle, so it's a bit surprising to see him here. The same goes for Dotson. Batten and Eddins were 3-4 outside linebacker prospects, so like Merriman, it's not surprising to see them listed at this position, as they're still pass-rushing prospects.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES: Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Dwan Edwards, Alex Carrington, Torell Troup, Kellen Heard, Jarron Gilbert, Jay Ross

I am not surprised to see Carrington listed as a defensive tackle, but thought for sure he'd be joined by Johnson. Unless there was a clerical error at One Bills Drive, it looks like the player fans generally thought would get a shot at end (Carrington) will play inside, while the universally-accepted tackle (Johnson) will play end. Edwards, who like Johnson was an end a year ago, is now listed as a tackle. Gilbert had a shot at end, too, but is listed as a tackle, where he's a clear project as a three-technique.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS: Nick Barnett, Kirk Morrison, Bryan Scott, Arthur Moats, Chris White

Scott is not listed on the active roster - he's under the free agent section - but with a re-signing looking likely, the Bills have gone ahead and listed him as an outside linebacker. In fact, of these five names, the only player that hasn't had his position changed is Moats, who apparently won't be a pass-rushing specialist, likely leaving him in the competition at the Sam spot. Barnett, Morrison and White were inside linebackers last year, while Scott was a safety.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS: Kelvin Sheppard, Scott McKillop

This is the only position at which there are no surprises: both Sheppard and McKillop are obvious inside linebackers in any scheme.

What surprised you most? Which players do you believe are out of position in these new listings? Let's hear it, Bills fans.

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