Following the third-round 2014 NFL Draft selection of Louisville linebacker Preston Brown last evening, Buffalo Bills Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos confirmed that the team has a plan in mind for veteran linebacker Manny Lawson.
"Manny is going to play defensive end," Monos said last night.
The Bills had previously hinted at Lawson moving down to the end position in the Jim Schwartz 4-3 defense, with Doug Whaley making that statement way back on March 14. Lawson's move, coupled with the Bills' free agent additions at linebacker and last night's selection of Brown, was necessary work to overhaul the linebacker corps to better fit the new scheme.
"Completely different. It’s a different defense so it had to," said Monos, when asked about the position's transformation. "With the free agent signings, that is more of a coaching thing. We’ll see how they’re used, but I think it’s going to be a battle. That’s what we’re trying to do, create competition at the position."
Lawson, however, apparently will not factor into that equation. Monos stated that Jerry Hughes will get the "first crack" at the starting lineup at end, as expected, but we now have official word that Lawson will be playing with a hand in the dirt next season, as well.
Signed to play strong-side linebacker in Mike Pettine's hybrid system, Lawson, who will turn 30 years old in July, finished his first season in Buffalo with career highs in tackles (73) and sacks (four), as well as an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He's entering the second year of a four-year, $12 million deal signed last March.