Over the last several days, we've been taking a close look at Alabama star defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. The research spans from two scouting reports (physical and character) to an Alabama fan's perspective on Dareus' career.
We've got two more posts (counting this one) coming up on Dareus, and both of them will start to narrow the focus on Dareus' fit with the Buffalo Bills. Later this afternoon, Der Jaeger will break down Dareus' schematic fit into George Edwards' defense. As the set-up to that piece, I spoke with Dan Kadar of Mocking the Draft about some lingering questions regarding Dareus.
First and foremost, I wanted to bring up the fact that Bills GM Buddy Nix has stated publicly that he believes the team is set at defensive tackle, where Kyle Williams has become a star, and where the team spent a second-round pick last year on Torell Troup. I was curious as to Kadar's pre-draft assessment of Troup last April; he pointed me in the direction of his Torell Troup scouting report.
Long story short: Kadar viewed Troup as a rotational player in the NFL, as solely a 3-4 nose tackle, and as solely a run-down defender. After seeing Troup for a year, it's hard to dispute those notions. To my eye, however, the Bills are still convinced that Troup can become a tough run defender (and he's working diligently to get there, to his credit). It's just my opinion, but if the team were to draft Dareus, it would be a bad sign for the team's confidence in their 2010 second-round pick.
I've also brought up the idea that the Bills are looking for a pass rushing presence along the defensive line. Dareus is a capable and productive pass rusher - so much so that he was used at end in a 40 front from time to time at Alabama. I asked Kadar whether or not that was feasible for Dareus at the NFL level.
"No, he doesn't have the kind of long quickness and speed to consistently be a factor against the pass in that role," Kadar said. "He'd be fine in obvious run downs, but it's kind of the same idea with Fairley. You want to fit players in their best possible position instead of shoehorning them in somewhere. That's what happened to the Rams with Adam Carriker."
Last year, the Bills used Dwan Edwards, Spencer Johnson and even Marcus Stroud at 4-3 end when they moved to their secondary front. It seems feasible that the Bills would search for a pass rusher that can flip between five-technique and 4-3 end in the manner that those players did last year; Dareus is not one of the players that can fit that role. He'd flip between five-technique and three-technique, in all likelihood.
Lastly, I wanted to get Kadar's thoughts on the idea that Dareus might not be a prototypical fit for five technique. That was Dareus' position at Alabama, but at 319 pounds and around 6'3", he's not the "prototype" from a body type perspective. Kadar isn't worried about that, saying that 3-4 end will be Dareus' best pro position - but with an interesting caveat.
"He's not just a big belly guy like Fairley seems to be," Kadar said. "Dareus has more of a barrel-chested build. Speaking specifically about him being a five technique, he's not quite as good as Fairley. They just have different levels of quickness in their game. Thats not to say Dareus is slow, but that's where Fairley is better. Dareus has shown plenty that his best pro position is as end in the 3-4. He's plenty big and just athletic enough."
Nix himself has said that range is a prerequisite to playing 3-4 end. Dareus has sufficient range, but Kadar believes that Fairley's is better. That's fair - even though Dareus' polished run-stuffing abilities will still likely make him a pre-draft fan favorite in Buffalo.