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Buffalo Bills All-Drought team: Nose tackle

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Some great players locked down the middle of Buffalo’s defenses during the drought.

The Buffalo Bills have a storied history of excellent defensive linemen, including one of the greatest to play the game, Bruce Smith. Aside from a short stint here and there, the defensive line was one of the most talented parts of each Bills roster during the playoff drought. That starts with nose tackle, where three excellent names spent extended periods with the Bills. Let’s take a look.

Pat Williams

Williams signed with the Bills as an undrafted free agent in 1997. A rotational player early in his career, Williams didn’t become a starter for good until the 2001 season. He played with Buffalo through 2004, after which he signed with the Vikings as a priority free agent. He would eventually be recognized as a three-time Pro Bowler, though not during his stint with Buffalo. From 2000 to 2004, Williams recorded 6.5 sacks, returned an interception for a touchdown, and returned a fumble for a touchdown. He also put together a whopping 222 tackles. He started 64 games during Buffalo’s playoff drought.

Marcus Stroud

Heading into Buffalo’s 2008 season, Dick Jauron and Perry Fewell were looking for an effective nose tackle to pair with the emerging Kyle Williams. The Bills traded a third and fifth round pick to Jacksonville for Stroud, who became an immediate impact player. He played so well that the Bills extended his contract in 2009.

After the 2010 season, however, Stroud’s age and imperfect fit with Buffalo’s 3-4 defense led to his release. He wouldn’t play another game in the NFL, retiring in 2012. In three seasons with Buffalo, Stroud started 45 games. He notched 7.5 sacks, forced two fumbles, and blocked 16 passes. He also had 96 solo tackles.

Marcell Dareus

With Stroud out of the picture, the Bills used their third overall pick in the 2011 draft to add Dareus, a star defensive tackle from Alabama. An extremely talented athlete, Dareus had an immediate impact even while playing in lousy defenses coordinated by George Edwards and Dave Wannstedt, and only got better when the coaching improved. Over his first four seasons, he recorded 28.5 sacks. That’s better than Ndamukong Suh, and since 2000, only six defensive tackles had more production.

Dareus would make the Pro Bowl in 2013, then step up to All-Pro in 2014. In the face of emerging off-field incidents, the Bills rewarded his production with a massive $100 million extension at the start of the 2015 season. It was all downhill from there. He played worse than ever before in Rex Ryan’s defense, forced to two-gap instead of disrupting plays. He was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Then he landed in the doghouse with Sean McDermott, and lasted through October before the Bills traded him to Jacksonville, eating a whole lot of dead cap space.

Dareus started 85 games for the Bills, with 35 sacks and 205 solo tackles. He defended 12 passes and forced two fumbles.


Which nose tackle is most worthy of recognition from Buffalo’s playoff drought? Cast your vote, and tomorrow we’ll vote on an under tackle (which should be the easiest vote of this whole exercise).

Poll

Who was the best nose tackle of the Buffalo Bills playoff drought?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    Pat Williams
    (780 votes)
  • 5%
    Marcus Stroud
    (77 votes)
  • 41%
    Marcell Dareus
    (598 votes)
1455 votes total Vote Now