Bills expected to add depth at LB in draft

Kevin Fishbain
April 13, 2012
Expectations soaring for Bills MLB Sheppard

By signing Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, the Bills solidified the defensive end spots in Dave Wannstedt’s 4-3 front. With the D-line position extremely deep, the Bills, we hear, likely will turn their attention to linebacker at some point in the upcoming draft, as it might be the biggest need on defense, along with adding another cornerback. It is not as high of a priority as left tackle or finding a No. 2 wide receiver, but depth is an issue at the second level of the defense.

Nick Barnett is slotted in as the weak-side linebacker and Kelvin Sheppard, who was very impressive as a rookie, has received plenty of confidence from the brass to man the middle. Kirk Morrison and Arthur Moats should factor in at the strong-side position, and Bryan Scott is expected to continue playing a hybrid LB-S role. However, there are big question marks behind that group, especially on the inside. Should Sheppard go down, the Bills don’t have a good answer. Scott McKillop, who last played in ’09 with the 49ers, is next on the depth chart.

With more glaring needs for a starter on the offensive side of the ball, it would be a reach for the Bills to consider Boston College’s Luke Kuechly, PFW's top-ranked ILB prospect, at the No. 10 pick, but with 10 picks in the draft, there will be plenty of opportunities to add another ’backer. The defense improved in 2011, but ranked 28th against the run. If the Bills want another sure tackler like Sheppard, a possibliity in the second round could be California's Mychal Kendricks, but a linebacker coming to Buffalo in the later rounds is more likely.

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