Matt Milano, Ramon Humber, and Lorenzo Alexander are all back. Tanner Vallejo, Deon Lacey and Xavier Woodson-Luster are all 2nd year players and I am unsure what we will get from them, although they will all probably be special teams contributors. Humber and Alexander were brought in primarily as core special teams players, but they both have been starters at linebacker for us. They are both getting older, but I think it is safe to say they are good for at least next season. Milano finished last year as the starting weak side linebacker. We added Julian Stanford as a veteran to compete and add depth.
I am arbitrarily dividing linebackers into Middle and Outside. I know there are SAM, Mike, Will, Inside, Outside, 3-4, 4-3, Hybrid, Edge rusher, off the ball stack linebackers, 3 down backers, 2 down backers and nickel and dime packages and some of these prospects could play defensive end. Depends on your scheme and what you are looking for. Whatever you like to call them, I am looking for football players for the Bills. Here is my take on those players I see as outside linebackers.
1)Uchenna Nwosu, USC, 6’3″, 259 lbs., 20 reps, 32″ vertical, 119″broad. He is big and plays big but has amazing quickness for 259 lbs. He has also played in the middle and I think he is equally good in the middle. I think they moved him to the edge this past year as USC needed a pass rusher, which he is good at, but he is way more than an edge rusher. Should get stronger in an NFL program. He would help the Bills on the edge or in the middle. I like him in the 2nd round if we do not get a linebacker in the first.
2)Lorenzo Carter, Ga., 6’6″, 250 lbs, 4.50 40, 36″vertical, 130″broad. He is long, fast and freaky athletic. Watch his blocked field goal against Oklahoma that helped to change the momentum in that game In Georgia’s favor. That is typical of him, not a high volume of plays made, but makes big plays in big games. He is good on the edge in run support and he can rush the QB well also. He is long and good in coverage also. He would fit well in zone coverage. He may end up as a defensive end, he has all the tools to play there. If he is there in the second round, someone for the Bills to seriously consider.
3)Darius Leonard, SC St., 6’2″ 235 lbs., 17 reps, pulled his quad running the 40 at the combine and has not been able to do the run testing. I can tell he this, he plays fast. He is all over the field. He was only 185 pound coming out of high school and did not get recruited. Went to a small school with a chip and turned himself into a bona fide NFL prospect. Was the MEAC Defensive MVP in 2016 and 2017. Was outstanding playing against Clemson in 2016. Looked great in the all star games against top competition. I like him in the third round. He can play inside or outside. I am always leary without seeing times, but Leonard is fast.
4)Shaq Griffin, UCF, 6’1″, 227 lbs., 4.38 40, 20 reps, 117″broad. Yeah, he is missing a hand, but that doesn’t stop him. A blazing fast edge player. Very quick. He loves to hit. Very good at coverage, but great against the run. A blazing fast first step. You will not beat him to the edge very often. His twin brother plays for the Seahawks. I would take him in the third round. If he had two hands, he is probably a first round pick. Could play strong safety or a hybrid type role, but I see him as an outside linebacker, probably on the weak side. I wouldn’t want him chasing me! Well liked by everyone that meets him; would fit both in the locker room and around the city in Buffalo.
5)Fred Warner, BYU, 6’31/2″, 235 lbs., 4.64 40, 21 reps, 38.5″ vertical, 119 broad, 6.9 3-cone, 4.28 shuttle. He had a great career with great production at BYU. He also can play inside or outside. Fast, quick and strong. I would go after him in the third round. He will definitely play in the league. He can play both inside and outside. The Bills brought him in for an interview I believe. If we don’t get a linebacker on day #1, this guy is a great option to fill the hole in the middle of the Bills defense in the 2nd round of the draft. He fits the profile of a Beane/McDermott draftee.
6)Gerard Avery, Memphis, 6’1″, 245 lbs, 4.59 40, 26 reps, 36″ vertical, 124″ broad, 6.9 3-cone, 2.28 shuttle. Stout with great speed and quickness. Powerful. He flew all over the field for Memphis. Makes plays. A day 3 selection.
7)Oren Burks, Vandy, 6’3″, 233 lbs., 4.59 40, 18 reps, 39.5″ vertical, 131″ broad, 6.82 3-cone, 4.15 shuttle. Really great size, speed and power combination. Very quick. Makes lots of plays. Can cover. Maybe a 4th rounder.
8)Mike McCray, Mich., 6’4″, 245 lbs., 4.76 40, 16 reps, 31.5″vertical, 119″broad, 7.09 3-cone. If you want a downhill thumper this is the guy. He is quick for 245 lbs. Tough. May be better inside. A day 3 selection. Will play in the league, could be a core special teams player and add depth.
9)Olassunkanmi Adeniyi, Toledo, 6’2″, 248 lbs., 4.83, 26 reps, 31.5″ vertical, 7.21 3-cone, 4.28 shuttle. Big and strong but a little slow. A really good edge rusher. May fit better at defensive end. Had 8.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss this past season. A late round possibility or priority UDFA.
10)Christian Sam, Az. St., 6’2″, 244 lbs., 4.75 40, 28 reps, 32″vertical, 114 broad, 7.03 3-cone, 4.25 shuttle. A little slower but he made lots of plays at Arizona St. A late round selection or priority FA.
11)Davin Bellamy, Ga., 6’4″, 240 lbs., 15 reps. Has been injured and did not run at the combine. He was the third of the really good linebacker group at Georgia. Although Smith and Carter seemed to make all the spectacular plays, I was impressed with Bellamy’s consistency. He would be a good late round pick up.
12)Jeff Holland, Auburn, 6’2″, 249 lbs., 4.68 40, 31.5″ vertical. He is kind of a tweeter. Not really a defensive end and not really a linebacker. He was really good at Auburn both as an edge rusher and he made a ton of tackles as well. Tough and hard nosed. A football player. I think he fits in Buffalo. A late round pick for the Bills.