AFC East: defensive line

Here are the most interesting stories Saturday in the AFC East: Morning take: This is an interesting wrinkle, and training camp is the perfect time to try this. Hernandez is a good athlete who got time at running back last season in the playoffs. New England wants to see what else he can do.
Morning take: That should be the case. Buffalo invested a lot of money and high draft picks into this group, and it should be the strongest area of the team this season.
Morning take: I don’t think Miami has enough talent on offense. This is a scoring league, and ultimately a lack of scoring will keep this team out of contention.
  • The New York Jets have a position battle going between Matt Slauson and Vladimir Ducasse at left guard.
Morning take: Slauson is the incumbent and the favorite here. Ducasse is a bust at tackle who is trying to find his way. This is a big third year for him.
Remember 13 months ago when the Buffalo Bills had interest in former Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley? Buffalo, which owned the No. 3 overall pick, had a heavy presence at Fairley's pro day and brought him in for a personal visit weeks before the 2011 draft.

Buffalo wanted help on the defensive line, and Fairley and Marcell Dareus were the top two prospects. When both players were on the board, Buffalo wise took Dareus at No. 3 over Fairley.

Fast forward one year later. Dareus is an up-and-coming defensive tackle coming off a solid rookie season. He recorded 43 tackles, 5.5 sacks and played in all 16 games for the Bills in 2011. Dareus is a young player with Pro Bowl potential.

Meanwhile, Fairley, who was taken at No. 13 overall by the Detroit Lions, was arrested for the second time in two months this past weekend. He reportedly was charged with driving under the influence and attempting to evade police while driving 100 miles per hour. In addition, Fairley battled a foot injury as a rookie and recorded just 11 tackles and one sack.

It's clear Buffalo made the right choice. Not only is Dareus the more productive player on the field, but he is not the headache Fairley has become off the field. These are the kind of smart decisions you want to make in the first round.
The Buffalo Bills' already stout defensive line just got even better.

Buffalo signed former New England Patriots defensive end Mark Anderson to a four-year contract Wednesday. Anderson joins fellow defensive end Mario Williams and defensive tackles Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus on Buffalo's defensive line.

The Bills had trouble getting to the quarterback last season and made it a point to put their resources toward fixing the issue. Anderson recorded 10 sacks for the Patriots last season. Williams has 59 career sacks and is one of the NFL's best pass-rushers. Consider the problem solved.

Buffalo's defensive line is looking downright scary. The group will be very tough to move in the middle and pass protect against on the edges.

The Anderson signing also hurts the reigning AFC East champion Patriots. New England lost last season's team leader in sacks to a division rival. The Patriots are looking to add pass-rushers, not lose them.

For the first time in a long time, Buffalo is spending big money and making moves in free agency. Bills general manager Buddy Nix said the team will be major players this offseason, and Nix continues to prove it.