Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Bills draft preview: Defensive tackle
By Mike Rodak
Continuing a position-by-position preview of next month's draft from a Buffalo Bills perspective:
Position: Defensive tackle
Current personnel: Kyle Williams (signed through 2016), Marcell Dareus (signed through 2014 with option for 2015), Alan Branch (2016), Corbin Bryant (2014), Stefan Charles (2015)
Draft need: Low
State of the position: There isn't an immediate need at this position. The starting duo -- Williams and Dareus -- is set, while Branch is likely to slide inside from defensive end in Mike Pettine's system to defensive tackle in Jim Schwartz's scheme. Branch will add depth and run-stopping ability at the goal line. Bryant has some playing experience and could help in a pinch, but ultimately is a replaceable player. Charles is a developmental project.
The wild card at this position is Dareus. He had a rough ending to last season, sitting out parts of the final two games after being late to team meetings. The Bills have until May 3 to exercise Dareus' fifth-year option for 2015 and unless coach Doug Marrone has serious concerns about Dareus' work ethic, it makes sense to keep him in Buffalo for another season. General manager Doug Whaley has said that the Bills have interest in extending Dareus' contract, a sign that he is the team's long-term plans. Dareus' contract situation creates some uncertainty but shouldn't cause the Bills to draft a replacement in the early rounds next month.
The more likely scenario is that the Bills see a player on the board later in the draft who fits their scheme and profile for the position. That player could compete with Charles for a roster spot and potentially add a layer of depth.
Sweet spot: Late rounds.
Possible targets: Shamar Stephen (Connecticut), Bruce Gaston (Purdue), Jay Bromley (Syracuse)