Head Coach Sean McDermott and General Manager Brandon Beane hold their current positions because of the success they enjoyed with the Carolina Panthers. Like most first-time head coaches and general managers, replicating the same ingredients that made them successful at their previous stops becomes a priority in their new roles. We’ve seen McDermott and Beane bring in several former Panthers but also stylistically similar players that compare closely to what they had in Carolina.
One underrated component of what made McDermott’s defenses so outstanding in Carolina was defensive tackle Kawann Short who was and is a dynamic interior penetrator at the critical three-technique position on a 4-3 defense. With Kyle Williams now retired, there is a glaring hole at that spot for Buffalo, one that I don’t anticipate Harrison or Jordan Phillips filling with the type of impact desired from that spot.
With Star Lotulelei locked in as the plug defensive tackle, complimenting him with a penetration-style counterpart makes a lot of sense. Let’s examine a logical option for each day of the drat that Buffalo should consider.
*Prospect names are clickable to read full scouting reports.
Day One: Ed Oliver, Houston
If you refer to the ridiculous sideline situation involving him wearing a jacket or his frame when discussing Oliver, you are focusing on the wrong things. His tape reveals a really exciting prospect that I believe has the upside to become one of the NFL's premier defensive playmakers. His ability to disrupt and penetrate the line of scrimmage is special. His athletic ability and burst is a nightmare for interior blockers to block. He has the hand usage and power overwhelm opponents which is maximized by playing with terrific leverage. His range and motor is otherworldly. His flexibility and agility don’t make sense for his size. If he’s available at No. 9, Beane should have the card turned in within five seconds.
Day Two: Khalen Saunders, Western Illinois
Saunders is massive and can do backflips, but more importantly he has some exciting football ability. His blend of power and quickness for a 320-pound man is rare and I like his potential to challenge the depth of the pocket on passing downs while being a stout defender against the run. He was able to dominate FCS’ blockers by just overpowering and out-athleting them, but he showed at the Senior Bowl that can deploy technique to complement his physical gifts. His personality is infectious and would fit perfectly as a Day Two option.
Day Three: Daniel Wise, Kanas
Wise is another versatile defensive linemen with exciting gap-penetration skills. He was miscast as a two-gapping five-technique for Kansas but still found a way to average more than 10 tackles for loss per season across his four years with the Jayhawks. Wise has the ability to wreck the line of scrimmage and bolster Buffalo’s defensive line rotation with a playmaker. I also like his versatility to serve as a base end on early downs.