The Buffalo Bills drafted defense with their first three picks and all three players are expected to see significant playing time in 2016. Shaq Lawson will miss an undisclosed amount of time as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but Buffalo is expected to throw the rookie into the starting lineup as soon as he's 100 percent. Second round pick Reggie Ragland is also expected to see significant snaps as a rookie. Rex Ryan wants Ragland and Preston Brown to be three down linebackers. Both will be spelled at times by Zach Brown, but Ragland will be on the field for the majority of each game. Last, third round pick Adolphus Washington is also projected to start on Buffalo's defensive line. He'll have to battle Corbin Bryant at training camp for a starting job but he'll see plenty of playing time throughout the season, especially on passing downs. Washington was one of the most productive interior defensive linemen in this year's draft class.
All things considered, Buffalo's draft class is expected to play plenty of snaps in 2016. For that reason, Bucky Brooks of NFL.com has the Bills among five classes who will get the most production from their rookie class.
Here's a few snippets of what Brooks sees each rookie doing in 2016.
- Lawson will serve as a stout run defender on the edge who can prevent opponents from turning the corner on outside runs.
- Washington should have plenty of opportunities to make splash plays (tackles for loss, sacks and forced fumbles) on the inside, particularly with the Bills poised to blitz like crazy this season.
- [Ragland] ackling prowess and production could make him a legitimate contender for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, if he totals 100-plus tackles as the hunter in the middle of the Bills' defense.
In addition to Buffalo's first three picks, Brooks also sees cornerback Kevon Seymour possibly making an impact in 2016.
- I spoke with some of the Bills' front-office members and coaches, and they believe Seymour could be a Ronald Darby-like presence on the perimeter as a rookie.
You can read all of Brooks' thoughts on Buffalo's rookie class here: Giants, Buccaneers, Bills poised to get most out of rookie classnull