Levy & Jauron build their defense

Marv Levy and Dick Jauron's agenda heading into this draft was apparent – rebuild the Buffalo Bills with a cover-2 defense from the secondary on forward. Here is a look at the players the Bills selected in the 2006 NFL draft

Round 1- 8th overall

Buffalo started the pundits talking by making the first surprise selection on the day. With LT Brick Ferguson and S Michael Huff off the board, the Bills immediately implemented plan B, getting their second rated safety – the key to their new cover-2 defense. Why not trade down? With Both Leinart and Cutler on the boards, potential draft partners with the right package did not materialize. The Bills took all 15 minutes and pulled the trigger on Donte Whitner.

Donte Whitner – S - Ohio St. - Height: 5-11 Weight: 205

Donte Whitner is a talented safety prospect. He is a good athlete, has good speed, but his best attribute is his physicality. Donte was everywhere this year, mangling receivers, breaking up passing and intercepting throws. A feared hard hitter, Whitner locks down his end of the field and is considered dangerous at the SS position. He plays with such intensity and determination wherever he is along the field, and his intense style of play is contagious to the others around him, which makes him somewhat of an inspirational leader on the field. A player who plays bigger than his size, he has better than average athletic ability, and has an aggressiveness in him who likes to ball hawk and always be around the ball. He will sacrifice his body in run support and shows absolutely no fear. He takes good angles in pursuit and has developed into a sound open field tackler.

As a strong safety, Whitner is undersized. That's why he may move over to free safety. He has all the talent to match up in single coverage, but at times gets turned around because he is not used to being locked up man to man. If he stays at strong, he will have problems covering tight ends because of his lack of size. His recognition skills still must improve. He diagnoses some plays too late and will need some polishing in that area. Whitner is an interesting prospect. He is an excellent safety, and could have an immediate impact at that position. He may also have the talent to project as a cornerback for some teams, but he will need a lot of work to make that move. Whitner has good experience on special teams. Should make an impact covering kicks immediately in the NFL. Plays the game hard and shows a very good work ethic. He's one of the best overall safety prospects in the 2006 class and was the target of a number of draft boards, Detroit and Miami in particular.

Round 1 - 26th overall

The Bills then jumped ahead of the New York Giants to grab DT John McCargo. Levy and crew considered McCargo one of the best pure cover -2 single gap DTs in the draft, and figured he would not last to their second pick. They sacrificed one of their 3rd round selections to move up to Chicago's slot.

John McCargo – DT- NC State - Height: 6-2 Weight: 302 lbs.

He's a one-gap penetrating type of defensive tackle prospect. He will fit best as a three-technique in the NFL. He shows very good initial burst out of his stance. Fires out low and with good initial power. He shows the consistent ability to penetrate and does a decent job of finding the ball once he gets through the line of scrimmage. He has good speed and overall mobility for his position. Can change directions and will pursue from behind. He is disruptive versus the run and pass.

McCargo was a surprise addition to the early-entry crop in this year's draft. He was completely overshadowed playing on an N.C. State defensive line that included the likes of Mario Williams and Manny Lawson. While McCargo is nowhere near the same caliber player, he was an impact starter in his own right when healthy. McCargo lacks ideal size and will never be able to consistently hold his ground versus the run. However, he has some upside for teams employing a one-gap, up-the-field type of defensive line scheme. McCargo returned to play in the season-finale as a junior, which helped to ease concerns regarding his foot injury.

Round 3 – 70th overall

With Nate Clements' contract in the air- the Bills grabbed a cornerback rated as a late first- early second round selection. A true value pick.

Ashton Youboty – CB- Ohio State - Height: 6-1 Weight: 188

Ashton Youboty is a very solid corner prospect. He is not an elite physical specimen, but he has all the talent to be a starting corner in the NFL. There is not a single physical skill Youboty lacks. He has good size for a corner, is athletic, has good speed, and is strong. He is one of the more active corners in the draft. In coverage, he will go up and make a play on the ball.. He has the quickness and strength to jam receivers, the rare and unique quality to play one on one with wide receivers, and the timing and body control in the air to deflect and defense balls when thrown his way. He plays the ball well when it's in the air and has soft hands. His size and speed allows him to match up well against most receivers and he rarely gets beat deep. A little slim, but he can hit with the best of them. Was tested in practice every day going up against Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn. Still has a lot of upside and potential. He's also not afraid to attack the ball carrier and make plays in the running game.

Right now, he still needs work. Even though he has good size, he will need to pack on a few pounds to handle the rigors of the NFL. Recognition skills are below average. Remains too inconsistent in coverage. Gambles too often and will give up too many big plays consequently. He gives away his tendencies and got burnt for it on several occasions last year in some of the biggest games.

Round 4 – 105th overall

Another player that the Bills have fall in their lap. Projected to be an early 2nd round selection, he was criticized for leaving school early. Would have been a top 30 pick in next year's draft.

Ko Simpson – S - South Carolina - Height: 6-1 Weight: 201

With Jimmy Williams and Michael Huff being corner/safety tweeners, Ko Simpson may be the best true free safety in the draft. He is an all around talent, with a nose for the football. Simpson is the definition of a ball hawk in the secondary. He just has a nose for the football. He has a great sense of knowing where the action is going to be and gets there quickly. Simpson had seven picks in two seasons from his free safety spot. He is willing to attack the line of scrimmage and help out in run support. He is a very good athlete, with excellent quickness, and the speed to close on plays. Shows adequate range in coverage. Possesses adequate-to-good speed and shows good closing burst to the ball. Shows outstanding ball skills. Has enough quickness and natural athleticism to match up versus bigger receivers one-on-one.

Lacks ideal playing experience. Is still unpolished in terms of his overall technique and recognition skills. He can be over-aggressive at times and will get caught taking too many false steps vs. play-fake. He needs to play with more discipline. As a run-stopper, Simpson needs some more work as he is not a solid tackler. Simpson needs a very good off-season working out for NFL scouts to jump into the top 40 of the draft. He has tremendous upside, and needs development. Could have been be a high risk/high reward pick in round 2-3, or a future steal in round 4

Round 5 - 134 overall

Kyle Williams – DT- LSU- Height: 6-1 Weight: 298

Williams is a highly competitive and productive defensive tackle who just has a knack for being around the ball and making plays. A tough, hard-nosed defensive tackle who plays with an all-out aggressive attitude on every play. He has good playing speed to chase down ball carriers in backside pursuit. His ability to get off the ball fast and use of hands helps him to jolt offensive linemen and play strong despite size. His quickness off the ball lets him shoot into the backfield when the offensive lineman over him tries to pull and he can make the tackle before the running back gets to the line of scrimmage. Overall, Williams is the type of defensive tackle who often gets overlooked because he is undersized and not a good all-around athlete. However, with his consistently good burst off the ball, very good instincts, high motor and tremendous competitiveness, he will make an NFL team as a backup defensive tackle who consistently contributes as part of a defensive line rotation.

5th Round –143 overall

Brad Butler- OT- Virginia Height: 6-7 Weight: 308

Butler is a tall tackle, with the long arms to be very effective in pass protection when he punches the defensive end and gets arm-extension. He is surprisingly quick getting through the line of scrimmage to the second level, seal blocks the linebacker, and can stay on and maintain his blocks in space better than expected. He can make the mini-pull around the tight end to chip block the force linebacker out of the play. Butler is a limited athlete, who lacks the foot quickness to slide out fast enough to protect the edge from explosive speed rushers. Additionally, he struggles to change directions and slide back inside quick enough to cut off the quick inside pass-rush move. He has a bad habit of picking up his left foot and putting it back down in the exact same spot right after the snap, and this false step slows him down to where he cannot get out to protect the corner.

6th 178 overall- Keith Ellison, OLB 6-1 229 Oregon State

7th 216 overall- Terrance Pennington, OT 6-7 325 New Mexico

7th - 248 overall- Aaron Merz, G- 6-3 346 California

(Billszone.com )


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