How good will the Buffalo Bills' Defensive Line be in 2012?

By Adam McGill

The signing of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson was a statement-making move in the AFC East, and that statement clearly is that Buffalo wants to hit Tom Brady .  The Buffalo Bills’ defense ranked 26th overall in the NFL last season and an even worse 28th against the run, and desperately needed some new faces on their line.  It was hurtful to see the team finally put some points on the board, only to have their defense allow 27.1 points against per game.  However, in a 365-day period the team has completely changed the outlook of their front four:


Mario Williams                     signed 5-yr contract in off-season worth up to $100 million

Kyle Williams                        re-signed in off-season for 6 years, $39 million

Marcel Dareus                       signed 4-yr, $20.4 million contract as rookie in 2011

Mark Anderson                     signed a $27 million contract in off-season

To those of you without a calculator, that means that the team dropped upwards of $186 million dollars on improving their defensive line in the last 11 months alone.  The team has added two fast, experienced bodies on the outside of their already massive d-line, and now can boast one of the best all-around defensive lines in the game.  The team now has a completely different look to their defense, lead by all four of the Super Mario Brothers.

Mario Williams is one of the most athletic defensive linemen in the game and has certainly lived up to his first overall selection in 2006, which the Texans were heavily criticized for because they passed on Reggie Bush.  Williams converted to an outside linebacker in Houston’s 3-4 defense and still had an impact before he missed the rest of the year with a torn pectoral muscle.  However, Williams is completely healthy and excited about re-joining a young 4-3 defense in Western New York.  He will demand a double team on almost every play and will help the Bills finally get some pressure on the highly talked about quarterbacks of the AFC East.

Anderson remains the more unheralded of the two free agent singings, but the 28-year still tied the New England Patriots team leading 10 sacks in 2011.  He is very great at using his hands against offensive linemen and should easily win the starting spot opposite of Mario.

Returning defensive tackles, Kyle Williams and Marcel Dareus, are eager to lineup next to the team’s new additions.  Williams is looking good following an off-season foot surgery to elevate some nagging foot pain, but is only one year removed from the Pro Bowl Year where he totaled 77 tackles and 5.5 sacks.  The former fifth round pick has become one of the best lane stuffers in the entire NFL and has led the Bills’ line for five years.  Dareus was the team’s first round pick in 2011 (third overall) and 340-pound defensive tackle plays much faster then he looks.  He was involved in every positive play the Bills had last year and will demand a double-team at times next year by himself. The duo combine to form 600 pounds of man muscle and will only create more room for Super Mario to fly.

The team will also be extremely deep on the line with veterans Dwan Edwards and Chris Kelsay on the bench.  Both linemen were starting games for the team in 2011, but with the new additions, Buffalo will be fortunate enough to finally have NFL experience on their bench.

2012 also marks the first time that the Buffalo organization has actually been aggressive in the free agent market in years.  The Bills’ defensive line will be one of the best in football next year, as they are looking to prove something this year and take the AFC East by storm.  Buffalo will be a much better defensive unit in the upcoming year and will certainly catch some teams by surprise.

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