Marcell Dareus is a former first-round draft pick, but he is now entering his third NFL season and has yet to blossom into the formidable defensive presence the Buffalo Bills hoped he would be. This kind of gradual development ordinarily wouldn’t be a very big concern, but when Dareus was picked third overall in 2010, he was seen as a vital piece to the future of the Bills’ struggling defense and a player who the organization could build around.
Now it appears as though Dareus is fighting just to hold onto his starting job. Throughout spring training and OTAs, he saw a split of first-team reps with Bills third-year DT Alex Carrington. It would be wrong to assume that this move was just made to motivate Dareus. He should be legitimately concerned about his future spot in the Bills’ defensive rotation, especially following the considerable amount of praise that has Carrington has received lately.
That praise has mostly been centered around Carrington’s skill set and how well it lends itself to Mike Pettine‘s fast, versatile defensive system. After watching tape of Carrington’s play in 2012, Buffalo Bills’ defensive line coach Anthony Weaver had this to say:
“Love him. Love him. From the minute I put the tape on. I know he didn’t get a bunch of reps, but the reps he got…he was doing work out there. So I expect to see a lot of the same this year.”
Weaver went on to elaborate on how he saw Carrington fitting into Pettine’s multiple scheme.
“Even looking at his tape last year, he played with so much technique that it’s amazing he wasn’t more productive. So we plan on maximizing that work he’s put in this offseason and all the different jobs he can play. He’s so flexible. He can play nose, he can play defensive tackle, he can play defensive end, and that, in our system particularly, makes him so valuable,” Weaver said.
It sounds as though the coaching staff is very high on Carrington, and that doesn’t bode well for Dareus. If Dareus hopes to avoid being labeled as a bust and usurped by a player who was drafted 70 spots behind him in 2010, he needs to step up his game, and he needs to do it soon.