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Two top defensive line prospects visit Bills

The Buffalo Bills hosted the top 3-4 defensive end and the most productive sacker in the NFL Draft on Wednesday.

Alabama's Marcell Dareus and Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan made visits to One Bills Drive to get medical check-ups and visit with the Buffalo coaches.

Dareus, a 6-foot-3 1/2 , 319-pounder, has the bulk to stuff the run and showed great ability to crash the passing pocket in his college career. He was the defensive most valuable player in Alabama's win over Texas in the national championship game at the end of the 2009 season. Kerrigan, 6-4 and 267 pounds, projects as a 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. He had 33.5 quarterback sacks in his four-year college career, the most of any player entering the draft.

Dareus would be an ideal 3-4 end and would rush most often from a defensive tackle position in passing situations. He is expected to be a top-five pick and is a candidate for the Bills at No. 3 overall. Dareus left college a year early. As a junior in 2010, he finished with 4.5 sacks, 33 tackles and 11 tackles for loss. He sat out the first two games due to a suspension related to improper contact with an agent. He also played the first part of the season with an ankle injury. As a junior, he had 6.5 sacks. He knocked Texas QB Colt McCoy out of the title game with a big hit and later returned an interception for a touchdown.

Buffalo was Dareus' first pre-draft visit. He's scheduled to meet with Carolina and Denver, who hold the top two picks, respectively. He also has visits scheduled with Cleveland, San Francisco, Tennessee and Washington.

Kerrigan is viewed as a potential mid- to late-first-round prospect, and his stock has risen since late in the college season. He has drawn some comparisons to St. Louis Rams end Chris Long and Jacksonville end Aaron Kampman. He's not a pure speed rusher. He has a big frame, with long arms and combines power and relentless effort to get to the quarterback. As a senior, Kerrigan had 12.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss, tops in the nation. As a junior he had 13 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss. He was a team captain for the Boilermakers, and his teammates nicknamed him "Superman."

The Bills have upcoming visits scheduled with quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert of Missouri and Christian Ponder of Florida State. Bills General Manager Buddy Nix was scheduled to attend North Carolina's pro-day workout today.

email: mgaughan@buffnews.com

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