INDIANAPOLIS --- One reason Doug Whaley is not too worried about his team's salary-cap situation is that this year's NFL draft seems to be strong at the Buffalo Bills' perceived areas of need.
They'll be looking to infuse the front seven with talent and the 2016 draft looks fairly loaded at end, outside linebacker and inside linebacker. Somehow, the Bills must add life to a pass rush that had 54 sacks one year and 21 the next.
Whaley isn't alone in this sentiment, too.
Here's what a few other NFL GM's and head coaches had to say about the front seven in this year's draft. Those players, meanwhile, will be trickling through the media room here at Lucas Oil Stadium throughout the day.
Arizona Cardinals GM Steve Keim on the pass rushers in this draft: “The guys I’ve seen so far look solid. Again, pass rushers are hard to find. Quarterback, left tackle and pass rusher, to me, are the three hardest positions to find. It comes down to only so many people are walking the earth with the skill set to be big enough, athletic enough and have the traits to be able to rush the passer. That’s generally why they are either drafted high or get overpaid in free agency.”
Jacksonville Jaguars HC Gus Bradley on the depth of pass rushers in draft: “I think there is. I think going into the draft class there was some unknowns there but I think that as we looked at more and more guys I think there are some guys that have the traits that we’re looking for.”
Pittsburgh Steelers GM Kevin Colbert on the pass rush in college: "Sometimes you’re better off not getting upfield because that creates escape lanes for some of the more athletic quarterbacks. So, sometimes you want to create the pressure, sometimes you want to keep him in the pocket. If it’s a shorter guy, you want to contain him and make him throw from the pocket, as opposed to getting up field and maybe creating a passing lane for him. So, when you’re looking at that—you want sacks, but sometimes you have to understand that they’re probably not being coached to sack exclusively, they may have to try to get there but if not, contain. That’s part of the evaluation, that’s part of the technical thing I rely on the coaches for to point out to us."
Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff on the OL/DL: "The fronts, this is a strong draft on both fronts. On both O and D line. I think that’s a good thing for teams that are ostensible looking for O line, D Line. That’s a good thing."
Indianapolis Colts GM Ryan Grigson on addressing the pass rush in this draft: "The old adage, you know, if you have 12 pass rushers, go get 13. But it’s easier said than done. The draft this year, there are some players. It’s not personally in my opinion as thick as you’d like. But those guys are at a premium. They go really high in the draft. The developmental guys, a lot of times they have their warts. There’s different types of players. There’s guys that can get to the quarterback a multitude of ways, but those pure edge rushers are the ones that command the big dollars, the ones that are in everybody’s first-round mocks. Those are the guys that come to the forefront real quick. I think everybody knows how important the pass rush is. We’ve got to be able to build that. You do it through the draft for the most part.
"I think a lot also has to do with when you’re playing ahead or you’re not playing ahead. That factors in the production level of a lot of pass rushers."
New York Giants HC Ben McAdoo on the pass rush: "The quickest way to get better is up front on both sides of the ball. You have to protect your quarterback and you have to get after the other team’s quarterback. It’s directly related to the QB rating differential, which is important in winning and losing games. You want to do a better job of getting after the quarterback whether it’s up front or it’s coming from the secondary, putting pressure there or from the linebacker level. You have to make the quarterback uncomfortable, certainly."