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Buffalo Bills GM: 'Rex is salivating' over Shaq Lawson


By way of the direct replacement theory, the Buffalo Bills were beyond thrilled to swap departed and disgruntled edge rusher Mario Williams for their first-round draft pick, Shaq Lawson.

"Very few times that you can go into a draft and have a really big need and that guy there standing out like a sore thumb is the guy you want and the guy that fills that need," general manager Doug Whaley said, via The Buffalo News. "We're extremely excited to have Shaq Lawson. We never thought he'd drop to us at 19."


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For coach Rex Ryan, a Clemson superfan whose son plays for the Tigers, it was thrilling for multiple reasons. Mostly, it was another first-round pick Ryan got to spend on defense.

"Rex is salivating with this guy," Whaley told the team's official site.

Earlier in the night, Whaley added: "He walks in as a Day One starter, opposite Jerry Hughes. He can set the edge from the outside, he can rush speed-to-power, and that gives us two nice rushers off the edge. And then you've got the push in the middle with our defensive tackles."

The pick, however, continues an odd trend for Ryan, who has not been the head coach of a team that has used a first-round pick (or top second-round pick if No. 1 is unavailable) on an offensive player since 2009. That was the year the New York Jets drafted Mark Sanchez.

In the ensuing years, Ryan oversaw the drafting of cornerback Kyle Wilson, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, pass rusher Quinton Coples, cornerback Dee Milliner, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, safety Calvin Pryor and finally with the Bills, cornerback Ronald Darby.

Lawson is No. 8.

Although this fits a direct need for the Bills and is by all accounts a great value pick, is it time to wonder if Ryan starves his offenses a little bit? Upon arrival, he loaded up on talented veterans like LeSean McCoy, Percy Harvin and Charles Clay to compensate. But at some point, will the Bills just end up being a similar version of the Jets? Buffalo took Lawson just before a significant run on talented wide receivers in the early 20s. Paxton Lynch -- and a quarterback -- were never really a possibility for the Bills in the first round but did it deserve a second thought?

In those few drafts, Ryan and his various general managers passed over a handful of Pro Bowl offensive players like Doug Martin, Andy Dalton, David DeCastro, Tyler Eifert, Kyle Long and DeAndre Hopkins in a continued effort to keep his defense as the lifeblood of the team (this isn't really a fair statement considering how spread out the talent was, and he did hit on many of those picks). While Ryan understands what can make that unit thrive better than anyone else, it will be interesting to see how the Bills go about improving their offense, too.


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