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Whaley: Bills will have at least three rookie starters

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Rex Ryan and Doug Whaley have worked together for nearly a year and a half now. It's starting to sound like the loquacious head coach is rubbing off on the teflon general manager.

During a Tuesday appearance on NFL Network's NFL Total Access, Whaley shared an extremely high opinion of his latest draft class. Whaley was asked by Lindsay Rhodes if the Bills had any Day 1 starters.

"At least three," Whaley replied. "Shaq Lawson is going to walk in off the bus starting. Reggie Ragland and then Adolphus Washington -- all three of those guys will start right off the bus. And we're excited for some guys from the fourth through sixth rounds that will contribute for us."

Whaley's statement checks out when you inspect the Bills' roster. Lawson, selected 19th overall, is expected to replace Mario Williams opposite Jerry Hughes on Buffalo's formidable defensive line. Ragland (41st overall) fills a major hole in Buffalo's linebacker corps and makes sense as a two-down run-stuffer. Washington (80th pick overall) gives Ryan another option on his defensive line.

One thing we know for sure: Whaley needs this class to make an instant impact. The Bills' defense tumbled down the league rankings in Ryan's first year, prompting the Bills to devote the top of their draft class to that side of the ball. If Buffalo's defense remains a middling unit, both Whaley and Ryan will likely pay the price.

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