By almost any credible assessment, Dareus was the best prospect in the 2011 NFL Draft. He should have been selected accordingly. That he ended up as the third overall choice resulted from what, for the Alabama defensive tackle, was an unfortunate set of circumstances.
The Panthers allowed themselves to be guided by the desperate need to make a big marketing splash in going with Auburn quarterback Cam Newton with the top overall pick. The Broncos let themselves be guided by the likelihood of having louder individual statistics, in the form of sacks, to justify their decision to go with Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller at No. 2.
If either team had simply stuck to seeking every quality it could want in a player at any position, Dareus never would have been available for the Buffalo Bills to grab third. And that was what he was venting about during a recent appearance on Michael Irvin's radio show in Miami.
From the consistent dominance and versatility he showed on the field to the focus and coach-ability he displayed in pre-draft team interviews, Dareus knew he was the real deal. He knew he was offering the complete package. He knew he didn't leave, as he told Irvin, any room for anyone to say, "Well, he's good, but ..."
As a result, Dareus has a massive chip on his massive shoulder. Good for him. He can't wait for his opportunity to show the Panthers and Broncos what they missed. The Broncos are on the Bills' 2011 schedule, and Dareus intends to be as big a grinch as he can during their Christmas Eve encounter at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Other players have followed similar paths of revenge after draft snubs. Among the most notable was another Bills pick, Thurman Thomas, whom ESPN's cameras famously captured agonizing/sleeping during his fall to the second round because of concerns about a knee injury.
Thomas followed that path all the way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If Dareus possesses the same type of anger, maybe he will, too.