I was contacted this week by Brian from the phenomenal SBN blog "Buffalo Rumblings " that covers the ins and outs of the Buffalo Bills. He was searching for some info on Oklahoma's CJ Ah You, which we were more than happy to provide to him, and we had some questions of our own regarding the Bills and CJ's chance of making the roster. Thanks for giving us your time Brian.
How familiar were you with CJ Ah You before the NFL draft?
I had stumbled across Ah You's name a couple times when conducting full NFL mock drafts, but to be honest he was never really on my radar as a potential Bill. Buffalo did not have a huge need at defensive end and very few thought one would be drafted by the team. So I had heard of him, but I didn't know much about him at all.
The Bills finished 18th in team defense but were 28th against the rush. What else have they done to improve on defense?
Our run defense was pretty horrendous last season. We feel that a couple key additions will help us improve that rank a bit - veteran DT Darwin Walker (formerly of Philly) and rookie MLB Paul Posluszny of Penn State. Bills fans are confident that these two will help us out; of course, traditional media can only concentrate on the losses of London Fletcher, Takeo Spikes and Nate Clements and think we'll be worse (Chris Mortensen is a prime example). Time will tell of course, but we feel we've gotten quicker along the D-line and bigger in the middle. We're optimistic about improving against the run.
As far as pass defense goes, the loss of Clements hurts. However, our team runs a Cover-2, so shut-down corners are not as important in this scheme as traditional 4-3 alignments. We feel that with an improved pass rush and better run defense, we'll hold our own in the passing game, even with our young secondary still learning on the fly.
They say offense sells tickets but defense wins championships. Which offensive and defensive selections from the draft excite you the most?
This one might seem obvious - Marshawn Lynch and Paul Posluszny. We traded away Willis McGahee this off-season, so Lynch will come in and be an immediate starter for us at RB. Our front office loved his size, speed and versatility and we think he has a shot to make a huge impact right off the bat. Defensively, Posluszny was an absolute steal in the second round of the draft and he'll also start at middle 'backer for us right away. The other five players we brought in (including C.J. Ah You) are great prospects with bright futures, but when you land two starters at the top of your draft, that's what you have to be excited about.
What does CJ Ah You need to show to earn a roster spot in Buffalo?
To be honest, C.J. Ah You has an uphill climb to make our roster. When we hit the 7th round, our draft board was pretty sparsely filled with draftable guys. Marv Levy took a flier on Ah You because he coached his father, Junior, in his time in the CFL. During a recent press conference, Levy called Junior Ah You "the Bruce Smith of the CFL", and said that he hoped C.J. had some of that success in him.
We are essentially set at defensive end - we have a Pro Bowler in Aaron Schobel, and we also have recently given long-term contracts to Chris Kelsay and Ryan Denney. A trade last year landed Anthony Hargrove from the Rams, who came in mid-season and became a contributor for us. We are comfortable with those four as our opening day rotation, and barring injury, it's highly unlikely that Ah You will make our team. But we did draft him for a reason - we love his potential as a pass rusher in our scheme. We think he has the ability to get upfield and the speed to wreak a little havoc. A strong pre-season will likely land him on the practice squad. My personal prediction is that Levy drafted him as a replacement for Hargrove. Tony will be an unrestricted free agent next year, and if Ah You can prove he belongs in the NFL he will likely be groomed as the successor to our #4 DE role.