That’s a lot of Grade A beef. That’s also the combined weight of three offensive linemen who heard their names called by the Buffalo Bills on Friday and Saturday: Cyrus Kouandjio, Cyril Richardson and Seantrel Henderson.
The Buffalo Bills beefed up this weekend and EJ Manuel and the team’s running backs were the beneficiaries.
Last season, the Buffalo Bills gave up 48 sacks. Most of the sacks came from holes along the offensive line at guard and right tackle. Despite finishing second in the NFL in rush yards, Buffalo’s line struggled to create consistent holes for their backs as well. The running backs finished 14th in the league based on yards per carry average.
Buffalo clearly saw the problem and addressed it thoroughly in the 2014 NFL draft.
The Bills not only added three massive men, they added three extremely talented players.
Cyrus Kouandjio, the team’s second round pick, will need to fly to Buffalo on a plane by himself. No, I’m not making a joke about his weight. I’m referring to the massive chip that Kouandjio has on his shoulder.
If you saw Kouandjio Friday night, you knew he was upset about being at the Radio City Music Hall. Not because it’s not a lovely venue, but because he felt his name should have been called on Thursday.
Injury concerns relating to his knees caused Kouandjio to fall down draft boards. The Bills said their medical staff had no concerns, and realistically why should they? Kouandjio played in all 27 Crimson Tide games the last two seasons. He was a stud offensive lineman who’s only issue is taking on speed rushers. Cordy Glenn had the same issues and is doing very well for himself now.
There’s no doubt that Kouandjio can be the next second round stud the Bills have picked up in the last few years joining Glenn, Robert Woods and Kiko Alonso.
Kouandjio will battle Chris Hairston and Erik Pears for the right tackle job. Look for Kouandjio, a massive mauler, to be the team’s Week 1 starter at right tackle versus the Bears.
Cyril Richardson was drafted in the 5th round of the 2014 NFL draft, a round where you usually hope to find a contributor 1-2 years down the road. The Bills found themselves another starter. That’s not a knock against Chris Williams or Kraig Urbik, the team’s current starters at guard. Richardson is just that good.
Richardson played tackle and guard at Baylor and fell in the draft due to weight concerns. Throughout 2013 Richardson looked a bit lethargic and he did nothing to help his cause at the Senior Bowl. That said, Richardson showed up in much better shape at his pro day.
Gil Brandt, a respected NFL draft analyst, said the following on Richardson:
“He has worked hard to lose that weight and that hard work paid off at Baylor’s pro day, when he looked very good; he looked like the Richardson we remembered from a year ago when he was one of the most highly regarded offensive line prospects in the nation. He had gotten too heavy in 2013 and did not move well enough to be considered a top line prospect.”
If Richardson gets his hands on you, you’re not going anywhere. Like Kouandjio, Richardson does a great job of creating space for running backs. C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson and Bryce Brown should all be thrilled with Buffalo’s first two offensive line picks.
Seantrel Henderson, one of the team’s 7th round picks, has just as much natural ability as Kouandjio and Richardson. Yes, you read that correctly. Henderson, pick 237, is just as talented as a 2nd and 5th round pick. The only reason Henderson was available so late is due to failed drug tests due to marijuana use and questions about his work ethic.
At Miami, Henderson failed a few drug tests and then promised to clean up his act during the pre-draft process. Instead, NFL teams were notified that Henderson failed another drug test at the combine. Making matters worse for Henderson, he quit his own pro day without explanation.
Actions like that lead to players going undrafted. Instead, Buffalo picked him late based on solely on his talent. To the team’s credit, Doug Marrone immediately laid down the law with Richardson.
Doug Whaley on Seantrel Henderson: “We talked to him. He knows he has one shot.”
— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) May 10, 2014
Marrone did something similar to this with UDFA Da’Rick Rogers last season and when Rogers’ effort was lacking, he saw reduced playing time in the preseason and was cut. Talent only gets you so far in the NFL and if Henderson doesn’t take his stint with Buffalo seriously, he may be out of the league in short order.
That said, there is little risk involved here for the Bills. If he plays up to his talent-level, he’s the steal of the draft. If he goes back to his old habits, he’s looking for work elsewhere.
On paper, my projected starting offensive line for the Bills looks great:
Glenn (LT)–Richardson (LG)–Wood (C)–Urbik (RG)–Kouandjio (RT)
Since Kouandjio is Cameroonian, I hereby dub this year’s line “The International House of Pancakes.”
If you’re unfamiliar with pancake as a football term, it’s when you drive a defensive player back and down on their backside.
EJ Manuel, C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson and Bryce Brown can sleep well. The Buffalo Bills’ offensive line has been upgraded significantly after beefing up at the 2014 NFL draft.