Scouts Inc.’s Matt Williamson looks at AFC East players on the verge of a breakout in 2011.
The Bills had a multitude of needs entering the draft. A pass-rushing outside linebacker for their 3-4 scheme had to be as pressing of a problem as any spot on their roster. Of course, the Bills had only so many draft picks and could not address every need, but the fact that they ignored this position in the early rounds could indicate they are excited about linebacker Arthur Moats as he matures. They should be.
Remember, this 23-year old hails from a very small school (James Madison) and such an adjustment to the NFL can be very difficult. And Moats’ role did expand as the 2010 season went along, even though he did seem to hit a bit of a rookie wall late in the season. But again, this is to be expected to some degree. But most importantly, Moats can rush the passer. He still needs work securing the edge in the run game, but Buffalo’s defensive line looks to be incredibly improved, and that should help Moats’ cause in this department -- as well as in getting after opposing quarterbacks.
Moats plays hard, has good bulk and athletic ability for the position. He isn’t the tall, leaner outside backer type, but more in the mold of what Pittsburgh looks for at the position in stressing leverage and power. He would benefit a ton from the addition of an established outside linebacker in free agency and might never truly be a No. 1 edge pass-rusher, but he is on the rise and could be in store for a breakout season. If you are not familiar with Moats yet, it is time you learn about this player.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.