If Buffalo Bills rookie defensive lineman Marcell Dareus plays the way he did on Wednesday night during the 2011 regular season, the organization has a very, very good draft pick on their hands.
"He was everywhere," said Bills head coach Chan Gailey. "He's a big, strong, physical guy. He had a good night tonight. When he gets healthy, I think he can really be something."
The theme of Wednesday night's practice at St. John Fisher College was a daunting defense that never allowed the offense to get in sync, with Dareus being the main attraction. The 343-pound Alabama product was constantly in the backfield disrupting plays and ending them before they even got started. His veteran teammates are taking notice, too.
"He's been getting better and better since I've been here," said Bills inside linebacker Nick Barnett. "He's already been a load, but the game is different when you get to the NFL. He's showing that he can play at this level."
Teaming up Dareus with the likes of Pro Bowl caliber defensive lineman Kyle Williams, that has the potential of an intimidating lineup for opposing lines.
"When me and Marcell are inside I think if we're getting after it, and we're running pretty hot, we're going to be hard to deal with," Williams said. "I believe he does things sometime better than I can. I do some things better than he does. I think we play well off each other."
To help get the rookie where he needs to be, Williams has taken the big man under his wing.
"I'm always talking to him," the defensive tackle stated. "I'm always pointing things out to him. I told him the only thing he's got to point out to me is when it's third-and-short because I like to jump the count a lot. So that's his only job to let me know so I don't jump offsides."
But the question remains, can Dareus be the impact rookie the Bills have been desperate for at that position? Barnett believes Dareus is ahead of the game.
"I think as far as his rookie year, I think Marcell is moving fast," the linebacker remarked. "Learning, playing the game. Playing with the speed, the strength is there. If he just continues to do what he does and he keeps that learning curve going I think its gonna be awesome. I think he's going to be a great player."
"I think we've got a chance to be good, man. I really do. I think we can do some things up front," Williams added.
As expected, Shawne Merriman took a rest day after sitting out the second half of practice on Tuesday. Merriman said he was feeling tightness in his right leg, so the Bills sat him for the day. Kelvin Sheppard, Shawn Nelson, Dwan Edwards, Justin Rogers, Chris White, Craig Davis, Chris Hairston, Kellen Heard, T.J. Langley, Mansfield Wrotto and Chris Hazley also sat out the session.
Roscoe Parrish had the pads on and was doing some positional work with the wide receivers, but sat out the majority of team drills. Undrafted rookie tight end Zack Pianalto and wide receiver Kamar Aiken returned to practice after sitting a few days out with injury.
Besides the monstrous day for Dareus, Aaron Williams threw in another acrobatic catch for an interception during 7-on-7 drills. Nick Barnett laid the lumber on Brad Smith who took a quarterback draw up the field. Wide receiver Donald Jones had a great day, bringing in two passes way down the field on throws that weren't exactly on target. It was probably his strongest showing catching the ball yet.