BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino
After trading back from three spots from pick 41 and acquiring an additional fifth-round pick in this years draft, the Buffalo Bills utilized their second round selection, the No. 44 overall pick, on Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio. With offensive tackle being a position of need entering the draft, Kouandjio provides instant competition for incumbent starting right tackle Erik Pears, and has the potential to unseat Pears and start in his rookie season.
The Alabama Crimson Tide entrusted Kouandjio to take over as their blindside protector at left tackle as a sophomore in 2012. He started every game since and fared very well.
Two of the first traits to stand out about Kouandjio are his huge frame and extremely long arms. He has the body type that NFL teams look for in offensive tackles.
The inability of the Bills offensive line to consistently open up running lanes was an issue for the Bills in 2013. Run blocking is a major area of strength for Kouandjio. He creates a lot of movement as a run blocker and can move defenders at will. He finishes blocks extremely well.
Kouandjio is a solid pass blocker, but this is where his game needs refinement. While Kouandjio can get into his pass set quickly and doesn’t usually allow pressure, he has technical issues that need to be addressed. Inconsistent hand placement and waist-bending can get him in trouble and cause balance issues. As a result of these balance issues, Kouandjio is susceptible to getting beat by inside moves. That said, Kouandjio projects as a right tackle, which is where the Bills need him anyway.
Kouandjio has obvious raw potential, and Bills head coach Doug Marrone would seemingly be the ideal teacher to maximize on his ability. This has the potential to be a real steal in the second round, in a similar way to the Bills’ 2012 second-round selection Cordy Glenn.