The Buffalo Bills’ defense was inconsistent throughout the 2015 season as they’ve transitioned to Rex Ryan’s hybrid 3-4 defensive scheme. Some players throughout the front seven that were productive in Mike Pettine and Jim Schwartz’ defensive schemes that were based on 4-3 concepts haven’t been able to replicate that success in their new roles. So, going into the offseason and most notably the 2016 NFL Draft, it’s likely that the team will look to acquire defenders that fit the archetypes for the positions needed for Ryan’s system to thrive. Today, we’ll take a look at Shilique Calhoun, Edge player for Michigan State.
The New Jersey native was a top recruit at defensive end and tight end coming to Michigan State, but made his hay as a DE for the Spartans. A starter during his Sophomore to Senior years, Shilique Calhoun was a 3 time first team All Big Ten selection, 3 time second team All American, and 2 time captain for Michigan State. He ended his time with a team-high 41 consecutive starts out of 54 career games, with 131 tackles, 44 tackles for loss, 27 sacks and 4 forced fumbles.
Previous Prospect Breakdowns
Shilique Calhoun Size/Athleticism
Shilique Calhoun is a long and lean athlete, standing at 6’5 and 250 pounds. While he’s no longer playing tight end, his hip fluidity and bend are evident as he “runs routes” at times around blockers enroute to the QB:
While you would assume a player of Shilique Calhoun’s size would be a liability against the run, Calhoun is good at using his power and leverage to push the lineman he faces back. In addition, when healthy Calhoun is a consistent rusher, so you won’t get him taking a smoke break in the run game:
It’s not all roses, however. When Calhoun doesn’t get a jump and has to try and two gap, it’s going to be tough sledding for number 89:
Pass Rushing Ability
When you watch Calhoun play, particularly when he’s healthy, ’tis a fun time. Calhoun is always working, working, working the tackle, until it’s time for the big dog to eat:
While most college players will need more time to learn how to fight better with their hands, Calhoun isn’t bad in this area. Combined with his quick get-off, you get a dangerous rusher from either side of the line of scrimmage:
Potential Fit with Buffalo Bills
Shilique Calhoun would be a good potential SAM for the Bills, with the ability to occasionally put his hand in the dirt and rush from a 3 or 4 point stance. I wouldn’t recommend dropping him beyond the flat or a hook-curl coverage, as his best play is using his power and hands to get into the backfield and cause havok. For the Bills, Calhoun could serve as a backup to both Hughes and Lawson/ pass rush specialist on 3rd down. In time, I would think he’d supplant Lawson as the Sam, but whether Calhoun can play the myriad positions that Lawson does in the defense remains to be seen.