Heading into the 2015 NFL Draft the Buffalo Bills will be looking to bolster the offensive side of the ball, but they’ll also need to acquire some role players that fit Rex Ryan’s hybrid defensive scheme, particularly in the front seven. Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman Anthony Chickillo is an interesting prospect that could play a variety of roles within Ryan’s scheme that requires versatility from his defensive linemen.
Chickillo measured in at 6’4” and 270 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine, a little lighter than the 282 pounds Miami listed him at, but his long arms (33 ½” arms) and strength (27 bench press reps) make him an intriguing five-technique defensive end prospect.
Chickillo made 47 consecutive starts dating back to his true freshman season, finishing his four-year career with 170 tackles and 15.5 sacks. His production isn’t that impressive, but it’s important to note that he was forced into action early as a 235-pound true freshman defensive end and had to put on a lot of weight in a short time span.
At the combine, Chickillo was impressive, running a 4.79 40-yard dash, 1.59 10-yard split and a 4.25 short-shuttle, while posting a 34.5” vertical. He’s not a sudden or quick twitch athlete and isn’t explosive off the snap, but he’s quick and shows good lateral agility to get around blockers and disrupt the backfield.
If you’re looking for an explosive speed-to-power edge rusher that’ll give you 10+ sacks per season, Anthony Chickillo isn’t your guy. However, he’s a strong player that can take on double teams and push the pocket, allowing his teammates to make plays.
He’s got a high motor and never gives up on a play, using his hands to get off blocks and work to the quarterback. In the following clip, Chickillo beats his man to the inside, before engaging with the tight end. He fights him off using his hands and is met by another defender that he sheds before making the sack.
Chickillo isn’t explosive off the snap and can play too high at times. He often stutter steps to try and set up a move on the offensive lineman, rather than exploding and getting upfield. By playing so high, Chickillo can negate his greatest asset- his strength, and lose leverage.
Chickillo’s value in the NFL will come as a run defender, where he’s strong enough at the point of attack to set the edge and keep the play inside. He uses his hands as well as any defensive lineman in the draft which allows him to not only maintain distance between his man, but also to shed blocks and make plays in the backfield.
Playing all along Miami’s defensive line, Chickillo had a variety of responsibilities against the run. In the following clip, he’s lined up as a nose tackle, where he fights through a double team, before bringing Florida State’s guard and running back to the ground.
How He Fits The Bills
Anthony Chickillo is a versatile defensive lineman that projects to a wide range of positions in the NFL. His ideal position is at right defensive end in a 4-3 defense, but he can play the five-tech end position in a 3-4, while kicking inside to the three-technique defensive tackle in nickel defense. He may even be able to play some strong-side linebacker in heavy fronts, where he’d be asked to set the edge against the run. Regardless of position, Chickillo is a good football player that will likely have a better pro career than he did in college. Rex Ryan looks for versatility in his defensive players and Chickillo would be a nice piece for his hybrid scheme.
Projection: 3rd round
Comparison: Michael Bennett