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Doug Whaley believes Bills drafted “at least three” Day One starters

NFL Draft

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28: (L-R) Shaq Lawson of Clemson holds up a jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked #19 overall by the Buffalo Bills during the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

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The Bills’ defense was a big strength for the team in 2014 and was expected to remain one with Rex Ryan joining the team as head coach in 2015, but things didn’t work out that way.

That led the Bills to devote the top of their draft to additions on that side of the ball and they took defensive end Shaq Lawson, linebacker Reggie Ragland and defensive tackle Adolphus Washington with their first three picks. Based on his answer to a question from Lindsay Rhodes of NFL Media about how many Day One starters the team netted with those picks, General Manager Doug Whaley thinks they’ll all be playing a big role in getting a better performance.

“At least three [starters],” Whaley said. “Shaq Lawson is going to walk in off the bus starting. Reggie Ragland and then Adolphus Washington -- all three of those guys will start right off the bus. And we’re excited for some guys from the fourth through sixth rounds that will contribute for us.”

With Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams back, we’re not sure exactly how the pieces are all going to fit on the defensive line if both Lawson and Washington will be starters but there’s little doubt that all three are going to be playing a lot come the fall. There’s also little doubt that all will need to make quick transitions to the NFL if the Bills are going to take the strides on defense that will ensure the continuation of the Whaley/Ryan partnership.