When the Bills drafted Ryan Moats in the sixth round back in April, they projected him as an inside linebacker even though he played defensive end at James Madison. Six months later, the Bills apparently have changed their mind.
Moats is practicing at outside linebacker this week, and has a chance to possibly get some snaps in a game in the near future. It was a curious move by the Bills to put him at inside linebacker because most defensive ends transition easier to outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense because they are used to playing in space.
Bills coach Chan Gailey basically said outside linebacker is a more natural position for Moats.
"He’s a little more comfortable coming off the edge than he was playing inside,'' Gailey said after Thursday's practice. "So we’re going to give him an opportunity to see what he can do out there.''
This move could also be based on Gailey's dissatisfaction with the Bills' pass rush. Moats excelled in that area at James Madison, where he led the Football Championship Series (Division I-AA) with 23.5 tackles for losses and was fourth in sacks with 11 en route to winning the Buck Buchanan Award as the top defensive player in FCS.
"I'm use to rushing the passer, so playing outside linebacker is good fit for me,'' Moats said. "It's going to take some time learning different techniques and responsbilities, but I'm looking forward to the challenge.''