In case you missed the first edition this is the 2nd edition of my Buffalo Bills Player to Watch segment. The first player I chose who I believe will be a difference maker come 2016 for the Buffalo Bills was WR Kolby Listenbee. This 2nd edition my choice is on the defensive side of the ball. Outside linebacker Eric Striker, the undrafted free agent signing out of the University of Oklahoma.

As a freshman Striker made appearances in all 13 games but did not record a single statistic until a game vs the Kansas State Jayhawks late in the season in which he recorded six tackles. Year one to year two was a pure blessing for Striker as he earned a starting position and stayed healthy contributing to the Sooners all season. Striker showed up in big games, specifically against arch-rival Texas, when he had a then career-high seven tackles, one for loss and a pass breakup. Striker’s finest performance was featured in one of the most prestigious bowls in collegiate football the Sugar Bowl. Striker helped the Sooners upset the Alabama Crimson Tide, recording a career high three sacks and seven tackles. In the final minute of the game Striker forced a game-sealing fumble– one in which Oklahoma returned for a touchdown clinching the victory and capturing the Sugar Bowl Trophy.

Eric Striker

Last season Striker performed on the biggest stage once again, during the 2015 Orange Bowl vs the Clemson Tigers. During the game he caught an interception and returned it from one end of the field to the next ultimately getting tackled at the 5-yard line. He finished the big game with six tackles including three for loss. Playing big in big games is a sight you want to see for a player transitioning from the college game to the professional level. While Striker is not the most physically imposing linebacker, what he does well he does very well.

Striker stands at 6’1 weighing 221 lbs but in a Rex Ryan defense there is plenty of use for a guy with his skill set. One in which he physically uses his edge rush ability within his light frame. There is definitely a role for this guy to contribute to the defense– he could be used as a rotational outside linebacker or even a rotational safety. The second idea is one that Rex has toyed with a little bit in camp already. Along with the two picks of the 2016 draft class for the Buffalo Bills, Striker comes from a big college one that recruits some of the best players in the nation. Translating the defense mentally for Striker should not be much of a challenge considering Bob Stoops likes to run a pro-style defense with specific terminology. Although he carries a slight frame he was among the top 5 in bench press during the scouting combine. He’s a strong man and I believe the Bills need help at the back-end of the defense at the safety position and with linebacker depth— Striker can fit both of these roles. If he makes the 53-man roster which will be a challenge, I see him starting out as a special teamer making an immediate impact and then moving up the ladder to being a rotational outside linebacker or safety.

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