The Buffalo Bills have selected Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio with the No. 44 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Kouandjio was SB Nation's fourth-ranked offensive tackle and No. 35 overall player on the top 200 big board. He was ranked behind Jake Matthews, Greg Robinson and Taylor Lewan, but ahead of Antonio Richardson and Ja'Wuan James.
Kouandjio continues a recent legacy of Alabama offensive linemen going early in the NFL Draft, as seven were selected in the previous five years, including four in the first round. As a true sophomore in 2012, Kouandjio took over as the starting left tackle for the Crimson Tide and helped to lead the team to a BCS National Championship victory before earning consensus All-American honors in 2013 as a junior.
That year, he started all 14 games at the left tackle position. With him at the premium spot, the Crimson Tide had 10 individual 100-yard rushing performances, and finished ranked No. 16 in the NCAA in average rushing yards per game. As a sophomore he allowed 3.5 sacks, and graded out at 90 percent or better in seven games. He also had 24 pancake blocks that season, according to the team site.
In his scouting report of Kouandjio, Matthew Fairburn wrote about his need to improve his technique.
As mentioned above, Kouandjio has a few technical flaws in his game that could make his transition to the NFL a tough one. He needs to work on both his kick slide and punch to be a bit more consistent in pass protection. The hope with Kouandjio has to be that his technique becomes more smooth with a healthy knee. But again, his knee may be his biggest question mark at this point.
Weight: 322 pounds
40-yard dash: 5.59 seconds
Bench press: 21 reps
Vertical jump: 27.5"
Broad jump: 8'0
20-yard shuttle: 4.84 seconds
3-cone drill: 7.71 seconds
Kouandjio's showing at the NFL Combine received plenty of negative reviews and looked even worse when compared to the successful showings of players like Robinson and Lewan. To make things worse, there were reports that Kouandjio failed physicals with many of the teams in attendance, primarily due to issues with his knee that was repaired surgically in 2011; however, those reports have been criticized by many, including Alabama head coach Nick Saban.