1. Defensive Line
The strength of the defensive line is the great depth accumulated throughout the whole line. Losing Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips allowed the Bills to go rebuild their defensive line through free agency and the draft and that’s what they did.
At one technique defensive tackle the Buffalo Bills have Star Lotulelei and free agent signing Vernon Butler. Lotulelei adds more of a run stuffing style while Butler adds more pass rushing value with six sacks for Carolina last year, while Harrison Phillips is versatile and can play either position. At three-technique there’s Ed Oliver who had 5 sacks last year and with a bigger snap count this year could have a big breakout season. New addition Quinton Jefferson should rotate throughout the whole Defensive Line from three-technique to playing some defensive end on early downs.
The defensive end position welcomed two new additions this offseason, with Mario Addison and A.J. Epenesa, Addison added 9.5 sacks last season for Carolina, at age 32 you would expect a slight decline but Addison has been extremely consistent the last four seasons with no dip in his play. He should start opposite Jerry Hughes at defensive end. Epenesa enjoyed an 11.5 sack season last year for Iowa and at 6’5″ and nearly 280 pounds Epenesa has the flexibility to play base end or kick inside to three technique on passing downs. Trent Murphy looks like he could be on his way out, he had some good moments last year but with the additions the Bills made they would be paying a rotational end a significant salary.
Darryl Johnson is looking like the only other Defensive Lineman who has a chance at the roster, Johnson played in all phases of special teams last year and showed some potential for the Bills to consider him.