Buffalo Bills: 3 questions at defensive tackle entering training camp
How do the Buffalo Bills use Quinton Jefferson and Vernon Butler?
Even though the Bills did lose Jordan Phillips, this position group is much deeper than last year. This is going to certainly create some challenges for the coaching staff to figure out the best way to get all five players, including Quinton Jefferson and Vernon Butler, the proper snaps for them to make an impact.
Quinton Jefferson joined the Bills as a free agent after spending four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. While not necessarily a starter, he has been a key piece of the Seahawks defensive line as a penetrating defensive tackle. In the past two years, while playing around 55% of the defensive snaps, he has had 6.5 sacks and 25 QB hits. He does bring some versatility and can line up at pretty much any of the defensive line spots, whether inside at tackle or outside at defensive end.
The other key addition is Vernon Butler, a former first round pick by the Carolina Panthers. He has had a slow start to his career and the Panthers elected to not pick up his fifth-year option. Butler went on to have a breakout year last season, finishing with six sacks. The biggest question for Butler is that he got those sacks, shifting outside as a defensive end in more of a 3-4 defense. Can he produce similarly as a defensive tackle in McDermott’s 4-3 defense.
If the Buffalo Bills can answer some of these questions, this is a position group that has tremendous potential. The fact that the Bills have five players that can rotate in with very limited drop in terms of talent is going to wear down opposing offensive lines and should be a big boost for the defense as a whole.