Buffalo Bills: Grading the defensive tackles on roster before NFL Draft

ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 29: Ed Oliver #91 of the Buffalo Bills walks off of the field after a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at New Era Field on August 29, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 29: Ed Oliver #91 of the Buffalo Bills walks off of the field after a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at New Era Field on August 29, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The defensive tackle position is going to look a little different than it did last year for the Buffalo Bills. The team released Quinton Jefferson this offseason to create a little more cap space and while they didn’t add any free agents they will be getting back Star Lotulelei. He opted out of this past season due to the pandemic and his return will be a boost to the run defense.

This is what the position currently looks like heading into the 2021 NFL Draft and where they may try to improve.

Defensive tackles on the Buffalo Bills roster

  • Brandin Bryant
  • Vernon Butler
  • Star Lotulelei
  • Ed Oliver
  • Harrison Phillips
  • Justin Zimmer

Position Grade: B

As previously mentioned, the biggest change will be the return of Lotulelei who will be the team’s starting one-tech defensive tackle. This allows Ed Oliver to move back to being more of the three-tech, which really allows him to utilize his strengths and be more of a penetrating tackle that can make plays behind the line of scrimmage.

This season is an important one for Oliver as he enters his third season in the league. While some consider this to be a make-or-break season for Oliver, I wouldn’t go that far. However, he does need to continue to show development and improvement from the first two years in the league.

After Lotulelei and Oliver, the Bills do have good depth and players like Vernon Butler, Harrison Phillips, and Justin Zimmer should be contributors and rotate in fairly regularly at the position. One player to watch is Harrison Phillips. He was a third round pick by the Bills in 2018 and is entering the final year of his deal. If he has a good season, he could be in line for a good contract next offseason, either in Buffalo or elsewhere.

Grading the DEs on the Bills roster before 2021 NFL Draft. dark. Next

Entering the 2021 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills are likely going to be looking to add another one tech defensive tackle that can command multiple blockers and clog running lanes. While Lotulelei’s return will help, he is not a long-term answer and the Bills should find his replacement in this NFL Draft.