The investment on the defensive line looks like it will pay big dividends for the Buffalo Bills in 2022
There is no question that the AFC has drastically improved this offseason and one thing that stands out is the talent in the conference at the quarterback position. Over the past few weeks, notable quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan have moved from the NFC to the AFC.
These two additions on top of the talent that was already here like Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, and of course Buffalo Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen is going to keep a lot of defensive coordinators up at night. While getting pressure on the quarterback has always been important, it is only magnified now.
Fortunately, general manager Brandon Beane made it a point to improve this part of the defense that should put this group in a good position to compete against some of the top quarterbacks. He has done such a good job that Pro Football Focus recently listed the Bills’ defensive line as one of the most improved position groups this offseason.
"He showed up when it mattered most in the postseason, producing the highest grade of any defender partaking in the playoffs — 93.0. Miller may be past his dominant prime, but he makes up for it by being one of the most technically refined players at the position. His down-to-down pass-rush plan is masterful, making him a must-watch for any aspiring NFL pass-rusher at the collegiate and high school levels.The only returning interior defender on Buffalo’s roster to earn a PFF grade above 55.0 in 2021 is Ed Oliver. Harrison Phillips eclipsed that mark with ease, but he’s now a Minnesota Viking. Buffalo signed DaQuan Jones and Tim Settle to offset that, though. While neither is a top-tier player at the position, their signings do help ease the loss of Phillips and improve the unit overall."
Improvements on the defensive line for the Buffalo Bills go beyond Von Miller
The addition of Von Miller certainly changed the dynamic of this group as he is one of the top pass rushers in the NFL, even at 33 years old. However, the improvements on the defensive line go beyond just the star defensive end.
As Anthony Treasch noted, the Bills found good replacements for Harrison Phillips with the additions of DaQuan Jones and Tim Settle at defensive tackle.
In addition to those moves, the Buffalo Bills also brought back players familiar with this defense in defensive end Shaq Lawson and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, who at worst are great depth players but likely will find roles in the rotation at their position.
This is a group that certainly looks to be improved but they also likely have a tall task ahead of them this coming season with the caliber of quarterbacks in the AFC.