5 position battles on defense to watch during Buffalo Bills training camp

Kaiir Elam, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Kaiir Elam, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Buffalo Bills
Tyrel Dodson, Buffalo Bills (Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle) /

Tyrel Dodson vs. Terrel Bernard

The Buffalo Bills this offseason released linebacker A.J. Klein, who has been that third linebacker when they play 4-3 formation or as that primary backup to either Matt Milano or Tremaine Edmunds when they miss time due to injuries.

That spot is now up for grabs entering training camp and the two players likely competing for it are Tyrel Dodson and rookie Terrel Bernard. Entering camp, Dodson should be considered the favorite as he has experience in this defense.

In 2020, he started two games with Edmunds and Milano missing time early in the year, and considering it was his first real NFL experience, he played well. This past season his playing time on defense was limited with both starters staying healthy all season and he was on the field for only 78 defensive snaps.

As for Terrel Bernard, he is a smaller linebacker but was highly productive at Baylor and averaged over 8 total tackles per game in his final three seasons in college. As a rookie, the coaching staff may try to avoid overloading him with learning multiple positions and keep his focus as the primary backup to Milano and have a role in certain sub-packages this season.

This is a position battle that ultimately may play out in the preseason but it will be worth noting how much each player is playing with the first-team defense during training camp.