Tommy Doyle and Ike Boettger’s returns give the Bills O-Line depth and upside
Tommy Doyle is another third year player who could have a much bigger impact in 2023. Similar to Brown, his development has been interrupted by circumstances and injuries which make it easier to project continued growth and improvement in Year 3.
Doyle was originally a linebacker and defensive end, then after transferring to Miami of Ohio, he became an offensive lineman before being drafted by the Buffalo Bills as an offensive tackle in 2021. Doyle showed improvement and the potential to start for the Bills last year, or at least be a rotational piece and multi-position fill-in before injuring his foot and missing the first two weeks of the regular season, and then tearing his ACL in a game against the Dolphins in Week 3.
The typical rehab from an ACL reconstruction takes 8-9 months, so Doyle should be back to full strength in time to have a full preseason. The Bills should definitely not count on him being a starter, or maybe even plan on him being a major contributor in 2023. However, he provides them with a projectable multi-position backup who may continue to develop into a potential starter. Given that he is still on his rookie deal, he is exactly the type of player who could surprise and play himself into a bigger role for the team in 2023.
Boettger is in a very similar position to Doyle entering 2023, having spent most of last season rehabbing from an Achilles Tendon injury before returning late in the season. Prior to his injury issues, he too had shown promise, replacing Jon Feliciano as a starter in 2021 and looking like he may step up and be a significant role player for the Bills before injuring his Achilles.
ACL and Achilles injuries are serious issues, and no team should count on linemen coming back from these types of injuries to be full-time starters. However, if both are back to full health, they are the types of players that could step in as backups for a truly elite offensive line. For the Bills, having multiple rotational depth pieces with starter upside would be ideal for a unit looking to take a major step forward in 2023.