3 takeaways for the Buffalo Bills defense from the 2023 season

Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins
Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins / Perry Knotts/GettyImages
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The Buffalo Bills' edge rushers underperformed

This part of the defense is one of the most important in football, probably the most important position on a defense and the Bills haven't had a consistent edge rusher this year. The depth of the position is good, as there are experienced players in the second and third-string positions, but there still seems to be a lack of edge pressure. 

The first player fans will point fingers at is the $120 million, 34-year-old Von Miller. At least from this season, Miller has severely underperformed, but there's not much to expect from a 34-year-old player fresh off a season-ending injury from the year prior. 

However, players like Leonard Floyd and A.J. Epenesa have exceeded expectations, as Floyd was acquired in free agency, recorded over 10 sacks, and was probably the best pure edge-rusher on the team this season. Epenesa had limited snaps on the year and still recorded six and a half sacks, seven tackles-for-loss, and 10 quarterback hits. Epenesa is in the final year of his contract and it's not likely the Bills will extend him due to his limited snap count, but even with the snap count, Epenesa has shown that he can perform effectively at an NFL level.

There's one other player who doesn't have many excuses for injuries and snap counts, Greg Rousseau. The 2021 first-round pick has yet to show why he was picked so high, besides the player's 6'6 ft, 34-inch arm frame. There's a lot of potential from the 23-year-old, but he's been a bit of a disappointment. 

In 2022, it seemed that Roussaeu was developing as he recorded eight sacks, but this year he only recorded five and hasn't shown many improvements in pass rushing. Rousseau isn't a bad player by any means, given his potential and his draft position, he's been disappointing. The Bills miss having that edge rusher where they don't need to blitz too many times to get pressure on a quarterback, and that's something they've missed from Miller before his injury.

Rousseau will most likely still be on the team next year, but his time is running out. If he wants to stay in Buffalo or at least seek a long-term contract, he has to prove why he was worth being picked in the mid-first round. Depending on what the Bills do in free agency or during the draft, his playing time may be more limited than before.