Buffalo Bills: 5 key position battles to watch in the first preseason game

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Buffalo Bills Position Battle: Defensive End Number Four/Five

Von Miller still has a shot to return for Week 1 according to himself, and Brandon Beane. However, based on how the team handled the Tre White situation, and Von being a little older, it seems safe to say the team will be cautious and hold him out longer. With Von out, the Bills still have a group of nasty defensive ends. They have proven veteran Leonard Floyd, ascending third-year man on the verge of a breakout, Greg Rousseau, A.J. Epenesa, Shaq Lawson, and Boogie Basham.

Floyd and Rousseau are locks for the team and should be the two starters in week one, assuming Von is out. The Bills use a heavy defensive line rotation so their defensive ends will get loads of opportunity. A.J. Epenesa is having a top-notch camp and has publicly been shouted out by McDermott for being heavily involved in their plans. That brings us to three, without Miller. With Miller that would be four and theirs still multiple guys left.

The Bills could opt to roll with five defensive ends this year and that would leave only one spot left open. Boogie Basham and Shaq Lawson will likely be fighting for it. Basham is a former 2021 second-round pick who has not lived up to his draft status, granted he hasn’t had much opportunity. Basham needs to really show out in these pre-season games to show he wasn’t a wasted pick by the Bills. If he fails to earn his roster spot, he’s a prime candidate to get traded.

Shaq Lawson is back for another run in Buffalo and the fan favorite has been quiet so far this camp. A very good run defender, Lawson has never gully pieced I together as a pass rusher. He played well in the wake of Von Miller’s injury last year and brings juice to the team. Lawson will have to show he yet again belongs on the team.

The difference with this battle that you have to keep in mind while watching it, is that this will likely influence who gets cut or traded when Von returns later down the line. Both could make it and the Bills have their five defensive ends, but when Miller’s ready to wreak havoc again, one will have to go.