2024 NFL Draft, NFL Draft

Bills Elimination Game – Defensive Line

Featured Photo Credit: Kris Jenkins. CREDIT: © Kirthmon F. Dozier

CREDIT: Dean Kindig, BuffaloFAMBase.com.

The “2023” column is Visit Score, which is the sum of credentialed scout visits as follows: 1 Game with 1 Scout=1 pt., Beane=3 pts extra, Joe Brady=2 pts. extra, Position Coach=2 pts, McDermott/Aranda or Diaz connection= 3 pts., Combine meeting=2 pts, Pro Day attendance =2 pts, 30-Visit=5 pts. It is clear that Beane’s minions are shopping mainly in the three Big Box stores –the Big10, SEC, and ACC. The Big 12 guys, Texas and Baylor, had only 1 scout visit a game, and possibly we’ll see 30-visits for T’Vondre Sweat, Byron Murphy, and Gabe Hall. The tallest IDL with the fastest forty, UConn‘s Eric Watts, also received one scout visit, and might get a 30-visit.

Let’s look at the same information in a differennt way: Sacks + TFLs Per Game over their career (CarStarts is number of games started in that player’s career, and seems to be important to Beane):

CREDIT: Dean Kindig, BuffaloFAMBase.com.

Ed Oliver was drafted by the Bills with an incredible 2.08 Sacks + TFL per game over his career at Houston, while Tim Settle had a 1.02, DaQuan Jones had 0.71, and Jordan Phillips had 0.63. The lowest scorers on this list are essentially gap-clogger types and still good players for keeping LBs clean, but some BillsMafia darlings are on the bottom, including Kris Jenkins (Beane drafted his father), Darius Robinson, Justin Eboigbe, Justin Rogers, T’Vondre Sweat, and Zion Logue.

Let’s look at the same DLs from a forty time perspective:

CREDIT: Dean Kindig, BuffaloFAMBase.com.

Ed Oliver, who’d been playing DT1T Nose Tackle at Houston in a 3-4 defense, is our DT3T and is by these standards, totally undersized for either at 6-2, 281, but the Bills absolutely loved his strength and his speed (4.82). Note the top four on this list –all have a VisitScore of 4: Jordan Jefferson, Eboigbe, Leonard Taylor, and Maason Smith. The LSU connection between Sean McDermott and Dave Aranda, former LSU DC, should be screaming “LSU”, with an ideal DT1T/DT3T pairing of Jordan Jefferson/Maason Smith (and maybe Day3 pick, Trey Wingo).

For reference, our platoon IDLs aren’t very fast (Source: DraftScout):

EdO=6-2, 181, 4.82
DaQuan=6-4, 322, 5.34

Settle===6-3, 329, 5.37
JPhillips=6-5, 329, 5.15
Poona==6-0, 306, 5.15

It is notable that Jordan Jefferson played all three defensive line positions, and the others routinely slid out to EDGE based on down and what matchups they desired –similar to what the Bills’ defense does. While Sean McDermott’s buddy, Dave Aranda, was DC with LSU from 2016-2020, neither Jordan Jefferson nor Maason Smith were at LSU for those years. It’s also notable that the Bills scouts saw 26 out of these 27 of these IDL players in “live” games. It’s 100% a certainty that the Bills are drafting IDL in 2024.

Jordan Jefferson (99). Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

It’s very possible, in fact, that the Bills will draft two IDLs. It might be preferable to have one be a DT1T who has played some DT3T (Jordan Jefferson has played all 3 line positions, and Iowa’s Logan Lee is often a frequent late-round pick in my mocks).

Gabe Hall (95). Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports via Imagn.com, LLC.

The other draft pick can be a DT3T who plays some EDGE (RD1=Jer’Zhan Newton (gone), Darius Robinson; RD1-2=Leonard Taylor; RD2=Braden Fiske, Kris Jenkins, Brandon Dorlus, Maason Smith, Ruke Orhorhoro; RD3=Tyler Davis, DeWayne Carter; RD4=Keith Randolph Jr.; RD5A or RD5B=Justin Eboigbe, Gabe Hall). Some guys not invited to the Combine wouldn’t surprise me in RD6-7 (Evan Anderson, Khristian Boyd).

Just know that the Bills are looking for life after DaQuan, who’s 32, and the Bills will end up with one scary D-Line with an influx of youth.

Editor’s babble: So grateful to our Duke of the Draft, Dean Kindig for his many contributions to our blog. You can also find Dean on Xwitter @TCBILLS_Astro.

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