Buffalo Bills roster battles: reserve defensive tackle

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

The Buffalo Bills' defensive line is getting crowded, but which of these interior defensive linemen has the best chance of making the 53-man roster?

The Buffalo Bills have quite a bit of talent at the defensive tackle position that features talented players in Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Alan Branch and Alex Carrington. However, there are two players that could possibly make some noise in training camp with the second and third units.

With the switch to a "hybrid" defense that will feature many three man fronts, the importance of the defensive tackle position greatly increases. This is because most defensive tackles that would typically play the one or three technique in 4-3 fronts usually project to a three or five technique defensive end in 3-4 looks.

Player Acquired Age Ht Wt Speed
Jarron Gilbert Practice squad (NYJ) 26 6'5" 288 4.81
Jay Ross Street free agent (GB) 25 6'3" 302 5.10

Jarron Gilbert is a freakishly athletic defensive lineman that hasn't really been able to put it all together on the field since being selected in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.

A standout at San Jose State, where he racked up 144 tackles, 22.5 sacks, 15 pass deflections and three forced fumbles in 48 career games, Gilbert has been miscast in various systems. His lack of a positional fit with the Bears most likely stemmed from his size. At 6'5" and 288 pounds, Gilbert is just a tad undersized for the traditional defensive tackle position and is slightly larger than a defensive end in a 4-3 system.

However, his size and athletic ability should translate well to the defensive end position in a one-gap 3-4 system, where he'd be free to utilize his above average penetrating ability while commanding one blocker, or gap. According to The Buffalo News, Gilbert was working as a second-team defensive end this spring. Last year, Gilbert lost the battle for the final defensive end position to Kyle Moore, but don't be surprised if the 26-year old turns some heads in August.

Jay Ross is another interesting option that has an outside chance of making the Bills' final roster. A prototypical nose tackle, Ross stands 6'3" and weighs 320 pounds. After recording 150 tackles, 18.5 of which came for a loss, eight sacks and two forced fumbles at East Carolina, Ross went undrafted in 2010 before signing with the New Orleans Saints. From there, he went to the Green Bay Packers, before the Bills claimed him in 2011.

Ross saw time with the first team during OTAs, subbing for Kyle Williams (who was out recovering from surgery). When Williams is back at 100 percent health, he'll be battling with Torell Troup and Corbin Bryant for second team snaps.

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