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IK Enemkpali pushing for Buffalo Bills starting role

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Could Manny Lawson be replaced by the youngster?

IK Enemkpali is best known for breaking his teammate’s jaw a year ago, but the Buffalo Bills defensive end could go from the scrap heap to the starting lineup in Rex Ryan’s “fully pregnant” defense this offseason and he’s off to a good start according to Tyler Dunne of The Buffalo News.

“Manny Lawson may be the single most knowledgeable defensive player here but was hardly ever cut loose last year,” said Dunne in his minicamp round-up. “Enemkpali got some run with the No. 1 defense and should realistically push Manny Lawson for the job.”

The Bills have Jerry Hughes on one side of the defensive line providing a pass rush but Lawson has never been known for his pass rushing ability. (Lawson has 24.5 sacks in 143 career games.) That’s one of the reasons Buffalo spent a first-round pick on Shaq Lawson, but his shoulder surgery means there is an opportunity for Enemkpali to unseat the steady veteran Lawson.

Dunne notes they were padless practices without much contact, but Enemkpali’s quickness was on full display as he was “ripping past Cyrus Kouandjio inside and outside.”

Ryan respected Lawson so much last year he reportedly gave him the playcalling duties on the defense last year when Preston Brown wasn’t being assertive enough. The veteran Lawson will know the defense inside and out and be in the right position. If Enemkpali wants to unseat him, he’ll have to flash the pass rushing ability Lawson can’t bring to the table.