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Buffalo Bills defensive front seven: 2016 better or worse than 2015?

Is the Bills front seven better or worse after losing several big names?

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The biggest departure for the Buffalo Bills this offseason was in the defensive front seven, and it’s also where they added all three of their top draft choices. With that much turnover, there is sure to be some great debate in the comments.


  • DE Jerry Hughes (incumbent starter)
  • DT Marcell Dareus (incumbent starter)
  • DT Kyle Williams (incumbent starter)
  • LB Preston Brown (incumbent starter)
  • LB Manny Lawson (incumbent starter)

  • DT Corbin Bryant (reserve)
  • LB IK Enemkpali (reserve)
  • LB Randell Johnson (reserve)
  • LB Kevin Reddick (reserve)
  • DT T.J. Branes (reserve)
  • DT Jerel Worthy (reserve)
  • DE Lavar Edwards (reserve)
  • DE Cedric Reed (reserve)
  • DE Max Valles (reserve)


  • DE Shaq Lawson (NFL Draft, Round 1)
  • LB Reggie Ragland (NFL Draft, Round 2)
  • DT Adolphus Washington (NFL Draft Round 3)
  • LB Zach Brown (free agent signing)
  • LB Lorenzo ALexander (free agent signing)
  • LB Eric Striker (undrafted free agent)
  • DT Justin Zimmer (undrafted free agent)
  • LB Bryson Albright (undrafted free agent)
  • LB Jamari Lattimore (free agent signing)


  • DE Mario Williams (released, signed by Miami Dolphins)
  • LB Nigel Bradham (free agent, signed by Philadelphia Eagles)
  • DT Stefan Charles (free agent, signed by Detroit Lions)
  • DE Alex Carrington (free agent, unsigned)
  • LB Tony Steward (released, signed by Eagles then Saints)
  • LB A.J. Tarpley (retired)

Two key pieces of the Buffalo defense moved on the offseason when they said goodbye to Williams and Bradham. Williams had a very down year under Rex Ryan and his cap number wasn’t reflective of his play. Bradham never seemed to fit into the plans at his price tag so both moves make sense, even if they weren’t easy. Charles and Carrington were both key reserves that need to be replaced.

Buffalo certainly spent capital trying to reload the defense, bringing in their top three draft picks and two of their bigger free agent signings to the front 7. Several undrafted free agents will be given shots to continue, as well.

Verdict: Worse

Many say the loss of Williams is addition by subtraction, but I don’t buy that. With Rex’s complex defense, the rookies will have a learning curve but at least Kyle Williams returns from injury. “Potential” is the key word to keep in mind.