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90 Players in 90 Days: Buffalo Bills defensive end Jake Metz

Can an Arena League star break into the NFL?

As the Bills adopt the scheme from their seventh defensive coordinator in the past nine seasons (or eighth if you count 2016’s shadow-coordinator Rob Ryan), the shuffling of the defensive front seven has become an annual exercise. Today we look at one of the potential players signed for defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s 4-3 scheme, one who had an outsized impact for the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League last year.

Name: Jake Metz
# 96
Position: DE
Height/Weight: 6’6”, 265 pounds
Experience: 1
College: Shippensburg
Draft: UDFA (2014)

Financial Situation (per Spotrac): 1 year, $465,000

2016 Recap: Metz won a championship and was named Defensive Lineman of the Year in the 2016 Arena Football League season after tallying seven sacks and two forced fumbles. That led to a training camp tryout with the Philadelphia Eagles, but he was released four days later. Metz then flew to China to play in their Arena Football League for the remainder of the year.

Positional Outlook: Metz is hoping to carve out a role as a backup pass rusher with the Bills. Jerry Hughes and Shaq Lawson are the starting defensive ends, and Ryan Davis is the only other player with cash of any significance invested. Lorenzo Alexander may see spot duty as a situational rusher, though coaches have designated him an outside linebacker in this scheme.

2017 Offseason: The pass rushing news has been quiet through minicamp, with Lawson being the only name to get serious accolades. With Metz hoping to stick as the fourth or fifth defensive end on the team, he needs to stand out among Ian Seau, Marquavius Lewis, and Max Valles.

2017 Season Outlook: Metz was productive in Division II, earning 41.5 career sacks, and he carried that productivity to the Philadelphia Soul when he entered the Arena League after going undrafted out of college. He’s not especially athletic, but has as much of a chance as anyone else to claim a roster spot.