The Buffalo Bills have drafted a linebacker in each of the last 13 drafts. This year, they decided to snag two of them. The second of them spent the last four years as a productive starter for Boise State, and it’s entirely possible that he could become one for the Bills in a few years...maybe.
Name: Tanner Vallejo
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 228 lbs.
College: Boise State
Draft: Rd 6, Pick 195 by the Buffalo Bills (2017)
Financial Situation (per Spotrac): Vallejo is on a standard four-year rookie deal that will pay him just over $2.5 million, including a signing bonus of just over $150,000. If the Bills were to release him, they would gain just under $350,000 in cap relief this season.
2016 Recap: Vallejo finished fourth on the Broncos in tackles last season with 63, despite missing the final four games of the season after undergoing wrist surgery. He also recorded a sack for the Broncos, who went 9-1 before his surgery (they finished 10-3).
Positional Outlook: There are currently 11 linebackers on the Bills’ roster right now, including four rookies. Last season, the Carolina Panthers organization that Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane hail from kept seven linebackers on the final roster. A little bit of math will show that those four rookies are competing for one roster spot (possibly two, if they can show up any of the veteran free agent pickups).
2017 Offseason: Vallejo was the final draft pick made by the old Bills regime before they were let go the next day, but that had no impact on the team signing him to a four-year deal.
2017 Season Outlook: It’s entirely possible that the four rookies are in direct competition for a roster spot. If that happens, it’s likely going to come down to Vallejo and fifth-rounder Matt Milano, with the loser earning a practice squad invite. Vallejo is a strong tackler, so if he can make a name for himself on kick coverage teams he can earn an invite to the 53 that way. In a couple years, who knows?