The Buffalo Bills dealt with a multitude of issues on many fronts last season, including on the defensive line. With a rash of injuries, suspensions, and misguided plays, it was something of a surprise to see a rookie third-rounder emerge as one of the more stable presences on a unit that is only a few years removed from being one of the best in football. Could that rookie continue to maintain that role into next season?
Name: Adolphus Washington
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 297 lbs.
College: Ohio State
Draft: Round 3, Pick 80 (2016)
Financial Situation (per Spotrac): Washington is in year two of the four-year contract he signed as a rookie. He’ll count $758,574 against the cap this year, while releasing him would give the Bills just under $200,000 in cap relief.
2016 Recap: Washington appeared in 15 games for the Bills last year, starting 11. He recorded 21 tackles (12 solo), 2.5 sacks, and a pass breakup, peaking with three tackles and a sack in the Bills’ 30-19 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 5. Notably, he was benched for the season-ending loss to the Jets after then-head coach Anthony Lynn was dissatisfied with his performance in practice.
Positional Outlook: There are plenty of bodies on the defensive line heading into camp, and unlike some other positions it’s easy to see the Bills fielding a solid front four next season. On the interior, Washington is competing with about four other guys for two or three backup spots behind starters Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams. There’s not a huge amount of turnover; eight defensive linemen, including five interior guys, are returning from last year.
2017 Offseason: Washington has kept a low profile so far, which is probably a good thing after the benching. Nothing to report on this front.
2017 Season Outlook: It’s not often that third-round picks find their way out of a job after one year, but with a new head coach in town and noted disciplinarian Mike Waufle in charge of the defensive line, it could be a true make-or-break summer for Washington. He could turn a corner and develop into a solid pass rusher who can play all along the defensive front, or he could find himself out of a job. Chances are, he stays in the middle and provides rotational depth for another season. Ideally, he won’t be starting 11 games next season. Of course, if Dareus continues to have his personal issues, Washington could be in for a larger role