The Buffalo Bills struggled against the run for much of the 2017 season. As a result, they added some new bodies to the interior defensive line for 2018. The team hopes that the infusion of new talent will solidify the front-four, allowing the defensive ends to rush the passer freely and keeping the linebackers clean to make plays at the second level.
In the latest installment of our “90 players in 90 days” series, we look at a defensive tackle whose career could potentially be at a crossroads.
Name: Adolphus Washington
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 295 lbs.
College: Ohio State
Draft: Selected in the third round (80th overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Washington is in the third year of a four-year pact totaling $3,189,296. His 2018 cap hit is $848,574.
2017 Recap: Washington had an up-and-down year. In the offseason, Washington was arrested in July for improper handling of a firearm. In August, he was cleared of any wrongdoing. Washington had 1 sack and 33 total tackles in 15 games, 10 of which he started, during the 2017 season. He played 45.9% of the team’s defensive snaps, second only to Kyle Williams among Buffalo’s defensive tackles.
Positional outlook: The Bills clearly wanted to improve up the middle, adding Star Lotululei and Harrison Phillips via free agency and the draft, respectively. Both men are run-pluggers, whereas Washington is more a gap-shooter at the defensive tackle position. Along with Kyle Williams, Washington seems to fit right into a solid four-way rotation. Rickey Hatley and Tenny Palepoi are the other two defensive tackles currently on Buffalo’s roster.
2018 Offseason: Little has been said about Washington this offseason, which is good in a way after he made headlines for the wrong reasons last summer. However, he will have to show growth in terms of his technique in order to justify his spot on the roster.
2018 season outlook: With the aforementioned additions, Washington’s roster spot and potential fit becomes a bit more muddled. If head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier are looking for stout run defenders at the point of attack, then Washington isn’t a great fit for that role. However, veteran Kyle Williams and Washington both fit the bill as penetrating players who can exploit one-on-one matchups if given the opportunity. Chances are good that Washington remains with the Bills as Williams’s primary backup, with Lotululei and Phillips rotating at the other defensive tackle position. However, if the team decides that it needs more stout run defenders, they could decide to keep someone like Hatley instead. Washington will need to show growth in his third NFL offseason in order to maintain his hold on a roster spot this year.