On the whole, the Buffalo Bills have a roster lacking in depth. One of the few positions they seem to have a clear first and second string, however, is at defensive end. The Bills have Jerry Hughes, Trent Murphy, Shaq Lawson, and Eddie Yarbrough listed at defensive end, with some young players behind looking to break in to the rotation.
In our most recent installment of the “90 players in 90 days” series, we look at a free agent acquisition with great athletic measureables and an awesome name.
Name: Owa Odighizuwa
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 264 lbs.
Draft: Selected in Round 3 (74th overall) by the New York Giants in 2015
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Odighizuwa signed a one-year deal worth $630,000 in the offseason. If he does not make the squad, there is no dead cap incurred by cutting him.
2017 Recap: 2017 was not a banner year for Odighizuwa. He was suspended by the NFL on August 28 for a violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. The Giants subsequently released him, and he did not play at all during the season.
Positional outlook: As mentioned above, Odighizuwa has a bit of a climb in order to make the final roster. The Bills’ highest paid player is Jerry Hughes, and the Bills also signed Trent Murphy to a three-year, $22.5 million contract in free agency. Those two players seem set as the top two in the rotation. Shaq Lawson finished 2017 on injured reserve, but he still tied for the team lead in sacks... with 4. Eddie Yarbrough is a high-motor player who played well last season, and the coaching staff seems to like what he brings to the table. With so much depth established ahead of him, Odighizuwa will have to have a strong camp and preseason in order to knock one of those four out of position.
2018 Offseason: The Bills signed Odighizuwa prior to the beginning of free agency, inking the defensive end on March 8, 2018. Little to nothing has been written about him this offseason, but he will be a player worth watching during training camp.
2018 season outlook: Odighizuwa is a long shot to make the final roster, but he is definitely the kind of athlete worth taking a chance on for a low price. At the 2015 NFL combine, he finished in the top three among defensive ends in the 40-yard dash (4.62), vertical jump (39”), broad jump (127”), 20-yard shuttle (4.19), and the 60-yard shuttle (11.75). If that athleticism can translate to success in preseason games, maybe the coaching staff will decide to go with him over the more expensive Lawson. However, it’s more likely that he is merely an athletic body brought in to serve as a high-end training camp body.