The Buffalo Bills revamped their defensive line over the last calendar year, parting ways with players like Marcell Dareus while adding multiple new players at the defensive tackle position. While none of these players are as physically gifted as Dareus, head coach Sean McDermott hopes that they buy into his system and give more effort than the big former Bill gave during his tenure here.
In the latest installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we look at one the Bills’ depth signings at defensive tackle, a player who will push for a spot in what appears to be a solid rotation.
Name: Tenny Palepoi
Height/Weight: 6’1” 298 lbs.
Draft: Entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers in 2014.
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Palepoi signed a one-year deal with the Bills this offseason. The contract will pay him $705,000, which is also his cap hit for 2018.
2017 Recap: Palepoi comes to the Bills after recording his best season as a professional in 2017. He played in 15 of the Chargers’ 16 games, combining for 24 tackles and 1 sack. He played on 25.76% of the team’s defensive snaps, but also contributed on 32.63% of their special teams snaps.
Positional outlook: Palepoi enters a crowded field at defensive tackle that includes a big-ticket free agent (Star Lotululei) and a Bills’ legend (Kyle Williams) who seem firmly entrenched as the starting duo. Adolphus Washington, Rickey Hatley, and Harrison Phillips round out the defensive tackle group.
2018 Offseason: Little has been written about the free agent addition thus far, but his status and his playing time will both be worth monitoring going forward.
2018 season outlook: Physically, Palepoi is built similarly to Williams; with the latter probably playing in his final NFL season, it will be interesting to see if Palepoi can provide the Bills with similar burst and results in the 2018 preseason. He will be locked in a battle with Washington and Phillips for the role of “first-wave” substitute; if the Bills choose to keep five defensive tackles on the 53-man roster, then he will have to fend off those two plus Hatley. If Palepoi can parlay his success last season into even greater success this year, then the Bills will have found themselves a solid substitute. The depth players at defensive tackle will be a hotly contested battle throughout the summer.