The Buffalo Bills have had issues on the right side of the offensive line, specifically at right tackle, for the better part of the last few years now. When the team drafted Dion Dawkins in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, many fans thought it was done with the intent of pairing him with Cordy Glenn, the franchise’s entrenched left tackle, for solid bookends for years to come.
Alas, Glenn was overcome by foot and ankle problems, which led the team to trade him to the Cincinnati Bengals in the offseason. Dawkins is set as the team’s left tackle, but that doesn’t mean that any other players are assured roster spots this year.
In our latest installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile a mammoth offensive lineman with a fantastic name.
Name: Gerhard de Beer
Height/Weight: 6’6” 312 lbs.
Draft: Signed as an undrafted free agent with the Buffalo Bills following the 2018 NFL Draft
Financial situation (per Spotrac): de Beer’s contract is standard for undrafted free agents—3 years, $1,710,000, and a $480,000 cap hit for 2018 if he makes the final roster.
2017 Recap: As a redshirt senior at Arizona last season, de Beer made 10 starts at right tackle while appearing in all 13 games for the Wildcats. He was part of an offensive line that rushed for 309.3 yards per game last season. This included the best single-game rushing yardage total (534 yards against Oregon State) in Arizona football history, according to de Beer’s bio page from the University.
Positional outlook: There are nine offensive tackles currently on the roster. Dion Dawkins and Jordan Mills appears to be the starters, though Mills has been among the weakest right tackles in the league since winning the starting gig in 2015. Marshall Newhouse and Conor McDermott make the most sense as backup tackles. This leaves de Beer to contend with Ike Boettger, De’Ondre Wesley, Josh James, and Mo Porter (who would really be the perfect pairing for de Beer, but I digress).
2018 Offseason: de Beer has attended all offseason activities thus far, impressing head coach Sean McDermott along the way with his work ethic. This piece on de Beer from ESPN’s Mike Rodak gives a glimpse into what it’s like to come from a foreign country (South Africa, in de Beer’s case) to learn a game you know nothing about in a country over 8,000 miles from home. He was given a bunch of Bud Light because of his last name, too.
2018 season outlook: It’s unlikely that de Beer makes the Bills’ roster this season, but the team may deem him worthy of a practice squad slot for 2018. Someone with his natural athleticism (he’s a former rugby player and discuss thrower) is hard to come by, and his work ethic makes it very possible that he can eventually become a serviceable NFL player. However, expecting him to challenge for a roster spot in his first season in the league is a bit aggressive.