The Buffalo Bills overhauled their defensive line between the midway point of the 2017 NFL season and the 2018 offseason. While the team looks to have two holdover starters in place this fall, there are two positions where a new face will start. Additionally, there are plenty of new faces on the roster competing for depth spots.
In the latest installment of our “90 players in 90 days” series, we profile an undrafted free agent looking to stick with the squad in September.
Name: Mat Boesen
Height/Weight: 6’4” 238 lbs.
Draft: Signed by the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent following the 2018 NFL Draft
Financial situation (per Over the Cap): Boesen’s contract is standard for all undrafted players—three years, $1,710,000 in total money, and a $480,000 cap hit in 2018 if he makes the roster.
2017 Recap: Boesen had a phenomenal senior season. The undersized defensive end led the Big 12 Conference with 11.5 sacks; 5.5 of those sacks came in one game against the Baylor Bears, a performance for which Boesen was named National Defensive Player of the Week. He had 16 tackles for loss and 8 quarterback hurries on the season. Sports Illustrated named him a First-Team All-American. The Associated Press and Phil Steele each named him a Third-Team All-American, and SB Nation bestowed honorable mention status upon him in their All-American list.
Positional outlook: Boesen faces an uphill climb to make the 53-man roster this season. With Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy the most likely starters at the defensive end positions, and Shaq Lawson and Eddie Yarbrough looking like the top reserves, that leaves Boesen to battle against veterans Terrance Fede and Owa Odighizuwa, as well as fellow rookie Mike Love and practice squad holdover Marquavius Lewis, for one spot on the roster—and that’s if the Bills decide to keep 5 defensive ends.
2018 Offseason: Boesen has attended all offseason activities to date.
2018 season outlook: With Murphy rehabbing a knee injury and Lawson potentially facing his last stand on the roster, there is some potential for an upset here with regard to the final people kept. However, Boesen will have to prove that his pass-rushing ability outweighs his lack of size and a sturdy run-game anchor in order to bull his way on to the 53-man roster in the fall. It’s more likely that he’s auditioning for a spot on the practice squad this season, with one of the veterans taking that potential fifth defensive end spot in 2018.