The Buffalo Bills have a very clear pecking order along the interior defensive line. The first team and the second team have included the same four names since the beginning of offseason workouts, so any of the other players are currently serving as depth in hopes of making an impression. Whether they stay with the team on the practice squad or show well enough in preseason games to land with another team is the major question that remains.
In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile one of Buffalo’s depth players at defensive tackle, a man who spent time on the active roster in 2018, but who appears to be on the outside looking in for the 2019 season.
Name: Robert Thomas
Height/Weight: 6’1” 316 lbs.
Age: 28 (29 on 2/18/20)
Experience/Draft: 3; signed as UDFA by Washington following the 2014 NFL Draft
Acquired: Signed with Buffalo on 9/3/18
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Thomas signed a one-year deal worth $720,000 for this season. If he makes the final roster, that number will also represent his cap hit for the year. If the Bills cut him, they will be free of penalty, as the contract contains no guaranteed money.
2018 Recap: Thomas began the 2018 season with the New York Giants, the team he’d been with since 2016. He was cut at the end of the preseason, and he signed with Buffalo as a practice squad member on September 3. He remained on the practice squad until September 15, when he was promoted to Buffalo’s active roster. He played five snaps against the Los Angeles Chargers and 12 snaps against the Minnesota Vikings. He did not register a tackle in either of those games. He was waived and re-signed to Buffalo’s practice squad on October 15, and there he remained for the rest of the season.
Positional outlook: Thomas is firmly entrenched as a third-team defensive tackle, with Ed Oliver, Star Lotulelei, Harrison Phillips, and Jordan Phillips the clear top four at the position. Kyle Peko and L.T. Walton are also fighting for recognition along the defensive interior.
2019 Offseason: Thomas has participated in all offseason activities to date. He was sidelined by a knee injury in the second week of training camp.
2019 Season outlook: Thomas is looking at either a spot on Buffalo’s practice squad or a role on another team’s roster. He won’t be among the top four players at his position unless an injury pops up, and even then he’d be fighting with someone like Peko, who has had a quietly strong camp against the third-string offensive line. I’d put Thomas as DT6 on the roster at this point in camp.