Back in 2018, the Buffalo Bills signed former Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Star Lotulelei to a five-year, $50 million contract, in the hopes that he would provide a boost to Buffalo’s run defense. It’s two years into the contract now, and the Bills’ run defense has not improved much. Obviously, the blame can’t all be placed on the veteran, but it’s clear that he hasn’t made much of impact despite having the second-highest cap hit on the team. As a result, the Bills’ brass might want to inject some youth in the position, in the hopes that the younger player could eventually replace Lotulelei’s snaps in the coming years. Here are some of the prospects who would make sense for that kind of role.
Derrick Brown (Auburn)
Raekwon Davis (Alabama)
Maybe the premier defensive tackle in this draft, Brown is a rarity at the position in that he can stop the run very well, but can also threaten passers thanks to his immense size at 6’5” and 320 lbs. Criticized by draft analysts as not living up to his immense talent, there is still value in Davis if all you’re expecting from him is to stop the run.
Jordan Elliott (Missouri)
Leki Fotu (Utah)
Davon Hamilton (Ohio State)
Elliot looks like a solid fit for a two-gap tackle who really improved throughout his final year in college. As such he could be a second-day pick if some team sees him as a good fit. If you’re looking for a player with upside, Fotu was held back by injuries all season but was the anchor of a dominant Utah defense. Ohio State’s defense was amazing all year, and the unsung hero of that unit was Hamilton, who took on double teams at the point of attack throughout each game, even if his production didn’t necessarily standout.
Raequan Williams (Michigan State)
Benito Jones (Ole Miss)
Darrion Daniels (Nebraska)
Part of a physical and nasty Michigan State front, Williams would be well served to bulk up and try his hand at run stopping. He’s powerful, but lacks any kind of effective pass rush ability. Shaped like a bowling ball, Jones flashes pretty good lateral movement for a player that is 320 lbs and was a big reason why the Rebels’ rush defense seemed to turn a corner after being abysmal for years. Another player surprisingly light on his feet is Daniels, who flashed surprisingly good quickness in the Senior Bowl practices and game.
- All-22 analysis shows Star Lotulelei is a solid player for Buffalo
- Financial implications of releasing Star Lotulelei
- Is Harrison Phillips ready to be the starting 1-tech defensive tackle?
- It’s not wild to think the Bills could get similar play from a free agent 1-tech DT
- 2020 NFL Draft: Tiered options to replace Star Lotulelei
- Opinion: I’ll pay $750,000 to see if the Bills should keep Star Lotulelei in 2020