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All-22 analysis: Buffalo Bills free-agent DT Quinton Jefferson

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A first look at one of the team’s newest defensive tackles

The Buffalo Bills looked to replace lost talent on the defensive line early in free agency. Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips went to warmer destinations, opening the door for some new faces. Cue whatever entrance music defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson would use (we’re still getting to know the new guys). Now a former Seattle Seahawks defender, let’s check in on his latest work.


Play 1

This was the very first play I saw when starting the All-22 hunt and it set the stage for sure. There’s nothing exceptional to point out, but I do like the way Quinton Jefferson changes direction and contains quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The important note is that our “DT” is playing “LDE” at the moment.

Play 2

And here’s the second play I saw. This is a difficult play from which to take away much about Jefferson’s talent level. If he’s supposed to set the edge, the lack of push is no big deal. If he’s supposed to be rushing, the lack of push (or finesse moves) is a negative. Again, the point is that this isn’t a defensive tackle. It’s not left defensive end either.

Play 3

Finally. On the third play of the first game I reviewed Quinton Jefferson is playing defensive tackle. He tries a quick swat and then a short rip. Neither are incredibly successful. It is noteworthy that he’s doing both while getting a decent push. The ball is out quickly, which is good because Jefferson was rapidly becoming an issue.

Play 4

And now we’re four for four. In his first four plays, we have four different positions. What’s the word to remember about the Buffalo nickel defense? All together now...VERSATILITY! Two things I’d like to mention on this play. He’s double teamed—which was common. When a potential receiver comes by, it’s Jefferson who covers him. He’s in good position too. That’s a little weird for a defensive tackle, but not so much for a defensive end. Cross-training at its finest.

Play 5

Again he’s double teamed, but one of his opponents has to peel off to get a second block. Quinton Jefferson correctly guesses the lane the run is going through and times a swim move over his man to limit the run to short yardage.

Play 6

Is this a fantastic move? Not really. It is a good one. It’s also one more added to the list. So far we’ve seen a swat, rip, swim, and now a jab to a compact swim. He looks pretty quick for a listed 291 lbs to boot.

Play 7

We’ve seen almost everything now so let’s add a bull rush. It takes a hell of an effort for this catch to be made, mostly because Quinton Jefferson gained ground rapidly.


Summary

I want you to be excited, but for the right reasons. The examples above are, in general, successes. Quinton Jefferson isn’t the kind of elite player who makes these moves work play in and play out. To be fair, very few players have ever been elite with all of these moves. The reason you should be excited for Quinton Jefferson is because many very good players don’t ever put together this kind of a move menu.

Quinton Jefferson can use these skills from any spot on the line too. That’s pretty wild to think about. Now if only we had a coaching staff that was willing to shift players around on defense to create mismatches. THIS JUST IN: That’s exactly the kind of defensive coaching we have. Add in the fact that Jefferson routinely, and successfully, occupied double teams and it amplifies the potential disruption as he can be plugged in anywhere to free up the man beside or behind him. If Jefferson doesn’t succeed with the Buffalo Bills, it’ll be the result of an alarming dip in imagination from head coach Sean McDermott and assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.