The Buffalo Bills have invested plenty of capital, both financial and draft, in their defensive line group. While this bodes well for the continued success of the defense, it does leave the team in a bit of a bind when it comes to making the final roster. For the first time in a long time (as evidenced by certain segments of our All-Decade Team), the Bills actually have a glut of talent on the roster at the dawn of the ‘20s rather than the opposite problem.
In today’s installment of our “91 players in 91 days” series, we profile one of the team’s younger defensive lineman—a player who worked his way on to the active roster last season, but who will have a difficult time reprising that role.
Name: Vincent Taylor
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 311 lbs.
Age: 26 (27 on 1/5/2021)
Experience/Draft: 4; selected in the sixth round (No. 194 overall) by the Miami Dolphins in the 2017 NFL Draft
College: Oklahoma State
Acquired: Signed to Bills’ practice squad on 9/5/19
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Taylor enters the final year of his contract this season, a two-year pact worth a total of $1,380,000. For the 2020 season, Taylor carries a cap number of $825,000 if he makes the 53-man roster. No money in the contract is guaranteed.
2019 Recap: Taylor spent the offseason with the Miami Dolphins, making it all the way to the end of the preseason with the team who drafted him. In four preseason games with Miami, Taylor was fairly disruptive, making ten total tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one pass breakup in four games. With new head coach Brian Flores in the fold, Taylor was released, and he signed with Buffalo’s practice squad on September 5. He remained on the practice squad until November, when he was promoted to the active roster prior to Buffalo’s game against Washington. While he only played nine defensive snaps in that contest, he made the most of them, notching three tackles, one for a loss, in the victory. Any chance that he would receive more snaps the following week evaporated when Buffalo added veteran Corey Liuget, a former first-round pick who had been released by the Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders. Taylor remained on the active roster as a healthy scratch for all but two contests for the remainder of the year: Buffalo’s Week 15 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers and their Week 17 loss to the New York Jets. Overall, Taylor played 48 defensive snaps, making six tackles, one for a loss, and one pass breakup in three total games.
Positional outlook: Buffalo added free agents Vernon Butler and Quinton Jefferson, and while they lost Jordan Phillips via free agency, Harrison Phillips should also be ready to come back at some point when he recovers from ACL surgery. Star Lotulelei and Ed Oliver round out the positional group.
2020 Offseason: Nothing new to report, though the Buffalo News did a profile on Taylor discussing his childhood—he was born in New Orleans and was displaced by Hurricane Katrina when he was just 11 years old—that is worth a read (full disclosure: it’s behind the BN Blitz paywall).
2020 Season outlook: There are few scenarios that point towards Taylor making the final roster at this point. Given Buffalo’s heavy investment in the defensive line and the glut of talent at both defensive tackle and defensive end, it would take a whole series of events for Taylor to make the final roster. He would probably need some combination of the following three things to occur in order to find himself among Buffalo’s final 53 come September: a player or two suffers an injury (let’s hope not), Harrison Phillips begins the year on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list (quite possible), and Ed Oliver is suspended for his arrest for DWI from earlier this offseason (quite unlikely). Thanks to the new rules governing practice squads, it is possible that Buffalo could look to keep Taylor on theirs, which is a far more likely outcome than expecting Taylor to leapfrog multiple players above him on the depth chart.