If the Buffalo Bills had a glaring weakness in 2020, the pass rush was definitely among the most noticeable. With copious resources spent on the defensive line, it was a disappointment to see that the Bills’ leaders in sacks each notched just five on the season. Considering that the team was playing with a lead for much of the year, thus forcing opponents to throw often, placing just 15th in sacks (38 total) isn’t where Buffalo wants to be.
The Bills once again looked to retool their pass rush this offseason, adding players via free agency and the draft. Among those players was a free-agent signing who fits the Bills’ M.O. perfectly: Find a player who excels in his role and give him a chance to expand on said role.
In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile one of Buffalo’s newest pass rushers.
Name: Efe Obada
Height/Weight: 6’6” 265 lbs
Age: 29 (30 on 4/13/2022)
Experience/Draft: 4; initially signed as UDFA with the Dallas Cowboys on 4/1/2015. Entered International Pathway Program (IPP) on 5/25/2017
Acquired: Signed as UFA on 4/19/2021
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Obada’s one-year deal is worth a total of $1.5 million this year. The Bills will be on the hook for $800,000 in dead-cap money if he is released.
2020 Recap: Obada played fewer than 40 percent of the snaps for Carolina, but he was the second defensive end in the Panthers’ rotation. While he didn’t play a ton of snaps, he was quite disruptive overall. Obada was second on the Panthers in sacks with 5.5, second in quarterback hits with 15, tied for first in fumble recoveries with two, and third in tackles for loss with four. Obada made 18 tackles on the year.
Positional outlook: The Bills have a good mix of young and old among their defensive ends. Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison figure to be the starters, with Obada fighting for rotational snaps with A.J. Epenesa, Gregory Rousseau, and Boogie Basham, three high draft picks from the last two seasons. Bryan Cox Jr., Darryl Johnson, and Mike Love round out the unit.
2021 Offseason: Obada is healthy and attending OTAs.
2021 Season outlook: Chances are good that Obada makes the roster and plays a significant role this season. There’s an outside chance that he makes a big enough impact where one of the established veterans is released, but I think that’s a low probability overall. I expect that Obada slots in as a pass rush specialist on passing downs so that he can do what he does best, which is disrupt the pocket and hit the quarterback.