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90 players in 90 days: Linebacker Tyrell Adams

The former UDFA had a breakout year in his first extended action

NFL: Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

If Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane does one thing really well (and believe me, I think he does a lot of things well), it’s acquiring and building depth throughout the roster. Buffalo can rely on the “next man up” in times of trouble because of the work their general manager does year in and year out to populate the roster with talented players.

Of all the places where Beane has done a great job building depth, he’s been sneaky good this offseason in making the Bills’ linebacker group far deeper and more diverse in terms of skill sets than in years past. The Bills have a great mix of young players and veterans alike at the middle level of the defense.

In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile one of those depth pieces—a player who started 12 games last year at linebacker.

Name: Tyrell Adams

Number: 48

Position: LB

Height/Weight: 6’1” 228 lbs

Age: 29 (30 on 4/11/2022)

Experience/Draft: 5; signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent following the 2015 NFL Draft

College: West Georgia

Acquired: Signed with Buffalo on 3/31/2021

Financial situation (per Spotrac): Adams signed a one-year deal worth a total of $1,127,500 for the season. His cap hit is $987,500 and the Bills are on the hook for a $100,000 dead-cap charge if Adams is released.

2020 Recap: After playing sparingly throughout his first four seasons, appearing in only 21 games, Adams made 12 starts and played in all 16 games for the first time in his professional career for the Houston Texans. He trailed only Zach Cunningham in total tackles, racking up 125 on the season. That total was good for tenth overall in the NFL. Adams also had four pass breakups, two forced fumbles, two sacks, five tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, and one fumble recovery for what was an abysmal Texans defense. Adams played 812 defensive snaps, which was also second to Cunningham among Houston linebackers, and 122 special teams snaps, as well.

Positional outlook: Adams joins a talented linebacker group that has a clear pecking order. Tremaine Edmunds, Matt Milano, and A.J. Klein should see the lion’s share of the starter’s reps, and Tyler Matakevich is close to a lock as a special teams leader. Mike Bell, Tyrel Dodson, Joe Giles-Harris, Marquel Lee, and Andre Smith round out the group.

2021 Offseason: Adams is healthy and he participated in OTAs.

2021 Season outlook: Adams is one of those guys who signs in March and then you forget about him for a while, but he definitely is an intriguing addition to this defense. He offers versatility in that he can perform on defense better than someone like Matakevich, yet he can still perform on special teams as well as someone like Smith. If the Bills keep six linebackers, he’ll have to fight and beat out at least one of the Lee/Dodson/Giles-Harris trio in addition to someone like Smith. The Bills tried to acquire Adams once before, claiming him off waivers in October 2017, but he was released after failing his physical. He’s a good athlete (Adams ran a 4.65 40-yard dash at his pro day, and his 7-second three-cone drill time is exceptional for a linebacker) with starting experience. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Adams is the primary backup to Klein and Milano this year.