When the Buffalo Bill selected Greg “Groot” Rousseau in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, many fans were excited with the pick due to the perceived need. While Jerry Hughes still has gas left in the tank, the overall lack of production from the edge positions was concerning. A.J. Epenesa and Rousseau represented the youth movement to eventually replace Hughes and Mario Addison.
Then the Bills took Carlos “Boogie” Basham, Jr. in the second round. All of a sudden the room looked a little crowded. With Hughes, Epenesa, Addison, Rousseau, and Basham representing major investment at the position, the Bills were already one player higher than their normal rotation of four. And that’s before you take into account Daryl “Bam” Johnson and the depth players.
Comments from general manager Brandon Beane reinforce what’s already been a theme on the defense for years: versatility.
“We love versatility in our players,” said Beane.
Beane’s comments were expanded regarding the two players, indicating both Groot’s and Boogie’s primary position will be left defensive end.
“Both of them produced inside. We like what that gives Leslie Frazier & Eric Washington so they can mix things up.”
Beane went as far as saying inside will be their secondary role.
This echoes our own assessment of the players and will likely lead to plenty of opportunity for both rookies to see the field. Also intriguing in these comments is the mention of left defensive end specifically. Until last year, this was the Trent Murphy side. In 2020, Jerry Hughes kicked over to LDE often, perhaps signaling a weakness on that side with the available players.
Could the Bills have fixed the weak link in the defensive end rotation? Only time will tell, and that time is quickly coming.