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90 players in 90 days: Defensive tackle Eli Ankou

The newcomer will try to crack a talented defensive line rotation this summer

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills have continued to solidify the trenches under general manager Brandon Beane by constantly tweaking and adding depth to both the offensive and defensive line groups. Beane has paid, in all meanings of the word, special attention to the defensive line group. The Bills are in search of a solid pass rush and a stout run front, and Beane continues to reconfigure his players in search of a mix that works.

While some of those additions have cost more than others, Beane has made some under-the-radar acquisitions in his time, as well. In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we look at one of those potential under-the-radar signings.

Name: Eli Ankou

Number: TBD

Position: DT

Height/Weight: 6’3” 325 lbs

Age: 27 (28 on 6/8/2022)

Experience/Draft: 5; signed with Houston Texans as UDFA following the 2017 NFL Draft

College: UCLA

Acquired: Signed with Bills on 6/22/2021

Financial situation (per Spotrac): Ankou signed a one-year deal worth a total of $850,000. If he is released, the Bills will not have any dead-cap charges to pay, as none of Ankou’s contract is guaranteed.

2020 Recap: Ankou was well-traveled last season, as he appeared on four different rosters at various points in the pandemic-altered season. He began the 2020 season with the Cleveland Browns, the team he played for in 2019. Cleveland waived Ankou prior to final cutdowns, and he was claimed by the Indianapolis Colts. Ankou was inactive for the first five games of the season before the Colts waived him. The Texans claimed Ankou, but he didn’t appear in a game for them, either, as he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys just a week after he was claimed. In seven games for Dallas, Ankou made five tackles while appearing on 186 defensive snaps.

Positional outlook: Ankou is one of nine defensive tackles in Bills camp this year, though he is one of three players whose primary position is the one-tech defensive tackle spot. Star Lotulelei and Harrison Phillips are the others. Vernon Butler, Justin Zimmer, Ed Oliver, Brandin Bryant, Treyvon Hester, and Nazair Jones are the other defensive tackles on the current roster.

2021 Offseason: Ankou is healthy, though he signed after OTAs had wrapped.

2021 Season outlook: Ankou has a shot to stick with Buffalo if he can beat out Harrison Phillips as the backup one-tech defensive tackle; however, that’s not terribly likely. Ankou would need to have a very strong preseason in order to prove that he belongs among the sea of talented players the Bills have along the defensive line this year. He’s likely to be elsewhere by the time the season opens.