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Looking back at the Buffalo Bills’ use of defensive ends inside at tackle during 2021 preseason

All offseason, the Buffalo Bills have raved about how their defensive ends have positional versatility. They put their money where their mouth is during the preseason, kicking their ends into tackle a bunch. But how much, exactly, and at what rate—and who?

Only two defensive ends kicked inside; Carlos Basham, Jr. and Efe Obada.

Of the two, Obada did it more than Basham. Obada played 102 defensive line snaps during the three preseason games and 24.5 percent of them came at defensive tackle. Seven times in the first game, six in the second game, and 12 in the third game, Obada moved inside to tackle defensive tackle snaps. It should be noted that the Bills played him at both end spots in all three games, as well. That versatility, along with his special teams play, will keep him active on game days.

Head coach Sean McDermott admitted Basham wasn’t as far along as fellow rookie Gregory Rousseau, but we expected Basham to be the more “pro-ready.” One of the reasons for that, per McDermott, is that Basham has been learning multiple positions and the preseason numbers bare that out. He played nine snaps at defensive tackle out of 108 total snaps, a total of more than 8 percent of his snaps. Like Obada, he played both on both sides of the line, as well. (Rousseau only played at left end.)

In 2020, Mario Addison moved to defensive tackle six times out of 606 snaps. He only played a handful of preseason snaps, logging none at tackle.

It’s something to keep an eye on in obvious passing situations, such as the ends of the first and second half.