Selected by the Buffalo Bills in the first round (ninth overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft, defensive tackle Ed Oliver has slowly improved into a premier threat along the interior. Although his stats don’t necessarily jump off the screen, the soon-to-be fourth-year player is clearly one of the most effective defenders on the team. This offseason however, the applicable depth behind Oliver almost entirely consists of various free agents.
Previous stalwarts Justin Zimmer—fresh off a knee injury— and Harrison Phillips, are restricted free agents and unrestricted, respectively. Meanwhile, Vernon Butler proved ineffective at best in any role and is himself preparing to enter free agency. General manager Brandon Beane should be concerned with not just bringing in depth to the position, but also some youth, since the team lacks any multi-year, cost-controlled options. In preparation for Oliver’s no-doubt upcoming lucrative contract extension, here are some of the prospects who would make sense for that kind of future team role.
Devonte Wyatt (Georgia)
DeMarvin Leal (Texas A&M)
As stated in a previous article by this humble author, Wyatt is a versatile, hybrid-type tackle who can handle two-gapping responsibilities, and is a threat as a pass rusher. His explosion is surprising for a player of his girth. With ideal height, weight and flexibility, Leal certainly looks the part of a high draft pick. Unfortunately, those qualities don’t show up enough on the field, and he needs time to develop within his talents as a result.
Travis Jones (UConn)
Logan Hall (Houston)
Perrion Winfrey (Oklahoma)
A late riser now that teams have the chance to sift through his dominant tape at UConn, similar to Wyatt, Jones can play double-duty at either tackle position. He’s 320 lbs or so but knows how to use his hands and disengage from blockers. There are questions about Logan’s height—he’s close to 6’6”—and being able to maintain proper leverage, but he’s perhaps the most athletically gifted tackle of this class. Winfrey needs to get in the gym and quit skipping leg days. His lower body anchor is atrocious, even if his immediate burst is explosive.
Haskell Garrett (Ohio State)
John Ridgeway (Arkansas)
Zachary Carter (Florida)
Like a lot of Ohio State defensive linemen, Garret is undersized, flexible, and much better in pass-rushing situations than in the run game, which is a clear liability. With kind of a lanky, rocked-up frame, Ridgeway has a lot of tools teams can work with, and you have to like his effort on the field! Carter promises to be a pass-rush specialist early in his career, thanks to his small size and lack of technique. He’s a developmental player to keep an eye on, for sure.
- All-22 Analysis: Ed Oliver is already the unquestioned starter
- Bills need bodies to back up Ed Oliver
- With fifth-year option, both sides will wait on new contract for Oliver
- Free agents at defensive tackle the Bills could add
- 2022 NFL Draft: Picking some depth options at 3-tech
- Opinion: Give yourself options behind Ed Oliver this offseason