The way Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Ed Oliver played in 2021, it’s pretty clear that not only is he going to continue receiving starter reps in 2022, but he’s in line for a big pay raise in the next 14 months. With that out of the way, the question of finding a platoon-worthy backup for him becomes the goal.
Financially speaking, I’d be surprised if the Bills spent a lot of money at 3-tech when they have Oliver playing 60% of the snaps. With bigger holes at 1-tech and pass rusher, they will need that money for those positions. That’s why I think a low-cost veteran will be paired with a draft pick.
The 2022 NFL Draft doesn’t have a ton of high 3-tech prospects, but a lot of draft-and-develop types. Adding one of them to be a healthy scratch throughout the season learning from a veteran free agent would be ideal.
Justin Zimmer, Buffalo’s free agent, could make a lot of sense here. He’ll be low-cost coming off his injury, he has a high motor, and can show the rookie the ropes while pushing Oliver. The only question is if he’ll be healthy enough for training camp after knee repair in mid-November.
Going into 2022 with Oliver, a developmental rookie, a low-cost veteran, and Zimmer on speed dial would be a pretty good situation for the Bills at the position, especially if they can improve the 1-tech and defensive end rooms at the same time.
- 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