The Buffalo Bills place a high priority on their defensive line. The team consistently spends top dollar on both defensive ends and defensive tackles. In particular, Buffalo places plenty of value on a “one-tech” defensive tackle—typically playing the role of a space-eater who doesn’t accumulate many statistics himself, instead operating as a shield so other players can accumulate those stats themselves.
For the last few years, the Bills had a former Carolina Panthers player, Star Lotulelei, operating as the primary one-tech. This year, the Bills will still have a former Panther in that role, but it won’t be Lotulelei.
In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile the latest member of the Carolina-to-Buffalo pipeline...although in this case, at least, that connection is a tad misleading.
Name: DaQuan Jones
Height/Weight: 6’4” 320 lbs
Age: 30 (31 on 12/27/2022)
Experience/Draft: 9; selected in the fourth round (No. 112 overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans
College: Penn State
Acquired: Signed with Buffalo as UFA on 3/16/2022
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Jones signed a two-year contract worth a total of $14 million. The contract includes a third year, but it’s a “void” year. In 2022, Jones will carry a salary cap hit of $3,583,333, and it has $10.625 million guaranteed.
2021 Recap: Jones spent the first seven years of his career in Tennessee before playing with the Panthers in 2021. He did not miss a game for the fourth straight year, playing on 59% of Carolina’s defensive snaps. He totaled 38 tackles, six quarterback hits, one sack, one tackle for loss, and one forced fumble. Only Brian Burns played more snaps for the Panthers along the defensive line last year.
Positional outlook: Jones spearheads a revamped defensive tackle group, joining Tim Settle and Jordan Phillips, himself a reacquired player, as the new guys at the position. Ed Oliver, Eli Ankou, and Brandin Bryant are the three returners, though only Oliver played significant snaps in 2021. Prince Emili and C.J. Brewer signed with the team as undrafted free agents.
2022 Offseason: Jones is healthy and ready for training camp.
2022 Season outlook: Jones should see the lead as the team’s one-tech next to Oliver, and he should be an instant upgrade there thanks to his strength and his length. Given that Star Lotulelei had been in and out of the lineup, and when in the lineup his effectiveness had been inconsistent at best, replacing him with someone of Jones’s ability level should add to an already potent Buffalo defense.