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90 Buffalo Bills players in 90 days: Tackle Derek Kerstetter

A versatile rookie, Kerstetter is an intriguing prospect for the Bills

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NCAA Football: Texas El Paso at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills love versatile offensive linemen. If there’s one thing any fan can bank on each offseason, it’s that general manager Brandon Beane will acquire a slew of linemen capable of playing more than one position. Often, this is what the GM does with veterans, opting to allow young players the chance to focus on one spot early in their careers; however, there are exceptions.

Ryan Bates is one such exception, as he played center and tackle early on in his tenure with Buffalo before adding guard to his resume. Cody Ford is an example of a player the team tried to keep at one spot (right tackle) before moving him to another (right guard) and ultimately finding him another spot to occupy (the bench).

In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we discuss a rookie whose versatility makes him a very interesting player to watch this summer.

Name: Derek Kerstetter

Number: 63

Position: T

Height/Weight: 6’5” 310 lbs

Age: 22 (23 on 9/30/2022) *Both of these are guesses, as the team hasn’t given his age officially yet. Kerstetter is a 2017 high school grad who replied to a happy birthday tweet on September 30, though, so I pieced it together that way

Experience/Draft: R; signed with Bills following 2022 NFL Draft

College: Texas

Acquired: UDFA signing

Financial situation (per Spotrac): Kerstetter signed a three-year deal worth a total of $2.57 million. Of that total, $60,000 is guaranteed, including $10,000 by way of a signing bonus. If Kerstetter makes the 53-man roster, he’ll carry a cap hit of $708,333 this year, and Buffalo is on the hook for a $60,000 dead-cap charge if he’s released.

2021 Recap: Kerstetter made 12 starts in his fifth collegiate season, starting 11 games at right tackle and one at left guard. That start at left guard was the fourth different position at which he’d started a college game, as he previously had started eight games at center during the 2020 season, and he started four at right guard as a sophomore in 2018. Last year, he was named All-Big 12 First-Team by the league’s coaches, and All-Big 12 Second-Team by the Associated Press.

Positional outlook: Kerstetter is one of many players listed at offensive tackle for the Bills. He’s joined by fellow UDFAs Alec Anderson and Tanner Owen, sixth-round pick Luke Tenuta, and veterans Cody Ford, David Quessenberry, Spencer Brown, Tommy Doyle, Bobby Hart, and Dion Dawkins.

2022 Offseason: Kerstetter is healthy and he’s participated in team activities since he signed.

2022 Season outlook: I’m pretty confident that Kerstetter won’t make the 53-man roster, but I’m also pretty confident that the team really likes him, as evidenced by the $60,000 in guarantees he received as an undrafted player. Buffalo only guaranteed one UDFA more money than that—tight end Jalen Wydermyer, who received a guaranteed $100,000 in his deal.

Kerstetter has experience at every position on the offensive line other than left tackle, he has great size, he has excellent strength and explosiveness (31 reps of the bench press, 29” vertical, 8’9” broad jump at his pro day), and he has plenty of starting experience. Even though he’s listed as a tackle, it will be his ability to slide inside and play center that makes him the most valuable. I’ll be watching to see if the team gives him those reps, and if so, what he does with them, this summer. He’s a solid long-term project.