We’re counting down the best, most important, most impressive early career Buffalo Bills. These players are the closest thing to a “farm system” for an NFL team, and ideally they’re playing major roles in the team’s success. For every Von Miller the team’s signing in free agency, they’re only able to work that tactic by supporting him with a handful of younger, cost-controlled players.
Joining the Bills this year and landing in eighth place is a defensive tackle with four years of NFL experience and a respectable resume in his limited role. Coming over from Washington, it’s Tim Settle!
The list so far
- Number 9: K Tyler Bass
- Number 10: OT Spencer Brown
- Honorable mentions: Boogie Basham, A.J. Epenesa, Zack Moss, James Cook
Number 8: DT Tim Settle (turned 25 on July 11)
It’s not every day that a free-agent signing qualifies for the 25-and-under list, but Settle (who was barely 21 years old as a rookie) falls into that bucket. He was a fifth-round pick out of Virginia Tech back in 2018, and played the last four years in Washington.
Settle was a five-star recruit when he committed to the Hokies, played two seasons in college after redshirting, then declared for the draft. At the NFL Combine he measured in at 6’3” and 329 lbs, but his athletic testing numbers were poor despite his high recruiting rating.
In his career up until now, Settle’s been a backup on Washington’s very deep defensive line. He’s had to compete for snaps behind Jonathan Allen (26 career sacks), Daron Payne (14.5 career sacks), and Matthew Ioannidis (24.5 career sacks), not to mention first-round picks Chase Young and Montez Sweat at defensive end. From 2019 to 2020, he was still able to make a solid impact, with 33 tackles, seven sacks, and seven tackles for a loss (TFLs) across those two seasons. He brought 17 pressures and 12 quarterback hits to the picture as well.
In 2021, Washington relied so heavily on their top three defensive tackles that Settle’s share of the snaps dropped below 20%. Although he had four TFLs, he was essentially a nonfactor as a pass rusher last year.
Now with the Bills, the hope is that Settle represents a young nose tackle with a decent resume and some pass-rushing upside—a bit like a Harrison Phillips replacement. He’s slimmed down to roughly 310 lbs at this point in his career, and even though he’s clearly a backup to Ed Oliver and DaQuan Jones, he has the chance to stick around for several years and have an impact with the team as a hybrid NT and DT.