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Buffalo Bills GM Brandon Beane recognizes DT needs in post-draft presser

Says the team will look to free agency to add needed depth to the defensive line

NFL: FEB 28 Scouting Combine Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Before the 2023 NFL Draft even concluded, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane and his staff were working the phones trying to find some free agents to fill perceived gaps in the team’s roster.

“When I realized it wasn’t going to fall our way to get a D-Tackle, that’s when we started calling some agents, getting back in touch with some guys,” Beane said that the team had talked to some veteran players before the draft, but had made the decision to hold off until the first of May. “I think this week we will have the chance to add at least one veteran. We talked to a couple.”

In his post-draft press conference, Beane admitted that he had hoped to add a defensive tackle to the roster through the draft but he was determined to stay disciplined and stick to the team’s draft board and choose the best-available-player rather than get antsy.

“(If you) stay disciplined, you build a stronger roster over time,” he said that he avoided the temptation to abandon his pre-determined strategy to fill roster roles. But Beane admitted that, late in the draft, when he selected cornerback Alex Austin, it was about needed depth for a position that the Bills struggled to keep filled last season due to an injury-fest in their defensive secondary all season. He then quickly defended the decision saying that it wasn’t a complete dismissal of the plan. “But it was always best player or tied.”

Beane, who has run the war room on draft day for six years now, is confident that the players chosen in this year’s draft class will make an impact on the team.

“We think we got guys — whether they start or backup or help out on special teams — that will earn a jersey,” the brain trust behind the team’s rebuild over the past half-decade said.

Despite Beane’s “promise” that the team didn’t say “hey, we are going to go offense with the draft this year,” there is a need along the Bills’ defensive line withBeane himself stating that he doesn’t have any players locked in long-term. “We will look to add a vet or two.”

With that being said, here’s a list — compiled by Greg Tompsett — of potential defensive tackles the Bills could be looking to add.

In addition, there are quite a few veteran edge rushers who are currently available through free agency as well — something that’s important while the team continues developing Greg Rousseau, and also for the still-uncertain timeline for Von Miller’s return from a Thanksgiving Day ACL injury.

While he’s planning on giving out some free agent contracts, Beane does’t anticipate filling all 90 spots on the team’s pre-camp roster right away. Beane expects to have 82-85 roster spots filled over the next few days.

The 2023 NFL Draft may be over, but the work to fill the team’s roster with jersey-worthy players isn’t done.