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90 Buffalo Bills players in 90 days: OT Spencer Brown

Now back to full health, Brown’s third year is a pivotal one for him and for the team

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Carolina Panthers v Buffalo Bills Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills added plenty of help this offseason along the interior offensive line. Where they didn’t add much, however, was at the offensive tackle position. Depending on one’s perspective, that may be because the team is confident in what it has at OT, or it could be because general manager Brandon Beane can only do so much under the constraints of the salary cap.

In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we discuss one of Buffalo’s offensive tackles — a third-year man with a lot to prove entering the 2023 NFL season.

Name: Spencer Brown

Number: 79

Position: T

Height/Weight: 6’8”, 311 pounds

Age: 25 (26 on 2/28/2024)

Experience/Draft: 3; selected by Buffalo in the third round (No. 93 overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft

College: Northern Iowa

Acquired: Third-round draft choice

Financial situation (per Spotrac): Brown enters the third year of his four-year rookie contract, a pact worth $4,834,697 overall. For the 2023 season, Brown carries a cap hit of $1,318,554 and a dead-cap number of $438,072 if Buffalo releases or trades him.

2022 Recap: After spending most of the offseason rehabbing a back injury (and trying to regain strength from a subsequent surgery), Brown struggled with consistency in his second professional season. In Buffalo’s first six games last year, he only managed to log 100% of the team’s snaps in half of them. He missed time against the Miami Dolphins, as did many Bills players, due to heat-related issues. Against the Tennessee Titans, he missed some time because the Bills were beating the brakes off of their opponent. But Brown suffered an ankle injury against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6, one that led to him missing the next two games. Upon his return, Brown didn’t miss a snap from Week 10 through the end of the season. Per Pro Football Focus, he finished the year with six accepted penalties against and four sacks allowed.

Positional outlook: Brown has the inside track to reclaim his role as the starting right tackle. His competition includes Brandon Shell, Tommy Doyle, Alec Anderson, Richard Gouraige, David Quessenberry, and Ryan Van Demark. Dion Dawkins is locked in as the left tackle.

2023 Offseason: Brown is healthy and he has participated fully in the team’s offseason program. He’s participating fully in training camp, as well.

2023 Season outlook: Brown entered the NFL as a toolsy, raw project who needed some time to acclimate to higher-level competition. There have been some growing pains in that regard, as he sometimes shows through raw athleticism and power that he can absolutely dominate, yet sometimes through poor technique, he shows that he can be beaten by players who shouldn’t be able to beat him. Injuries haven’t helped, either, as Brown has missed eight games in two seasons.

Brown’s an intriguing case, and it’s a bit of the opposite issue that we discussed with Poona Ford earlier this week — whereas Ford is rather short for his position, thereby giving him “low-man” status by default, Brown is so much taller than many people that he’s at a disadvantage naturally if he doesn’t perfect his technique. In a game where the low man wins, a stout 6’2” pass rusher can knock a 6’8” Brown off kilter if the latter isn’t sound in his blocking principles.

This is a big season for the big right tackle, as it’s the first year where Buffalo has added legitimate competition for him (in the form of Shell). I think that Brown’s going to win the competition, and I also anticipate that he’ll have a solid year thanks to his ability to participate in the offseason program without focusing on rehab. However, if he falters at all early on, it won’t surprise me one bit to see the Bills try to make a change.

The third year is always a big one for young players in the NFL, and while the focus may go towards players at other positions, it’s no different for the guys protecting the franchise. Brown needs to take a big step this year in order to cement his place in the lineup for the future.