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The Bills' DE Lottery Tickets


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The Bills currently have eight defensive ends on the roster;  Hughes, Addison, Mike Love, Brian Cox Jr., AJ Epenesa, Darryl Johnson, Efe Obada, and now Greg Rousseau.  We parted way with Trent Murphy and Quinton Jefferson.

 

I think we can break these eight down into three groups;

 

Hughes and Addison -- Veteran Production

Love and Cox Jr -- Cheap Depth 

Epenesa, Obada, Johnson, Rousseau --  Lottery Tickets

 

The interesting group here is the Lottery tickets.

 

Efe Obada really intrigues me.  He had some great production with limited reps last season and it looks like the arrow is pointing up on him.  He only played 39% of the snaps for the Panthers and had 5.5 sacks, 4 TFL, and 15 QB hits.  Even more than Epenesa, I'm excited to see what he can do this season.

 

Darryl Johnson is more of the quick twitch / speed edge rusher and he has flashed at times.   He sometimes gets up the field too quickly and loses edge containment and that is an issue that he needs to work on.  He is the fastest DE on the roster for the Bills.  He is also entering "Year Three" and hopefully if things are going to click for him, it will start to happen this year.  He only got 21% of the snaps last season in the Bills' DE rotation.  With Murphy and Jefferson gone he might get a little bit more run this season.

 

AJ Epenesa was in on 27% of the snaps and had 1 sack and 3 QB hits.  He really started to come on as the season progressed and he began to supplant Trent Murphy in the lineup.  Hopefully a full NFL off season and his hard earned game experience will allow him to take another step this year.  He should join Hughes as the primary edge rushers for the Bills this season.  Hughes played on 59% of the snaps last year and I'd expect Epenesa to be a lot closer to that percentage this year.  Let's hope the production will follow.

 

Greg Rousseau is the last and probably biggest Lottery Ticket in the group.  I'm not going to make any predictions here.  He's a player with potential who McDermott, Frazier, and Eric Washington think they can develop.  I don't think anyone believes that will happen to a large degree during his rookie campaign.  Any production from him this year would definitely be a bonus.  

 

I don't expect the Bills will let Hughes walk after this year if he continues to play at his current level.  Even just a one year contract to Hughes gives the other DE's an additional year to find their game and step into Hughes' shoes.  If any of these four Lottery Tickets can find the next level, the Bills will have an imposing pass rush with Oliver up the middle, Hughes on one end, and the winning Lottery Ticket on the other.   McDermott and Frazier are fantastic defensive coaches and I have confidence that they will be able to get the most out of these young DEs. 

 

 

 

Edited by Inigo Montoya
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2 minutes ago, Inigo Montoya said:

McDermott and Frazier are fantastic defensive coaches 

 

This is the crux.

 

No matter what edge/DE the Bills picked at 30, that player was going to have some question marks. Great coaching and a solid team structure might be the key to develop any of those guys into great NFL players.

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Thing that gets me is - who's getting cut? In my time as a Bills fan, we've only ever kept 4 or 5 DE's on the active roster. Hughes, Addison, Epenesa, and Rousseau are locks. Leaves one roster spot for Obada or Bam Bam. I don't see SIX DE's being kept.

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8 hours ago, BillsFanForever19 said:

Thing that gets me is - who's getting cut? In my time as a Bills fan, we've only ever kept 4 or 5 DE's on the active roster. Hughes, Addison, Epenesa, and Rousseau are locks. Leaves one roster spot for Obada or Bam Bam. I don't see SIX DE's being kept.

TC should take care of it,   

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1 minute ago, SirAndrew said:

I know this is a hot take, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they parted with Hughes. I’m not saying I expect it, but it wouldn’t be shocking. 


Makes sense they would keep him one more year to mentor the other guys? 

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They clearly think the only serious need is lass rush DE, and I don't particularly disagree with the strategy. I also don't think anyone is a lock to stay. I think Love, Cox and Johnson may all be out though.

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9 minutes ago, Aussie Joe said:


Makes sense they would keep him one more year to mentor the other guys? 

That’s the most likely scenario, but if some of these guys step up during trading camp that could change things imo. I guess it depends how much they value Hughes as a mentor. If they think they can get equal production from other guys, it might just be time to move on from the vet. Hughes is on a two year deal that is team friendly, which is why I considered letting him go an unlikely hot take. 

Edited by SirAndrew
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11 hours ago, Inigo Montoya said:

The Bills currently have eight defensive ends on the roster;  Hughes, Addison, Mike Love, Brian Cox Jr., AJ Epenesa, Darryl Johnson, Efe Obada, and now Greg Rousseau.  We parted way with Trent Murphy and Quinton Jefferson.

 

I think we can break these eight down into three groups;

 

Hughes and Addison -- Veteran Production

Love and Cox Jr -- Cheap Depth 

Epenesa, Obada, Johnson, Rousseau --  Lottery Tickets

 

The interesting group here is the Lottery tickets.

 

Efe Obada really intrigues me.  He had some great production with limited reps last season and it looks like the arrow is pointing up on him.  He only played 39% of the snaps for the Panthers and had 5.5 sacks, 4 TFL, and 15 QB hits.  Even more than Epenesa, I'm excited to see what he can do this season.

 

Darryl Johnson is more of the quick twitch / speed edge rusher and he has flashed at times.   He sometimes gets up the field too quickly and loses edge containment and that is an issue that he needs to work on.  He is the fastest DE on the roster for the Bills.  He is also entering "Year Three" and hopefully if things are going to click for him, it will start to happen this year.  He only got 21% of the snaps last season in the Bills' DE rotation.  With Murphy and Jefferson gone he might get a little bit more run this season.

 

AJ Epenesa was in on 27% of the snaps and had 1 sack and 3 QB hits.  He really started to come on as the season progressed and he began to supplant Trent Murphy in the lineup.  Hopefully a full NFL off season and his hard earned game experience will allow him to take another step this year.  He should join Hughes as the primary edge rushers for the Bills this season.  Hughes played on 59% of the snaps last year and I'd expect Epenesa to be a lot closer to that percentage this year.  Let's hope the production will follow.

 

Greg Rousseau is the last and probably biggest Lottery Ticket in the group.  I'm not going to make any predictions here.  He's a player with potential who McDermott, Frazier, and Eric Washington think they can develop.  I don't think anyone believes that will happen to a large degree during his rookie campaign.  Any production from him this year would definitely be a bonus.  

 

I don't expect the Bills will let Hughes walk after this year if he continues to play at his current level.  Even just a one year contract to Hughes gives the other DE's an additional year to find their game and step into Hughes' shoes.  If any of these four Lottery Tickets can find the next level, the Bills will have an imposing pass rush with Oliver up the middle, Hughes on one end, and the winning Lottery Ticket on the other.   McDermott and Frazier are fantastic defensive coaches and I have confidence that they will be able to get the most out of these young DEs. 

 

 

 

 

Good post.  So now evidently, you got to add a lottery ticket, with Boogie Basham.

 

Here's the thing.  How many do the Bills keep?  5?  6?

 

I was surprised that Johnson had gotten so many snaps at edge.  I looked it up, and actually Johnson went from getting single-digit to low-teen snaps, to getting 21-29% of the snaps games 11-13, to getting 40% of the snaps 14-16.  But, his playing time fell off in the playoffs and in fact was inactive for the Ravens.

 

Epenesa followed a similar trajectory, inactive 2 games and uneven usage early in the season, but then high 30's, 50, 69% of the snaps at the end of the season.

 

Last season, they were expecting Quinton Jefferson to fill a hybrid role where he moved around on the line. Obada or one of the draft class may be candidates for that role. 

 

If counted that way, the Bills may keep 6.  There's still probably not room for Hughes, Addison, Epenesa, Obada, Johnson, Rousseau, and Basham on the roster.

Addison apparently just renegotiated his contract and took a haircut in exchange for guaranteed salary.  Hughes is a leader on the team and with so many youngsters I would expect McDermott to be looking to not "let the leaders out of the room". 

 

I think the Bills are gonna have to lose a lottery ticket.

 

 

10 hours ago, BillsFanForever19 said:

Thing that gets me is - who's getting cut? In my time as a Bills fan, we've only ever kept 4 or 5 DE's on the active roster. Hughes, Addison, Epenesa, and Rousseau are locks. Leaves one roster spot for Obada or Bam Bam. I don't see SIX DE's being kept.

 

It would be radical, but I wonder if they are disappointed in Epenesa and ready to move on?

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4 minutes ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

Good post.  So now evidently, you got to add a lottery ticket, with Boogie Basham.

 

Here's the thing.  How many do the Bills keep?  5?  6?

 

I was surprised that Johnson had gotten so many snaps at edge.  I looked it up, and actually Johnson went from getting single-digit to low-teen snaps, to getting 21-29% of the snaps games 11-13, to getting 40% of the snaps 14-16.  But, his playing time fell off in the playoffs and in fact was inactive for the Ravens.

 

Epenesa followed a similar trajectory, inactive 2 games and uneven usage early in the season, but then high 30's, 50, 69% of the snaps at the end of the season.

 

Last season, they were expecting Quinton Jefferson to fill a hybrid role where he moved around on the line. Obada or one of the draft class may be candidates for that role. 

 

If counted that way, the Bills may keep 6.  There's still probably not room for Hughes, Addison, Epenesa, Obada, Johnson, Rousseau, and Basham on the roster.

Addison apparently just renegotiated his contract and took a haircut in exchange for guaranteed salary.  Hughes is a leader on the team and with so many youngsters I would expect McDermott to be looking to not "let the leaders out of the room". 

 

I think the Bills are gonna have to lose a lottery ticket.

 

 

 

It would be radical, but I wonder if they are disappointed in Epenesa and ready to move on?

 

Obada got 800k guaranteed and 1.5 total. To me he's long odds to make the roster. It's basically him and Addison with one spot. My money's on Addison for another year. Johnsons special teams contributions probably aren't enough, maybe he can hit the PS.  I don't remember the rules there.

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14 hours ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

I was surprised that Johnson had gotten so many snaps at edge.  I looked it up, and actually Johnson went from getting single-digit to low-teen snaps, to getting 21-29% of the snaps games 11-13, to getting 40% of the snaps 14-16.  But, his playing time fell off in the playoffs and in fact was inactive for the Ravens.

 

 

He as inactive for Ravens because Bills came up with a game plan to neutralize Raven's QB and on plays going Murphy's direction it was successful.

Lamar Jackson was contained on that side of the field.

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Beach Boy and D-cell Jr. are gone, just not good enough.  Maybe they hang on the PS.

On 4/30/2021 at 1:44 PM, BillsFanForever19 said:

Thing that gets me is - who's getting cut? In my time as a Bills fan, we've only ever kept 4 or 5 DE's on the active roster. Hughes, Addison, Epenesa, and Rousseau are locks. Leaves one roster spot for Obada or Bam Bam. I don't see SIX DE's being kept.

 

JJ gonna get some 3 tech DT snaps, so he could actually be the 5th DT.  Obada and Boogieoogieoogie definitely on the 53.

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