Bills roster in-depth: Defensive tackle

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With training camp now officially open, I’m re-examining the State of the Buffalo Bills’ roster, going position-by-position.

Here’s an in-depth look at the defensive tackles:

Under contract:

  • Ed Oliver
  • Harrison Phillips
  • Vincent Taylor
  • Quinton Jefferson
  • Vernon Butler
  • Niles Scott

NOTE: Star Lotulelei has opted out for the 2020 season, which means he won’t be playing this season, but his contract will toll and he will remain under contract to the club for three more seasons.

 

Ed Oliver

Oliver had a slow start, but really came on in the second half of his rookie season and started showing why he was the ninth overall pick in last year’s draft. After recording only 20 tackles and one sack (on a wide receiver throwing the ball) over the first nine games, he recorded 27 tackles and four sacks over the next eight games, including the playoffs. It will be fun and interesting to see him build upon that strong finish after a full offseason of being in an NFL conditioning program and being acclimated to the defense and what’s expected of him.

 

Harrison Phillips 

With Lotulelei opting out, Phillips may be the most important X-factor at defensive tackle for the cub in 2020. He was off to a really strong start over the first few games last season, increasing his snap count each week (and cutting into Lotulelei’s reps) until tearing his ACL on the final drive of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3. He was becoming a reliable run defender, who was clearly on an ascension in his second season. The good news is the injury happened in mid-September, giving him almost a full year to be ready for the 2020 regular season. But fully recovering from ACL injuries are never guaranteed, and how all of that comes together for Phillips will have a huge impact on his season, and maybe even the Bills’ defense, especially against the run.

 

Quinton Jefferson