The Buffalo Bills have dedicated quite a few resources to the defensive line over the past few seasons. Last offseason, the Bills spend their first two draft picks on defensive ends, selecting Miami’s Greg Rousseau and Wake Forest’s Boogie Basham with their opening selections.
The Bills also added free agent Efe Obada to the mix via free agency.
The goal was to create a deep, formidable group of players capable of rotating and consistently causing problems for opposing quarterbacks. Part of this was in response to finding a way to match up against Patrick Mahomes following the Bills loss in the 2020 AFC championship game.
For the most part, the unit worked well. While the defensive line group did not necessarily have a standout performer, the sub of the parts was often greater than the whole.
The Bills defense allowed the fewest points in the league. They also surrendered the fewest passing yards in the NFL, a credit to the defensive line working in concert with the secondary.
However, for as much as the Bills have put into the defensive line, there were times when the unit could have been more dominant.
They recorded 42 sacks, tied for 11th in the league. In addition, they allowed the 13th-fewest rushing yards, which feels good, but there were times were the line was pushed around a bit at the point of attack.
Still, a defense that gives up the fewest points in the league can only be viewed as a success.
Ed Oliver flashed moments of dominance in the middle. Harrison Phillips provided a viable influence in the middle of the line. Rousseau gave viewers a glimpse of his pass rush prowess. Veteran Mario Addison led the way with seven sacks. And, Jerry Hughes put up another good season pressuring the quarterback.
The group had a nice 2021 campaign, and more will be expected of the group moving forward. They were good, but they need to be dominant if the Bills are to make a push to the Super Bowl.
Here’s an offseason rundown for the Bills regarding the defensive line: