Buffalo Bills

The Bills New Look O-Line. How Will It Mesh?

When it comes to the offensive line, one of the biggest fan misconceptions is how easy people believe it is to change from left to right sides. Most NFL linemen can not play both left and right tackle each effectively. The same can be said about the guard positions. Brandon Beane has had a busy off-season with an emphasis on upgrading Josh Allen‘s protection. With five new additions it’s important to understand where each man is comfortable playing and which spot each man can play most efficiently.

Lets start with the fellas that are new to Buffalo

Via @TheBuffaloFanatics (IG)

C Mitch Morse – Having a veteran center for Josh Allen was the most important task of the 2019 off-season. Bills got a blue collar work horse who will make the entire offensive line better, not to mention make Allen’s job much easier. Allen had issues with pre-snap adjustments in his rookie year. This move is a game changer for the sophomore QB. Morse must stay healthy as he plays a key role in the o-line overhaul.

Snaps: 811

Sacks Allowed: 0

QB Hits Allowed: 1

QB Hurries: 4

Pressures: 5

OG Spencer Long – It looks as though Long was brought in ultimately as insurance in case Buffalo was unable to land one of the top center options as free agency kicked off. Being able to play both center and guard has added value that you know McBeane loves. Spencer Long had a rough time playing center (though reportedly playing injured) for 8 games and eventually moved to left guard. Long played 0 snaps on the right side of the offensive line in 2018.

Snaps: 805

Sacks Allowed: 4

QB Hits Allowed: 3

QB Hurries:20

Pressures: 27

(Played C 8 games, LG 5 games, 0 on the right side)

OG Jon Feliciano – Feliciano is an interesting prospect who played a total of 11 snaps at left tackle in 2018 but a majority (216 snaps) at left guard. He last played RG in 2017 in which he earned some of his better PFF grades. Slotting him in as our starting right guard with little else competition at this time is plausible.

Snaps: 226

Sacks Allowed: 0

QB Hits Allowed: 0

QB Hurries: 4

Pressures: 4

(Played on left side only in 2018)

OT Ty Nsekhe – Nsekhe comes to Buffalo with an interesting past and once again, most of his snaps on the left side of the offensive line. In 2018 Ty played left tackle filling in for injured Redskins tackle Trent Williams for 4 games. Played 3 games at left guard and 1 game at right tackle (45 snaps). Interesting enough Pro Football Focus gave Nsekhe his worst grade of the year in his week 3 play at right tackle vs the Green Bay Packers.

Snaps: 403

Sacks Allowed: 1

QB Hits Allowed: 3

QB Pressures: 11

Pressures: 7

(Played LT 4 games, 3 games LG, 1 game RT)

OT LaAdrian Waddle – Most recently Waddle has played a swing tackle role with the Patriots, able to come in on injury or spot duty. Had most promise early in his career (2013, 2014). Playing a majority of his snaps on the right side in 2018. Interestingly enough earning better grades playing on the left side via PFF.

Snaps: 348

Sacks Allowed: 3

QB Hits Allowed: 3

QB Hurries: 11

Pressures: 17

*Returning Bills Expected to Compete to Start*

OT Dion Dawkins – Dawkins had a down year giving up more sacks than right tackle mate Jordan Mills. Yet to be seen if that was a product playing next to a poor guard in Vlad Ducasse. This is an important year for Dion to get back to playing at a high level.

Snaps:1,057

Sacks Allowed: 7

QB Hits Allowed: 2

QB Hurries: 25

Pressures: 34

OG Wyatt Teller – Teller is the wild card. Youngest in the group with the most to prove. It won’t be easy as Beane just added 2 new players to the guard mix along with a possible blue chip draft pick coming in round 1 or 2. Wyatt showed enough promise where you can slot him in at starting left guard for the time being with no other o-line additions.

Snaps: 476

Sacks Allowed: 0

QB Hits Allowed: 2

QB Hurries: 6

Pressures: 8

Photo via ProFootballFocus.com

If the Bills want Josh Allen to succeed, the offensive line must provide adequate protection along with the ability to run the ball effectively. I would caution to say Brandon Beane is not done building the offensive line. The Bills signed 4 offensive lineman that are most effective on the left side of the line. It’s not to say they won’t be effective on the right side, but they are unproven for the most part.

I would call it a work in progress, as most can assume. Last Friday the Bills had former Titans left guard Quinton Spain in to visit. Spain if signed, would undoubtedly unseat second year man Wyatt Teller at left guard. No word yet if Buffalo has made a contract offer to the vet.

If OTA’s were tomorrow and the roster was set… I’d say the starting lineup would look something like:

LT: Dion Dawkins

LG: Wyatt Teller

C: Mitch Morse

RG: Jon Feliciano

RT: Ty Nsekhe

Most Likely Camp Cuts: OT Conor McDermot, C Russell Bodine, OG Ike Boettger, OG Vlad Ducasse, OL Jeremiah Sirles

I am a believer in natural position lineman. If Jawaan Taylor was a great right tackle in college, why try to flip him to the left side? It’s a concern for some of these guys especially a player like Dion Dawkins. Dawkins struggled in camp at right tackle his rookie season before Cordy Glenn got injured and history took its course. Most believe Dion can play at a high level if moved inside to left guard, but will Buffalo risk his development at left tackle for the experiment? Probably not.

One thing can be said, this group will most certainly be much improved from what we witnessed in 2018. The Bills should stay the course in complete o-line rebuild mode and draft offensive line in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Depending how they feel with Dawkins at left tackle, specifically a natural right tackle or right guard should be added early. I would highly recommend Cody Ford from Oklahoma or Jawaan Taylor from Florida.

Stay tuned as the NFL Draft is less than 30 days away. Player analytics used above are brought to you by ProFootballFocus.com.

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