What the Bills Need:
The Bills have done a great job filling the holes in their roster and building up a solid foundation of depth at almost every position this off-season. There are no dire needs, but one of the positions that could use an upgrade is the edge pass rush department. Even though we signed Mario Addison to a deal this offseason, there is still room for improvement, and adding a cheaper option in the long term is never a bad idea. Terrell Lewis out of Alabama was a force to be reckoned with for the Crimson Tide and would fit well into the Bills defensive line.
While at Alabama Lewis played 3-4 outside linebacker for them and provided a disruptive pass rush. Generally, he flipped between a stand-up edge and a 7-tech end while occasionally playing some off-ball linebacker. Even though Lewis played a 3-4 OLB in college, he is best suited to be a 4-3 defensive end for the Bills. Lewis has battled some injuries throughout his career, which is one reason why he could be there in the second round for them.
1st Step Explosiveness and Pass Rush Repertoire:
Lewis’s best trait that will be highly sought after is hit first step explosiveness when coming off the ball. While scouting his film, there were multiple times when I paused the tape at the snap, and he would already be past the line of scrimmage and ready to engage. This type of speed is extremely valuable in the NFL and translates successfully. One thing he needs to work on though with this speed is control when shedding to the quarterback. He can occasionally whiff on the sack and only disrupt the play instead of ending it.
Finding a combination of speed and pass rush moves is ideal when looking for edge help in the draft. It’s difficult for young players to have multiple moves to rely on, and Lewis has developed numerous ways to win on the edge. He displayed a strong-arm technique to push back tackles, a spin-move to counter back inside, and a club-rip to bend and cut around tackles on the edge. This deadly combination of speed and technique is what makes Lewis such a viable candidate for the Bills.
Setting the Edge, Motor, and Stopping the Run:
While scouting his run defense ability, it was clear that Lewis could not be blocked by a tight end alone. His 1st step explosiveness allows him to gain leverage at the line of scrimmage and stuff gaps. Lewis’s hand use needs a little work when setting the edge. He sometimes takes on blocks with his shoulder and loses separation from the blocker resulting in the edge being given up. He has good play strength but seems to lack some anchoring ability to not be moved off the line of scrimmage. Gaining some weight as he transitions from a 3-4 edge to a 4-3 could prove vital.
When faced with misdirection plays and gadget runs, Lewis showed good discipline to not be fooled by the bait and stayed home to cover his assignment. Even though this seems like an elementary skill, in the NFL this is an important trait. To be trusted to do your assignment is something the Bills emphasize and is what makes team defense doable.
The only big knock I have on Lewis is his motor against the run. Multiple times a game, Lewis could be seen not chasing plays from the backside and cleaning up tackles late in the game. Things like this are what stop players from being an every-down starter and is something he needs to work on.
With the draft approaching quickly and information resources being limited for every team, we could see some high-profile players fall later than they should. This would be a perfect opportunity for the Bills to go ahead and trade up a little bit to grab a day one impact player. Terrell Lewis could be the type of player to edge out Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy for a spot on the line. If Lewis is there at 54, it would be hard to not grab him considering he projects as a starting level player.