Buffalo Bills Draft Prospects: DT
The Buffalo Bills aren’t looking too hot at defensive tackle after this season. With no DTs under contract past 2023, the Bills are going to need to beef up their interior defensive line through this year’s draft.
Ed Oliver is due $10.8 million this season, and his name has been the center around trade rumors this offseason. With DT Jeffrey Simmons recently getting a huge extension with the Titans, that could push Oliver to want the same type of money. If that’s the case, the Bills might just let him walk and see if he can get it elsewhere.
So, who are some DTs that the Buffalo Bills could target in the draft in just 15 days?
Bryan Bresee (Clemson)
Bryan Bresee is an athletic lineman who won’t stop until he gets in the backfield. He has the size, athleticism, and strength to be a very productive player in the league. Bresee will likely fit as a two or three-tech in the NFL, and could potentially be Oliver’s replacement. The 6’5″, 298 pound 21-year old will continue to grow as a player and should be a nice run-stopping DT. Bresee is just an average pass rusher, as he totaled nine sacks throughout his three collegiate seasons. However, he is projected to be a first-round pick.
Mazi Smith (Michigan)
The Buffalo Bills will have to be okay with Mazi Smith not being the best pass rusher right away; he only totaled 23 pressures and 0.5 sacks in four collegiate seasons (35 games). Smith needs to be more consistent with his play, which is why we’ve seen his production fluctuate every season. He can go from an All-Pro caliber player to just not putting anything up on the stat sheet, even though he has great athleticism for his size (6’3″, 323 pounds).
Florida Gervon Dexter is another DT who has great size and athleticism, but only shows flashes of greatness and is cited with having effort concerns. If either of these guys can stay consistent with their good play, they can become dominant defensive tackles at the NFL level. Both are projected to be Day Two picks, most likely in Round Two.
Siaki Ika (Baylor)
Measuring in at 6’3″, 335 pounds, Siaki Ika has “uncommon athleticism for his size” and raw strength that he uses to his advantage, according to Kyle Crabbs (formerly of The Draft Network). Ika will likely see more snaps in running situations than passing situations since his size helps him eat up blockers to free his teammates. He saw a dip in production as a pass rusher in 2022 as he didn’t tally a sack and had just 2.0 TFLs. In comparison, he recorded 3.5 sacks and 6.0 TFLs in 2021. (Known more for clogging up running lanes, he only had 24 total tackles in each of those years.) Ika orginally weighed 357 pounds, but recently dropped over 20 pounds as he gets ready to most likely hear his name called on Day Two of the draft.
Another DT target for the Buffalo Bills is Keeanu Benton. Standing at 6’4″, 309 pounds, Benton’s size allows him to be a force against opposing offensive linemen. Analysts describe him as one of the best run-stuffing DTs in this draft class. Benton needs to improve as a pass rusher, but took some big strides in that category last year, totaling 4.5 sacks and 10 TFLs. He, like Ika, is valued more as a player who will eat up blockers and free up his teammates than somebody who will flash on the stat sheet. Benton is also expected to be selected sometime on Friday.
Zacch Pickens (South Carolina)
Finally, Zacch Pickens is another dominant run stuffer on the DL. Pickens uses his big 6’4″, 291 pound frame to his advantage. He has the tools to become a great player on any team, but has some pass rush flaws. He struggles to get to the QB if he doesn’t initially win at the point of attack. Pickens’ production won’t fill up the box scores, but he was a key player on the Gamecocks’ DL last season. He totaled 42 total tackles and 2.5 sacks in 12 games. The 23-year old is projected to be a late Day Two/early Day Three pick.
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