The Buffalo Bills had a complete turnover at the middle linebacker position. After letting Tremaine Edmunds go to Chicago, they brought back veterans A.J. Klein and Tyrel Dodson, and then drafted Dorian Williams.
Dodson and Klein were the primary backups to Edmunds last year, with Klein doubling as the third LB when Leslie Frazier decided to get daring on game days. Williams has been learning the MIKE position this spring, and has a very good chance to become the starting MLB for Week 1. So who gets the job come week one against the New York Jets?
Buffalo’s Current MLB Depth Chart
- Dorian Williams
- Tyrel Dodson
- A.J. Klein
- Terrel Bernard
- Baylon Spector
- Tyler Matakevich
- Travin Howard
As mentioned above, the Buffalo Bills drafted Williams with the hope he can make the change to MLB sooner rather than later. Williams was mainly an outside linebacker in college at Tulane. Standing at 6’2”, 230 lbs, Williams is smaller than your normal MLB. However, some teams are starting to switch over to smaller, faster players at the position (i.e. Roquan Smith in Baltimore).
Dodson signed with the Bills as a UDFA in 2019 and has had an uphill battle to this point in his NFL career. Beginning on the practice squad, he didn’t make his first appearance until the 2020 season in a victory against the Jets. Dodson played in 16 games in 2021, and recorded 15 tackles. The defense didn’t look the best last year when Dodson substituted for Tremaine Edmunds, but the Bills could look to go with Dodson for at least Week 1 just for his experience in the defense.
Bernard was Buffalo’s third round pick last year, but we didn’t see too much of him during the season. Only starting one game all year, the team, the fans, and the media still have no idea what kind of player Bernard can turn in to. We still don’t know if he can be a productive starter, or if it was a waste of a third round pick. The fact that the team drafted another linebacker this year doesn’t help Bernard’s case either.
I think that Dorian Williams will win the starting middle linebacker spot. The Bills want him to take over with Matt Milano this season. And, if I had to decide between Williams, Dodson, and Bernard, Williams is the easy pick here. Sean McDermott wants to run a more aggressive, position-less defense that’s almost a replica of what he built in Carolina. Dorian fits that style like a glove.
*Players With An Outside Chance: A.J. Klein and Baylon Spector
Featured Image: Brett Carlsen/AP