Earlier this week the Buffalo Bills signed two new Defensive Tackles. The first being Eli Ankou, a Canadian football player who is a one-tech, and the other being Nazair Jones. They were both signed to one-year deals and both players haven’t gotten a real shot to show off their talent and actually play full seasons for their former teams.
Ankou is a 6’3”, approximately 300-pound tackle that could be used to clog up the middle of the Bills defense. He has been in the league for five seasons and most recently played for the Cowboys (2020). In that season, he didn’t really have the opportunity to put up significant numbers due to his limited playing time, posting just five tackles. But, in his best season (rookie year) he had much better numbers. That season, with Jacksonville, he put up 15 tackles and had 1.5 sacks in nine games played. While these aren’t outstanding numbers they are respectable numbers to have as a one-tech Defensive Tackle.
The main knock on Ankou is that he doesn’t have the most experience. He hasn’t had a high snap count in any of the seasons he has played (highest 186 last year). To me, this isn’t a huge red flag. Most defensive tackles, especially one techs, don’t play all the snaps. They come in the game for situations where teams are going to run the ball and are there to mainly take up space and let the linebackers do their job. In my opinion, with Ankou, the Bills could have a new defensive tackle that could make it into the rotation.
The second player is Nazair Jones, a 6’5”, 290-pound tackle that could also play one tech for the Bills. Another big-bodied player that has the ability to clog up the middle of the field, Jones has a little less experience than Ankou but still has put up respectable numbers at this position. In his most recent season (2018) he put up seven tackles in nine games. In his best season (2017), Jones had 19 tackles, an interception, and two sacks. He is a little bit more of a versatile player and that could be his way onto the roster.
Jones has had some injury issues mainly with his knee. He injured his knee when playing with Seattle and wasn’t able to fully recover before being cut by them in 2020. He is a couple of years out from that injury. Assuming he has been putting in the work and has rehabbed accordingly, I think that this is another guy that has a fighting chance for a roster spot in the defensive line rotation.
What do you think? Do either of these guys have a chance of making it onto the roster? If so, which one and why?