3 questions the Bills still must answer on defense

Much of the Bills offseason has been dedicated to improving parts of the team’s defense.

In fact, the three additions of note on defense appear to be DT Poona Ford and S Taylor Rapp in free agency, and LB Dorian Williams and CB Alex Austin in the 2023 NFL draft.

While those additions bring depth and competition to their respective position groups, there are still some answers needed.

Here are three questions the Bills must answer on defense…

Who will the long term solution be at inside linebacker?

Inside linebacker and quarterback-of-the-defense Tremaine Edmunds has left the building, taking a payday as a free agent to join the Chicago Bears.

And, depending on what you believe, the replacement might exist in-house or not.

While outside linebacker Von Miller has become the leader on defense, there is still a hole at inside linebacker that the team may not have seen a long-term solution for this offseason, pursuing only Bucs LB Lavonte Davis in free agency on what would have presumably been a short term deal like the one-year pact he took to re-sign with Tampa. Unlike in the past, GM Brandon Beane didn’t move up to draft a player to fill the position either.

Tyrel Dodson led the team in tackles while starting twice for Edmunds while he was out with injury, and figures to be the next man up at the position group. Terrel Bernard joins the group on the depth chart, as does Baylon Spector.

The team could be waiting to see if Dodson and a rotation can fill the role similar to their other defensive position group rotations, or waiting until next offseason if they see a better talent or fit in the draft or free agency.

Nonetheless, the question as to who will fill that role long-term remains.

What are the front office's plans at the safety position ?

Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The free agent market never materialized for S Jordan Poyer and others at his position, namely due to the deep defensive backs class in the draft.

The Bills were the beneficiary in that they were able to resign Poyer on a team-friendly short-term two-year deal.

What’s more, they added a player who could be a long-term fit in S Taylor Rapp on a one-year deal, inked former Chiefs safety Zayne Anderson to a two-year agreement, and brought back S Dean Marlowe for another year as well. With injuries to starting safeties Micah Hyden and Poyer, the depth moves should provide rotation and coverage behind them.

With talk in the offseason about how the team looks at positional flexibility when they select talent for their secondary, and players possibly switching positions to play safety, it appears Buffalo may be beginning to plan for the future of the position beyond its star safety duo’s tenure.

Who will fill those roles long-term remains to be seen.

When will we see more additions at defensive tackle?

Whether it’s during training camp, picking up players cut by other teams, or at the trade deadline, the Bills could add talent at the defensive tackle position.

GM Brandon Beane talked about that position strongly post-draft as one he’d wish he could’ve added to.

He did just that, signing DT Poona Ford to a one-year agreement, though that is a signature Beane short-term position-placeholder pact.

Whether it’s between now and after the trade deadline, or the 2024 offseason, it would stand to reason based on his direct comments that the GM will add to the position.

When that will be, is what we’ll wait to find out.

Story originally appeared on Bills Wire