It isn’t too much of an exaggeration to say that if the Buffalo Bills had managed to get one more stop during the postseason last year, they very well may have ended up in the Super Bowl. By and large though, the Bills’ defensive unit last year was tremendous. They allowed the fewest points of any team in the league, and gave up the fewest passing touchdowns in the league during the regular season. Buffalo also finished in the top five in the NFL in turnovers forced. They have the ingredients to remain a great defense in 2022, but will hope for some better production when the lights are brightest.
Buffalo has attempted to build up their defensive line through the draft over the last several years, with mixed results. Greg Rousseau and AJ Epenesa remain on the roster, and the team is hopeful that both players can elevate their level of production in 2022. But because the team has big dreams this year, they also felt the need to bring in a couple of proven veterans, who have already had previous success in Buffalo.
The Bills reunited with Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips, who actually both had career years rushing the passer when they last played in Buffalo. Lawson spent the last two seasons in the AFC East, playing for the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets respectively as a rotational player. Phillips played the last two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. His numbers don’t jump off the page as an interior defensive lineman, but he will be important to the Bills when containing the run.
It’s no secret that Buffalo is looking to win a championship this year, and they aggressively pursued a player who accomplished just that last February. Edge rusher Von Miller won a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams, but will be taking his talents to Buffalo after the team locked him down with a six-year, $120 million contract. He is not the same level of player that he showed during his prime with the Denver Broncos, but he should still be able to provide leadership and pass rushing juice off of the edge.
The Bills will look to pair reliable veterans Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds with Miller, as they hope to develop third-round pick Terrel Bernard this season.
Buffalo has had one of the most talented and effective secondaries for the last several seasons, but will have to do a little bit of mixing and matching in 2022. Two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Tre’Davious White tore his ACL down the stretch of the 2021 season, and may not be ready to play when the 2022 campaign kicks off. Buffalo has the experience to overcome that at safety with the presence of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, but they might take a few games to get organized on the outside. They did trade up in the NFL Draft to acquire cornerback Kaiir Elam, who factor in prominently as they try to fill White’s void.