Bills post-draft roster reset: Outside linebackers


Taking a look at the Buffalo Bills' roster, which stands at 90 players following the draft and undrafted free-agent signings:

Position: Outside linebacker

Veterans: Jerry Hughes, Manny Lawson, Randell Johnson

Drafted rookies: None

Undrafted rookies: Andrew Hudson

Rookie camp tryouts: None

Early thoughts: This is the "wild card" position in Rex Ryan's defense. Whereas his defensive end spot is best filled by a hand-in-the-dirt pass-rusher like Mario Williams or Terrell Suggs, the prototype for this outside linebacker role is Calvin Pace (with the New York Jets) or Jarret Johnson (with the Baltimore Ravens). Responsibilities for this player vary from occasional pass-rushing to dropping into coverages. Lawson filled this role very well for the Bills in 2013 and was rated as one of the NFL's best coverage linebackers by Pro Football Focus. The pressing question will be if Ryan sticks with Lawson in this spot or uses Hughes, who is a gifted pass-rusher but has been largely untested in pass coverage. Hughes' most natural fit is in the Williams/Suggs role.