How Will the Bills Replace Kyle Williams?

With the retirement of Kyle Williams following the 2019 Pro Bowl, the Buffalo Bills will have a big void to fill on and off the field. Williams was on the field for 65 percent of the defensive snaps this year, the most for the Bills’ interior defensive linemen. Star Lotulelei was second with only 47 percent. That is a lot of game time in a position that is vital to this top three defense.

Right now, a lot of people believe that Harrison Phillips is going to be able to step into the spot. But what people may not realize is, for the most part, Harrison came in for Lotulelei, not for Williams. Jordan Phillips would sub in for Williams, and Phillips admittedly did a good job in the snaps he played.

However, the issue with Phillips is that he is a UFA this off-season so the Bills might lose him. Could Harrison play where Williams was? Yes, during camp he was training and playing both spots on the d-line. That still leaves a big hole to fill on the field.

Could the Bills draft a defensive tackle at pick number 9?

While it is possible that Buffalo decides to take Quinnen Williams or Ed Oliver,  the depth at the position in this year’s draft means the Bills can get a productive player between rounds three to five. Spending a first-rounder on a defensive tackle is also a risky move because unless that player is like Aaron Donald, they are easily replaceable with later-round selections.

Off the field, the team will need to find out who the next leader will be, and no one person will be able to fill that void. Even Lorenzo Alexander said the same thing after he signed his one-year deal to remain with the Bills. Alexander will have one of the biggest voices, but even he said that they need players like Micah Hyde and Lotulelei to step up and be a leader for the younger guys.

Anyone who watched the team this past season can see the leadership potential oozing out of Josh Allen during the second half of the season. He has a similar personality to Williams and could fill in for some of the energy Williams brought.

A young player on defense could be Tremaine Edmunds, who was under Williams’ wing all season long. Edmunds was even leading the team’s defensive meetings, and this was seen to some as a passing of the torch.

This is going to be a young leadership core this year, with Allen and Edmunds leading the way. On the field, the team’s moves during free agency and the draft will determine if either Harrison or Jordan Phillips end up sliding over to the role Williams is leaving behind.

Replacing Kyle Williams will be hard for the Buffalo Bills, and it will be a group effort to bring the same energy he did to help the Bills build off of this past season.

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