Training Camp Preview: Linebackers

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Buffalo Bills rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (49) takes part in drills during the team’s NFL football minicamp in Orchard Park, N.Y., Thursday, June 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

The biggest personnel change to the Bills defense this season sits right in the middle.

First round draft pick Tremaine Edmunds is the new starting inside linebacker.

The 20-year old takes over for Preston Brown who left for Cincinnati as a free agent. Brown was a very solid contributor during his four seasons in Buffalo, but the Bills were looking for more than solid.

Sean McDermott wants a game changer at middle linebacker.  Edmunds is young and at times his inexperience will show up but, there will be moments this season when he could look like the best player on the field. 

“He’s a beast,” Bills safety Jordan Poyer said of the rookie linebacker.  “He can do everything. He’s 6’5″, he can run sideline to sideline and cover.”

“You’re the middle linebacker — you’re calling the defense, you’re setting the front, you’re doing a lot of things that are required to lead an entire group, and that’s asking a lot of a rookie,” added Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. “Up to this point, he’s handled it extremely well,” 

It’s always good to have a solid veteran lining up next to a rookie like Edmunds. The Bills have the perfect person to do that with Lorenzo Alexander.

Alexander will be a great influence both on and off the field. Alexander’s sack total dropped from 12.5 to just three last season. At 35-years-old it’s hard to imagine him racking up double digit sacks ever again, but he’s a dependable, but he’s a dependable piece of the Bills “D”.

Matt Milano is penciled in at the third linebacker spot. Milano progressed steadily during his rookie season. 

Frazier expects even more out of Milano this year saying, ” He’s in his second season and we need him to really step up and really help us as a starter. Matt has to earn it every single day, he has to continue to grow as a player and we definitely want to put more on his plate to see what he can handle.”

Milano dealt with a hamstring issue this offseason. The team hopes it won’t be an issue when camp rolls around.

Tanner Valejo and Ramon Humber are the primary backup linebackers, after that, depth is very thin.

Don’t be surprised if the Bills add veteran during training camp.

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