The Buffalo Bills continued making adjustments to their roster Monday afternoon as the team signed veterans Leger Douzable and Chris Martin to one-year deals, while also releasing rookies Claudell Louis and Keith Lumpkin.
Louis, a defensive end out of Fresno State, and Lumpkin, an offensive tackle from Rutgers University, were both signed by the Bills as undrafted free agents following the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Bills’ roster is now back at the 90-man limit heading into the team’s mandatory minicamp, which runs from June 14 to June 16.
Overview: DE/DT Leger Douzable
Of the two new signees, Leger Douzable (pronounced: LEE-JHAY DOO-zub-ul) is undoubtedly the most intriguing.
Heading into his ninth season, Douzable has spent time with seven different teams thus far in his eight-year career, making Buffalo his eighth different home.
The 30-year-old defensive lineman went undrafted out of the University of Central Florida in 2008 despite earning First-Team All-Conference USA honors in his senior year and racking up 98 tackles (64 solo, 34 assists), 26.5 tackles for loss and 15 sacks in three seasons with the Golden Knights.
Picked up by Minnesota following the 2008 NFL Draft, Douzable has bounced around from the Vikings to the Giants, Rams, Lions, Jaguars, Titans and Jets since entering the league, and has racked up 116 tackles (67 solo, 49 assists), five sacks and one pass deflection in 91 career games.
However, his most extensive playing time and longest tenure with a team came in his last three seasons with the New York Jets, two of which were under the watch of Rex Ryan.
The 6-foot-4, 284-pound lineman appeared in every game for the Jets over the past three years, recording 59 tackles (29 solo, 30 assists) and four sacks along the way.
During his two seasons with Ryan, Douzable totaled 45 tackles (19 solo, 26 assists) and all four of his sacks in a reserve role behind others on the Jets’ star-studded defensive line.
In 2015, Douzable managed to make two starts in first-year head coach Todd Bowles’ 4-3 alignment, tallying 14 tackles (10 solo, 4 assists) for the season.
How does Leger Douzable fit?
A defensive tackle/defensive end coming out of college in 2008, the Tampa, Fla., native figures to play a similar type of role in Rex Ryan’s defensive scheme in Buffalo.
Douzable has played in both 3-4 and 4-3 alignments during his NFL career, so playing multiple roles shouldn’t be a problem, especially since he’s already spent two seasons handling a Rex Ryan playbook.
The eight-year veteran will most likely be asked to play the five-technique in Ryan’s defensive front, rotating along with the likes of Kyle Williams, Corbin Bryant and rookie Adolphus Washington.
However, those three aforementioned players will all undoubtedly be on the team’s roster come September (unless something unforeseen happens).
Douzable’s place on the roster isn’t a given.
Although his familiarity with the defensive scheme should give him a bit of a leg up, Douzable will be in direct competition with players like Jerel Worthy and Lavar Edwards if he hopes to make the team past training camp.
Rex Ryan has stated in recent weeks that maybe he should have brought in more former players to help with the transition over to his scheme last season, and the signing of Douzable appears to have been made with that very thought in mind.
Whether Douzable turns out to be a real contender for a roster spot remains to be seen, but having another player who’s fairly well-versed in the team’s current 3-4 front probably can’t hurt.
Regardless, the battle between Worthy, Edwards and Douzable will certainly be an interesting one to watch when training camp opens up at St. John Fisher College at the end of July.
Overview: OT/OG Chris Martin
Those who pay close attention to who’s on Buffalo’s roster may be familiar with Chris Martin as the 26-year-old offensive tackle spent time with the team last season.
Previously signed by the Bills on Sept. 6, 2015, Martin spent two months on the team’s practice squad before being released on Nov. 6.
Originally signed by the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent following the 2014 NFL Draft, the Fort Walton Beach, Fla., native has also spent time on the practice squads of the Patriots, 49ers and Dolphins.
A versatile athlete, Martin played defensive tackle and offensive tackle at Choctawhatchee High School before attending the University of Central Florida where he played offensive tackle and tight end for the Golden Knights.
The 6-foot-5, 305-pound offensive lineman redshirted at UCF in 2009 before appearing in 21 games and starting 12 (11 at LT and 1 at RT) at offensive tackle over the next two years.
Martin then moved to tight end for the first four games of his junior season, but wound up finishing the final eight games of the season back on the offensive line.
He reclaimed his starting job in his senior year, making 11 starts at right tackle and two starts at left tackle while blocking for the eventual No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft —quarterback Blake Bortles.
The versatile lineman earned second-team All-Conference honors following his senior season, and it appeared like he may be in line to hear his name called on draft weekend.
However, despite putting up an impressive 33 reps of 225 pounds at his pro day, the former Golden Knight went undrafted to the Texans and has since been unable to crack a 53-man roster in his first two seasons in the league.
How does Chris Martin fit?
Some may wonder why the Bills are bringing back Chris Martin after already having him on their practice squad last season.
But, the signing may have more to do with the person the team released — Keith Lumpkin —and less about Martin.
The Bills signed Lumpkin following this year’s draft, and it’s likely that the 6-foot-8, 325-pound former Scarlet Knight had a bit of trouble picking up Greg Roman’s complex offensive scheme.
With Martin, Buffalo at least knows it’s getting a player who is familiar with what’s asked of him heading into Tuesday’s mandatory minicamp practice.
Behind Cordy Glenn, Jordan Mills and Cyrus Kouandjio, things are a bit unsettled in terms of what Buffalo has at offensive tackle.
Third-year tackle Seantrel Henderson just returned to the team last week following offseason surgery, and it’s unknown whether the former seventh-round pick will be able to return from his struggles with Crohn’s Disease.
In addition, Buffalo’s attempt to convert T.J. Barnes to offensive tackle has apparently failed, leaving the team with just one other tackle on the current roster —undrafted rookie Marquis Lucas.
With that being the case, bringing in Martin makes plenty of sense.
If Henderson is unable to return, then Martin and Lucas would presumably battle it out with one another for the fourth tackle spot behind Glenn, Mills and Kouandjio.
However, if Henderson is able to return (which Buffalo is certainly hoping for), then it seems highly unlikely that Martin makes it past training camp.
At the very least, Martin will get a chance to show what he has when things get turned up another level in Rochester later on this summer.
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