The Buffalo Bills continued to rebuild their defensive front seven in the third round of the NFL Draft on Friday night.
Ohio State defensive tackle Adolphus Washington continued the trend of the draft so far, which is going to work on fixing a defense that slipped to 19th overall in 2015.
“Defense again,” General Manager Doug Whaley said as he stepped to the podium to address the media after selecting Washington. “This year we made a concerted effort for defense.”
In Washington, they acquired a massive chess piece. Here are five things to know about Buffalo’s newest defensive tackle:
1. He comes with some character question marks. Washington was arrested for soliciting an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute for oral sex. The charges were eventually dropped, but Washington was suspended from Ohio State’s bowl game against Notre Dame.
“I saw a guy that was truly remorseful, truly embarrassed and truly hurt for not only him, but how it affected his teammates and the significant people in his life,” Whaley said of why the Bills were comfortable drafting Washington. “Unfortunate mistake. He admitted it. He owned up to it. He did not make any excuses. He knew why it was wrong and why he shouldn’t have done it. He has a plan in place.
“With the support system that we have around this building and some guys that we’ve brought in, he’ll be surrounded by some guys that lead him in the right way.”
Washington had little to say about the incident when speaking with reporters on a conference call.
“It was a mistake,” he said. :I learned from it. That’s what you do is learn from your mistakes.”
2. Washington had a pretty good idea the Bills were going to draft him. During a pre-draft visit that he called the best one he made, Bills coach Rex Ryan pulled Washington into his office.
He “told me he’s probably going to take me,” Washington said. “He kept his word. He wants me to come in and play right away.”
As he did with the team’s first two picks, Whaley said he was surprised Washington was available in the third round.
“We thought” he was “one of the top interior pass-rush defensive lineman … in the draft,” Whaley said. “We didn’t expect him to be around in the third. Very excited to have him.”
3. A starting job is not out of the question. Whaley was non-committal on where exactly Washington would line up, but in the team’s base 3-4 scheme, the defensive end job next to Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus on the line is up for grabs.
“He’s going to come in and compete to start, for sure,” Whaley said. “We’ve got some holes and we got some guys that need to be pushed or asked to push other people. … Adolphus is going to be one of those guys.”
Whaley said where Washington ultimately lines up will be determined when the weekly game plan is drawn up, but the versatility he offers along with Dareus and Williams is a positive.
Not surprisingly, Washington didn’t seem to care where the Bills put him.
“I really think it don’t matter,” he said. “I’m ready to go in and play whatever position they need me to play.
“I could play the” five-technique defensive end. “I could play the three. Whatever they need me to play, that’s what I’m willing to do.”
4. He played a lot for the Buckeyes. Washington was used on 82 percent of Ohio State’s snaps in 2015, an uncommonly high number for an interior lineman. He registerd a single-season best 49 tackles and four sacks.
For his career, he played in 49 games with 31 starts, making 142 tackles, 25 tackles for losses, 13.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.
A five-star recruit coming out of Taft High School in Cincinnati, Washington had 23.5 sacks in his senior season. He was named the Ohio Division III Co-Defensive Player of the Year as a first-team Associated Press all-state selection. He also played basketball in high school, leading the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference in scoring and rebound in his senior year.
5. He fits the trend of this year’s draft. Whaley reiterated that the Bills have made it a priority to bring in players who won big in college.
“They know how to win,” he said. “They expect to win. That’s the type of attitude, and the type of belief” they have.
“We want players coming into Buffalo, ‘hey, those 16 years, that has nothing to do with us.’ … I’ve come from winning programs that have won national championships. I know how to win. I know what it takes to win. We want to infuse that feeling and that energy into this building.”
During Washington’s four seasons, Ohio State compiled a record of 50-4.