Eli Ankou Signing with Bills: Report

Eli Ankou

Christian Petersen/Getty Images Defensive tackle Eli Ankou of the Cleveland Browns on December 15, 2019.

The Buffalo Bills had defensive tackle Eli Ankou in for a visit last month but elected not to sign him. Shortly afterwards the Atlanta Falcons went on to ink Ankou, adding him at the expense of rookie undrafted free agent Eli Howard (Texas Tech). Before long, Ankou, 26, was deemed expendable himself, jettisoned by the Falcons on a day that they added three other defensive linemen: John Atkins, Shareef Miller, and George Obinna.

But the 327-pound defensive tackle—who has 27 games of NFL experience with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns—has landed on his feet. According to Bills sideline and beat reporter Sal Capaccio, Ankou has been added to Buffalo’s 90-man offseason roster, taking up one of three open roster spots.

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Ankou’s NFL Journey

Eli Ankou has been part of the NFL since May 2017, when he signed with the Houston Texans as a rookie undrafted free agent out of UCLA. After he failed to make Houston’s opening day roster the Jaguars claimed him on waivers. After two low-impact seasons in Jacksonville and a season in Cleveland he joined the Indianapolis Colts, only to return to the Texans in October after Indy waived him. The Cowboys subsequently traded a 2022 seventh-round pick to Houston to acquire him midseason and he went on to appear in seven games, responsible for five total tackles.

All in all, Ankou has been credited with 31 career tackles, including two tackles for loss, two quarterback hits and 1.5 sacks, the same number of sacks he recorded during his college career.

Grady Jarrett Named a Top 50 Player

Speaking of defensive linemen, on Monday Pro Football Focus (PFF) named Grady Jarrett one of the 50 best players in the NFL, with the former fifth-round pick coming in at No. 42 on its list.

“Very few players have done more with less help than Grady Jarrett,” notes PFF’s Sam Monson, adding, “It’s not that Atlanta hasn’t tried to find him some complementary pieces along the defensive line; they just haven’t had much success when they have…. The now seventh-year defensive lineman has averaged over 50 total pressures over the past three seasons, earning a PFF pass-rushing grade above 80.0 in each year … a fantastic success story” for a fifth-rounder.

Unfortunately, the Falcons still don’t have a lot else to get excited about at Jarrett’s position group, though defensive tackle Tyeler Davison figures to be a good fit in terms of playing the nose tackle role in Dean Pees’ 3-4 defense. Meanwhile, Steven Means figures to lead the way in terms of edge rushing, and one hopes that John Cominsky (who is entering his third season out of D2 Charleston) can take a big step forward under Pees.

Other defensive linemen on the 90-man roster include defensive tackles Marlon Davidson and Ta’Quon Graham (Texas), one of the team’s three fifth-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.

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