Former LA Rams DL Tanzel Smart signs with Buffalo Bills

(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Recently released LA Rams DL Tanzel Smart has already signed on with a new team, the Buffalo Bills

The LA Rams made a series of roster tweaks as the team prepared for training camp. One such move back in May 2020 was the re-signing of defensive end Morgan Fox. Unfortunately, that move could only happen if the Rams could create a vacancy in their roster. The team did so by waving defensive tackle Tanzel Smart.

Smart was the 2017 NFL Draft sixth-round selection for the LA Rams. Standing 6-foot-1 and weighing in at 295-pounds, Smart was projected to fill a backup role for the team. He saw the most action for the Rams in his rookie season but playing time diminished as he found himself buried on the team’s depth chart.

Smart move

Signed in 2017 to a four-year contract, Smart was in the last year of that deal before being waived. The light of opportunity flashed momentarily for Smart when the Rams appeared to lose veteran defensive lineman Michael Brockers to free agency. But that quickly dissipated when the Rams signed free agent A’Shawn Robinson and then re-signed Michael Brockers.

When the Rams wanted to make room to amplify their pass rush by returning DE Fox, Smart was the one moved to free agency. Until today, that is, as he has signed on with the Buffalo Bills today.

So what can Bills fans expect?

A blue-collar workhorse for Bills DL

Tanzel Smart is a worker, plain and simple.  His fit on the Rams three-man defensive front was not a good alignment. While strong, he was not wide enough at the base to fit as the Rams’ nose tackle. And his length challenged him as a defensive end.   But for the Buffalo Bills 4-3? That’s a good fit. After all, Smart is very powerful in the upper body and will be ideal in shedding shorter armed offensive guards on his way to make a tackle.

His Rams’ experience will lend itself well for the Bills. Not only did he have the opportunity to play behind and learn from All-Pro DL Aaron Donald, but he also witnessed first-hand the play of one of the greatest players of the current generation. The only question is, can he incorporate that play into his own career?  I think yes. After all, he is not a rookie, but rather a veteran entering his fourth NFL season.

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For the investment, the Bills signed a solid contributor in Tanzel Smart.  With a little patience, he could develop into a blue-chip starter for their defense.