Injury Analysis: Buffalo Bills DE Dawaune Smoot

Injury Analysis: Buffalo Bills DE Dawaune Smoot

Fortifying the defensive end room, the Buffalo Bills signed DE Dawuane Smoot to a one-year contract on Friday. The former Jacksonville Jaguar comes to Buffalo with 99 career games under his belt and 23.5 sacks over seven seasons

In a room that has young studs in Greg Rousseau and AJ Epenesa, the talent cliff begins to fall off with the uncertainty of Von Miller. A Hall of Fame talent shouldn’t fall off and remain a lesser talent after his injury, but he’s unproven right now. Add in fringe roster players, UDFAs, and camp bodies, the Bills needed to bring in proven talent for at least a depth option.

Smoot may have come cheap after a subpar 2023 season that followed a season ending 2022 season. Read below for Dawuane Smoot’s publicly reported injury history and analysis. 

Injury History

2017 Jacksonville Jaguars

No publicly reported injuries. 

2018 Jaguars

Left wrist injury, offseason.

Smoot worked though a wrist injury that forced him to wear a brace on the area during training camp. The same injury led him to miss offseason workouts. It’s not clear if he underwent surgery or hurt it during the season. 

Foot/ankle injury, missed 3 preseason games.

Smoot worked through a foot/ankle injury during the beginning of training camp that forced him to miss three preseason games. Different sources have the description different which makes it difficult to determine the extent of the injury. Following this injury, he was a healthy scratch the first eight games. 

2019 Jaguars

No publicly reported injuries.

2020 Jaguars

No publicly reported injuries. 

2021 Jaguars

COVID/Reserve list, Week 17, missed 0 games. 

2022 Jaguars

Right Achilles tear, Week 16, missed 4 games.

Smoot tore his right Achilles playing against the New York Jets. He was forced to miss the remaining two games and two playoff games. 

2023 Jaguars

Right Achilles, missed the first 5 games.

Smoot continued to rehab and began training camp on the PUP list which transitioned into the regular season. 

Injury Analysis

Smoot has been healthy throughout his career other than the Achilles tear two years ago. His wrist and ankle/foot injuries have minimal information available but did not stop him from missing extended time into the regular season. 

The biggest concern is the Achilles as he gets further and further away from the injury. The majority of Achilles tendon tears are defensive players with no difference in playing surfaces. 

Achilles tendon rupture |

Smoot has already hit certain benchmarks, one being returning to play. Return to play rates are as high as 78 percent but other studies indicate anywhere from 61.3 percent to 72.4 percent. There is a 15 percent chance to suffer another Achilles tear, but research does not clarify a timeline or if the same or opposite side is more at risk.

However, once players do return, they suffer a performance decline in the first year returning before returning to pre-injury levels in year two and beyond. If players are able to return and play more than one season, their career is shortened by one year

Considering the Bills signed him to a one-year deal, they are hoping that they can capitalize on a full season of training versus rehab. If he can line up over the right tackle to push off the left foot bending the edge, he can hopefully return closer to his form. This could parlay into another contract but if he doesn’t pan out, the Bills can cut ties easily and look for other options in the offseason.

Final Thoughts

There isn’t much downside to this signing. Smoot should be expected to improve his level of play one year further removed from the injury and knows how to be a professional after some early lean years. 

I wish Dawaune Smoot the best of luck this year and to remain healthy. 

Top Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated


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