EUGENE OR - SEPTEMBER 18: Defensive tackle Brandon Bair #88 of the Oregon Ducks reaches out to tackle quarterback Connor Kavanaugh #10 in the second quarter of the game against the Portland State Vikings at Autzen Stadium on September 18 2010 in Eugene Oregon. Oregon won the game 69-0. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
By my calculations, the Buffalo Bills currently have 55 players under contract for the 2011 NFL regular season. That does not include 11 impending free agents and nine more unsigned rookie draft picks. As we discussed with help from ESPN earlier this morning, teams may need to balloon their roster size up to 90 players by as soon as August 2 - and may only have a few days to do it.
If that comes to fruition, the Bills will obviously have a lot of work to do; even after signing the rookies, they'll only have 64 players. That's an awful lot of new bodies to add in just a few short days.
Yes, some of the players will be their own free agents, and some more will likely be new veteran additions. In terms of quantity, however, the highest body count total will likely come from the undrafted rookie free agent pool. After the jump, I've got the names of three undrafted rookies that I wouldn't mind the Bills sniffing around once the lockout is lifted and players can be signed.
Brandon Bair, DL, Oregon. A starter in his final two years with the Ducks, Bair accumulated 24.5 tackles for loss and five sacks in that time frame. Bair was an undersized player at Oregon, playing at just about 275 pounds as an end and pass-rushing tackle, but he has the frame to get bigger and become a rotational five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense. The top of Buffalo's depth chart is set at end, but they do not have numbers there yet, and Bair would be a worthwhile investment with enough upside.
Kendric Burney, CB, North Carolina. Cornerback, from a numbers standpoint, is the Bills' weakest area at the moment, as they've only got three under contract (plus two incoming draft picks). They've typically carried upwards of nine or ten corners in the past, so expect lots of young players to compete with each other at the back end of the depth chart. Burney comes from the UNC defensive prospect machine, and while somewhat limited athletically, he really produces when he's on the field. This guy can play.
David Mims, OT, Virginia Union. The Bills still have a lot of unanswered questions on their offensive line, and no project like Mims is going to answer it this season. However, good NFL teams consistently have developmental prospects waiting in the wings, and Mims has the look of a potential starting right tackle. He's a huge guy (6'8", 330) with good athleticism. The skill set is there; this is a player worth stashing at the back end of a roster, a la Demetrius Bell, and letting him develop.
For the college football aficionados of our community, who else that went undrafted in April would you like to see the Bills pursue?