The Buffalo Bills first public training camp practice is today. Football is back! This offseason has brought change across the board, so figuring out who will make the team and won’t is a tall order.
Here is our final Bills 53-man roster projection before the 2017 season begins. Be sure to let everyone know what you think of it in the comments section.
QB (3): Tyrod Taylor, T.J. Yates, Nathan Peterman
The Bills parted ways with Cardale Jones on the eve of training camp solidifying this group of three heading into the season. If they bring in another QB in the next few days, it will be as a camp arm.
RB (3): LeSean McCoy, Jonathan Williams
The position is thin. A veteran cut from somewhere else could be in play, or a guy like Cedric O’Neal or Joe Banyard could make it just on a pure numbers basis. I kept Mike Tolbert instead.
FB (2): Patrick DiMarco, Mike Tolbert
DiMarco is a lock. The only question here is if Tolbert is the nominal third running back, special teams guy, or something else.
WR (6): Sammy Watkins, Anquan Boldin, Zay Jones, Brandon Tate, Andre Holmes, Philly Brown (Walt Powell, suspended list)
Yeah, I think a deal gets done with Boldin in the next week. This is probably the most wide open position in camp. Tate secures his spot with his return ability. Rod Streater, Dezmin Lewis, and a host of other options could sneak on with some great play this preseason. Powell should be stashed on the suspended list for a few weeks to see what happens.
TE (3): Charles Clay, Nick O’Leary, Jason Croom
This is certainly a position where the Bills could look at other teams’ cutdowns to fill. I put Croom in over Thomas because of the new regime’s propensity to keep “their guys”. Logan Thomas was signed by the last regime, so even though he’s been taking second-team reps, I gave the nod to the UDFA who was signed when McDermott was running the show. Keith Towbridge is the other UDFA option. Gary Barnidge, please.
OL (8): Eric Wood, Richie Incognito, Jonathan Miller, Cordy Glenn, Jordan Mills, Ryan Groy, Dion Dawkins, Vlad Ducasse (Seantrel Henderson, suspended list)
Michael Ola is one of the final cuts in my projection. With the release of Patrick Lewis, the Bills would be hard-pressed to do any major shakeups like cutting Eric Wood.
DE (4): Jerry Hughes, Shaq Lawson, Ryan Davis, Marquavius Lewis
When a fringe guy like Ryan Davis is a roster lock, you know the position lacks depth. This is another area the Bills’ player personnel scouts should keep an eye on come cutdown time. UDFA Lewis makes the squad thanks to his versatility. He played end in college but Mike Rodak notes Lewis has been lining up at tackle in practices.
DT (4): Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Jerel Worthy, Adolphus Washington
Williams in a potential financial cut, but I don’t see the depth on the defensive line that could support that. Signing one of the free agents they had in for a visit last week could help the depth.
LB (7): Lorenzo Alexander, Reggie Ragland, Preston Brown, Ramon Humber, Gerald Hodges, Matt Milano, Tanner Vallejo
A group to keep an eye on this summer. Who are the starters? We will find out at St. John Fisher. Seriously, five of these guys could see significant defensive reps while the final two will certainly get special teams duty. The “normal” number to keep is six for a 4-3 defensive alignment, but with the lack of defensive linemen on the roster, we could see a lot of mixed looks.
CB (6): Ronald Darby, Tre’Davious White, Kevon Seymour, Leonard Johnson, Sharecee Wright, Bradley Sylve
Sylve worked with the second team for a large chunk of the offseason so he starts with an advantage on the other players fighting for a final roster spot in the secondary. The top five hasven’t changed all offseason.
S (4): Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Bacarri Rambo, Colt Anderson
Anderson is hurt right now (and has been for most of his career) so it’s difficult to assume he’s going to stay healthy. Rambo was signed last week and seems like a lock. This is another spot I’d prefer they bring in someone from outside, especially if they want to move Hyde down to the slot in the nickel as has been his strong suit. B.T. Sanders received some second-team looks this offseason and the UDFA could crack the roster.
ST (3): Steven Hauschka, Reid Ferguson, Austin Rehkow
Colton Schmidt was bad last year and even though Danny Crossman is still around, he will have a new slate of foots kicking for him in 2017.
Cuts: RB Joe Banyard, RB Jordan Johnson, RB Cedric O’Neal, WR Jeremy Butler, WR Dezmin Lewis, WR Brandon Reilly, WR Rashad Ross, WR Daikiel Shorts, WR Rod Streater, TE Wes Sexton, TE Logan Thomas, TE Keith Towbridge, OL Michael Ola, OL Jordan Mudge, OL Cameron Jefferson, OG Karim Barton, OG Greg Pyke, OG Zach Voytek, DE Jake Metz, DE Ian Seau, DE Max Valles, DE Eddie Yarbough, DT Deandre Coleman, DT Nigel Williams, LB Sam Barrington, LB Carl Bradford, LB Jacob Lindsey, LB Abner Logan, CB Charles James, CB Greg Maybin, CB Marcus Sayles, S Trae Elston, S Shamiel Gary, S B.T. Sanders, P Colton Schmidt
As I said before, this regime moved on from Patrick Lewis, Cardale Jones, and a lot of the Ryan-Whaley-era Bills. They want their guys to come in and the roster turnover shows that. Anyone signed since McDermott was hired had an edge over a holdover. Every draft pick made the squad.