The national anthem protests spearheaded by Colin Kaepernick last year didn’t manifest on the Buffalo Bills sidelines at all in 2016. The first act by a Bills player didn’t occur until Thursday, when a young offensive lineman raised his fist during the anthem prior to the Bills’ second preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles. That man has seen a lot of playing time so far in the preseason, and it’s worth taking a look to see if he has a shot at making the team in 2017.
Name: Cameron Jefferson
Height/Weight: 6’5”, 317 lbs.
Draft: UDFA (2015)
Financial Situation (per Spotrac): Jefferson is on a one-year deal for the league minimum salary of $465,000. The contract is not guaranteed.
2016 Recap: Jefferson joined the Denver Broncos’ practice squad at the end of 2015, and stayed with the team through the preseason. He was released by the Broncos at the end of August, and didn’t catch on with any other teams in 2016.
Positional Outlook: Jefferson is at the bottom of the pecking order when it comes to the offensive tackle rotation, firmly behind the likes of Seantrel Henderson, Jordan Mills, Michael Ola, and Dion Dawkins. Add in the eventual return of Cordy Glenn, and even with the impending suspension for Henderson there doesn’t seem to be a roster spot available to keep Jefferson around.
2017 Offseason: Through two preseason games Jefferson has played a team-high 93 snaps (89 on offense and four on special teams), almost exclusively in the second half against third-team competition. He’s flipped between left and right tackle, playing better on the right side but not particularly excelling at either.
2017 Season Outlook: I’m setting aside the idea that raising his fist will have an effect on his standing with the team, because I don’t think it does. He’s a third-string right tackle at best right now, and barring injury I don’t see him landing on the 53. He still has some practice squad eligibility, and would be a nice addition there to see if he can improve his balance and footwork any further.