The Buffalo Bills close out their preseason against the Detroit Lions on Thursday with 83 players still on the roster. Thirty of those guys are going to be playing their final game with the Bills, but one or two might put in a strong-enough performance to extend their careers in Buffalo past this week. One of those players is a former Ivy Leaguer who has put in some good work in Buffalo after sitting out of the game in 2016.
Name: Jacob Lindsey
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 220 lbs.
Draft: UDFA (2016)
Financial Situation (per Spotrac): Lindsey is on a one-year deal for the league minimum of $465,000. If he remains on the Bills through the end of the season, the team will have exclusive rights to negotiate with him next offseason.
2016 Recap: After a solid 2015 in which Lindsey earned second-team All-Ivy League honors with 72 tackles and two forced fumbles, Lindsey was out of football in 2016.
Positional Outlook: The top three linebackers are pretty well set at this point, and the top two reserve spots are likely going to Gerald Hodges and Matt Milano right now. Tanner Vallejo has been dealing with injuries and has missed most of the preseason action, but would be a good candidate for the 53 if he can play (and play well) against the Lions on Thursday.
2017 Offseason: Owing greatly to injuries at linebacker, Lindsey has quietly earned plenty of playing time on the outside with the second team defense over the summer. He’s only played 34 snaps in the three preseason games combined, but he recorded a tackle in each games (with two against the Minnesota Vikings) and has played quality snaps while other linebackers have been on the sidelines or made their way off the roster entirely.
2017 Season Outlook: It’s hard to say that Lindsey is going to make the 53-man roster, given his year out of football as well as the talent and experience in front of him. It’s also hard to say he’ll miss the 53 when his playing time and consistent performance is considered. I’d bet on seeing him join the practice squad, but if you’re looking for a dark horse candidate for the 53, here he is.