The Buffalo Bills held their first practices as a team this week in their initial push toward the 2018 season. We learned some things, like Josh Allen is the third string quarterback for now, but other position battles are way up in the air. Let’s begin to organize our thoughts with a way-too-early roster projection.
Running back (4)
Wide receiver (6)
Tight end (3)
Offensive line (9)
Defensive tackle (5)
Defensive end (5)
Notable cuts: RB Travaris Cadet, WR Austin Proehl, WR Brandon Reilly, WR Rod Streater, TE Khari Lee, DE Marquevious Lewis, LB Deon Lacey, CB Lafayette Pitts
Last player in: Terrence Fede
Last player out: Khari Lee
The wide receiver position is so up in the air. If you remember last offseason, I predicted the Bills would sign Anquan Boldin on my training camp 53-man roster projection. He did sign, but didn’t make the roster, instead choosing to retire. For this early roster projection, I added free agent Jeremy Maclin to the mix mainly due to Zay Jones’s knee surgery. He’ll be limited this offseason and with a lack of firepower at the position, Buffalo should look for outside help. Maclin came in for a visit last offseason and adds some speed to the lineup so he seems like a good fit.
Last year, the Bills kept six running backs on their initial roster including their fullback(s), but Jonathan Williams was released the next day bringing the number to five. I only keep four here, so if you’re looking for a spot where I short-changed the roster, Travaris Cadet is definitely a candidate. Jones beats out Cadet based on returner experience on special teams.
At tight end, it’s the same three that made the initial roster a year ago with Khari Lee hopping on and off the roster the rest of the way.
Nine offensive linemen is a lot, but it’s the number they ran with last year after adding McDermott following the initial roster cutdown. Ideally, he won’t need another redshirt year and Buffalo will be able to release Marshall Newhouse or Jordan Mills. They kept five interior linemen last year and four tackles, so I mirrored that number, but if they want to keep Lee it could be at the expense of that last lineman.
The defensive line rotation is important to McDermott, and he kept nine last year. Terrence Fede was the last guy on my roster and could easily be removed to match the numbers from a year ago. You also might see a trade of Shaq Lawson at some point this offseason if the other players step up. Tenny Palepoi’s spot is also precarious.
At linebacker, I’m not 100% you’ll see Lorenzo Alexander on the final roster, though it would be great to balance the youth of Tremaine Edmunds with Alexander’s experience. Can Deon Lacy break onto the back end of the roster?
Lafayette Pitts is the odd man out at cornerback, though we haven’t seen Breon Borders on the field in a Bills uniform. Solid depth at the safety position with only four players would be nice. Injuries forced shuffling there last year.
If you’re going to disagree with a cut in the comments, at least make sure you say who you’d remove instead.
53-man roster projection: OTA edition
|QB||AJ McCarron||Nathan Peterman||Josh Allen|
|RB||LeSean McCoy||Chris Ivory||Taiwan Jones|
|WR1||Kelvin Benjamin||Andre Holmes|
|WR2||Zay Jones||Jeremy Kerley|
|WR3||Jeremy Maclin||Ray-Ray McCloud|
|TE||Charles Clay||Nick O'Leary||Logan Thomas|
|LT||Dion Dawkins||Conor McDermott|
|LG||Vlad Ducasse||Wyatt Teller|
|C||Russell Bodine||Ryan Groy|
|RT||Jordan Mills||Marshall Newhouse|
|LE||Jerry Hughes||Terrence Fede|
|NT||Star Lotulelei||Harrison Phillps|
|DT||Kyle Williams||Adolphus Washington||Tenny Palepoi|
|RE||Trent Murphy||Shaq Lawson||Eddie Yarbrough|
|SLB||Lorenzo Alexander||Tanner Vallejo|
|MLB||Tremaine Edmunds||Julian Stanford|
|WLB||Matt Mliano||Ramon Humber|
|FS||Jordan Poyer||Siran Neal|
|SS||Micah Hyde||Rafael Bush|
|NB||Phillip Gaines||Taron Johnson|
|CB||Vontae Davis||Breon Borders|
|KR/PR||Jeremy Kerley||Ray-Ray McLoud||Taiwan Jones|