NFL teams have until 4:00 PM EST on Saturday, September 1 to reduce their rosters to 53 players, and after last night’s preseason-ending win over the Chicago Bears, the Buffalo Bills have plenty of big decisions to make regarding their Week 1 roster for the 2018 regular season.
You’re not even reading this part of the article, though, because there’s a large, bold “Quarterback” right below this, so let’s just cut to the chase, shall we?
Nathan Peterman, AJ McCarron, Josh Allen
Yes, McCarron’s extended look in the preseason finale was disastrous right up until his fourth-quarter heroics. It would not be surprising if the Bills kept just Peterman and Allen. But if the Bills don’t think Allen is ready to play, then they may as well make sure he’s as far from seeing game action as possible until it’s go time.
Running Back (5)
LeSean McCoy, Chris Ivory, Marcus Murphy, Taiwan Jones, Patrick DiMarco
This seems pretty cut and dried to me. McCoy, Ivory, and Murphy will all factor heavily into the team’s game plans offensively. Jones plays special teams, and DiMarco has his role well-defined at this point.
Wide Receiver (5)
Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, Jeremy Kerley, Andre Holmes, Corey Coleman
I don’t believe the Bills should cut Coleman just yet, even though he likely won’t have any impact early in the season. He’s only been in the building for a few weeks, and the upside is too good. Bury him on the depth chart and give him a little more time to acclimate to see if he can grow into a role in the offense.
Tight End (4)
Charles Clay, Khari Lee, Jason Croom, Nick O’Leary
This ended up being a surprisingly deep position, with five players having legitimate claims to make the final roster. Croom’s ascent was perhaps the most left-field development of the summer. I’m picking O’Leary over Logan Thomas for the fourth spot due to his dependability in game action, but that’s a toss-up.
Offensive Tackle (3)
Dion Dawkins, Jordan Mills, Marshall Newhouse
The starters are set; the swing tackle is anything but. Newhouse has skill and experience, but was a yellow flag vending machine during exhibition action. Brandon Beane will likely be looking very closely at the linemen on the waiver wire.
Vladimir Ducasse, Ryan Groy, John Miller, Russell Bodine, Wyatt Teller
Not much to see here; this group seems to be fairly well settled at this point.
Defensive End (5)
Jerry Hughes, Trent Murphy, Shaq Lawson, Eddie Yarbrough, Terrence Fede
The top four names on this list have been set in stone for a while. Fede sustained an injury in Thursday night’s win in Chicago; if he checks out alright, he’s my pick from a long list of possibilities to be the extra defensive lineman kept while injuries to Murphy and Kyle Williams play out.
Defensive Tackle (4)
Kyle Williams, Star Lotulelei, Harrison Phillips, Adolphus Washington
Williams may not be ready to play in Week 1, but the rest of these guys are.
Tremaine Edmunds, Lorenzo Alexander, Matt Milano, Ramon Humber, Julian Stanford, Deon Lacey
Special teams considerations could expand this position to a full seven members, with Tanner Vallejo the leading candidate for that spot if it ends up breaking that way. The only one of these players who likely won’t see regular special teams action is Edmunds.
Tre’Davious White, Vontae Davis, Phillip Gaines, Taron Johnson, Lafayette Pitts
How the playing time shakes out between Davis and Gaines at the No. 2 corner position is going to be very interesting. But which corners end up making the team does not seem to be a very big mystery at this point.
Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Rafael Bush, Dean Marlowe, Siran Neal
Marlowe and Neal offer athleticism and upside at the back end of the roster. Neal was the last name I added to this projection; he’s had a disappointing summer, but he may be too good of an athlete to let walk.
Stephen Hauschka, Jon Ryan, Reid Ferguson
I’m picking Ryan over Colton Schmidt, but that’s also another toss-up at this point. Ryan may simply be the more consistent option of the two.
Alright, now’s your time to shine: tell me where I’m wrong.