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Buffalo Bills’ OTA 2019 53-man roster prediction

It’s our way-too-early look at the Bills’ 53-man roster.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills began OTAs this week. With several players injured and others just learning the ropes, this 53-man roster prediction is way too early. Treat it as a discussion-starter instead of an ironclad prediction, and we’ll be fine.

Quarterback (2)

Josh Allen
Matt Barkley

Tyree Jackson is cut and they hope they can land him on the practice squad. They could keep him on the roster for the first week of the season and then try and stash him or try and put him through in the big wave and hope he gets lost in the shuffle. Make no mistake: they are hitching their wagon to Josh Allen, so the third QB spot isn’t as important. Speaking of which, the Bills don’t seem to value keeping three QBs. They began 2018 with Allen and Nathan Peterman. They began 2017 with Tyrod Taylor and Peterman.

Running Back (5)

Patrick DiMarco
Frank Gore
LeSean McCoy
Devin Singletary
T.J. Yeldon

A pretty packed room could mean one of them gets traded in August. It wouldn’t shock me to see LeSean McCoy named a captain, traded, or released. I kept DiMarco even though I don’t see how they’re going to use him. He doesn’t play enough to warrant his roster spot, in my opinion. Yeldon would be my first running back released, but they have old and young, and he provides that middle age range that I’d like to keep moving forward.

Wide Receiver (5)

Cole Beasley
John Brown
Robert Foster
Zay Jones
Andre Roberts

I’d prefer to keep six here, but the injury at tight end limits my options. They kept six receivers last year, but were throwing stuff against the wall to see what could stick. There are more known commodities this year. David Sills V and Nick Easley are both practice-squad candidates but the Bills will move on from Ray-Ray McCloud III, Isaiah McKenzie, Cam Phillips, Da’Mari Scott, and Dhaquille Williams. They are all replacement-level players. Roberts makes the team as the returner.

Tight End (4)

Jason Croom
Dawson Knox
Tyler Kroft
Lee Smith

I’d prefer to keep three at this position, releasing Croom, but with the injury to Kroft taking him out of the lineup until the end of August, I don’t expect him to be full-go for a while. Tommy Sweeney is a practice-squad candidate with a chance to make the roster in 2020.

Offensive Line (8)

Dion Dawkins
Jon Feliciano
Cody Ford
Spencer Long
Mitch Morse
Ty Nsehke
Quinton Spain
LaAdrian Waddle

Morse is the only guy we have a locked-down role for. The rest of these pieces are moving parts. With positional flexibility everywhere else, it’s going to come down to roles more than anything else. Feliciano cross-training at center right now bodes well for his chances. Waddle is my last guy in.

Defensive End (5)

Jerry Hughes
Shaq Lawson
Mike Love
Trent Murphy
Eddie Yarbrough

Yarbrough and Love are far from locks. Both could make the team and both could be cut. The top three are set, but will they keep four or five? Darryl Johnson is a PS candidate while he fills out in an NFL nutrition program.

Defensive Tackle (4)

Star Lotulelei
Ed Oliver
Harrison Phillips
Jordan Phillips

What a solid-looking group, huh? There will be a PSer at DT, too.

Linebacker (7)

Lorenzo Alexander
Maurice Alexander
Tremaine Edmunds
Vosean Joseph
Deon Lacey
Matt Milano
Julian Stanford

Joseph and Maurice Alexander are my last players in, and they take the place of an extra defensive back. Special teams and coverage ability give them a leg up. This is a fun group to watch this offseason as we see where Leslie Frazier develops sub-packages.

Cornerback (5)

E.J. Gaines
Kevin Johnson
Taron Johnson
Levi Wallace
Tre’Davious White

Three injury concerns in my top five doesn’t exactly thrill me, but there is a ton of talent and starting experience in this group.

Safety (5)

Rafael Bush
Micah Hyde
Jaquan Joseph
Dean Marlowe
Jordan Poyer

Joseph beats our Siran Neal for the fifth safety spot. Marlowe and Bush add experience and sub-package ability.

Specialists (3)

Cory Carter (Punter)
Reid Ferguson (Snapper)
Stephen Hauschka (Kicker)

Hauschka survives a challenge from the UDFA, Chase McLaughlin. Carter easily beats out Corey Bojorquez.

2019 OTA 53-man roster prediction

Position Starter Backup Reserve
Position Starter Backup Reserve
QB Josh Allen Matt Barkley
RB LeSean McCoy Devin Singletary
RB Frank Gore T.J. Yeldon
FB Patrick DiMarco
WR1 Zay Jones
WR2 John Brown Robert Foster
WR3 Cole Beasley Andre Roberts
TE 1 Tyler Kroft Dawson Knox Jason Croom
TE 2 Lee Smith
LT Dion Dawkins LaAdrian Waddle
LG Spencer Long Jon Feliciano
C Mitch Morse
RG Cody Ford Quinton Spain
RT Ty Nsekhe
LE Jerry Hughes Mike Love Eddie Yarbrough
NT Star Lotulelei Harrison Phillips
DT Ed Oliver Jordan Phillips
RE Trent Murphy Shaq Lawson
SLB Lorenzo Alexander Deon Lacey
MLB Tremaine Edmunds Julian Stanford
WLB Matt Mliano Maurice Alexander Vosean Joseph
CB Tre'Davious White Kevin Johnson
FS Jordan Poyer Dean Marlowe Jaquan Joseph
SS Micah Hyde Rafael Bush
NB Taron Johnson
CB Levi Wallace E.J. Gaines
K Stephen Hauschka
P Cory Carter
LS Reid Ferguson

Practice-squad priorities from roster cuts:

QB Tyree Jackson
RB Christian Wade
WR Nick Easley
WR David Sills V
TE Tommy Sweeney
DE Darryl Johnson
DT Quinadarius Thagard
CB Cam Lewis