The 2019 NFL Draft has come and gone and the season is starting to loom large. Soon camp battles, cuts and final rosters will be the main focus of media and fans. To get that conversation rolling we take a look at the Buffalo Bills’ veteran players who could lose their job(s) to one of the eight draftees.
Ed Oliver, Defensive tackle
With Kyle Williams’s retirement, the door was blown open to find another defensive tackle who could wreak havoc on the interior. While Jordan Phillips expressed interest in the job, he was already present on the roster and saw significant play time last year. Ed Oliver is the only significant addition this offseason and shouldn’t push any prominent names off the team. Kyle Peko and Robert Thomas may find themselves as odd men out due to numbers but right now there’s not much to suggest a camp battle with Oliver’s name attached to it.
Cody Ford, Offensive tackle
Buffalo wasn’t shy about adding offensive linemen in free agency and, as a result, now have a ton of players to shuffle around. There will likely be some players cut when the dust clears. Cody Ford seems primed to lock down a starting spot at tackle. Conor McDermott and Jeremiah Sirles are probably the two most directly impacted by Ford. However, with many of the free agents looking like insurance policies in case the draft didn’t pan out it’s possible LaAdrian Waddle or Ty Nsekhe might not make it to the 53. It also wouldn’t be shocking to see an under-performing guard be in peril if the Bills feel one of the tackles offers more versatility.
Devin Singletary, Running back
Devin Singletary has been compared to LeSean McCoy so there’s a chance he replaces the veteran. If I had to wager (thankfully I don’t), I’d bet that McCoy and Frank Gore are safe. The enthusiasm during the draft suggests Singletary is here to stay though, making Marcus Murphy or T.J. Yeldon as the probable cut(s).
Dawson Knox, Tight end
The Bills were light at tight end after the departures of Charles Clay and Logan Thomas. With a position group consisting of only three other players, Dawson Knox shouldn’t push out any veteran tight ends. If he does, it’ll be tackle turned tight end Jake Fisher. On the other hand, Fisher steps in as one of the best blocking tight ends in the league. It’s not hard to see the Bills eliminating the fullback position and cutting Patrick DiMarco with the Knox and Fisher acquisitions filling the same role.
From Vosean Joseph on down, it’s likely that depth players are the only ones who should really worry. Joseph mainly challenges Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano with Buffalo using two linebackers on most plays. He shouldn’t be replacing either.
Jaquan Johnson could make a push to take a starting spot but he’d have to go through Micah Hyde or Jordan Poyer. It’s not unreasonable to think he could push Dean Marlowe or Rafael Bush. If he can push for a role in nickel or dime packages this also opens up competition between Johnson and the corners. Levi Wallace, E.J. Gaines, Kevin Johnson and Taron Johnson are still probably all safe. Lafayette Pitts could become expendable as a result of Jaquan Johnson. And an injury to Gaines or Kevin Johnson could open up an unintended spot.
The Bills steered toward specialized sub-packages in 2018 and if they continue to do so Darryl Johnson Jr. could be in good shape. Most likely he’s fighting for a spot with a depth player such as Mike Love.
There’s not much to suggest Tommy Sweeney will directly shove someone off the roster. There’s an outside chance that Jason Croom doesn’t live up to expectations. If Sweeney makes the final roster the odds are that it’s as one of the final few spots. That means the person Sweeney pushes out could be from an entirely different position group.
Coming before anything of significance happening in Orchard Park this is “for novelty purposes only.” Agree? Disagree? Have a better list? Jump on in to the comments and let us know.