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Buffalo Bills’ pre-training camp 2019 53-man roster prediction

It’s our 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 begin training camp today. Lots of moving pieces will jostle over the next several weeks and with injuries added to the mix, this projection will definitely end up incorrect. 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.

Cuts: Tyree Jackson
Changes since offseason workouts: None

Running Back (5)

Patrick DiMarco
Frank Gore
LeSean McCoy
Senoirse Perry
Devin Singletary

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, but Daboll came from New England where they value a fullback. T.J. Yeldon is the odd man out and Senorise Perry makes the roster as the special teams contributor.

Cuts: T.J. Yeldon, Marcus Murphy, Christian Wade
Changes since offseason workouts: Senorise Perry in, T.J. Yeldon out

Wide Receiver (6)

Cole Beasley
John Brown
Robert Foster
Zay Jones
Andre Roberts
Davis Sills

I only had five receivers on my last projections, but I wanted to keep six. In this case, I added Sills because I expect him to have a good preseason and they won’t be able to stash him like they wanted. 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. It’s going to be a fun competition to watch.

Cuts: Victor Bolden Jr., Nick Easley, Ray-Ray McCloud, Isaiah McKenzie, Cam Phillips, Duke Williams
Changes since offseason workouts: David Sills in

Tight End (3)

Jason Croom
Dawson Knox
Tyler Kroft (PUP list)
Lee Smith

With the Bills placing Kroft on the preseason PUP list, and Kroft not expected back until the end of August, it’s likely he is going to remain on the PUP list to start the regular season and when he’s healthy, Buffalo can pop him onto the active roster. That opens up a roster spot for Sills at WR, but also a spot for Jason Croom in the tight end rotation. Tommy Sweeney is an excellent practice squad candidate.

Cuts: Tommy Sweeney, Nate Becker
Changes since offseason workouts: Tyler Kroft to PUP list

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 bodes well for his chances. Waddle is my last guy in. Wyatt Teller goes from starter to practice squad candidate.

Cuts: Russell Bodine, Ike Boettger, Vladimir Ducasse, Wyatt Teller, Isaac Asiata, Garrett McGhin, Conor McDermott, De’Ondre Wesley
Changes since offseason workouts: None

Defensive End (4)

Jerry Hughes
Shaq Lawson
Mike Love
Trent Murphy

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. I ended up cutting Eddie Yarbrough and Eli Harold to keep one more cornerback since they have been snake-bit at the position and need a special teams add.

Cuts: Eddie Yarbrough, Eli Harold
Changes since offseason workouts: Eddie Yarbrough out

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.

Cuts: Kyle Peko, Robert Thomas, L.T. Walton
Changes since offseason workouts: None

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. 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.

Cuts: Juwan Foggie, Corey Thompson, Tyrel Dodson
Change since offseason workouts: None

Cornerback (6)

E.J. Gaines
Kevin Johnson
Taron Johnson
Lafeyette Pitts
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. Pitts is a special teams add and with the Bills constantly dealing with injuries at CB, he could be in the lineup.

Cuts: Cam Lewis, Denzel Rice
Change since offseason workouts: Lafeyette Pitts in

Safety (5)

Kurt Coleman
Micah Hyde
Jaquan Johnson
Dean Marlowe
Jordan Poyer

Johnson beats our Siran Neal for the fifth safety spot, but I am really torn here since Neal has seemingly had a leg up this spring. Coleman and Marlowe add experience and sub-package ability. Hyde and Poyer are criminally underrated outside WNY.

Cuts: Abraham Wallace
Changes since offseason workouts: Rafael Bush retired, Kurt Coleman in

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.

Cuts: Chase McLaughlin, Corey Bojorquez
Change since offseason workouts: None

2019 final 53-man roster projection

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 Duke Williams
WR2 John Brown Robert Foster
WR3 Cole Beasley Andre Roberts
TE 1 Dawson Knox Tommy Sweeney Tyler Kroft (PUP)
TE 2 Lee Smith
LT Dion Dawkins
LG Quenton Spain Ike Boettger
C Mitch Morse Jon Feliciano
RG Cody Ford Spencer Long
RT Ty Nsekhe
LE Jerry Hughes Darryl Johnson
NT Star Lotulelei Harrison Phillips
DT Ed Oliver Jordan Phillips
RE Trent Murphy Shaq Lawson
SLB Lorenzo Alexander Vosean Joseph
MLB Tremaine Edmunds Julian Stanford
WLB Matt Mliano Maurice Alexander
CB Tre'Davious White Kevin Johnson Lafeyette Pitts
FS Jordan Poyer Kurt Coleman Jaquan Johnson
SS Micah Hyde Siran Neal Dean Marlowe
NB Taron Johnson
CB Levi Wallace Captain Munnerlyn
K Stephen Hauschka
LS Reid Ferguson

Practice-squad priorities from roster cuts:

QB Tyree Jackson
RB Christian Wade (International Player Pathway)
WR Nick Easley
TE Tommy Sweeney
OG Wyatt Teller
DE Darryl Johnson
CB Cam Lewis