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Ranking Buffalo Bills rookies by potential impact in 2020

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Which rookies do we expect to be contributors?

We’re into year four of Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott’s regime and, after finishing with ten wins and making the playoffs for the second time, it’s clear the Bills have one of the more complete rosters in the NFL. With such a well-stacked roster, the newly drafted rookies and undrafted free agents may find it difficult to contribute (especially early on in the season) barring injury. Below, we take a look at which rookies—including key undrafted free agents—should be expected make immediate contributions to the team, and which ones should expect to find themselves firmly planted on the bench.


Immediate Starters

  • None

For the first time in years, none of Buffalo’s draft picks are projected to walk in as starters, on either offense or defense. Part of this situation is thanks to the lack of a first-round pick in 2020, but also because the Bills’ roster is much more complete than in previous seasons.

Spot Starters

  • RB Zack Moss

Moss has the clearest path towards seeing the field as a solid rotational piece with Devin Singletary. His usage will probably fluctuate based on the opponent and associated game plan, but he should receive around ten or more snaps a game.

Backups

  • DE A.J. Epenesa
  • WR Gabriel Davis
  • QB Jake Fromm

If the coaches move on from Trent Murphy—maybe even if they don’t—Epenesa should become the primary backup at defensive end. A fourth-round pick, Gabe Davis will more than likely make the team, but he shouldn’t expect to see more than single-digit snaps in any game in 2020. Fromm is too high of a pick to stash on the practice squad. He’ll make the team regardless of his ability to beat out Matt Barkley.

Back of the roster/Practice squad

  • K Tyler Bass
  • WR Isaiah Hodgins
  • CB Dane Jackson
  • OT Trey Adams
  • TE/FB Reggie Gilliam

There’s a chance that Tyler Bass beats out veteran kicker Stephen Hauschka in a kicking competition this summer, but it’s more likely that the veteran survives and the team pushes the rookie to the practice squad. Hodgins will have his own competition with Duke Williams and Robert Foster for the final couple wide receiver spots. Buffalo only kept five cornerbacks last year, so Jackson will be hard-pressed to beat out a veteran like E.J. Gaines for that final spot. Adams is the perfect candidate for the practice squad, where he can get healthier and develop. The same goes for Gilliam, who the coaches could begin to groom to replace Patrick DiMarco if and when he leaves in free agency.