clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2020 Buffalo Bills 53-man roster final projection

Coronavirus has changed some things.

Without preseason games, several Buffalo Bills players weren’t able to make a push for the roster spot under the lights. Further complicating predictions, the beat writers weren’t able to share who was working fir the first-team or second-team and information was strictly controlled. Even with all that, roster cuts are coming today and tomorrow at One Bills Drive. Here is out final prediction:

Note: We’re listing the players in each group in alphabetical order. Changes from previous version are listed.

Quarterback (3)

Josh Allen
Matt Barkley
Davis Webb

Cut: Jake Fromm
Changes: Webb over Fromm

I’ve heard nothing but bad news on the Fromm front since his leaked racists messages came out. He hasn’t played well in camp according to multiple outlets. While Sean McDermott has typically gone with two QBs, they should keep three QBs who know the system and get Fromm on the practice squad just in case of COVID problems.

Running back (5)

Patrick DiMarco
Taiwan Jones
Zack Moss
Devin Singletary
T.J. Yeldon

Cut: Christian Wade, Antonio Williams
Changes: DiMarco is back on the team

Now that Reggie Gilliam is over at tight end or H-back, I have DiMarco making the squad again. Earlier this week, McDermott mentioned how important DiMarco is to the team. We’ll see just how important after this weekend.

Tight end (3)

Dawson Knox
Tyler Kroft
Lee Smith
Tommy Sweeney (PUP)

Cuts: Nate Becker, Jason Croom, Reggie Gilliam
Changes: Sweeney makes the roster on the PUP list where he was on outright previously

This group is such a great mix of talent, youth, and skill set. While I’m sure some folks want to see them move on from Smith, he played 30% of the snaps last year and while that number diminished over the course of the season, it jumped up to 47% in their playoff-clinching win over Pittsburgh. Sweeney can stay on PUP until he’s healthy and then they can figure out what to do with him.

Wide receiver (7)

Cole Beasley
John Brown
Gabriel Davis
Stefon Diggs
Isaiah Hodgins
Isaiah McKenzie
Andre Roberts

Cuts: Robert Foster, Duke Williams
Changes: Hodgins over Foster

I’ve been convinced of Andre Roberts’ value to the team in the eyes of McDermott, even though I think he’s overpaid. I had him off multiple roster projections in the spring and early summer. The only change I made was putting Hodgins over Foster. I thought the latter’s special teams ability would give him an extra boost, but with Taiwan Jones and Siran Neal at gunner, they don’t need Foster.

Interior O-line (3)

Evan Boehm
Jon Feliciano (Injured reserve)
Mitch Morse
Quinton Spain

Cut: Brian Winters, Ike Boettger, Marquel Harrell
Changes: Boehm makes the team, Spencer Long was cut, Bills signed Brian Winters and he’s cut, Feliciano to IR but should return

Boettger makes a strong case for the practice squad. Winters was my last man out. In order for Feliciano to return, he has to make the initial 53-man roster this weekend before being placed on IR the next day, so they’ll have to cut someone like Tyrel Dodson or Dane Jackson that they’ll be able to re-sign in a couple days.

Offensive tackle (5)

Ryan Bates
Dion Dawkins
Cody Ford
Ty Nsekhe
Darryl Williams

Cut: Victor Salako, Trey Adams, Brandon Walton
Changes: Keep Ty Nsekhe

I’ve been trying to cut Nsekhe since we learned of the drop in the 2021 salary cap but now I think they are coming around to him. This really depends on what they do at guard. If Cody Ford kicks inside, I think they keep Nsekhe. If Ford is at guard, they don’t need Winters and going with eight guys could save them a roster spot. Going with eight plus Feliciano will be fine.

Defensive line (8)

Mario Addison
Vernon Butler
A.J. Epenesa
Jerry Hughes
Quinton Jefferson
Daryl Johnson
Ed Oliver
Harrison Phillips

Cut: Mike Love, Vincent Taylor, Tanzel Smart, Justin Zimmer, Trent Murphy, Bryan Cox Jr.
Changes: Trent Murphy gets cut or traded, Star Lotulelei opted out so Johnson makes the team

Lots of versatility on the defensive line. They release Murphy to save the money and keep a promising younger player with special teams ability in Johnson.

Linebacker (6)

Tyrel Dodson
Tremaine Edmunds
A.J. Klein
Tyler Matakevich
Matt Milano
Andre Smith

Cuts: Vosean Joseph, Del’Shawn Phillips, Corey Thompson
Changes: Vosean Joseph out now that the Bills traded for Smith

Corey Thompson was a leader on special teams last year but he can’t find his way onto the roster now. Dodson is ahead of Joseph, but both could be cut to get to the initial 53-man roster. Once Feliciano is on injured reserve, they could re-sign one.

Cornerback (5)

Dane Jackson
Taron Johnson
Josh Norman
Levi Wallace
Tre’Davious White

Cuts: Brian Allen, Cam Lewis
Changes: E.J. Gaines opted out, Dane Jackson makes the team

Adding a young cornerback to the back end of the roster was a huge win for me. Lewis needs to be a priority practice squad guy, too. The depth isn’t substantial, but that’s how McDermott has rolled at cornerback in his time as coach.

Safety (5)

Micah Hyde
Jaquan Johnson
Dean Marlowe
Siran Neal
Jordan Poyer

Cut: Josh Thomas
Changes: Johnson makes the team

Johnson is another guy who was a bubble guy but I found a way to make room. Without him they are thin at safety with Siran Neal acting as the emergency cornerback.

Specialists (3)

Corey Bojorquez (punter)
Reid Ferguson (long snapper)
Tyler Bass (kicker)

Cuts: None
Changes: Bass replaces Hauschka

Still a chance they could upgrade at punter. If you remember, Bojorquez was a post-camp add a couple years ago and they could look to similarly upgrade this year. All offseason, I said Hauschka was going to be cut. Then I changed my mind before training camp due to the uncertainty. Silly. Bass won the job already.

There’s no way around cutting quality players—and some of them are going to end up being claimed by other teams—but Buffalo’s practice squad could be pretty good, too. Remember it’s expanded in 2020 with the new CBA and the COVID modifications, so 16 players plus the IPP exemption for Wade are targeted here. They won’t add them all.

Practice squad priorities (16)

QB Jake Fromm
RB Christian Wade (International Pathway Exemption)
RB Antonio Williams
TE Jason Croom
TE Reggie Gilliam
WR Robert Foster
WR Duke Williams
OG Ike Boettger
OT Trey Adams
DE Mike Love
DE Bryan Cox, Jr.
DT Vincent Taylor
LB Corey Thompson
LB Vosean Joseph
CB Cam Lewis
S Garret Taylor