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Buffalo Bills 53-man roster projection, depth chart following 2021 NFL Draft

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 added some players to their roster this weekend and with the last major shakeup to the depth chart before the 2021 NFL season, it’s officially time for our first roster projection that is sure to be wrong.

We listed players in alphabetical order in the roster list but there is a projected depth chart at the bottom. Free-agent signings are marked with an asterisk while NFL Draft picks are marked with a plus sign. Undrafted free agents aren’t included until they are officially announced.

Quarterback (3)

Josh Allen
Jake Fromm
Mitch Trubisky*

Cut: Davis Webb

The Bills have Trubisky at the primary backup to Allen with Fromm as the developmental backup QB. Trubisky is only signed for one year.

Running Back (4)

Matt Breida*
Taiwan Jones
Zack Moss
Devin Singletary

Cuts: Christian Wade, Antonio Williams

I might as well list Jones as a special teams player because that’s the only way he sees the field. Breida is a game-day inactive unless one of the other three is hurt.

Wide Receiver (6)

Cole Beasley
Gabriel Davis
Stefon Diggs
Isaiah McKenzie
Emmanuel Sanders*
Marquez Stevenson+

Cut: Isaiah Hodgins, Tanner Gentry, Jake Kumerow, Brandon Powell*, Duke Williams

Hodgins is a player I didn’t want to cut, but I went with the rookie Stevenson because I think his return abilities keep him on the roster in the Andre Roberts role. As a projection, I think Hodgins brings more to the table at wide receiver than McKenzie and kept him over the jet sweep motion artist in the first draft of this projection. It shouldn’t be hard to work Hodgins onto the practice squad.

Tight end (4)

Reggie Gilliam
Jacob Hollister*
Dawson Knox
Tommy Sweeney

Cut: Nate Becker

Sweeney is back and replacing Lee Smith while Hollister takes Tyler Kroft’s snaps.

Offensive tackle (4)

Spencer Brown+
Tommy Doyle+
Dion Dawkins
Daryl Williams

Cut: Bobby Hart*

The Bills’ offensive tackle depth has been completely re-worked, and I’m here for it. Brown becomes the primary swing tackle and Doyle the depth option. Straightforward for now.

Interior OL (5)

Ryan Bates
Ike Boettger
Jon Feliciano
Cody Ford
Mitch Morse

Cut: Forrest Lamp*, Jordan Devey, Jamil Douglas*, Jack Anderson+

This was a very difficult crew to put together. The Bills want to upgrade over their offensive line from a year ago, but are they counting on Ford to take a step forward as that upgrade or a seventh-round pick? Probably not. That leaves Lamp or maybe Douglas as your upgrade. They tendered Boettger as an RFA and not veteran minimum, which means they like what he brings to the table, and they re-signed Feliciano this offseason so he’s not going anywhere. Bates is super-versatile and that’s why I kept him over Lamp. If they keep a tenth offensive linemen, I assume it’s on the interior.

Defensive Line (8)

Mario Addison
Carlos Basham+
Vernon Butler
A.J. Epenesa
Jerry Hughes
Star Lotulelei
Ed Oliver
Greg Rousseau+

Cut: Bryan Cox Jr., Darryl Johnson, Mike Love, Efe Obada*, Brandin Bryant, Harrison Phillips, Justin Zimmer

With how much nickel the Bills run and how many players have DE/DT or 1T/3T versatility, Buffalo goes with only one true 1-tech defensive tackle in Lotulelei, even though he’s coming off a season when he didn’t play. Phillips is the last man off my roster and I don’t like giving up on third-rounds picks and maybe he can be impressive coming off injury, but they want to improve the defensive line and he’s not one of the first eight guys on that list. He played 360 combined snaps a year ago, and just 31 percent of the defensive snaps with Lotulelei off the roster. With Star coming back, his DT numbers just won’t be there.

Linebacker (6)

Tyrell Adams*
Tyrel Dodson
Tremaine Edmunds
A.J. Klein
Tyler Matakevich
Matt Milano

Cut: Marquel Lee*, Andre Smith

Matakevich is another positional player in name only, as he’s a special teams selection. I’m excited about the mix of youth and experience in this group. The Bills only kept six linebackers a year ago, so there is no home for Lee or Smith.

Cornerback (6)

Dane Jackson
Taron Johnson
Siran Neal
Levi Wallace
Tre’Davious White
Rachad Wildgoose Jr.+

Cut: Cam Lewis

Literally the 53rd player on my roster was Wildgoose. Buffalo has not traditionally kept six CBs but with two developmental offensive tackles, I did not keep a fifth tackle and did not add the seventh-round guard. It really came down to Harrison Phillips at DT and Wildgoose, and the cornerback adds a lot more in terms of special teams ability. If you want to substitute Cam Lewis, by all means go ahead.

Safety (4)

Damar Hamlin+
Micah Hyde
Jaquan Johnson
Jordan Poyer

Cut: Josh Thomas

Dean Marlowe is out and Jaquan Johnson takes over as the primary backup safety. Hamlin moves into the developmental role over former UDFA Thomas.

Specialists (3)

K Tyler Bass
LS Reid Ferguson
P Matt Haack*

There isn’t anyone on the roster to currently challenge any of these guys. Haack has a bunch of guaranteed money and isn’t going anywhere.

Here is my projected depth chart as it stands right now (not 53-man):

2021 Buffalo Bills Offseason Depth Chart

Position Starter Backup Reserve
Position Starter Backup Reserve
QB Josh Allen Mitchell Trubisky*
RB1 Zack Moss Matt Breida* Taiwan Jones
RB2 Devin Singletary
FB Reggie Gilliam
WR1 Stefon Diggs Jake Kumerow Marquez Stevenson+
WR2 Emmanuel Sanders* Gabriel Davis
SWR Cole Beasley Isaiah McKenzie
TE Dawson Knox Tommy Sweeney
LT Dion Dawkins Spencer Brown+
LG Jon Feliciano
C Mitch Morse Ryan Bates
RG Cody Ford Ike Boettger
RT Daryl Williams Tommy Doyle+
LE Mario Addison Greg Rousseau+ Efe Obada*
NT Star Lotulelei Vernon Butler Harrison Phillips
DT Ed Oliver Justin Zimmer
RE Jerry Hughes A.J. Epenesa Carlos Basham+
MLB Tremaine Edmunds A.J. Klein Tyler Matakevich
WLB Matt Milano Tyrel Dodson Andre Smith
CB Tre'Davious White
FS Jordan Poyer Damar Hamlin+
SS Micah Hyde Jaquan Johnson
NB Taron Johnson Siran Neal
CB Levi Wallace Dane Jackson
K Tyler Bass
P Matt Haack*
KR/PR Isaiah McKenzie Marquez Stevenson+

Let me know where I messed up in the comments section!