One of the unfortunate truths about about the NFL is that there’s simply not enough room on a roster for everyone. While it’s only natural that incoming rookies push for starting jobs, that does come at the cost of someone else’s spot. Which Buffalo Bills veterans could be pushed out by this year’s draft class? Let’s list the rooks and see who they might be pushing out the door. Feel free to yell at me for my opinions in the comments below!
Jack Anderson, OG
I don’t see Anderson taking anyone’s spot directly. Anderson is likely pushing for the practice squad and as a developmental prospect who might challenge in the future.
Rachad Wildgoose Jr., CB
While I do think there could be some jockeying at corner, I don’t believe it’s the result of adding Wildgoose. Levi Wallace and Taron Johnson set a heck of a floor. Dane Jackson might push one of those two, but Wildgoose has an uphill battle to enter the conversation.
Damar Hamlin, S
There’s no way this season that Hamlin takes a starting role, but Dean Marlowe’s old role is now vacant. Hamlin is likely in that conversation, and shouldn’t be considered a dark horse candidate.
Marquez Stevenson, WR
On talent alone, I think Stevenson could enter the conversation on a lot of teams. On the Bills, and I can’t believe I’m writing this, he’s battling against one of the best position groups in the league. The top group is set with Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis, and Emmanuel Sanders pretty much locked in. Stevenson projects as more of a Beasley or Isaiah McKenzie type player. It’s more likely he’s gunning for McKenzie’s spot, but even that’s not very likely. It’s possible Stevenson makes another depth guy expendable as the numbers game become problematic for Buffalo.
Spencer Brown and Tommy Doyle, OT
I lumped both together due to position and similar story. Both Brown and Doyle are project players, with Brown looking more pro-ready. Neither are likely to take over for Dion Dawkins or Darryl Williams. A swing spot should be in play, with Brown the likely victor. While a common refrain is that tackles can move to guard, I don’t see a challenge to incumbents Cody Ford or Jon Feliciano. With solid depth options there already, the most logical move might be to allow the two rookies to focus on their current position.
Greg Rousseau and Carlos Basham Jr., defensive line
These two are lumped together because of one word the Bills love: “Versatility.” Both of the rookie defensive ends could also project to kick inside on some (or many) downs depending on what the Bills’ plans are this year. I don’t think it’s a question of “if” these two will take snaps away from other players, but more a matter of “from whom” and “how many.”
About the only person on the line I consider safe would be Jerry Hughes, and even then I wouldn’t be surprised to see his playing time trickle down over the season if one or both rookies come on strong. Mario Addison and fan favorite Harrison Phillips could be looking over their shoulders early as the new guys can replicate the roles both veterans play.
With some shakeup toward the top, depth players could see significant reductions or fall off completely. I’d wager A.J. Epenesa will remain in rotation, but Darryl Johnson could be in trouble.