The Buffalo Bills have nearly filled out their 90-man roster with the signings of several UDFAs following the 2022 NFL Draft.
They have agreed to terms with nine players listed below with several more invited to rookie minicamp tryouts. While UDFAs are typically a long shot to make the roster, many can and do make big impacts once on the team. In fact, 17 players on the 2021 Bills roster were undrafted as they began their careers, signifying that all someone needs is a chance.
However, prior injuries can derail a potential professional career. Below are brief injury histories for each UDFA as they head into rookie minicamp on May 13-14.
TE Jalen Wydermyer (Texas A&M)
- Appeared in 34 games
- 2021 - Required surgery to repair a sliced tendon in a freak accident during the spring in 2021, forcing him to miss spring practices but no regular-season games.
WR Neil Pau’u (BYU)
- Appeared in 46 games
- 2017 - Missed two games (UNLV, UMass) for unknown reasons.
- 2019 - Missed entire season due to a DUI, as a result of a year-long suspension.
- 2021 - Dealt with a left ankle injury early in the season requiring the use of a walking boot. Missed the final three games of the season due to an ankle injury against Idaho State that was described as his ankle twisting while scoring a touchdown. Possible left high-ankle sprain based on this video.
DT Kingsley Jonathan (Syracuse)
Appeared in 56 games, with no publicly reported injuries.
WR Malik Williams (Appalachian State)
- Appeared in 65 games
- 2020 - Missed one game (Campbell) due to COVID-19.
DT Prince Emili (Penn)
- Appeared in 37 games
- 2016 - Missed entire season (ten games) due to early season undisclosed injury.
- 2017 - Missed three games (Lehigh, Dartmouth, Yale) for unknown reasons.
OL Tanner Owen (Northwest Missouri State)
Appeared in 52 consecutive games, and suffered no publicly reported injuries.
CB Travon Fuller (Tulsa)
- Appeared in 56 total games: 43 at Texas A&M, 13 at Tulsa.
- 2021 - Broke left middle finger while tackling a player against UC Davis, required surgery, and played the next several games with a club.
RB Raheem Blackshear (Virginia Tech)
- Appeared in 51 games: 27 at Rutgers, 24 at Virginia Tech
- 2017 - Suffered a thigh injury prior to Rutgers’ game against Michigan during his freshman year; missed one game.
- 2020 - Battled COVID during the preseason before recovering and suffering a hamstring strain in Week 2. Both ailments did not force him to miss any time.
OL Derek Kersetter (Texas)
- Appeared in 58 games
- 2020 - Was dealing with an ankle sprain late in the season prior to the Kansas State game. Regrettably, he suffered a dislocation and fracture of his left ankle during the Kansas State game. There is a GRAPHIC picture here if you’re curious.
OL Alec Anderson (UCLA)
- Appeared in 30 games
- 2019 - Required surgery on his right knee/leg prior to the season, missing a portion of training camp. Missed the season opener against Cincinnati. Also missed the Colorado game for unknown reasons.
- 2021 - Suffered a right leg injury against Oregon, and was able to return according to reports. Missed the following week against Utah, had a bye week, and missed Colorado. He was dressed and appeared ready to play against Colorado but, ultimately, sat out. To note: Anderson declared for the NFL draft after UCLA’s bowl game was canceled due to COVID issues.
Bills Injury Impact
Besides several notable injuries at the time, there are very few lingering concerns as the players head into rookie minicamp. Neil Pau’u’s ankle should be fully healed by now and there is some concern regarding Alec Anderson regarding the specifics of his knee injuries.
The Bills also have invited eight players to rookie minicamp with the opportunity to earn a contract based on their performance. This list was compiled by Ryan Talbot of Syracuse.com.
There may be several amongst this group of players with prior injuries that were missed, but those listed here appear to be the most significant. I wish all the players the best of luck as they embark on their NFL journey and I fully expect to see someone from this list either make the Buffalo Bills’ roster or somewhere else come fall.