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2022 Buffalo Bills 53-man roster projection: Post-training camp

The Bills’ roster cuts aren’t going to be easy

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 have broken training camp at St. John Fisher to head back to Orchard Park for the rest of the preseason. During that time they are going to cut the roster from 90 to 53. With at least 37 roster cuts on the way between now and the start of the 2022 NFL season, here’s my most recent crack at the final 53-man roster as we head out of training camp.

At the back end of the article is our best guess at what the depth chart actually looks like right now, though the Bills released this earlier this week.

Note: Players listed alphabetically. Free-agent signings marked by asterisk(*). Draft picks marked with a plus sign(+) while undrafted free agents are double-plus (++)

Quarterback (2)

Josh Allen
Case Keenum*

Cut: Matt Barkley*
Change from previous: N/A

The Bills have traditionally kept two on the active roster with one or two on the practice squad. I’m still a bit surprised they didn’t add a younger fourth arm for camp and the preseason.

Running Back (5)

James Cook+
Taiwan Jones
Zack Moss
Devin Singletary
FB: Reggie Gilliam

Cut: Duke Johnson*, Raheem Blackshear++
Change from previous: N/A

Previously I’ve said that Singletary and Cook are the game-day actives, but Moss had a strong camp. I could see a scenario where all of them are active or they rotate based off opponent. Moss was working back from injury in 2021 and he looks healthy now. Gilliam just signed an extension this week. He’s a roster lock. Jones is a vested veteran, so Buffalo could leave him off the initial 53-man roster and he wouldn’t be subject to waivers, allowing them to sneak a player onto IR. It also wouldn’t surprise me if he’s a roster cut in favor of a younger player like an Isaiah Hodgins.

Wide receiver (7)

Jamison Crowder*
Gabe Davis
Stefon Diggs
Isaiah Hodgins
Jake Kumerow
Isaiah McKenzie
Khalil Shakir+

Cuts: Tavon Austin*, Neil Pau’u++, Tanner Gentry
Injured Reserve: Marquez Stevenson
Change from previous: Austin cut in favor of Hodgins, Stevenson to IR

The Bills kept seven wide receivers on their roster through 2022, but started the season with six after placing Stevenson on IR. They kept ample reserves on the practice squad, too, so maybe that comes into play here. McKenzie is the starter at slot but Crowder can sub inside or outside. Shakir has played himself into a role during camp, and I am slotting him in as their primary returner by cutting Austin. Kumerow is on because of special teams. Hodgins is my last player on the roster. They’ve been able to get him through waivers multiple times and he doesn’t have a lot of NFL game tape out there, so they likely won’t need to do back flips to keep him. He’s had a really good camp. Stevenson would have been a roster cut, but with his injury, they keep him on the initial 53-man roster before IRing him to bring back a vested veteran like they did last year.

Tight end (3)

O.J. Howard*
Dawson Knox
Tommy Sweeney

Cut: Quintin Morris, Jalen Wydermyer++
Change from previous: Wydermyer cut in favor of Sweeney

Buffalo only kept two tight ends on their 53-man roster a year ago but I suspect they will feature more two-TE sets, which would necessitate keeping one more tight end on the final roster. Tommy Sweeney had a really good camp, holding off Quintin Morris. Morris should be able to get back to the practice squad and has a chance to stick next year with all three of these rostered tight ends hitting free agency. Wydermyer and his athleticism never clicked in camp.

Offensive tackle (4)

Spencer Brown
Dion Dawkins
Tommy Doyle
David Quessenberry*

Cuts: Bobby Hart, Luke Tenuta+, Will Ulmer++, Alec Anderson++
Change from previous: N/A

Quessenberry has been the top reserve stepping in for Brown when he’s been out. Doyle has also received a bunch of first-team reps at multiple positions. This group seems really solid.

Interior OL (5)

Ryan Bates
Bobby Hart
Rodger Saffold*
Greg Mancz*
Mitch Morse

PUP: Ike Boettger
Traded: Cody Ford
Cuts: Jacob Capra, Derek Kersetter++, Tanner Owen++, Jordan Simmons*, Greg Van Roten*
Change from previous: Hart makes the team over a traded Ford

The Bills swing another late-preseason trade this year involving an offensive lineman. A staple of general manager Brandon Beane, we’ve seen Marshall Newhouse, Wyatt Teller, and Russell Bodine all net late-round draft picks near cut down day. Ford was running as the ninth lineman in training camp and since they haven’t used him at tackle, he doesn’t offer versatility. They can save about $500,000 on the salary cap by trading or releasing Ford and replacing him with Bobby Hart. Hart has played both tackle and guard this training camp. Mancz can play backup center and has taken snaps everywhere along the offensive line, so he beats out Van Roten. Tanner Owen is my practice squad guy.

Defensive tackle (4)

DaQuan Jones*
Ed Oliver
Jordan Phillips*
Tim Settle*

Cuts: Eli Ankou, Brandin Bryant, Prince Emili++, C.J. Brewer++
Change from previous: N/A

The Bills kept five defensive tackles last year along with lots of guys who could float between DE and DT. I went with one less this year but Ankou and Bryant spent so much time on the practice squad, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were back. Ankou only practiced once during training camp, starting the year on the PUP list. I needed one extra spot for my third tight end, and 11 defensive linemen like last year was too much. Plus, Justin Zimmer won’t be healthy for a bit and can be added later if they want him. This group of four was really good in camp.

Defensive end (5)

Boogie Basham
A.J. Epenesa
Shaq Lawson*
Von Miller*
Greg Rousseau

Cuts: Mike Love, Kingsley Jonathan++, Daniel Joseph++
Change from previous: N/A

Epenesa had a really strong camp and is entrenched as the third DE. Basham can play some DT. I like this group with the addition of Miller. I don’t think Lawson is a great candidate for the game-day roster, with Epenesa playing a lot of special teams in 2021. Lawson is not a roster lock, but they would need to see big gains from all the young guys to move on from the veteran. Maybe Mike Love could play his way onto the roster.

Linebacker (5)

Terrel Bernard+
Tyrel Dodson
Tremaine Edmunds
Tyler Matakevich
Matt Milano

Suspended: Andre Smith
Cuts: Joe Giles-Harris, Marquel Lee*, Baylon Spector+
Change from previous: None

Buffalo kept six a year ago, but they’ve been just kind of “meh” during training camp. Spector and the veterans didn’t play well enough to beat out my 53rd man, Isaiah Hodgins, so I went with five. They may swing six here for special teams snaps, but they haven’t had a better training camp than other position groups.

Cornerback (6)

Christian Benford+
Kaiir Elam+
Dane Jackson
Taron Johnson
Siran Neal
Tre’Davious White

Cuts: Olaijah Griffin, Tim Harris, Cam Lewis, Nick McCloud, Jamarcus Ingram++, Tavon Fuller++
Change from previous: N/A

Tre White’s return is said to be sooner rather than later, but that would be pretty fast and counting on him to be 100% would be foolish. With that said, I think the Bills are going to keep more cornerbacks than normal. With three young players taking boundary cornerback reps with the first team, plus your slot cornerback and your special teams ace, I have said all along that six made sense. I almost added a veteran free agent to my roster projection, because while the competition between the three has been tight, that’s not because all three are exceling. They’ve each had up and down days, which is concerning. If they don’t add a vet, keep an eye on McCloud, who had a stint on the Cincinnati Bengals’ active roster in 2021 after being cut by the Bills at the end of the preseason. I don’t see any reason to keep Cam Lewis on the active roster despite a good camp. He’s a practice squad priority.

Safety (4)

Damar Hamlin
Micah Hyde
Jaquan Johnson
Jordan Poyer

Cuts: Josh Thomas
Change from previous: N/A

Literally the same list as last year. They didn’t even add a player when Poyer went down with injury.

Specialists (3)

P Matt Araiza+
K Tyler Bass
LS Reid Ferguson
KR/PR Khalil Shakir

Cuts: P Matt Haack, KR/PR Marquez Stevenson, KR/PR Tavon Austin
Change from previous: Shakir is KR/PR, replacing Austin at PR and McKenzie at KR

Araiza proved in camp that he’s at least as good as Haack, so it’s a no-brainer to keep him and let him grow into the role. The battle here was at returner, where no one did enough to separate from the pack. When Austin was inactive for the scrimmage, Shakir got the reps, and with the way the rookie has been on offense, he already has a roster spot so they don’t need to use one on a returner.

LAST MAN OFF: CB Joe Haden/CB Nick McCloud
LAST MAN ON: WR Isaiah Hodgins

You can see our projected depth chart below.

Bills 53-man roster final projection

Position Starter Backup Reserve
Position Starter Backup Reserve
QB Josh Allen Case Keenum
RB Devin Singletary James Cook Zack Moss
FB Reggie Gilliam
WR1 Stefon Diggs Jake Kumerow
WR2 Gabriel Davis Jamison Crowder Isaiah Hodgins
SWR Isaiah McKenzie Khalil Shakir Marquez Stevenson
TE Dawson Knox Tommy Sweeney Quintin Morris
LT Dion Dawkins Tommy Doyle
LG Rodger Saffold Ike Boettger
C Mitch Morse Greg Van Roten
RG Ryan Bates Bobby Hart
RT Spencer Brown David Quessenberry
LE Greg Rousseau Boogie Basham Shaq Lawson
1T DaQuan Jones Tim Settle
3T Ed Oliver Jordan Phillips
RE Von Miller A.J. Epenesa
MLB Tremaine Edmunds Tyrel Dodson Tyler Matakevich/Baylon Spector
WLB Matt Milano Terrel Bernard Andre Smith
CB Tre'Davious White Kaiir Elam
FS Jordan Poyer Damar Hamlin
SS Micah Hyde Jaquan Johnson
NB Taron Johnson Siran Neal
CB Dane Jackson Christian Benford
K Tyler Bass
P Michael Palardy
LS Reid Ferguson
KR/PR Khalil Shakir