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Final 2022 Buffalo Bills 53-man roster projection

The preseason is over. Who makes it?

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 concluded their preseason schedule and now it’s time to talk 53-man roster. Who’s in? Who’s out? Several cuts, roster moves, and trades will need to happen by 4:00 PM Eastern Tuesday as they move from 80 to 53 players. Plus we expect some roster shenanigans from general manager Brandon Beane, as always, to sneak some players onto short-term injured reserve.

We differentiated between the waived players who enter the waiver wire and can be claimed by other teams and vested veterans, who are released and immediately become free agents and aren’t forced to head to other teams. Released players can be re-signed quickly, like after the Bills put another player on short-term injured reserve on Wednesday—or they can immediately join the practice squad.

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.

Quarterback (2)

Josh Allen
Case Keenum

Released: 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. Barkley can sign to the practice squad on the same day he’s cut with his veteran status and that’s the expectation.

Running Back (4)

James Cook
Zack Moss
Devin Singletary
FB: Reggie Gilliam

Released: Taiwan Jones, Duke Johnson
Waived: Raheem Blackshear
Change from previous: Jones is released

We’ve told you all along this could happen because it happened last year with a different player. The Bills released their long snapper Reid Ferguson in order to sneak an injured player onto injured reserve. This year with the tumult in that position room, it’s best to do it with a different player. Jones is not subject to waivers and will be back in a day.

Blackshear is a priority practice squad candidate and I expect Johnson to get a call from another team at some point this season. The Bills have seven rosterable running backs.

Wide receiver (8)

Jamison Crowder
Gabe Davis
Stefon Diggs
Isaiah Hodgins
Jake Kumerow
Isaiah McKenzie
Khalil Shakir
Marquez Stevenson

Waived: Neil Pau’u++
Injured Reserve: Tanner Gentry
Change from previous: Stevenson on roster for short-term IR instead of long-term IR

I kept eight receivers for now, which is stupid. Stevenson will be headed to short-term injured reserve in the next day in order to bring back Taiwan Jones. Hodgins will be a game-day inactive, but after his preseason performance, it’ll be hard to keep him on the practice squad through waivers. The team values Kumerow’s special teams contributions, so if it comes down to it, Hodgins is the one who is gone.

Gentry goes on season-ending injured reserve after being hurt on Friday night. He’s not the type of player they will bend over backwards to get on short-term IR. They’ll eventually release him with an injury settlement or they may want to hang onto him.

Tight end (3)

Dawson Knox
Quintin Morris
Tommy Sweeney

Traded: O.J. Howard
Released/Waived: None
Change from previous: Howard traded, Morris on the roster

Morris and Sweeney played so well in training camp, it’s hard not to see a place for them on the 53-man roster. Howard on the other hand was in the preseason finale on the team’s final possession, running out the clock. The Bills have to trade Howard to get out of his guaranteed salary, and by cutting him they’d still have to pay that $2 million. Moving him, even for a 2024 late-round pick, is a Big Baller Beane move and something I’d expect to see here soon. He has not lived up to the hype.

Offensive tackle (4)

Spencer Brown
Dion Dawkins
Tommy Doyle
David Quessenberry

Waived: Luke Tenuta, Alec Anderson
Change from previous: N/A

Doyle has been dealing with a nagging injury for a couple weeks. If he is still a few weeks from returning, it wouldn’t shock us to see him go on injured reserve after he makes the 53-man roster so they can add another player for four weeks. Brown is still not 100% and clearly neither is Doyle, so another offensive lineman on the active roster could make sense. Tenuta is a practice squad candidate after being drafted, but he really struggled in camp.

Interior OL (5)

Ryan Bates
Bobby Hart
Rodger Saffold
Mitch Morse
Greg Van Roten

PUP: Ike Boettger
Waived: Jacob Capra, Tanner Owen
Released: Greg Mancz
Change from previous: Van Roten makes the roster over Mancz

We correctly called the Cody Ford trade in our post-camp projection, so that’s a win already. Mancz was ahead of Van Roten all offseason but the best ability is availability, and Mancz has missed significant time recently. Van Roten was one of the players they rested during the entire preseason finale, which gives some indication his roster spot is safe. Tanner Owen is a practice squad guy, along with Mancz. If they wanted to do the short-term IR for Tommy Doyle, Hart is a vested veteran not subject to waivers and could be on the cut line before being re-signed later in the week.

Defensive tackle (4)

DaQuan Jones
Ed Oliver
Jordan Phillips
Tim Settle

Released: Eli Ankou
Waived: 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 was too hurt to make an impact during training camp and exited Friday’s game with an injury, so he could be an injury settlement guy instead of an outright release. Bryant is a guy you’d like to have a spot for, but they’ve waived him before and he’s made it to the practice squad. They did roll with five DTs regularly last year, but they like these four more than those five.

Defensive end (5)

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

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

The biggest question for me in this roster group is how many will they keep on the practice squad. The top five are locked in (though Lawson is one of those vested veterans who could be cut and re-signed a day later without going through waivers), and I think they keep Love and Jonathan on the practice squad.

Linebacker (6)

Terrel Bernard
Tyrel Dodson
Tremaine Edmunds
Tyler Matakevich
Matt Milano
Baylon Spector

Suspended: Andre Smith
Waived: Joe Giles-Harris
Change from previous: Spector on the roster

Spector played his way onto the roster this preseason, flashing big in those games. He also adds special teams ability so he could even be active on game day. The Bills kept six a year ago, too, so bumping him onto the final roster keeps the numbers in tact. It appears that fellow rookie, Terrel Bernard, has potentially moved into third on the depth chart ahead of Tyrel Dodson, as well. He goes from my 55th player onto the roster at 52.

Cornerback (5)

Christian Benford
Kaiir Elam
Dane Jackson
Taron Johnson
Siran Neal

PUP: Tre’Davious White
Waived: Cam Lewis, Nick McCloud, Ja’Marcus Ingram, Jordan Miller
Change from previous: Tre White goes on PUP

Tre White’s return was previously said to be sooner rather than later, but he hasn’t been spotted at a Bills practice in a month. I think that’s pretty telling, so I’m putting him on PUP and giving him another month to recover with no worries. I need him for the postseason.

I continued to expect the Bills to add another cornerback, but they haven’t done that and will instead roll with Dane Jackson and a combination of rookies Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford.

Lewis had a decent camp but was not good in the preseason finale. He’s made it through waivers a bunch of times. McCloud is a player they may keep if they’re worried about the other young CBs, because he’s been poached off waivers in the past.

Safety (4)

Damar Hamlin
Micah Hyde
Jaquan Johnson
Jordan Poyer

Waived: 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 Michael Palardy
K Tyler Bass
LS Reid Ferguson
KR/PR Khalil Shakir

Waived: P Matt Araiza
Change from previous: Palardy on the roster, Araiza off

Araiza’s civil lawsuit coming to light this week ultimately proves his undoing. I don’t want him on my team. Palardy is the name at the top of my list because he’s left-footed and he was on the Carolina Panthers when Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane were there. A few punters will be released Tuesday, so this position won’t be settled for some time. I feel very comfortable with Shakir catching punts. Ferguson was released a year ago just to re-sign a day later. They could do that again, but I’m not messing with this position room anymore than I have to right now so I kept him on the roster.

LAST MEN OFF: CB Cam Lewis, DT Brandin Bryant
LAST MAN ON: WR Isaiah Hodgins

INJURED RESERVE THIS WEEK: WR Marquez Stevenson, maybe Tommy Doyle

Practice squad priorities (14/16):

  • QB Matt Barkley
  • RB Raheem Blackshear
  • WR Isaiah Hodgins
  • OL Greg Mancz
  • OL Alec Anderson
  • OL Luke Tenuta
  • DT Eli Ankou
  • DT Brandin Bryant
  • DE Kingsley Jonathan
  • DE Mike Love
  • LB Joe Giles-Harris
  • CB Cam Lewis
  • CB Nick McCloud
  • S Josh Thomas

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