With the 2023 NFL Draft accounted for and six new draftees joining the Buffalo Bills, it’s time to start projecting what the 53-man roster will look like when the time comes. As of May 1, per Sal Capaccio of WGR550, the Bills have 76 players on their roster — not including the chunk of undrafted free agents who were signed or invited to rookie camp immediately after the draft.
Bills roster now at 76 (UDFAs haven't been announced yet) pic.twitter.com/aY4nXhMKJu— Sal Capaccio (@SalSports) May 1, 2023
Given that Capaccio’s list doesn’t include the 13-and-counting undrafted free agents that have already signed or will attend the Bills’ rookie camp, that’d put the total number well over 85 players. With that being said, Capaccio (joined by WGR550’s Joe DiBiase) put together their first 53-man roster projection — and there are a few names that didn’t make the cut that will certainly raise some eyebrows.
So @SneakyJoeSports and I just did a consensus Bills 53-man roster as of right now. Here's what we came up with. Our final spot came down to Cam Lewis vs. Latavius Murray.— Sal Capaccio (@SalSports) May 2, 2023
We have Von on the 53 (not PUP) to start and they did have 7 LBs on 53 at the end of last season pic.twitter.com/nZuniFRVAo
Seeing names like tight end Quintin Morris and recently signed running back Latavius Murray not make the cut may leave a sour taste in some fans’ mouths, but it is understandable. Morris logged consistent snaps on special teams and sometimes on offense but with first-round tight end Dalton Kincaid now in the picture, there isn’t much room left. As for Murray, although he’s 33 years old, his size is unique to Buffalo’s backfield (standing at 6’3” and 230 pounds).
The #Bills current running back room:— Dan Fetes (@danfetes) May 1, 2023
James Cook: 5'11'' 190 lbs
Damien Harris: 5'11'' 213 lbs
Nyheim Hines: 5'9'' 196 lbs
Latavius Murray: 6'3'' 230 lbs
Newly acquired running back Damien Harris may provide a bit more of a punch but he still has a smaller and stockier frame. If the Bills plan to place Murray on the practice squad, it won’t last long and he’d be claimed by another team sooner rather than later. It is worth noting, however, that Murray is from the Syracuse area and expressed how much he wanted to play for Buffalo, so other teams may not want to poach him and add a disgruntled veteran to their backfields. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see Murray get some goal-line carries rather than watch quarterback Josh Allen continue taking big hits.
We all know how it goes with head coach Sean McDermott and giving rookies enough reps to develop properly, but to give a roster spot to cornerback Cam Lewis, who has noticeably struggled, over seventh-round rookie Alex Austin with a unique skillset is shocking. It’s understandable if Austin makes the practice squad but one would hope McDermott would choose him over a player that’s made one too many Bills fans scream at the television (Cue the Justin Jefferson catch in the Minnesota Vikings game last year).
Sixth-round guard Nick Broeker will likely join the practice squad and could see opportunities given how bad the injury bug was for the offensive line last season. As for wide receiver Justin Shorter, his 6’4”, 223-pound frame is too intriguing to place him on the practice squad and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him on the field in red zone situations.