The Buffalo Bills entered the 2019 offseason with many holes on their roster. They addressed a very large number of them in the first few days of free agency and continued building depth. Here is where the roster stands now, at roughly the same number of players as they had heading into the 2018 NFL Draft.
Note: Players are listen in alphabetical order in the body of the article but an unofficial depth chart appears at the end of the article. Free-agent additions are marked with an *
This position would seem to be set with the “franchise quarterback,” veteran backup, and veteran mentor roles all neatly slotted. They will likely bring in a fourth quarterback at some point for minicamp or training camp. No changes were made during free agency.
Christian Wade* (Not listed on team’s official roster)
Will LeSean McCoy be the lead back in 2019? Buffalo needs to get younger here, but instead they signed the oldest running back they could; Frank Gore. DiMarco is seemingly entrenched as the fullback. Buffalo released Chris Ivory after signing Gore.
Victor Bolden, Jr.
Ray-Ray McCloud III
Buffalo churned this portion of their roster most in 2019 free agency. John Brown and Cole Beasley should be in line for a ton of playing time in 2019, knocking Robert Foster to a complementary role. Former draft picks will need to work hard just to keep a roster spot.
Kroft is the de facto starter and has the most playing time at the NFL level. Croom hasn’t proven anything at the NFL level. Fisher was a tackle on the Cincinnati Bengals until this offseason, when he switched to tight end full-time.
Morse was the crown jewel of free agency in Buffalo, signing the most lucrative contract for a center in NFL history. Spain signed late but has a ton of starting experience with the Titans. Teller, Bodine, and Ducasse all started games in 2018 but Long signed for decent money and Boettger received some playing time. Where everyone will shake out is still up in the air.
Buffalo needed a starter. Do they think the newly-signed Nsekhe is going to step into that role or will they draft someone? Waddle is a backup at best, along with Sirles and McDermott.
Buffalo has a lot of uncertainty around this group, as Hughes, Lawson, Yarbrough, and Harold aren’t under contract past 2019. Buffalo could still add a free agent, draft a player, trade one of these guys, or release guys. It’s low-key wide open at defensive end this offseason.
Jordan Phillips just signed a medium-sized contract extension to be a major part of the rotation following the retirement of Kyle Williams. Buffalo will likely add a piece here to act as a penetrating pass-rush presence at the 3-tech in the absence of the veteran.
Lorenzo Alexander will probably play some defensive line as a pass-rushing specialist in addition to his role at linebacker. Maurice Alexander has starting experience at safety and could be a passing down presence. With two young studs, this position might be the most set on the roster.
Buffalo needed another cornerback capable of playing significant snaps and seemingly found two in Kevin Johnson and E.J. Gaines. Taron Johnson’s injury meant a safety was playing nickel cornerback a year ago and Wallace was the team’s fourth choice at outside cornerback behind Vontae Davis, Phillip Gaines, and Ryan Lewis. This position is likely set heading into April.
Bush was the team’s third safety in 2018 and played Big Nickel cornerback, as well. Buffalo could upgrade at that spot if they want or keep this group status quo.
Corey Bojorquez (punter)
Cory Carter (punter)
Reid Ferguson (long snapper)
Stephen Hauschka (kicker)
Andre Roberts (kick returner)*
The Bills are going to have a Cory/Corey battle at punter, it would seem. Both ended the year on injured reserve after different injuries. Hauschka was also hurt and struggled down the stretch, but we’d be surprised if they moved on from him. Ferguson just signed an extension.
Unofficial depth chart
2019 Buffalo Bills’ Unofficial Offseason Workout Depth Chart
|QB||Josh Allen||Matt Barkley||Tyree Jackson#|
|RB||LeSean McCoy||Devin Singletary+||Marcus Murphy||Senorise Perry*|
|RB||Frank Gore*||T.J. Yeldon*||Christian Wade*|
|WR1||Zay Jones||Victor Bolden, Jr.||Duke Williams*||David Sills#/Nick Easley|
|WR2||John Brown*||Robert Foster||Cam Phillips||Da'Mari Scott|
|WR3||Cole Beasley*||Isaiah McKenzie||Andre Roberts*||Ray-Ray McCloud|
|TE 1||Tyler Kroft*||Dawson Knox+||Jason Croom|
|TE 2||Lee Smith*||Tommy Sweeney+||Moral Stephens#|
|LT||Dion Dawkins||LaAdrian Waddle*||Conor McDermott||Blake Hance#|
|LG||Quinton Spain*||Wyatt Teller||Vlad Ducasse|
|C||Mitch Morse*||Russell Bodine|
|RG||Spencer Long*||Jon Feliciano*||Ike Boettger||Garret McGhin|
|RT||Ty Nsekhe*||Cody Ford+||Jeremiah Sirles|
|LE||Jerry Hughes||Mike Love||Eddie Yarbrough||Darryl Johnson, Jr.+|
|NT||Star Lotulelei||Harrison Phillips||Kyle Peko|
|DT||Ed Oliver+||Jordan Phillips||Robert Thomas||Quindarius Thagard#|
|RE||Trent Murphy||Shaq Lawson||Eli Harold|
|SLB||Lorenzo Alexander||Deon Lacey||Corey Thompson||Tyrel Dodson#|
|MLB||Tremaine Edmunds||Julian Stanford|
|WLB||Matt Mliano||Maurice Alexander*||Vosean Joseph+||Juwan Foggie#|
|CB||Tre'Davious White||Kevin Johnson*||Lafayette Pitts||Cam Lewis#|
|FS||Jordan Poyer||Dean Marlowe||Jaquan Joseph+||Abraham Wallace#|
|SS||Micah Hyde||Rafael Bush||Siran Neal|
|CB||Levi Wallace||E.J. Gaines*||Ryan Lewis||Denzel Rice|
|K||Stephen Hauschka||Chase McLaughlin#|
|P||Corey Bojorquez||Cory Carter|
Several main needs populate this depth chart:
- Tight End: Buffalo needs a tight end that can play significant snaps. This position could be the pick in any round and don’t be surprised if they add two.
- 3-tech Defensive Tackle: The penetrating position on the defensive line hasn’t replaced Kyle Williams since he retired. It could be the pick at 9 or anywhere further down the draft list. Don’t be surprised if they add two.
- Defensive End: With multiple players entering the final year of their deals, Buffalo could pick to improve the pass rush now and solidify going into the future all in one fell swoop.
- Offensive tackle: Do they trust Dion Dawkins? Ty Nsehke is 33 and never been asked to be a full-time starter.
- Wide Receiver: After the free agent spending, it’s moved down the list, but adding a solid number 1 or 2 receiver gives them flexibility.
- Running Back: They need to bring down the age of this group in a big way.
- Defensive positions like linebacker, cornerback, and safety could all use depth and developmental options.