The most exciting part of writing this article was the realization that from top to bottom the Buffalo Bills have one of the best rosters in the entire National Football League. It is unbelievable the job Brandon Beane has done in just under three years at the helm.
This year, the gameday roster expands to 48 while the practice squad extends to 12 players. Players can be recalled from the practice squad to expand the roster to 55 when necessary, and a player can be recalled twice without being subject to waivers.
Josh Allen, Matt Barkley, Jake Fromm
Josh Allen is the entrenched starter. Matt Barkley is his back-up. That leaves Jake Fromm. You aren’t cutting a quarterback you spent a fifth-round pick on, especially one with the name recognition of Fromm. Even if he clears waivers, he isn’t forced to sign on our practice squad. He can easily go to another team’s practice squad where he will have more of a chance to start someday.
Running Back (4)
Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, TJ Yeldon, Taiwan Jones
Singletary and Moss will carry the load for Buffalo with Yeldon sprinkled in. Jones will make this roster because of his ability on special teams. He is a gunner and a return man.
Wide Receiver (6)
Stefon Diggs, John Brown, Cole Beasley, Gabe Davis
Isaiah Hodgins, Andre Roberts
Diggs, Brown, and Beasley are the obvious first three receivers. Gabe Davis is a lock based on the draft capital used on him. Roberts makes his way onto the team as a return man. It is my belief that despite similar skill-sets both Hodgins and Williams will both bring out the best in one another and prove irreplaceable. Hodgins will make the final 53 while Williams will head to the practice squad and be ready at a moment’s notice. That will put the onus on the Bills staff to find ways to use Diggs, Brown, and Roberts in the Isaiah McKenzie gadget role. The size and catch radius at the back half of this depth chart is rather unbelievable.
Tight End (3)
Dawson Knox, Tyler Kroft, Tommy Sweeney
The Bills decide to downsize at this position and retain the younger Sweeney over Lee Smith. Offensive lineman such as Daryl Williams and Ty Nsekhe can be used in blocking roles as a sixth offensive lineman. That is essentially what Lee Smith was.
Offensive Line (9)
Dion Dawkins, Cody Ford, Ty Nsekhe
Quinton Spain, Jon Feliciano, Mitch Morse
Daryl Williams, Spencer Long, Ryan Bates
The Bills retain their starting offensive line from a season ago. The only addition that makes the 2020 cut is Daryl Williams as a reserve utility lineman. Boehm narrowly loses out to Spencer Long and Bates is kept because of his versatility.
Edge Rusher (4)
Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, AJ Epenesa, Daryl Johnson
In Epenesa, the Buffalo Bills are finally able to fill the void at Left End with a player they thought Trent Murphy was supposed to be. Addison will come in on pass-rushing downs. Jefferson will rotate between the edge and the interior which means Johnson will most likely get another year to develop in a minimal role.
Interior Defensive Line (5)
Ed Oliver, Vernon Butler, Quinton Jefferson
Star Lotulelei, Harrison Phillips
Most of the Bills’ interior returns to their normal duties. Look for Oliver to see an uptick in the percentage of snaps. Look for Butler to slot into Jordan Phillip’s role. With Harrison Phillips coming off an ACL injury and the unexpected slip of AJ Epenesa in the draft, Jefferson will likely fill in gaps along both the edge and the interior on a situation basis.
Tremaine Edmunds, Matt Milano, AJ Klein
Vosean Joseph, Tyler Matakevich
Edmunds and Milano return to their usual roles. Joseph will most likely man the back-up weakside linebacker position, Thompson the strongside (but waiting on the practice squad). AJ Klein will be the emergency back-up middle linebacker and Matakevich will be special teams only.
Tre White, Josh Norman, Levi Wallace
White and Wallace return to man the boundary. Wallace this year will be challenged by Norman for playing time as opposed to Kevin Johnson. EJ Gaines could play a role on the boundary as well.
EJ Gaines, Taron Johnson, Siran Neal, Dean Marlowe
Gaines, Johnson, Neal, and Marlowe will all contribute in sub-package roles. Gaines/Johnson on smaller receivers and Neal/Marlowe in the “Big Nickel” role.
Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Jaquan Johnson
Hyde and Poyer return with Johnson as their primary back-up as opposed to Kurt Coleman. Marlowe is an option here as a backup as well.
Stephen Hauschka, Kaare Vedvik, Reid Ferguson
Hauschka beats out rookie Tyler Bass who will spend some time on the practice squad seasoning his form. In the meantime, Vedvik wins the punting competition because of his ability to do the kickoffs and kick long field goals. This will relieve some of the burden on Hauschka.
Practice Squad (12)
Cristian Wade (RB), Duke Williams (WR), Robert Foster (WR), Nate Backer (TE), Trey Adams (OT), Ike Boettger (IOL), Mike Love (EDGE), Vincent Taylor (DT), Tyrel Dodson (LB), Corey Thompson (LB), Dane Jackson (CB), Cam Lewis (NCB), Tyler Bass (K)