Why I’m Disappointed
The Buffalo Bills are not Super Bowl contenders. They are not “all in”. They are still a few years removed from that. That is why I would have preferred the likes of Wyatt Teller making the roster over Spencer Long despite the lack of position flex. He is a guy who can start down the line and was definitely talented enough to deserve one of those “weekly inactive” roster spots as he continued to develop.
It was clear listening to Brandon Beane speak during the 3rd quarter of the game from the booth last night that he was not as high on Wyatt Teller as the fanbase and the analytics community. Before backtracking, he mentioned that Teller “wasn’t developing” at the rate they wanted. To me, this screams it was Teller vs. Spain for a roster spot from day one. Teller’s lack of versatility had no place on the Bills’ bench, and this was quite a haul for the 5th round pick from a year ago. Beane can use these picks as ammunition to move up or to draft depth guys who can fill valuable positions when key starters start garnering higher salaries.
Now onto the 53 man roster projections:
QB: Josh Allen, Matt Barkley (2)
This is pretty cut and dry. Allen showed a great amount of progress this off-season, and Matt Barkley has been arguably the best quarterback in the league this preseason. The depth chart is night and day improved from last season’s opener.
RB: LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, Devin Singletary, TJ Yeldon (4)
Despite many fans wanting to see McCoy exit, he won’t. It appears Yeldon has won the coaching staff over during the last few weeks. He did not dress for the last preseason game, and Beane even referenced him unprompted when speaking to Andrew Catalan and Steve Tasker during the broadcast. Reminded me of how he did the same a few years back with Taiwan Jones.
FB: Patrick DiMarco (1)
Brian Daboll is a 12 personnel man at heart, and the Bills will be running plenty of it in 2019. For that reason, the fullback stays. DiMarco is a pillar of the locker room, a team captain, and special teamer.
WR: John Brown, Cole Beasley, Zay Jones, Andre Roberts, Robert Foster, Duke Williams (6)
Unless 3/4ths of the Bills Mafia get what they want, a Zay Jones trade, Isaiah McKenzie is the odd man out. McDermott loves Jones as a blocker and his ability to play every position, so he is unlikely to be dealt. Williams gets the nod over McKenzie because of his ability to block in the run game and give the Bills a red zone target. Williams will be a guy Heath Farewell will work closely with all year to add special teams ability to his repertoire.
TE: Tyler Kroft, Dawson Knox, Lee Smith, Tommy Sweeney (4)
Brandon Beane suggested during the broadcast that Tyler Kroft will more than likely begin the season on the 53-man roster, not the PUP list. This all but killed the chance of a 7th wide receiver, but the tight end does not appear to be a focal point of this Bills offense. Still, with Kroft healthy, the other three will likely platoon at the position until Kroft is ready to take over starting duties.
OT: Dion Dawkins, Ty Nsekhe, Ryan Bates (3)
I have listed Ryan Bates as a tackle here, but he is more than likely the fourth tackle on the roster and a long term interior offensive line prospect. Out of necessity, Cody Ford will be the swing tackle, kicking outside if there is an injury to Dawkins or Nsekhe.
IOL: Mitch Morse, Quinton Spain, Cody Ford, Jon Feliciano, Spencer Long, Ike Boettger (6)
Mitch Morse is a long term injury concern. Quinton Spain is dealing with an ankle injury. Cody Ford could have to move over to tackle at any second. For that reason, it is reasonable to understand why the Bills’ brass is so concerned with position flexibility along the offensive line. Feliciano, Long, Boettger, and Bates all have Guard/Center flex. Bates, as previously mentioned, also can kick outside to tackle.
DE: Jerry Hughes, Trent Murphy, Shaq Lawson, Daryl Johnson (4)
I was tempted to see if there was a way to keep Eddie Yarbrough. Mike Love was a lock for a fifth defensive end slot, and keeping five defensive ends is something McDermott did often in Carolina. However, the need to keep more at other positions was too great. Yarbrough’s days have been numbered since the middle of last season.
DT: Ed Oliver, Star Lotuleilei, Jordan Phillips, Harrison Phillips (4)
No shock here. Oliver and Jordan Phillips will have at the three technique while Star and Harrison Phillips will man the five technique. Oliver should become a much more active player when the Bills start scheming.
OLB: Lorenzo Alexander, Matt Milano, Corey Thompson, Maurice Alexander, Vosean Joseph (5)
ILB: Tremaine Edmunds, Julian Stanford (2)
Vosean Joseph was my last man on the roster; I was tempted to cut him. However, his draft position keeps him on the roster. In keeping Yeldon as the fourth running back, Maurice Alexander was a necessity due to his special teams ability. Stanford survives final cutdowns, but I believe the Bills will constantly be looking to upgrade the backup MLB position. Dodson will be developed on the practice squad for that role.
CB: Tre White, Levi Wallace, Taron Johnson, Kevin Johnson, Captain Munnerlyn (5)
S: Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Kurt Coleman, Jaquan Johnson (4)
The Biggest cut here is Siran Neal. The former fifth-rounder was playing late into the game last night. It is likely the Bills could sneak him onto the practice squad. McDermott goes with veterans Coleman and Munnerlyn over Marlowe and Pitts.
SPT: Steven Hauschka, Ryan Allen, Reid Ferguson (3)
Calling my shot. Bye Bye Bojorquez.
Players Who We Will See On Sundays Elsewhere…
Marcus Murphy (RB), Senorice Perry (RB), Isaiah McKenzie (WR), Eddie Yarbrough (DE), Deon Lacey (LB), Dean Marlowe (S)
Tyree Jackson – QB
Christian Wade – RB (Exemption)
Ray-Ray McCloud – WR
Nick Easley – WR
Jason Croom – TE
Free Agent OT
Free Agent DL
Free Agent DL
Tyrell Dodson – LB
Free Agent CB
Siran Neal – S/CB