Buffalo Bills 53-Man Roster Projection

The Buffalo Bills finished the 2020 season with a 13-3 record and their first AFC East title since 1995. They have a top-tier starting roster and few spots up for grabs. Buffalo is a Super Bowl contender and their high quality roster is one of the best on paper. There is still plenty of time to add competition, but I will project the 53-man roster as things stand today.

Quarterback (3)

1. Josh Allen
2. Mitch Trubisky
3. Jake Fromm

This is the easiest position group outside of the specialists. Josh Allen is a superstar and finished with the second most MVP votes. We are on extension watch until he becomes the richest man in the NFL not named Patrick Mahomes. Trubisky busted as the #2 pick in 2017 but he has talent, experience and is one of the better backups in the league. Fromm stayed separate from the team as the Covid reserve last year and will get a chance to play this preseason. Davis Webb is more of a player-coach and can remain on the practice squad.

Running Back (4)

1. Devin Singletary
2. Zack Moss
3. Taiwan Jones
4. Matt Breida

Rumors swirled this season that this room would be addressed in the draft, but no additions came. Singletary and Moss remain as the lead duo and hopefully can both take a step this year. Taiwan Jones returns as a high-quality special teams player. Breida was the lone addition in free agency and has the homerun speed that Beane covets. Antonio Williams and Christian Wade should both stick on the practice squad.

Wide Receiver (6)

1. Stefon Diggs
2. Cole Beasley
3. Gabriel Davis
4. Emmanuel Sanders
5. Isaiah McKenzie
6. Marquez Stevenson

The top five receivers are set but the competition for the sixth spot will be exciting to watch. I think 5th round pick Marquez Stevenson and last year’s sixth round pick Isaiah Hodgins have the best shot. Stevenson has kick return ability and electric speed. He gets the opportunity to replace All-Pro Andre Roberts. Hodgins will stick on the practice squad and get his opportunity to claim a larger role.

Tight End (4)

1. Dawson Knox
2. Jacob Hollister
3. Reggie Gilliam
4. Tommy Sweeney

Tight End was also heavily discussed as many fans hoped for Zach Ertz to be leading the group. Ultimately Beane signed Jacob Hollister as his veteran addition. Dawson Knox continues to develop and could have a huge impact if he replicates his play down the stretch. Hollister is a quality number two option and will allow the Bills to use more 12 personnel to open the run game. Gilliam is more of an H-back and deserves to retain his roster spot. Sweeney missed the season dealing with medical concerns but appears to be ready to go now. Undrafted rookie Quintin Morris is worth developing on the practice squad.

Offensive Tackle (4)

1. Dion Dawkins
2. Daryl Williams
3. Spencer Brown
4. Ryan Bates

The Bills have a top tier starting duo in Dawkins and Williams, both of whom are signed through 2023. They invested a 3rd and a 5th this draft in two massive freak athletes at the position as well. Spencer Brown was one of my favorite tackles in the draft and could take Williams’ job at some point. I expect the team to value Bates’ versatility and experience enough to keep him around. Tommy Doyle can stick on the practice squad until his opportunity arises.

Interior Offensive Line (5)

1. Mitch Morse
2. Cody Ford
3. Jon Feliciano
4. Ike Boettger
5. Jamil Douglas

Mitch Morse is an above-average center and will continue to start if he stays healthy. Cody Ford finally started to show why he was drafted in the second round when he played left guard last season. He ended the season injured and hopefully will build on that progress now that he is healthy. Jon Feliciano is a locker room favorite and decent starting option. Ike Boettger flashed filling in at guard last season and can potentially play center as well. Douglas wins a crowded battle for the final spot and can be a force in jump starting the run game if his number is called. 7th round rookie Jack Anderson needs to add the versatility to play all interior spots. He belongs on the practice squad for now.

Interior Defensive Line (3)

1. Ed Oliver
2. Star Lotulelei
3. Vernon Butler

This is the weakest position group on the team by far. Ed Oliver needs to show why he was the 9th pick. If he can make the flashes consistent then the whole defense will take a step. Star Lotulelei is a solid 1-tech that helps the run defense. Vernon Butler accepted a pay cut to remain with the team and is a below average rotational piece. Harrison Phillips, Justin Zimmer and Treyvon Hester can compete to join the practice squad.

Edge (6)

1. Jerry Hughes
2. Mario Addison
3. A.J. Epenesa
4. Efe Obada
5. Greg Rousseau
6. Boogie Basham

Hughes and Addison are the established veterans at the top of the rotation. Epenesa will continue to grow into the exciting player we saw late last season. Obada was productive in Carolina and should have a role. Rousseau and Basham can both learn from the veterans while providing versatility. Both can kick inside on passing downs and will be fun pieces for the coaching staff.

Linebacker (6)

1. Matt Milano
2. Tremaine Edmunds
3. A.J. Klein
4. Andre Smith
5. Tyler Matakevich
6. Tyrell Adams

Milano signed a well-deserved extension and Edmunds had his fifth-year option picked up. They are a great duo and tied to the team for at least two more seasons. A.J. Klein tied for the team lead in sacks after finding a groove in the back half of the season. Tyler Matakevich is a high-quality special teams player with a fully guaranteed 2021 salary. Andre Smith signed a two year extension after being serviceable in his limited reps last year. Tyrell Adams collected a lot of tackles in Houston last year and has special teams value. I want Joe Giles-Harris to stick on the practice squad and eventually replace Klein.

Cornerback (5)

1. Tre’Davious White
2. Levi Wallace
3. Taron Johnson
4. Dane Jackson
5. Siran Neal

The Bills tend to keep just five corners and they could stand to bring in a veteran to push for the CB2 spot. Tre White is elite. Levi Wallace has been a quality player but has some physical limitations. Taron Johnson made two of the most pivotal plays of the season with his house calls in the Steelers and Ravens games. Dane Jackson is a player that I am high on and I hope more time in the defense will elevate his play. Neal is in the last year of his rookie deal and is a good special teams player but is a non-factor on defense. Rookies Rachad Wildgoose, Olaijah Griffin and Nick McCloud will fight for practice squad spots.

Safety (4)

1. Micah Hyde
2. Jordan Poyer
3. Jaquan Johnson
4. Damar Hamlin

Hyde and Poyer are a top five starting duo in the league. We have yet to see much of Johnson but the team likes him. Rookie 6th round pick Damar Hamlin is my favorite to replace Dean Marlowe. Undrafted rookie Tariq Thompson is exciting and should be kept on the practice squad.

Long Snapper (1)

1. Reid Ferguson

No news here. Ferguson is a consistent presence and his job should be quite safe.

Punter (1)

1. Matt Haack

Haack was brought in to replace Corey Bojorquez who took his talents to LA. Haack has nowhere near the leg that Bojo does, but he is consistent at pinning teams deep.

Kicker (1)

1. Tyler Bass

Bass had his early struggles as a rookie but has a powerful leg and finished the season red-hot. He also has an awesome kicker aesthetic.

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