Minicamp is over and training camp is still over one month away. During this downtime, it’s a good point to once again project Buffalo’s 53-man roster. Our current and previous projections will both be shown in the article. Here's a look at the roster Buffalo Football Report would field for the Buffalo Bills.
Taylor looked great at minicamp and is the clear starter. Manuel wasn’t very good, but his guaranteed salary probably keeps him locked in as the team’s backup. If something were to happen to Taylor, this would be awful news for Buffalo. Jones had some good plays at minicamp, but will certainly need some time to develop in the NFL.
Right now, Buffalo doesn’t have the greatest immediate options behind Taylor. Looking at a veteran closer to the start of the season to backup Taylor should at least be discussed by the Bills.
The first time I made this list, it wasn’t hard to leave James Wilder off the list. It’s more difficult this time around as he’s done well with his opportunities. That said, it’s hard to imagine Buffalo parting ways with any of the other running backs above. McCoy is a lock to start and despite his weight issue, Karlos Williams should be McCoy’s backup throughout the year.
The other Williams, Jonathan, took first team snaps throughout minicamp and looked impressive by most accounts. He could fly up the depth chart by the end of the year. If Wilder were to beat out any running back, it’d have to be Gillislee.
Fullback (1): Glenn Gronkowski
There really wasn’t much news surrounding Buffalo’s fullbacks. If everything is equal, or close to equal, close to September, Buffalo will keep Gronkowski over Jerome Felton. It’d save money and Gronkowski would give Buffalo another option in the passing game.
Previous: Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Greg Salas, Leonard Hankerson, Kolby Listenbee, Jarrett Boykin
Our first change from the previous list! Dezmin Lewis has received plenty of praise during minicamp and BuffaloBills.com has gone as far as to say that he has the “inside track” at Buffalo’s No. 3 WR job. He’s in and Boykin is out.
Previous: Charles Clay and Jim Dray
Annen is competing against Chris Gragg and Nick O’Leary for one spot. Right now it seems like a coin toss between Annen and Gragg with O’Leary being a long-shot.
Previous: Cordy Glenn, Jordan Mills, Seantrel Henderson, Cyrus Kouandjio
I have no idea how Lucas, Chris Martin, or Justin Renfrow have looked this offseason, but it’s time to part ways with Kouandjio. He was being dominated by I.K. Enemkpali at minicamp and it’s time to end the experiment. There are some talented options on the market (Louis Vasquez) and some other talented vets could be released closer to the start of the season. This is definitely something the team should explore if no one steps up as a fourth tackle option.
No changes here and nothing to really discuss.
Velasco can also play guard. His versatility will benefit Buffalo.
OFFENSIVE TOTAL: 26
Previous: Jerry Hughes, Shaq Lawson, Manny Lawson, Eric Striker, Lorenzo Alexander
Striker is playing at inside linebacker, so he’s been moved to that position on this new list. Buffalo will need Manny Lawson and Enemkpali to play well while Shaq Lawson recovers from shoulder surgery.
Previous: Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Corbin Bryant, Adolphus Washington, T.J. Barnes
Jerel Worthy has made an impact this offseason and wins a job over Barnes, a player the Bills tested at offensive tackle.
Previous: Preston Brown, Reggie Ragland, Zach Brown, Kevin Reddick
Striker, an UDFA, makes the 53-man roster for his ability to rush the passer and his special teams play.
Previous: Stephon Gilmore, Ronald Darby, Nickell Robey, Mario Butler, Sterling Moore, Corey White, Kevon Seymour
Seymour hung on in my initial projection, but his spot is much safer this time around. He was playing with the first team during minicamp and has impressed the coaching staff and media. Buffalo seems to have found a gem. White wins the final job over Mario Butler for his ability to play at cornerback and safety.
Previous: Aaron Williams, Corey Graham, Robert Blanton, Jonathan Meeks
White’s ability to play safety, in addition to cornerback, allows Buffalo to keep Anderson as their fourth safety. He wins the job over Meeks and Duke Williams due to his strong special teams play.
DEFENSIVE TOTAL: 24
Kicker (1): Dan Carpenter
Punter (1): Colton Schmidt
Long-snapper (1): Garrison Sanborn
No changes on special teams at this time.