Written by Bobby Greco
In a year with such uncertainties for the entire league, the Buffalo Bills are counting on a big advantage to help take them far and that advantage is continuity. Out of the 25 offensive, defensive, and special teams starters, the Bills are getting back 22 of them. On top of that, they added one of the top WRs in the league, in Stefon Diggs and defensively built up the D-Line and added other veteran contributors like Josh Norman. Buffalo also has a solid foundation of leadership, having generally the same coaching staff and GM Brandon Beane. Buffalo had a good draft too and will have some exciting rookies to watch. With all this being said, it’s time to take a look at who I think will make the final roster.
Note, DT Star Lotulelei has opted out of the season.
Quarterbacks: (3) Josh Allen, Matt Barkley, Jake Fromm.
For the first time since Jim Kelly, the Buffalo Bills are finally stable at the QB position. Depending on how camp goes, the backup job could switch hands and go to Fromm. If this happens, Matt Barkley may not make the cut. There is also a chance Fromm ends up on the practice squad, but for now, we will stick to the team keeping all three.
Running Backs: (3) Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, Christian Wade.
Singletary and Moss are locked to make the team after that is where it gets interesting. I’m going with a surprise choice of Christian Wade, the English rugby player who really impressed last training camp. The other good thing about Wade is that he will count against the final roster number, as he came from the NFL International Player Transition Pool. However, if Wade doesn’t improve from where he was last season, his spot will likely go to TJ Yeldon.
Fullback: (1) Pat Dimarco.
Buffalo will carry a fullback and to be honest, it’s important they do. I personally feel the most successful teams in the league, all use fullbacks still.
Wide Receivers: (6) Stefon Diggs, John Brown, Cole Beasley, Isaiah McKenzie, Gabriel Davis, Isaiah Hodgins.
For the first time in years, the Buffalo Bills have one of the most dangerous receiving corps in the NFL. The additions of Brown and Beasley made big improvements for the Bills offense last season and now after a blockbuster trade, Buffalo has added Pro-Bowl WR Stefon Diggs. The Bills then drafted two big body, productive receivers in Davis and Hodgins. Isaiah McKenzie will make the team as more of a return specialist and offensive weapon. Robert Foster may also make some appearances this season, but I think he will probably start out as a practice squad player.
Tight Ends: (3) Dawson Knox, Tyler Kroft, Lee Smith.
Tight End is Buffalo's weakest offensive position. Knox had a good rookie season and is looking to build upon it this year. After that, however, there are question marks. The team still needs to see something out of Kroft after giving him a good contract last year and then having him miss most of the season. I’m not sure about the status of Tommy Sweeny, my 3rd TE goes to Lee Smith. Smith is a good blocking TE but won’t give you much in the pass game.
Offensive Tackles: (4) Dion Dawkins, Cody Ford, Ty Nsekhe, Daryl Williams.
Guards/Centers: (5) Quinton Spain, Mitch Morse, Spencer Long, Evan Boehm, Jon Feliciano/Ike Boettger
Buffalo is returning all five starting linemen from last season and that gives them a bit of an advantage since, well 2020… Led by team captain Dion Dawkins who is a rock on and off the field, I really feel gives Buffalo a leg up on the rest of the league. They also have a lot of utility in their O-Line, because multiple players can play every position across the line(Williams G/T, Long G/C Nsekhe RT/LT). Unfortunately, Jon Feliciano will miss several weeks, due to a torn pectoral muscle. Boettger will start the year on the roster, but Feliciano will reclaim his spot once healthy.
Defensive Tackles: (4) Harrison Phillips, Ed Oliver, Vernon Butler, Quinton Jefferson.
Defensive Ends: (4) Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, AJ Epenesa, Trent Murphy.
Buffalo has a talented and deep D-Line, even after Star opted out of the season. Though Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips left, the Bills built a more well-rounded line and added even more talent in Addison, Butler, and Jefferson. If the young players on this D-Line take that next step, Buffalo is going to be a nightmare for opposing QBs.
Linebacker: (5) Tremaine Edmunds, Matt Milano, AJ Klein, Vosean Joseph, Tyler Matakevich.
Buffalo’s linebackers are the most underrated position on the team. Edmunds is a star in the making and one of the most underrated players in the league. Milano was a gem of a draft pick and an overall good linebacker. Klein is going to bring a veteran presence to the LBs and Matakevich is a special teams ace. Joseph is entering his 2nd season, but I really like what I saw from him last year.
Cornerbacks: (6) Tre'Davious White, Levi Wallace, Josh Norman, Taron Johnson, EJ Gaines, Dane Jackson.
Cornerback was already a strong point for the Bills, so adding Josh Norman and rookie Dane Jackson only makes them better. Norman was at his best when he was in Sean McDermott’s defense, so if he can get back to that form, watch out. Tre White had an equally great season as Defensive POY Stefon Gilmore but didn’t get nearly the same recognition and I think that put a little chip on his shoulder. I’m eager to see what this position can do this year.
Safeties: (5) Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Dean Marlowe, Siran Neal, Jaquan Johnson.
Sure I’m going to let my bias here, but Hyde and Poyer are the best safety tandem in the NFL period. Behind them are two young players, with a ton of potential in Neal and Johnson. Dean Marlowe brings another stable body in the secondary, as well as being a special teams leader. After looking at this secondary and defense as a whole, it’s not hard to see why the Bills are a top-three defense.
Specialists: (4) K Stephen Hauschka, K Tyler Bass, P Corey Bojorquez?, LS Reid Ferguson.
You might be surprised to see two kickers, but Buffalo spent a draft pick on Tyler Bass and the kid has a whole lot of upside and a powerful leg. Hauschka struggled from deep last season but is way too consistent to kick to the curb. Now I know you’re wondering, why the question mark next to Bojorquez? Well, he was very inconsistent and didn’t drive the ball nearly far enough, so I will not be surprised to see a new punter by the start of the season. Ferguson has been a steady force on the Buffalo special teams and I don’t expect anything different this year.
No matter how you look at it Buffalo is poised for a big year and for the first time this century, is the AFC East favorite heading into the season.