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Bills roster projection: An early look at who could make the team for Week 1

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After four weeks of offseason practices, the Bills are off for the next month. It’s a time to relax, train and get everything in order before preparations for a seemingly make-or-break season begin in earnest on July 24.

That’s the day of their first training camp practice at St. John Fisher College and when the push to capitalize on their Super Bowl expectations begins. And after all the practices this offseason, we have a better idea of what to expect once camp begins.

Plenty of jobs will still be won or lost during camp and the preseason, but here’s a post-minicamp look at how the 53-man roster could shake out in 2022.

Quarterback (2)

Josh AllenCase Keenum

Cut: Matt Barkley

The Bills have carried three quarterbacks into the season only once under general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott. The only exception was the pandemic year of 2020 when they used Jake Fromm as the emergency quarterback and kept him away from the team throughout the week. That trend has a chance to continue, with the Bills bringing Barkley back immediately to the practice squad.

Running back (4)

Devin SingletaryJames CookZack MossReggie Gilliam (FB)

Cut: Taiwan JonesDuke JohnsonRaheem Blackshear

The Bills will likely give Moss a fair shake to earn a game-day role this year, but it won’t be easy. He’ll need to show he has progressed enough to warrant an active role, especially when he has no special teams experience. But it’s possible the Bills will use all three running backs on game day.

We have Jones getting cut this time, but it’s for his vested veteran flexibility. He would not be subjected to waivers and would be eligible to sign back with the team immediately. The maneuver would allow the Bills to have a 54th roster spot and keep an injured player, and it would give them the flexibility to bring him back and re-sign the veteran they just released. Jones would eventually return to the roster for special teams coverage as one of coordinator Matthew Smiley’s most trusted commodities.

Wide receiver (6)

Stefon DiggsGabriel DavisIsaiah McKenzieJamison CrowderKhalil ShakirJake Kumerow

Cut: Marquez StevensonIsaiah HodginsTavon AustinTanner GentryNeil Pau’u

This group brings us our first change from the last roster projection. Last time, we had Kumerow getting cut as a vested veteran to clear a roster spot, but with the Packers not adding any substantial veteran receivers, there would be a slight risk that Kumerow could return to Green Bay. Instead, the Bills keep Kumerow on the final roster to avoid losing his special teams ability.

The other change is Stevenson’s removal. He had some noticeable ball-security issues as a receiver during the spring workouts. Stevenson’s best chance to stick is as a return specialist, but if his hands aren’t pristine, the Bills should use the roster spot for someone else. McKenzie, Shakir and even Tavon Austin could challenge for the return job. McKenzie is the likeliest for the role if Stevenson gets cut.

Tight end (3)

Dawson KnoxO.J. HowardTommy Sweeney

Cut: Jalen WydermyerQuintin Morris

Knox and Howard are locks for the 53-man roster — and on game days. You can tell the Bills are excited about the flexibility Howard gives the offense to run different personnel groupings. Sweeney stays on for depth and locker room reasons. But he’ll likely be inactive on game days with this roster setup. Sweeney could be vulnerable if the team needs another roster spot for flexibility. He’s right on the bubble.

Offensive line (10)

Dion DawkinsRodger SaffoldMitch MorseRyan BatesSpencer BrownDavid QuessenberryCody FordTommy DoyleGreg ManczLuke Tenuta

Physically unable to perform (PUP) list: Ike Boettger
Cut: Greg Van RotenBobby HartJacob CapraDerek KerstetterTanner OwenAlec Anderson

The offensive line mostly remains the same, but this time it came down to Mancz versus Van Roten for the final roster spot. They’re both veterans with playing experience, but Mancz gets the edge because of his ability to play center. That will be a battle for much of the summer, though the Bills could bring in a veteran interior lineman released by another team.

With this group, Quessenberry would battle Doyle to be the top reserve tackle, and Ford is the best interior backup. Unlike last time, we have the Bills keeping Tenuta, a rookie and sixth-round pick, as their developmental offensive tackle. Beane knows full well that there is a big appetite around the league for young offensive linemen with potential, so if Tenuta shows something this summer, he has a legitimate chance to make the team.

Edge rusher (5)

Von MillerGreg RousseauBoogie BashamA.J. EpenesaShaq Lawson

Cut: Mike LoveKingsley JonathanDaniel Joseph

This group seems close to final without much competition behind the top five. The Bills have their star rusher in Miller and veteran depth in Lawson, then will hope Rousseau, Basham and Epenesa can take a big step forward this season. Based on how last season went, Rousseau has the best chance to get the most snaps besides Miller this season. The rest of the rotation is entirely up for grabs.

Defensive tackle (4)

Ed OliverDaQuan JonesTim SettleJordan Phillips

Cut: Eli AnkouBrandin BryantPrince EmiliC.J. Brewer

With the Bills making three new acquisitions this offseason, don’t expect many surprises here. Oliver is likely to lead the group in snaps by a wide margin. Jones, Settle and Phillips will filter in for specific situations. Ankou and Bryant have been with the Bills before, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they hang around for another year on the practice squad.

Linebacker (5)

Tremaine EdmundsMatt MilanoTerrel BernardTyrel DodsonTyler Matakevich

Suspended: Andre Smith
Cut: Baylon SpectorJoe Giles-HarrisMarquel Lee

This group changed when the NFL announced the six-game suspension for Smith, primarily a special teams player. It opened the door even more for Spector, the rookie seventh-round pick, to make the team outright. But Spector was the last pick of the Bills’ draft class and the Bills have a loaded roster at most other positions. Bernard can handle Smith’s special teams snaps during the regular season. Linebacker is not a highly coveted position in today’s NFL, making the chances strong that Spector will clear waivers for the Bills to get him on the practice squad.

Cornerback (7)

Tre’Davious WhiteKaiir ElamTaron JohnsonDane JacksonSiran NealChristian BenfordNick McCloud

Cut: Cam LewisChristian BenfordOlaijah GriffinTim HarrisTravon FullerJa’Marcus Ingram

The top five are a lock, and White is included for the Bills to put him on injured reserve for the first four weeks at least. After completing that transaction, the team can re-sign running back Taiwan Jones. Behind the top five, the Bills have some intriguing developmental players. Benford, a sixth-round pick this year, has some long-term potential as a special teams asset. It remains to be seen where he fits best, whether at cornerback or safety. McCloud is an interesting player who stood out during offseason workouts. He gave the Bills reps at cornerback and safety. The Bengals claimed McCloud off waivers last year as a rookie, and he has continued to improve. The Bills might not want to subject him to waivers again.

Safety (4)

Micah HydeJordan PoyerDamar HamlinJaquan Johnson

Cut: Josh Thomas

Hyde and Poyer showed up to minicamp and participated in team drills, answering one of the most important questions going in. It’s still unclear how Poyer and the Bills will handle his contract status, but showing up and participating was a great sign that he’ll play this season. Hamlin and Johnson look poised to contribute heavily on special teams. The Bills will also look hard at both backups, Hamlin especially, to see if they can be future starters when the team eventually moves on from Poyer and Hyde.

Specialists (3)

Tyler Bass (K), Matt Araiza (P), Reid Ferguson (LS)

Cut: Matt Haack

The media has yet to see Araiza hold on field goal attempts, other than some practice snaps, but the Bills don’t sound worried about the rookie punter with that part of the job. If he punts like they think he can and wins the job or merely ties Haack in the competition, the rookie should be the punter in 2022.

“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes.

A high-powered mutant of some kind, never even considered for mass production.

Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”


Twitter: @HKTheResistance


HipKat, on *** other h***, is genuine, unapoli***tically nasty, and w**** his hea** on his ******. jc856

I’ll just forward them to Bridgett. comssvet11

Seek help. soflabillsfan

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