2017 was a historic season for the Buffalo Bills. After an 18-year playoff drought, Buffalo finally competed in January football. While they ultimately lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars, things looked to be a step in the right direction. They drafted Josh Allen 10th overall to replace Tyrod Taylor to be the QB of the future.

However, they took a slight step back. Buffalo finished with a 6-10 due to numerous players from the previous year were no longer on the roster.

To give Allen some weapons, Buffalo brought in John Brown, Cole Beasley, and Frank Gore to name a few via free agency while drafting Cody Ford to boost the offensive line.

On the defensive side, the team drafted Houston’s Ed Oliver, who at one point was considered to be a top selection.

Here are the position breakdowns for Buffalo, along with my projected starters, backups, and preseason cuts.

Quarterbacks

Credit: Jeffery T. Barnes/AP Photo
  • Starter: Josh Allen
  • Backups: Matt Barkley
  • Preseason Cuts: Tyree Jackson

Allen had his moments but at times struggled, which is understandable, given his then-rookie status. He is a mobile QB and has a cannon of an arm, so I think he will improve greatly in season two. Barkley came in for one game last season, where he lead Buffalo to a 41-10 win throwing for 232 yards and two touchdowns. He’ll likely stay put as the veteran backup to mentor Allen.

Jackson is an interesting prospect here. The hometown guy is a 6’7″ QB that will get some looks in the preseason but maybe on the outside looking in. He could be a practice squad candidate but would Buffalo want to keep a 21-year-old QB on the roster when their starter is 23?

Running Backs

Credit: Brett Carlson/Getty Images
  • Starters: LeSean McCoy (RB), Patrick DiMarco (FB)
  • Backups: Frank Gore, Devin Singletary, T.J. Yeldon, Marcus Murphy
  • Preseason Cuts: Senorise Perry, Christian Wade

I was on the fence about McCoy making the roster. Buffalo could save $7 million if they decide to cut him in the preseason but I think he makes the roster for the time being. Buffalo is one of the few teams to consistently use the fullback position and DiMarco is the only FB on the roster.

Buffalo has a lot of solid RB’s on the roster. Veteran Gore joined the team in the offseason and at 36, he can still get it done on the ground. Singletary was drafted in the 3rd round and will get plenty of chances in the offense. Yeldon and Murphy will provide depth but will likely see Murphy in the kick return role. Overall, I see Buffalo using a lot of RB’s in the offense.

Wide Receivers

Credit: James P. McCoy/Buffalo News
  • Starters: Cole Beasley, John Brown
  • Backups: Robert Foster, Zay Jones, Andre Roberts
  • Preseason Cuts: Victor Bolden Jr., Nick Easley, Ray-Ray McCloud III, Isaiah McKenzie, Camp Phillips, David Stills, Duke Williams

Buffalo signed three WR’s this offseason (Beasley, Brown, Roberts). Beasley and Brown look to be the starters while Roberts will get is chances but will mainly provide star power in the kick return game. Undrafted Free Agent Foster impressed last season with 541 yards and three touchdowns. He’ll look to have a bigger role this season. Jones is the biggest question here. He needs to impress in year three after struggled his first two seasons in the league.

Tight Ends

Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports
  • Starter: Tyler Kroft
  • Backups: Dawson Knox, Lee Smith, Tommy Sweeney 
  • Preseason Cuts: Nate Becker, Kyle Carter, Jason Croom, Keith Towbridge

The tight end group is completely different than last season. Kroft looks to be the starter for now after a four-year stint with the Cincinnati Bengals. Smith is considered one of the best blocking tight ends so that should help in Buffalo’s run game. Knox and Sweeney were drafted in the 3rd and 7th rounds respectively. Knox, in particular, will look to get a lot of looks in the offense as a solid pass catcher that can create mismatches.

Offensive Line

Credit: Getty Images
  • Starters: Dion Dawkins, Quinton Spain, Mitch Morse, Spencer Long, Cody Ford
  • Backups: Ty Nsekhe, Jon Feliciano, Russell Bodine, Wyatt Teller
  • Preseason Cuts: Ike Boettger, Vladimir Ducasse, Garrett McGhin, Conor McDermott, LaAdrian Waddle, De’Ondre Wesley, Jeremiah Sirles

Much like the tight ends, Buffalo completely revamped the offensive line outside of Dawkins and Teller. Dawkins will start at left tackle while Spain, Morse, and Long will start at right guard, center, and left guard respectively. 2nd round pick Ford will likely round out the starters in a solid starting lineup to protect the young Allen.

I have Nsekhe, Feliciano, Bodine, and Teller making the roster to provide depth as well as playing multiple positions on the line.

Defensive Line

Credit: Getty Images
  • Starters: Jerry Hughes, Ed Oliver, Harrison Phillips, Trent Murphy
  • Backups: Star Lotuleli, Shaq Lawson, Jordan Phillips, Eddie Yarbrough
  • Preseason Cuts: Eli Harold, Darryl Johnson, Mike Love, Kyle Peko, Robert Thomas, L.T. Wilson

Buffalo has switched to a 4-3 defense under coach Sean McDermott. Veterans Hughes and Murphy will start at the defensive end spots. Buffalo’s top selection Oliver and second-year player Phillips forms a young defensive tackle combination that could be a nightmare for years to come.

Lotulelei and Jordan Phillips will provide depth and get plenty of looks in the rotation. Lawson is an interesting player to look at. He was a first-round selection three years ago but has yet to live up to the hype. He’ll need to impress in the preseason to make the roster.

Linebackers

Credit: Adrian Kraus/AP
  • Starters: Matt Milano, Tremaine Edmunds, Lorenzo Alexander
  • Backups: Julian Stanford, Tyrel Dodson, Vosean Joseph
  • Preseason Cuts: Deon Lacey, Corey Thompson

Edmunds is a young linebacker that has the potential to be a star in Buffalo’s defense. Milano and Alexander are solid outside linebackers, especially with Alexander getting up there in age (36).

Stanford is a solid backup while rookies Joseph and Dodson will get time on Special Teams. Both rookies have the chance to be full-time starters at the end of the year.

Cornerbacks

Credit: Rich Barnes/USA Today Sports
  • Starters: Tre’Davious White, E.J. Gaines
  • Backups: Kevin Johnson, Taron Johnson, Lafayette Lewis
  • Preseason Cuts: Cam Lewis, Ryan Lewis, Denzel Rice, Levi Wallace

White, I believe, has the potential to be one of the best young corners in the NFL. I have Gaines starting over Kevin Johnson but they are interchangeable at either the starting corner of nickel back position.

Safties

Credit: Getty Images
  • Starters: Jordan Poyer, Micah Hyde
  • Backups: Kurt Coleman, Maurice Alexander, Jaquan Johnson
  • Preseason Cuts: Dean Marlowe, Siran Neal, Abraham Wallace

I think Poyer and Hyde don’t get the credit they deserve. They are one of the more underrated safety duos in the league. Coleman and Alexander are veterans that will provide solid depth. Johnson, a sixth-round pick, will likely be a key member in the Special Teams department.

Specialists

Credit: Rich Barnes/USA Today Sports
  • Kicker: Stephen Hauschka
  • Punter: Corey Bojorquez
  • Long Snapper: Reid Ferguson
  • Preseason Cuts: Chas McLaughlin, Corey Carter

Another team, another group of specialist that seems obvious. Hauschka is one of the more consistent kickers in the NFL, while Ferguson is a solid snapper. Bojorquez is a solid young punter who finished the 2018 season with the Bills but could be in a battle with Carter for the job.

I believe the Buffalo Bills will be a better team that what people think. Allen will take a huge step forward. The offensive weapons of McCoy, Gore, Brown, Foster, and Beasley will only make him better. The revamped offensive line is a huge improvement from last season.

Guys like Edmunds, Oliver, White, Hyde, and Poyer is a nice core on the defensive side of the ball.

Overall, the AFC East is still the New England Patriots division but the Bills can make some noise for the Wild Card spot. The future is bright in Buffalo.

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