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Gunner's roster thread 2022


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I used to do this thread each year but haven't done one for a couple of years. In a quiet moment yesterday afternoon I sat down with the roster and tried to work out where I think the decision points will come. So I thought I'd revive this thread as a way of helping crystalise my thoughts. 

 

Firstly, this is not a roster prediction, people will start putting together 53s at this stage but my view is always that those last handful of spots are really difficult to correctly forecast until camp and pre-season arrive. This is more about starting to focus in on where the position battles are and where the position v position decisions will come. 

 

Key - see colour codes below.... these are important, because red does not mean cut and blue does not mean on the bubble. 

 

BLACK - Guaranteed roster spot (excluding major injury or suspension)

BLUE - Probable roster spot

RED - Fighting for those last few spots

 

 

Quarterback

Josh Allen

Case Keenum

Matt Barkley

 

Running back

Devin Singletary

James Cook

Reggie Gilliam FB

Zack Moss

Taiwan Jones

Duke Johnson

Raheem Blackshear

 

Wide receiver

Stefon Diggs

Gabriel Davis

Khalil Shakir

Jamison Crowder

Isaiah McKenzie

Jake Kumerow

Marquez Stevenson

Tanner Gentry

Isaiah Hodgins

Neil Pau'u

Malik Williams

 

Tight End

Dawson Knox

O. J. Howard

Quintin Morris

Tommy Sweeney

Jalen Wydermyer

 

Offensive Line

Dion Dawkins 

Spencer Brown 

Rodger Saffold 

Mitch Morse

Ryan Bates

Ike Boettger 

Tommy Doyle 

David Quessenberry 

Cody Ford 

Greg Mancz 

Bobby Hart 

Luke Tenuta 

Will Ulmer

Derek Kerstetter

Jacob Capra 

Alec Anderson

Tanner Owen 

 

Defensive Line

Ed Oliver 

Von Miller 

Gregory Rousseau

DaQuan Jones 

Carlos Basham Jr. 

Tim Settle

Jordan Phillips 

A. J. Epenesa

Shaq Lawson 

Mike Love 

Eli Ankou

Kingsley Jonathan 

Brandin Bryant 

 

Linebacker

Tremaine Edmunds

Matt Milano 

Terrel Bernard

Tyler Matakevich 

Tyrel Dodson

Andre Smith 

Baylon Spector 

Joe Giles-Harris

Marquel Lee

 

Cornerback

Tre'Davious White

Kaiir Elam

Taron Johnson

Dane Jackson

Siran Neal 

Christian Benford

Cam Lewis

Travon Fuller

Olaijah Griffin

Tim Harris

Nick McCloud

 

Safety

Jordan Poyer

Micah Hyde

Jaquan Johnson

Damar Hamlin

Josh Thomas

 

Special Teams

Tyler Bass

Reid Ferguson

Matt Araiza

Matt Haack

 

 

I make that 33 locks and 9 likelys leaving 11 spots for the rest to fight over. Obviously one of those is the winner of the punter battle - which I fully expect to be Araiza, but while the Bills are saying it is a camp battle they both have to be in red. That takes you down to 10 spots. At least 1 more linebacker, at least 1 more offensive lineman, at least 1 more safety and at least 1 more WR/RB.... that takes you down to 6 and then it becomes a question about which spots they want to prioritise having extra depth and special teams. I expect one of Kumerow and Taiwan Jones to make it as a starting gunner but unless Kumerow is legit the 6th best receiver (and maybe he will be) then I wouldn't expect both of them. I expect another corner to make it and Benford as the recent draft pick would seem to have the inside track and then I expect another tight end.... but I am not totally persuaded that guy has to come from the current roster. Could be an area where a vet shakes loose and the Bills scoop him up. 

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7 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

In a quiet moment yesterday afternoon I sat down with the roster...

After this I read the rest of your post in the voice of Mr. Rogers.

 

Agree with everything except Matt Araiza is blue.

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1 minute ago, LeGOATski said:

After this I read the rest of your post in the voice of Mr. Rogers.

 

Agree with everything except Matt Araiza is blue.

 

I think that is by far the most likely outcome, sure. But the team is doing its usual "they are in a competition" and "slow your roll" so for now I'm reflecting that. 

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Good stuff Gunner!! It looks pretty close to accurate. There are only a couple of places that I differ:

- I’d move Howard to blue. He likely makes the team but has had injury issues & been a disappointment. I loved that guy coming out but wouldn’t be shocked if he was cut. He would have to be a nightmare because almost all of his money is guaranteed. I’m just saying if he is totally outplayed by someone like Wydermyer (for example) I could see them eating the $3M. Unlikely but not impossible IMO

- I’d move all 3 OL in blue to red. I’m just not sure that the Bills have a sense how the depth will shake out at this point.
- I’d flip flop Dodson and Matakevich. Dodson played well last year & Matakevich COULD be used to free up some cash if they get a camp injury. 
- Ariaza to blue (or even black). He isn’t battling with Haack. He is here to replace him. If he’s an absolute nightmare as a holder I think that it’s possible they buck the trend & have someone other than the punter hold (Kumerow maybe). Haack was terrible & Beane commented as much last year. He drafted one of the most talented punters ever. I don’t think hangtime is his major concern. He wanted Araiza to dig them out when the offense sputters in their own end. 
 

My $.02 and a great job overall.

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2 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

 

I think that is by far the most likely outcome, sure. But the team is doing its usual "they are in a competition" and "slow your roll" so for now I'm reflecting that. 

Yeah, that's what McD does with certain rookies. But do you agree that it's Araiza's job to lose, figuratively speaking?

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8 minutes ago, Kirby Jackson said:

Good stuff Gunner!! It looks pretty close to accurate. There are only a couple of places that I differ:

- I’d move Howard to blue. He likely makes the team but has had injury issues & been a disappointment. I loved that guy coming out but wouldn’t be shocked if he was cut. He would have to be a nightmare because almost all of his money is guaranteed. I’m just saying if he is totally outplayed by someone like Wydermyer (for example) I could see them eating the $3M. Unlikely but not impossible IMO

- I’d move all 3 OL in blue to red. I’m just not sure that the Bills have a sense how the depth will shake out at this point.
- I’d flip flop Dodson and Matakevich. Dodson played well last year & Matakevich COULD be used to free up some cash if they get a camp injury. 
- Ariaza to blue (or even black). He isn’t battling with Haack. He is here to replace him. If he’s an absolute nightmare as a holder I think that it’s possible they buck the trend & have someone other than the punter hold (Kumerow maybe). Haack was terrible & Beane commented as much last year. He drafted one of the most talented punters ever. I don’t think hangtime is his major concern. He wanted Araiza to dig them out when the offense sputters in their own end. 
 

My $.02 and a great job overall.

Cutting Andre Smith and the others will save just as much, wouldn't it? I think Matakevich is definitely blue for special teams play and decent depth.

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6 minutes ago, Kirby Jackson said:

Good stuff Gunner!! It looks pretty close to accurate. There are only a couple of places that I differ:

- I’d move Howard to blue. He likely makes the team but has had injury issues & been a disappointment. I loved that guy coming out but wouldn’t be shocked if he was cut. He would have to be a nightmare because almost all of his money is guaranteed. I’m just saying if he is totally outplayed by someone like Wydermyer (for example) I could see them eating the $3M. Unlikely but not impossible IMO

- I’d move all 3 OL in blue to red. I’m just not sure that the Bills have a sense how the depth will shake out at this point.
- I’d flip flop Dodson and Matakevich. Dodson played well last year & Matakevich COULD be used to free up some cash if they get a camp injury. 
- Ariaza to blue (or even black). He isn’t battling with Haack. He is here to replace him. If he’s an absolute nightmare as a holder I think that it’s possible they buck the trend & have someone other than the punter hold (Kumerow maybe). Haack was terrible & Beane commented as much last year. He drafted one of the most talented punters ever. I don’t think hangtime is his major concern. He wanted Araiza to dig them out when the offense sputters in their own end. 
 

My $.02 and a great job overall.

 

The only one of those I strongly disagree with is Matakevich and Dodson. I do think Matakevich is by far the most likely of the backup linebackers to make the roster. All the others are options I considered when I put it together. 

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Great 👍 job to get the roster conversation started. Pretty accurate. Everyone’s opinion will slightly differ on who makes the 53. Like the punt God will win job but can’t pencil in yet. Kinda thing. 😳

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2 minutes ago, LeGOATski said:

Right. Haack is the only one really fighting for a spot. He can't keep the job by simply doing what he does.

 

No but Beane has said that he thinks last year was just a down year. If Haack punts well in camp and pre-season and Araiza struggles with his holds I don't think it is beyond the realm of possibility that Araiza loses the job. I doubt they take chances with Tyler Bass. But I do think it is his to lose, if that makes sense. 

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Good breakdown, the only thing I would change is at safety. I think Hamlin is the one probable to make the team and Johnson will be fighting for a spot. I believe Hamlin will be starting if not next year for Poyer, then it would be the following year for Hyde.

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8 minutes ago, Udubalum07 said:

Good breakdown, the only thing I would change is at safety. I think Hamlin is the one probable to make the team and Johnson will be fighting for a spot. I believe Hamlin will be starting if not next year for Poyer, then it would be the following year for Hyde.

 

When Poyer missed a game last year Johnson started (played very well, had a pick, albeit against soft opposition in Houston) AND he is their personal protector on punt teams. Think it is highly unlikely with a new punter that they are willing to move on from Johnson this year. 

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The evolution of the roster depends partly on the Bills moving away from higher paid special team players. I think we see this happening more this season where later round picks are coached up to become the next Matakevich and T. Jones on rookie team friendly deals. The team has organizationally cultivated leaders at value positions now. 

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24 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

 

When Poyer missed a game last year Johnson started (played very well, had a pick, albeit against soft opposition in Houston) AND he is their personal protector on punt teams. Think it is highly unlikely with a new punter that they are willing to move on from Johnson this year. 

Not sure if your reds are listed in any particular order but what do you know about Kerstetter?  I think he was a legit prospect heading into college and Texas was a mess.

 

I understand what you did with punter and it makes sense. I’m rooting for the rookie because I’ve seen enough of Haack but holding isn’t the only issue for Araiza.  I’d also have Moss in blue.

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1 hour ago, GunnerBill said:

BLACK - Guaranteed roster spot (excluding major injury or suspension)

BLUE - Probable roster spot

RED - Fighting for those last few spots

 

I mostly agree but would make following changes:

 

Crowder is black. I see no scenario in which he is cut with no savings at all. I'd also add McKenzie. You think that it is realistic that Hodgins and Stevenson both make team instead of him? Or that Kumerow + Hodgins/Stevenson make the team and we only keep 6 WRs? I think that it is extremely unlikely.

 

Lawson should be blue. Last year we kept 6 DEs. This year he is 5th DE. I agree that he is not a lock, but he is definitely "probable".

 

Hamlin also has to be blue. His only competition is Thomas (ok, maybe Benford) and he is not fighting for a spot; it is his spot to lose. Hence "probable" imo.

 

As others said Araiza is also blue if not black. @Kirby Jackson said it best. I read all your responses from this thread regarding Araiza and I think he should be at least blue by your own words :) 

 

56 minutes ago, LeGOATski said:

Cutting Andre Smith and the others will save just as much, wouldn't it? I think Matakevich is definitely blue for special teams play and decent depth.

 

Cutting Matakevich saves almost §1,4M MORE than cutting Smith. Matakevich and Ford are actually only players who could be realistically cut and save some decent money. I'd love to cut him cap wise. But I doubt they will do it (and I obviously want them to keep him if it is necessary for ST play).

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