With free agency and the draft completed and OTA’s and minicamps scheduled for the next month and a half, here’s a closer look at the depth chart for the Buffalo Bills:
Note: Starters in bold.
General manager Brandon Beane told WGR 550 last week that Allen will begin as the Bills' third quarterback behind McCarron and Peterman. Beane noted that they are far ahead of Allen in their development and knowledge of the offense.
The Bills did not draft a running back, which was a win for the three veteran reserves: Ivory, Cadet and Jones. There is a chance all four will make the 53-man roster, with Jones serving primarily as a special-teams player.
There is not much question about the starters here, but who serves as the Nos. 3 and 4 receivers is completely up in the air. The Bills have watched film of Dez Bryant but no signing is imminent; expect the Bills to continue to explore free-agent options.
This group is entirely unchanged from last season. It would help Buffalo if they got more overall production from Clay and O'Leary.
Dawkins started more games (11) last season as a rookie than Cordy Glenn (5), who was traded this offseason. The Bills are hoping the transition to Dawkins as the full-time starter is seamless.
Expect some tinkering with guard and center combinations this spring and summer, with Groy potentially seeing time at center, too. Can Miller, a 2015 third-round pick, win back his starting job?
The unexpected retirement of guard Richie Incognito could help Bodine slide into a starting role after signing this offseason from Cincinnati -- if Groy stays at guard to replace Incognito.
Note: Starters in bold
The starters are set here; the question is who starts in the slot: Gaines, a free-agent signing, or Johnson, a fourth-round rookie.
It will be an uphill battle for either McCray or Marlowe to make the 53-man roster after the Bills signed Bush as a free agent and drafted Neal in the fifth round.
Barring a surprise, there seems to be a clearly defined line between the starters and the reserve players, all of whom are best suited on special teams. Edmunds figures to start at "Mike" linebacker as a 20-year-old rookie; Beane has lauded his maturity.
Defensive line (13): Kyle Williams, Jerry Hughes, Star Lotulelei, Trent Murphy, Shaq Lawson, Harrison Phillips, Tenny Palepoi, Adolphus Washington, Eddie Yarbrough, Terrence Fede, Owa Odighizuwa, Marquavius Lewis, Rickey Hatley
The signing of Murphy to a three-year, $22.5 million contract this offseason seemed to be a blow to Lawson, a 2016 first-round pick who was largely ineffective as a pass-rusher last season and was benched at one point by coach Sean McDermott. Washington, a 2016 third-round pick, could be pushed off the roster by the additions of Lotulelei, Phillips and possibly Palepoi.
Note: Starters in bold
Carter spent the final month of last season on the practice squad and figures to compete with Schmidt this summer.
Kicker (1): Stephen Hauschka
Penn State kicker Tyler Davis is joining the Bills as an undrafted free agent, but Hauschka is still the odds-on favorite.
Long-snapper (1): Reid Ferguson
Unless the Bills bring in an undrafted rookie for competition, this job belongs to Ferguson.
Kick returner (4): Ray-Ray McCloud, Travaris Cadet, Taiwan Jones, Quan Bray
Brandon Tate, who handled 28 of the Bills' 32 kick returns in 2017, has not been re-signed. That could open a job at the bottom of the running back or wide receiver depth chart for one of the above players, all of whom have experience at the NFL or college level at returning kicks.
Punt returner (4): McCloud, Jeremy Kerley, Kaelin Clay, Bray
Tate handled 20 of the Bills' 24 punt returns last season, so unless he is eventually re-signed, the Bills must find a replacement. McCloud, a sixth-round rookie from Clemson who returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown last season against NC State, could carve out a spot on the 53-man roster as a returner.