Buffalo Bills depth chart: Josh Allen begins as No. 3 QB

While Josh Allen will have some time as a backup to learn, Tremaine Edmunds will likely be thrust into a starting role. Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports

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.

Quarterback (3): AJ McCarron, Nathan Peterman, Josh Allen

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.

Running back (6): LeSean McCoy, Chris Ivory, Travaris Cadet, Taiwan Jones, Marcus Murphy, Aaron Green

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.

Wide receiver (11): Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, Andre Holmes, Jeremy Kerley, Rod Streater, Kaelin Clay, Brandon Reilly, Malachi Dupre, Ray-Ray McCloud, Austin Proehl, Quan Bray

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.

Tight end (6): Charles Clay, Nick O'Leary, Logan Thomas, Khari Lee, Keith Towbridge, Jason Croom

This group is entirely unchanged from last season. It would help Buffalo if they got more overall production from Clay and O'Leary.

Tackle (6): Dion Dawkins, Jordan Mills, Marshall Newhouse, Conor McDermott, De'Ondre Wesley, Josh James

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.

Guard (4): Ryan Groy, Vladimir Ducasse, John Miller, Wyatt Teller

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?

Center (2): Russell Bodine, Adam Redmond

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

Cornerback (6): Tre'Davious White, Vontae Davis, Phillip Gaines, Taron Johnson, Lafayette Pitts, Breon Borders

The starters are set here; the question is who starts in the slot: Gaines, a free-agent signing, or Johnson, a fourth-round rookie.

Safety (7): Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Rafael Bush, Siran Neal, Kelcie McCray, L.J. McCray, Dean Marlowe

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.

Linebacker (8): Lorenzo Alexander, Matt Milano, Tremaine Edmunds, Ramon Humber, Tanner Vallejo, Julian Stanford, Deon Lacey, Xavier Woodson-Luster

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

Punter (2): Colton Schmidt, Cory Carter

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.