Buffalo Bills: 53-man roster prediction after one week of training camp

ORCHARD PARK, NY - JULY 31: Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills looks to throw a pass during training camp at Highmark Stadium on July 31, 2021 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - JULY 31: Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills looks to throw a pass during training camp at Highmark Stadium on July 31, 2021 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /
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Buffalo Bills
Jul 28, 2021; Orchard Park, NY, United States; Buffalo Bills defensive end Boogie Basham (96) and defensive end Greg Rousseau (50) and defensive end Efe Obada (93) come off the field after practice at the Buffalo Bills Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports /

Defensive Line (10)

  • Jerry Hughes
  • Mario Addison
  • Greg Rousseau
  • Carlos “Boogie” Basham
  • AJ Epenesa
  • Efe Obada
  • Star Lotulelei
  • Ed Oliver
  • Justin Zimmer
  • Vernon Butler

Cut: Daryl Johnson, Mike Love, Harrison Phillips, Brandin Bryant, Treyvon Hester, Eli Ankou

The hot topic of training camp is this revamped defensive line. After spending their 2021 first and second-round picks on defensive ends Buffalo’s defensive line has new energy to it. Jerry Hughes has yet to practice but is a lock to make the roster as one of the longest-tenured Bills and best overall players. Greg Rousseau, Carlos “Boogie” Basham, AJ Epenesa, Ed Oliver are all locks due to their draft status of being 1st and 2nd round picks. Star Lotulelei who returns after opting out last season is nearly uncuttable because of his contract so lock him into the roster as well.

Six players are 100% locks to be on the roster and right behind them is Mario Addison who is probably sitting around a 95% chance to make the team. A veteran that the locker room loves, Addison led the Bills in sacks last season. Although it was a down season for his standards the new talent and rotation Buffalo could deploy at the defensive end could help Addison return to the usual 8+ sack seasons he is accustomed to. The only reason Addison is not 100% safe is that Buffalo can save a small amount of money to let him go and they may want to keep large numbers at positions outside of defensive end.

Two players who I think could surprise some are Efe Obada and Justin Zimmer. Justin Zimmer came on strong last season from the practice squad and has seemingly outperformed many of the other defensive tackles Buffalo has employed. Efe Obada who comes from the very popular Carolina to Buffalo pipeline is a super huge, strong, fast athletic player who has only played football for a couple of years. A part of the International Pathway Player Program Obada had a very limited role with Carolina and saw some decent success. In training camp so far Obada has been a bright spot for Buffalo.

The Buffalo Bills have a ton of versatility with this group Basham, Rousseau, and Obada can all slide inside and rush the passer from the interior. Vernon Butler and Ed Oliver have also both shown they can play both defensive tackle spots. There is much more length and athleticism to this group something that Buffalo clearly emphasized this offseason.

Do not be surprised if we see intriguing combinations of lineman on third down such as something like Hughes, Addison, Rousseau, and Obada or Basham, Oliver, Butler, Lotulelei on the field at once. Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier is sure to get creative with this group.

The cuts may be surprising to some however with the huge jump in talent across the line Buffalo can afford to cut guys who may belong in the league. Harrison Phillips and Darryl Johnson were on the team last year but get pushed out by the newcomers. Phillips underwhelmed slightly before being injured last season but showed some positive flashes and Darryl Johnson was a quality special teams player but never quite developed as a defensive end.

The rest of the cuts are guys who you could see making the practice squad and maybe making limited appearances due to injury.