The painful upheaval of NFL cutdown day leads to a clearer picture of NFL rosters. While there is still time for waiver wire pickups and practice squad signings on Sunday and beyond that could change the Bills roster, we have a better idea now of the kind of roster Sean McDermott and his staff will work with in 2018.
Here are five initial takeaways from Saturday's moves:
Photos of the 2018 Buffalo Bills. Meet the 53 is presented by WNY Dental.
1. THE QUARTERBACK ROOM IS YOUNG
The trade of AJ McCarron to the Raiders leaves the Bills with a very young, inexperienced group at quarterback. That's if the team doesn't make another move in the near future to add to the two quarterbacks on the roster.
Second-year man Nathan Peterman has two NFL starts on his resume—last year against the LA Chargers and at home against the Colts. His total NFL experience includes two starts, four games played, plus a brief appearance in the playoff game at Jacksonville.
Of course, first round draft pick Josh Allen has not yet taken a snap in the NFL regular season. It remains to be seen whether the Bills bring on a third quarterback — they went with two on the roster for the majority of last season.
2. EIGHT ROOKIES MAKE THE CALL – INCLUDING ONE UNDRAFTED FREE AGENT
Seven of the Bills eight 2018 draft picks have survived the initial cut to 53. Undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver Robert Foster, from Alabama will be part of the team's 2018 rookie class.
At least three of this year's draft picks figure to play prominent roles when the 2018 season begins. First rounder Tremaine Edmunds has been lined up with the starters at middle linebacker since he arrived on the scene. Third round pick Harrison Phillips started two of the four preseason games and is likely to play a major role in the regular defensive line rotation. And fourth round pick, Taron Johnson, appears to have a good chance to see time at the team's nickel cornerback spot – essentially a 12th starter on defense.
It remains to be seen how prominent a role first round quarterback Josh Allen might play on offense. Fifth round picks guard Wyatt Teller and safety Siran Neal made it through the final cutdown as well as sixth rounder Ray Ray McCloud III.
3. MIX OF YOUTH AND EXPERIENCE AT WIDE RECEIVER
The Bills had 13 wide receivers on the roster for most of training camp. And they had a lot of sorting out to do in that group, with an array of experience, size and speed.
On the final cut, they settled on six wideouts — three of them with substantial experience, and three others just getting their careers started.
Kelvin Benjamin (fifth year), Andre Holmes (seventh year), and Jeremy Kerley (eighth year) have been around the NFL block for a while. Second-year man Zay Jones and rookies Ray Ray McCloud and Robert Foster are at the other end of the experience spectrum.
McCloud and Foster provide the type of speed the Bills have been looking for in their receiving corps. Kerley is a valuable slot receiver and Benjamin has excelled in the red zone. It's a nice mix of talent and NFL experience at the position for Buffalo.
4. DEFENSIVE BACKS ROOM WELCOMES SOME NEW FACES
In 2017, most observers considered the Bills defensive backfield the strongest position group on the roster. That may be, but that didn't stop the team from making some personnel changes in the secondary.
Nine defensive backs made the team's initial roster and five of them are new to Buffalo.
The new faces include veterans Vontae Davis, Phillip Gaines, Rafael Bush and a couple of 2018 draft picks: cornerback Taron Johnson and safety Siran Neal.
Three starters are back in the secondary (Tre'Davious White, Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer) but the backups and players in sub-packages will be new to Buffalo and expected to maintain the high level of production the group had last year.
5. DEFENSIVE FRONT SEVEN AS EXPECTED
The Bills invested considerable money and draft capital in the defensive front seven during the offseason. And the final cutdown reflects that, with only five new names in the defensive line and linebacker groups.
The newcomers are top-100 draft picks Edmunds and Phillips along with free agent acquisitions defensive end Trent Murphy, defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, and linebacker Julian Stanford. There are few surprises in Buffalo's front seven—the group essentially is the group that ran with the first and second teams through minicamp and training camp.
Returning veterans Kyle Williams, Adophus Washington, Jerry Hughes and Shaq Lawson fill out the defensive line. Lorenzo Alexander, Matt Milano, Deon Lacey and Ramon Humber round out the linebackers room.