One photo of every Bills player on the 2014 active roster at the league's deadline.
Despite the depth of Pro Bowl talent on the Bills' defensive line, DE Jacquies Smith proved to the coaches and front office that he was a talent worth keeping. As of Saturday, the one-time Bills practice squad member officially made this season's 53-man roster.
"It's basically a dream realized," said Smith. "I've stayed down with practice team, going through the league, battling my way through different teams, basically starting from the bottom and battling my way up. To even get these opportunities to be able to even make the 53-man roster, it's a great feeling."
Since being originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2012, Smith has had a stint with the Hamilton TigerCats of the CFL, been on the New York Jets practice squad and served on Buffalo's practice squad just last season. Landing on an active NFL roster has been two years in the making.
The Bills came into the preseason with a wealth of talent across the board on the defensive line. Now that all cuts have been made, Smith is now one of the few remaining linemen from those brought in this summer. As a result, Smith finds himself among some elite players in the league.
"It's great being in the room with all those Pro Bowl players and great veterans that we have in the room," said Smith. "We got a lot of talent and there's a lot of competition going on up there. I'm just carving a role for myself on this team and help out anyway I can, get on the field to help this team out. It's a great feeling."
After showcasing his pass rush abilities during the preseason coaches have likely seen a progression from last year and know what Smith is capable of. Now that he will be accompanying the Bills for the regular season, Smith is not content with being just another spot on the roster. He doesn't want to simply exist in the NFL, he wants to thrive in it.
"Basically just keep working," said Smith. "Keep working on my craft, figuring it out, just kind of taking it day by day. Going through the weeks and figuring out what I need to do to help the guys out on Sundays. It's not just good to make the 53. I want to be out there making plays and helping the team out as much as I can because we're trying to do something special here in Buffalo this year and I don't want to be one of the guys who just made the 53 man roster. I want to be contributing in ways that can help the team win."