Skip to main content

Top 5 things to know about the Bills initial 53-man roster | 2023

Alec Anderson (70) and Ryan Van Demark (74) as the Buffalo Bills open Training Camp at St. John Fisher University, July 26, 2023.
Alec Anderson (70) and Ryan Van Demark (74) as the Buffalo Bills open Training Camp at St. John Fisher University, July 26, 2023.

1 – Von Miller to Reserve/PUP

It was trending this way through the course of the preseason, but the Bills, along with Miller's input and the counsel of the team's medical and athletic training staff, determined it best for the pass rusher to begin the season on Reserve/PUP.

That means Miller will miss the first four games of the regular season against the Jets, Raiders, Commanders and Dolphins. Miller cannot practice with his teammates during that time but can rehabilitate and train as much as possible with the team's strength and conditioning staff.

The earliest Miller would be eligible to return to the Bills lineup on defense would be Buffalo's Week 5 game against Jacksonville in London on Oct. 8th.

2 – Boogie Basham traded

The Bills had a surplus of quality players on their roster at the defensive end position and knew they would not be able to keep them all to get down to the required 53 players Tuesday. So Bills GM Brandon Beane traded third-year DE Boogie Basham to the New York Giants along with a seventh-round pick in 2025 in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2025.

This enabled the Bills to get some form of currency back in return for moving Basham off the roster.

Evidence of that pass rusher surplus was revealed in the five defensive ends that Buffalo kept on their 53-man roster, and they have a sixth on Reserve/PUP in Von Miller.

MicrosoftTeams-image (10)

3 – Defensive back tops the list

The Bills secondary topped the position count list for the club with 11 total players landing a spot on the regular season roster. Buffalo kept six cornerbacks, Christian Benford, Kaiir Elam, Taron Johnson, Dane Jackson, Siran Neal and Tre'Davious White and five safeties, Damar Hamlin, Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Taylor Rapp and Cam Lewis.

Lewis also served a dual role this preseason as a nickel corner, his primary position in college at the University at Buffalo. And Rapp is expected to be a versatile chess piece for head coach Sean McDermott as well.

Not even the total number of defensive linemen (10) outnumbered the defensive back contingent.

4 – The roster will be fluid

The Bills cut veteran long snapper Reid Ferguson. Much like last year, this is expected to be a roster juggling exercise. Roster rule designations prior to the establishment of the 53-man roster differ from those after the roster is initially set. Ferguson's release is expected to only be temporary just as it was last season at this time.

Other roster moves could happen in the coming days as well to address any perceived position shortages from a depth perspective via a free agent signing, trade, or waiver claim.

Scroll through to meet the 2023 Buffalo Bills!

5 – Practice squad graduates

One big strength that the Bills coaching staff possesses over several others in the league is their ability to develop players. Evidence of that comes in three players who made this year's 53-man roster.

OL Alec Anderson, DE Kingsley Jonathan and OL Ryan Van Demark were all on Buffalo's practice squad in 2022 and were undrafted players coming out of college. Anderson and Jonathan were undrafted rookies signed by the Bills last year and Van Demark joined Buffalo's practice squad after he was released by Indianapolis last summer.

Offensive line coach Aaron Kromer and Defensive line coach Eric Washington were instrumental in helping these three players develop their individual games to earn a spot on the roster beating out veteran players for roles on the 2023 squad.

Related Content