OPINION: Checking in on Bills roster

Time to get an update on things as we approach the final cut down

Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) - With the final cutdown day coming on Tuesday, I thought it would be a good time to see what has been answered, as well as what remains to be answered as far as battles for spots on the Buffalo Bills roster.

There were very few starting jobs available when training camp began last month at St. John Fisher University.

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One of those jobs available was the punter, and it came as no surprise when the so-called "Punt God", Matt Araiza, beat out Matt Haack. The Bills did spend a sixth-round draft pick on Araiza in this year's draft.

When the Bills decided to let Levi Wallace leave via free agency, it opened up a starting spot at CB2. At this point, based on usage in the first two preseason games and comments from defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, it appears Dane Jackson has won that competition.

Jackson was going up against a pair of rookie draft picks in Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford, but one of those two might still be starting come opening night against the Los Angeles Rams.

It sure looks like Tre'Davious White won't be ready for Week 1 since he has yet to take part in any practices. That job is, temporarily, there for the taking.

Elam would be the favorite, at least, due to his first-round draft status, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Bills decided to work in Benford for some snaps.

We went into camp wondering about Cody Ford's future with the Bills and whether or not the former second-round pick would make the initial 53-man roster. That question was answered earlier this week when Ford was traded to the Arizona Cardinals.

When the Bills released Cole Beasley this offseason, that created a hole at slot receiver.

Based on practices and the two games played this preseason, it sure looks like Isaiah McKenzie is the No. 1 guy, emerging from a competition that included Jamison Crowder and rookie Khalil Shakir. However, I don't think McKenzie will see the snap counts and target numbers that Beasley had the last two years.

I believe Crowder was an under the radar pickup and will definitely get time in the slot.

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The No. 2 tight end was another story line to track this summer. I thought for sure O.J. Howard would grab it, but he has not been a clear winner over Tommy Sweeney and Quintin Morris.

Morris has shown the ability to make plays downfield in the passing game, but my guess is Howard will end up with the spot, because the Bills would eat up more than $2 million in cap space if Howard was released.

There are two starting spots that are still up in the air: kick and punt return.

I wouldn't think the Bills would want McKenzie handling those since he will likely have a larger role on offense. We have seen a pair of rookies get game action with James Cook back on kicks and Shakir handling punts.

It will be interesting to see if head coach Sean McDermott would trust rookies to handle those jobs out of the gate.

Photo credit Losi and Gangi
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