The Buffalo Bills finalized their 53-man roster for the 2014 NFL season yesterday, but the roster moves didn’t stop there, as the team began putting together it’s practice squad this afternoon.
TE D.J. Tialavea
Tialavea played his college football at Utah State. In his collegiate career, he caught 30 passes for 198 yards and five touchdowns. He was previously with the Jacksonville Jaguars after signing as an undrafted free agent. Buffalo has some health issues at tight end, so attempting to develop Tialavea makes sense for the Bills.
OG D.J. Morrell
Morrell went undrafted in the 2014 NFL draft out of Old Dominion. Morrell is 6’5″ and weighs 325 pounds. He played tackle in college but is best projected as a right guard in the NFL. Morrell was with the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams this offseason. His draft profile says he best fits in a power-blocking scheme. The Bills have some uncertainty at guard, so attempting to develop one on their practice squad makes sense.
QB Jeff Tuel
The Buffalo Bills signed Jeff Tuel as an undrafted free agent last year out of Washington State. Tuel has the physical tools you look for in a professional quarterback, but after playing two regular season games last year, it’s clear that he isn’t ready to be on a game-day roster. Tuel has shown that he deserves to be in the league, so the Bills will take their time developing him on their practice squad.
FB Lonnie Pryor
Lonnie Pryor was a 4-star running back out of high school, but the 5’11” 230-pounder caught on as a fullback in the NFL. Pryor has great athleticism, but lacks the power you look for in a true power fullback. Last year’s offense showed Frank Summers carry the ball 12 times and catch 7 passes in his 232 offensive snaps, so Pryor’s skill-set could eventually be utilized.
WR Caleb Holley
Caleb Holley was brought in for a tryout, and the 6’2” 200 pounder out of East Central (OK) earned a spot on the team’s practice squad. Holley had a strong training camp by all reports, and projects well to the slot.
DE Bryan Johnson
Bryan Johnson made more headlines throughout training camp for his fights than for his play, but the team apparently thought highly enough of the 6’4” 250 lb 26-year-old to keep him around for a little bit longer. The Bills don’t have much depth when it comes to pass rushers, so it’s wise to keep Johnson around.
DE/DT Ike Igbinosun
Igbinosun stood out throughout the preseason, playing 90 defensive snaps and generating 6 QB hurries, 2 hits and a sack. According to ProFootballFocus’ “Pass Rush Productivity” stat, Igbinosun was the 3rd most efficient pass rushing 4-3 defensive end in the preseason, as he generated a QB pressure once in every 4.8 pass rushing attempts. Igbinosun is more of a strong-side end, where he can set the edge with his 288 pound frame, but he’s shown that he can disrupt the pocket.
LB Jimmy Gaines
Brought in as an undrafted free agent out of Miami, Buffalo-native Jimmy Gaines has showed good instincts throughout preseason at the middle linebacker position, one of the weakest spots on the Bills’ roster. Gaines lacks top-tier athleticism, but is a strong run defender that was a cornerstone player throughout his career with the Hurricanes.
S Deon Broomfield
Deon Broomfield was another Bills’ undrafted free agent out of Iowa State, who’s looked pretty good in his 153 defensive snaps in preseason, which was the 10th most among safeties. At 6’0” 206 pounds, Broomfield has the size and athleticism to fill in at either safety position.
S Kenny Ladler
Most draft analysts were mildly surprised when Vanderbilt safety Kenny Ladler went undrafted after an impressive collegiate career that he capped off with a 91 tackle, 5 INT, 5 FF senior season. His 4.70 40-time was likely the primary cause for his drop, but Ladler has good instincts and is a physical player that can fill against the run in a Da’Norris Searcy-role.