2014 Buffalo Bills Roster: How GM Doug Whaley Assembled The 2014 Team

The Buffalo Bills roster is currently the 10th-youngest in the National Football League, with an average age of 25.7. Just two years ago, the team was the 7th-oldest in the league, so it’s clear that Doug Whaley has made an effort to not only turn over the Bills’ roster, but to get younger in doing so.

(Photo Credit: Associated Press)
Sammy Watkins is 1 of 26 draft picks currently on the Bills roster. (Photo Credit: Associated Press)

The Bills selected their initial 53-man roster for the 2014 season on Saturday, so here at the BillsMafia.com blog, I decided to look at how this team was built.

Note: Kiko Alonso, LB, 2014, 2nd, Oregon, not included on 2014 roster

Draft Picks

For any NFL franchise to be successful, they must not only draft well, but they must retain key players when contracts expire. As it stands today, 26 players on the 53-man roster were drafted by the Bills, with 13 of those players being selected in the past two drafts.

While most fans will argue that the Bills don’t retain their talent, noting departures of players like Jairus Byrd and Andy Levitre, it’s important to note that 10 players on the 2014 roster are on their second or third contracts with the team.

Draft Picks (26)

Name Pos Year Round College
Sammy Watkins WR 2014 1 Clemson
EJ Manuel QB 2013 1 Florida State
Stephon Gilmore CB 2012 1 South Carolina
Marcell Dareus DT 2011 1 Alabama
C.J. Spiller RB 2010 1 Clemson
Eric Wood C 2009 1 Louisville
Leodis McKelvin CB 2008 1 Troy
Cyrus Kouandjio OT 2014 2 Alabama
Robert Woods WR 2013 2 Southern California
Cordy Glenn OT 2012 2 Georgia
Aaron Williams CB/S 2011 2 Texas
Preston Brown LB 2014 3 Louisville
Marquise Goodwin WR 2013 3 Texas
Ross Cockrell CB 2014 4 Duke
Duke Williams S 2013 4 Nevada
Nigel Bradham LB 2012 4 Florida State
Ron Brooks CB 2012 4 Louisiana State
Da’Norris Searcy S 2011 4 North Carolina
Chris Hairston OT 2011 4 Clemson
Marcus Easley WR 2010 4 Connecticut
Cyril Richardson OG 2014 5 Baylor
Jonathan Meeks S 2013 5 Clemson
Kyle Williams DT 2006 5 Louisiana State
Randell Johnson LB 2014 7 Florida Atlantic
Seantrel Henderson OT 2014 7 Miami
Chris Gragg TE 2013 7 Arkansas

Undrafted Rookie Free Agents (3)

The Bills haven’t been very good at finding “diamonds in the rough” as only three undrafted free agents brought in by the team are on the 53-man roster. For comparison, 12 undrafted free agents made the New Orleans Saints’ roster.

Name Pos Year College
Nickell Robey CB 2013 Southern California
Garrison Sanborn LS 2009 Florida State
Fred Jackson RB 2006 Coe College

 

Veteran Free Agents (10)

Each March, hundreds of players receive big contracts as unrestricted free agents on the open market, but very few of the record-breaking deals result in a big change in record. The Bills made Mario Williams the highest paid defender in the league in the 2012 offseason, but other than that, the team has been wise by acquiring role players at a relatively low cost.

Name Pos Year Previous Team
Anthony Dixon RB 2014 San Francisco
Corey Graham CB 2014 Baltimore
Kyle Orton QB 2014 Dallas
Brandon Spikes LB 2014 New England
Chris Williams OG 2014 St. Louis
Keith Rivers LB 2014 New York Giants
Jarius Wynn DE 2014 Dallas
Manny Lawson DE 2013 Cincinnati
Mario Williams DE 2012 Houston
Erik Pears OT 2010 Jacksonville

Street Free Agents (non-Vested) (4)

Name Pos Year Previous Team
Colton Schmidt P 2014 San Francisco
Jacquies Smith DE 2013 New York Jets
Frank Summers FB 2013 Pittsburgh
Chris Hogan WR 2012 Miami

Frank Summers is the only player in this category to play a regular season snap for the Bills, but there aren’t many tryout players that make a huge impact in the league.

Claimed Off Waivers (5)

Name Pos Year Previous Team
Jordan Gay P 2014 Carolina
Dan Carpenter K 2013 New York Jets
Lee Smith TE 2011 New England
Scott Chandler TE 2010 Dallas
Kraig Urbik OG 2010 Pittsburgh

The Bills’ pro scouting department has done a good job scouring the waiver wire for talent, as the Bills acquired two starters on offense (Urbik/Chandler), a reliable role player (Smith) and one of the top kickers in the league (Carpenter). It’s not often that teams are able to find quality players on the waiver wire, so I have to give the Bills credit in this area.

Acquired via Trade (3)

Name Pos Year Previous Team
Bryce Brown RB 2014 Philadelphia
Mike Williams WR 2014 Tampa Bay
Jerry Hughes DE 2013 Indianapolis

The Buffalo Bills struck gold when they acquired edge rusher Jerry Hughes from the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for Kelvin Sheppard. Hughes recorded 10 sacks last season and will start on the Bills’ defensive line, while Sheppard was released by the Colts last week.

This offseason, the Bills traded a sixth round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for wide receiver Mike Williams, a big, physical wideout that brings size and toughness to a group filled with smaller YAC players.

They also swung a fourth-rounder to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for Bryce Brown, a young, talented back that has low mileage. If the Bills can get half of the return on investment they got in the Hughes trade, I’d say they lucked out in these relatively inexpensive deals.

Claimed off Practice Squad (2)

Name Pos Year Previous Team
Stefan Charles DT 2013 Tennessee
Ty Powell LB 2013 New York Giants

Stefan Charles and Ty Powell are two promising young prospects that have had a tough road to the National Football League. Both are tremendous athletes that have carved out roles on the 53-man roster.

Fun facts:

  • 16 of the Bills’ 26 draft picks on the 53-man roster played college ball in the ACC or SEC
  • Just 5 of the Bills’ 18 draft picks in 2010 and 2011 remain with the team
  • 7 of the Bills’ 22 projected starters are 23-years old or younger.
  • Erik Pears, Kyle Williams are the Bills’ only starters over the age of 30.
  • 5 draft picks selected prior to 2011 are on the roster.
  • 32 of the 53 players on the Bills’ roster have been on the team for one season or less.
  • Only 17 players from the Bills’ 2012 roster remain on the team