Entering the 2017 NFL Season, the Buffalo Bills have plenty of decisions to make before the start of the season. With training camp and the preseason now just around the corner, it will be interesting to see how these on and off the field decisions are made and what effect they are likely to have on the short term future in Buffalo.
As it pertains to the team’s roster for the upcoming season, decisions are quickly looming with roster cuts and depth chart moves likely to come. Beginning a new series for the next couple of weeks, we will take a look each day at a positional group on the Buffalo Bills roster and what the outlook appears to be as well as make our own predictions on how things will turn out.
Continuing our new series today, we will take a look at what the future holds for the Buffalo Bills at the running back and fullback positions.
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From a starting standpoint, the Buffalo Bills running back position looks to be set. LeSean McCoy should once again be the number one rusher for the Bills this season, however, what could change this year is his total attempts especially in short-yardage situations. Losing Mike Gillislee to the rival Patriots during free agency, Buffalo will need to find someone that can step up into that role this season.
At the fullback spot, it looks to be Patrick DiMarco’s to lose. However, with brute force running back/fullback Mike Tolbert behind him on the depth chart, there could be a battle this season between the two players with the winner needing to be a solid blocker for Buffalo’s strong running game.
Starter: LeSean McCoy
A sure fire pick here. LeSean McCoy has been the sole reason over the last two years that the Bills running game has done so well. A strong runner that can go both vertical and horizontal in the run game, McCoy’s only issue could be injuries. However, should he stay healthy, McCoy will be a top yard getter once again this season in Buffalo.
Second String: Jonathan Williams
A number two running back in the making when he was drafted, Jonathan Williams will be the early favorite to land Gillislee’s former role with Buffalo. Given his status as a young, tough runner, Williams should be given ample opportunity to prove himself in the preseason and is likely to be the short-yardage, goal line back this season for the Bills.
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Third String: Jordan Johnson
Much like Jonathan Williams last season, Jordan Johnson should find a role as the Buffalo Bills third string running back this season. Also giving the Bills a nice story to watch during the preseason, the hometown kid does possess some talent and is the between the tackles runner Buffalo could need should Williams suffer some type of injury. Considering the rest of the players at the position, Johnson should get the nod here.
Cut: Joe Banyard and Cedric O’Neal
Both Banyard and O’Neal appear to be on the outside looking in at this stage of the preseason. With the youth above them on my depth chart, both will need strong performances to convince the team that they are worthy of a roster spot. Heck, a strong enough performance could see a fourth roster spot go to the running back position.
Starter: Patrick DiMarco
Facing off against fellow veteran fullback Mike Tolbert during the preseason, DiMarco has to have the advantage here. A natural fullback as compared to the converted running back that is Mike Tolbert, DiMarco also has the experience needed as a starter in the NFL. Considering these two areas going in his favor, look for DiMarco to be McCoy’s lead blocker this season.
Cut: Mike Tolbert