I was banging the table for a CB2 during this year’s draft, but Beane and McDermott appear comfortable with the trio of outside cornerback they have assembled opposite Tre’Davious White in Wallace, Gaines, and Norman. All three will make this roster and likely see some defensive snaps. The question is who gets most of the snaps? Wallace has had to earn the job in camp two straight years, and both years he stood out in camp,despite losing his spot to Kevin Johnson later in the season during 2019. EJ Gaines is a stellar outside cornerback, when healthy, and that is not very often as of late, he last played in a game in 2018. Norman saw his best season under McDermott in Carolina and maybe being back in a familiar scheme could see a turn around in his career. Regardless of who man’s the CB2 spot, it appears that it will be the biggest liability on defense. Hyde and Poyer will continue to man the backfield at safety for the fourth straight season, huge for the advantage for Buffalo in an offseason with minimal practice.
The big discussion this offseason has been around who can play the big nickel for Buffalo. Siran Neal probably comes into camp with a leg up on Marlowe seeing how he played 17% of defensive snaps to Marlowe’s 10%. Neal who is listed as a safety but drafted as a corner is probably better covering receivers out of the slot that Marlowe at this point.Jaquan Johnson’s stock rose throughout last season but could be the odd safety out since he does not offer the same versatility that Neal and Marlowe offer. This year’s 7th round pick, Dane Jackson has the biggest uphill battle to make this year’s roster. But with battles CB2, and Taron Johnson’s injury issues the last two seasons, there is a clean path for him to make the roster.
This probably isn’t the year that a fringe player, or UDFA sneaks on to the roster. The backfield is simply too deep. Josh Thomas and Garrett Taylor played a lot of good football in college and will make solid practice squad candidates.