Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These Bills, Dolphins, Jets and Patriots moves are noted below.
Here are Wednesday’s AFC East transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
As Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic points out, cutting Lewis came as a bit of a surprise considering the Bills’ lack of depth at cornerback. However, the reporter believes that today’s move is an indication that the team isn’t concerned about injuries to Levi Wallace, Dane Jackson and Taron Johnson. Lewis, a 2019 undrafted free agent, finished last season with seven tackles in five games (two starts). If he passes through waivers, he’ll likely end up on Buffalo’s practice squad.
On Friday, the Bills agreed to terms with three of their picks from the 2020 NFL Draft. Second-round edge rusher A.J. Epenesa, fourth-round receiver Gabriel Davis, and fifth-round quarterback Jake Fromm are all under contract, per a club announcement.
Epenesa was viewed as a first-round prospect, up until a shaky showing at the combine. There, the Iowa product ran a slower-than-expected 5.04-second 40-yard dash and lacked athleticism at 275 pounds. Still, he’s coming off of double-digit sacks in back-to-back seasons and also profiles as a solid defender against the run.
Fromm also saw his stock slip. At one point in time, evaluators said he’d be the No. 1 overall pick. Then, last year happened – the Georgia QB completed just 60.8% of his passes and most scouts now see him as a solid backup type. That’ll be his role in Buffalo, where he’ll sit behind Josh Allen.
With this trio officially in the fold, the Bills’ only remaining straggler is third-round running back Zack Moss. Here’s the full rundown of their draft class, via PFR’s team-by-team tracker:
2-54: AJ Epenesa, DE (Iowa): Signed
3-86: Zack Moss, RB (Utah)
4-128: Gabriel Davis, WR (UCF): Signed
5-167: Jake Fromm, QB (Georgia): Signed
6-188: Tyler Bass, K (Georgia Southern): Signed
6-207: Isaiah Hodgins, WR (Oregon State): Signed
7-239: Dane Jackson, CB (Pittsburgh): Signed
The wait is over for Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm. He’ll join the Bills, who have selected him with the No. 167 overall pick, a fifth round choice.
Fromm was once viewed as a potential No. 1 overall pick, but he took himself out of the running with an iffy 2019. Last year, Fromm completed just 60.8% of his throws, the lowest rate of his collegiate career. Still, the Bills see potential in Fromm, who led the Bulldogs to the National Championship Game as a true frosh in 2017.
Over time, Fromm lost his footing to Joe Burrow (LSU), Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama), Justin Herbert (Oregon), Jordan Love (Utah State), Jacob Eason (Washington), and other signal callers. In the not too distant past, Fromm was viewed as a potential NFL starter. Now, the feeling is that he’s a quality QB2 in the making.
Fromm will work to improve his arm strength in Buffalo as he slots behind former first-round pick Josh Allen in Buffalo. The Georgia native might not be a world-beater, but his football smarts should allow him to find a home in WNY.
At this stage, it’s hard to peg where this year’s top quarterbacks will land in the draft. Right now, Utah State’s Jordan Love is one of the draft’s biggest wildcards at the position, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The feeling is that Love could go anywhere between No. 5 (where the Dolphins pick) and No. 25, per RapSheet.
At least six teams have done extensive research on Love and his seamless throwing mechanics, including the Packers and Patriots. That might mean that Love could land in the Top 15, though the latest word from NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo threw cold water on that idea. Ultimately, because there’s so much information and, potentially, misinformation, flying around about Love, no one’s exactly sure where he’ll go.
There’s been increasing chatter about the Dolphins taking Justin Herbert over Tua Tagovailoa at No. 5, but little discussion about Love being the pick. If the Dolphins do see Love as their QB of the future, they’d probably be able to trade down, add to their already substantial stockpile, and still land him.
Meanwhile, Georgia signal caller Jake Fromm is “buzzing” thanks to strong interviews and praise from NFL quarterback coaches, Rapoport reports. Fromm was once viewed as a potential No. 1 overall pick, but he took himself out of the running with an iffy 2019. Last year, Fromm completed just 60.8% of his throws, the lowest rate of his collegiate career. Still, many evaluators see the potential in Fromm, who led the Bulldogs to the National Championship Game as a true frosh in 2017.
A long list of teams have question marks at the quarterback position heading into the offseason. Well, one executive believes many of the organizations will solve their predicament via the draft. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller talked to a personnel executive who believes five quarterbacks will be selected in the top-15 of this year’s draft.
This might not sound all that shocking; among the teams with top-15 picks, only five of those organizations have used first-round capital at the position in the past two drafts. You could easily talk yourself into one of the other 10 teams selecting a quarterback, and a team outside the top-15 could easily trade up. However, it is notable that the executive was willing to speak so definitively.
As Miller explains, there’s a pretty clear pecking order atop the quarterback draft board: Joe Burrow (LSU), Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama), some combo of Jordan Love (Utah State) and Justin Herbert (Oregon), Jacob Eason (Washington), and Jake Fromm (Georgia). Miller notes that the Chargers, who are selecting sixth-overall, are particularly interested in Love.
Miller himself believes six quarterbacks will be selected in the top-50, and he notes that part of the urgency to select a signal-caller could be attributed to the falloff after the top-six options. The next-best prospect, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, struggled during Senior Bowl practice this week, and Hawaii’s Cole McDonald projects as more of a fifth- or sixth-rounder.