The NFL's final cutdown day this summer will mean excruciating decisions for the Buffalo Bills.
They have assembled a roster featuring considerably more than 53 players they'd like to protect. But come 4 p.m. on Aug. 31, they will be forced to say goodbye to many they feel can help and might not be able to get back after passing through the waivers/free agency process that must precede the formations of 16-man practice squads a day later.
Predicting the first roster of the season is always tricky, especially because there can and almost certainly will be a multitude of revisions between Aug. 31 and Sept. 12, when they open the regular season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Nevertheless, here is how we see the first 53 shaking out based on what has happened so far in training camp and the preseason.
Ready, set, go.
Josh Allen, Mitchell Trubisky and Davis Webb.
The only real competition here is between Webb and Jake Fromm for the No. 3 spot, with the loser perhaps being able to stick on the practice squad.
Wide receiver (6)
Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders, Gabriel Davis, Isaiah McKenzie and Marquez Stevenson.
Some intense competition is going on for these last two spots, as McKenzie and rookie sixth-round draft pick Stevenson certainly are no locks. But the feeling here is that the punt-return ability of McKenzie and kickoff return ability of Stevenson will be the deal-makers.
Offensive line (10)
Dion Dawkins, Jon Feliciano, Mitch Morse, Cody Ford, Daryl Williams, Spencer Brown, Tommy Doyle, Jamil Douglas, Ryan Bates and Ike Boettger.
More great competition here for the other spots behind the starters. Bates brings guard/center versatility. Rookies Brown and Doyle have shown promise.
Tight end (3)
Dawson Knox, Jacob Hollister and Tommy Sweeney.
This position group is widely considered the Bills' weakest. But Knox has been solid throughout camp and downright outstanding at times following a pair of unimpressive seasons after being drafted in the third round in 2019.
Veteran newcomer Hollister was a college teammate of Allen's at Wyoming, so there's that too.
Running back (4)
Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, Matt Breida and Antonio Williams.
Nothing is settled with this group yet, but Singletary has bounced back with an encouraging offseason and training camp after being ostensibly passed by Moss by the end of last season.
Veteran Matt Breida has been an instant hit in the room as both an example setter and a speedy athlete who can do big things.
Defensive tackle (4)
Star Lotulelei, Ed Oliver, Vernon Butler, Harrison Phillips
Perhaps the toughest cuts will be made here. Justin Zimmer and Brandin Bryant are deserving, but likely will be victims of a numbers game.
Lotulelei returning after opting out of 2020 is the key here. The Bills are counting on big things from every member of this defensive line.
Defensive end (6)
Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, A.J. Epenesa, Greg Rousseau, Efe Obada and Carlos Basham.
The Bills restocked the shelves here, hoping to get more from returning players Hughes, Addison and Epenesa by drafting Rousseau and Basham and adding Obada from Carolina.
Will it work? Stay tuned.
Tremaine Edmunds, Matt Milano, A.J. Klein, Tyler Matakevich, Tyrell Adams and Andre Smith.
Beyond regulars Edmunds and Milano, special teams ability will figure prominently in the decisions on most of the others. That means Matakevich isn't going anywhere. And Adams is coming off a monster year in his first season as a starter with Houston.
Tre'Davious White, Levi Wallace, Taron Johnson and Dane Jackson.
Wallace's job as the second starter on the outside opposite White always seems to be in jeopardy, but he always seems to win it.
Either way, he sticks along with primary challenger Jackson and ace nickel back Johnson.
Jordan Poyer, Micah Hyde, Damar Hamlin and Jaquan Johnson.
Poyer and Hyde may be the best starting tandem in the league. Unfortunately, the Bills may have to go light here to stock other positions like OL and DL sufficiently.
Survived a shaky start to last season as a rooke draft pick. Now he is expected to take the next step and become one of the league's elite kickers.
The Bills feel lucky to have acquired the veteran after deciding not to re-sign Corey Bojorquez. Bojorquez led the league with an average of 50.8 yards per punt last season.
But Haack brings a little more experience and is good at pinning opponents inside the 20-yard line. He led the league at that with 35 for the Miami Dolphins in 2018.
Long snapper (1)
He's young but experienced and dependable and not going anywhere.