The Buffalo Bills roster looks a lot different after the 2023 NFL Draft. General manager Brandon Beane addressed issues with the team’s six selections, and then after the draft was over, signed several Bills undrafted free agents. Now, these young players will all compete to make the team, starting at the Bills rookie minicamp. The one undrafted player with the best chance of being on the team in Week 1 is Florida offensive tackle Richard Gouraige.
Richard Gouraige is the Bills undrafted free agent with best chance to make the roster
The Buffalo Bills’ 2023 NFL Draft had a decidedly Florida feel to it. Brandon Beane took Gators guard O’Cyrus Torrence in the second round and went back to Gainesville in the fifth to grab wide receiver Justin Shorter.
Mining “The Swamp” didn’t stop there either. The Bills undrafted free agent signings included Florida tackle Richard Gouraige (pronounced like “garage”).
Gouraige started 42 games in his career, with 17 coming at guard and 25 at tackle. In his senior season at Florida, the offensive lineman gave up just one sack all season.
Some teams look at the 6-foot-5, 306-pound lineman as a positional tweener, which is why he fell out of the seven-round NFL draft. However, Gouraige looked solid on tape and had an incredible Senior Bowl week, which is why the Bills snapped him up as a priority free agent.
At the Senior Bowl, Gouraige put on one of the best performances of the week. PFF gave him a grade of 83.9 out of 100 grade, only behind Kansas defensive end Lonnie Phelps (90.5) and South Carolina guard Jovaughn Gwyn (84.3), per Sports Illustrated.
Anecdotally, there is also some video that Bills fans will love of Gouraige manhandling New York Jets first-round pick Will McDonald in Senior Bowl practices.
Gouraige will enter the Bills rookie minicamp with a certain degree of familiarity with his teammates as well, which gives him a leg up on the competition. While Gouraige and Torrence never played next to each other, they did both start at either guard spot in 2019 and spent the next two seasons working together as the left tackle and right guard.
Another reason why Gouraige has the best shot of any Bills undrafted free agents of making the opening day Bills roster is that the team still has needs along the offensive line.
Heading into the Bills rookie minicamp, left tackle Dion Dawkins, left guard Connor McGovern, center Mitch Morse, right guard Ryan Bates, and right tackle Spencer Brown make up the current Bills starting O-line.
As far as backups go, Torrence will make the squad and compete for a starting guard job, while David Quessenberry and Tommy Doyle are both decent backup tackles, although neither is a future starting prospect.
Of the guards, Bates is the most likely to lose his starting spot. However, despite signing this offseason as a free agent, McGovern won’t get an automatic starting gig. Either one could become a useful backup or take over for 31-year-old center Mitch Morse, who made the Pro Bowl last season but also missed four games with his sixth documented career concussion.
If not challenging for the starting guard spot, Richard Gouraige could push Spencer Brown at right tackle. Brown is an average starter who still has upside heading into his third NFL season. But if he doesn’t make a leap this year, the team could be looking for replacements.
Gouraige never started on that side at tackle, but he did hold up against the best pass-rushers the SEC had to offer the last two seasons, and despite a lack of desired length to play the position at the pro level, the Gators lineman could push Brown.
All this is why Richard Gouraige is the Bills undrafted free agent with the best chance to make the roster heading into the Bills rookie minicamp.
There are a few more Bills undrafted free agents to keep an eye on this offseason in addition to Gouraige.
Buffalo still has needs at wide receiver and off-ball linebacker, to replace Tremaine Edmunds, after the NFL draft. At wideout, Braydon Johnson from Oklahoma State, Jalen Wayne from South Alabama, and Tyrell Shavers from San Diego State can all make a case for themselves with a big Bills rookie minicamp.
On the linebacker side, DaShaun White from Oklahoma and Payton Wilgar from BYU will both compete with third-round pick from Tulane, Dorian Willaims, for a roster spot.
Finally, the Bills roster is pretty much set at running back with James Cook, Damien Harris, Nyheim Hines, and Latavius Murray. That said, Fresno State RB Jordan Mims is an intriguing prospect whose skillset is different than the players in front of him on the depth chart.
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