With three preseason games to go, there is still plenty of time for bubble players to make their way onto the Buffalo Bills’ 53-man roster.
As it stands now, here’s a look at an early projection of how the roster may look after final cuts. This will be updated weekly.
Quarterbacks (3): EJ Manuel, Thad Lewis, Jeff Tuel.
Analysis: The Bills were burned last year by only keeping two QBs to start the year, so they go with three this season, with Lewis and Tuel still battling for the backup job.
Running backs/fullback (5): C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Bryce Brown, Anthony Dixon/Frank Summers.
Analysis: Good talent and depth at running back; Summers’ special teams ability earns him a roster spot over Evan Rodriguez.
Wide receivers (6): Sammy Watkins, Mike Williams, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, Chris Hogan, Marcus Easley.
Analysis: Again, special teams comes into play as Easley’s experience there earns him the final roster spot over T.J. Graham and Kevin Elliott.
Tight ends (3): Scott Chandler, Chris Gragg, Lee Smith.
Analysis: Tony Moeaki can’t stay healthy, so he gets beat out by Gragg for a spot.
Offensive linemen (8): Cordy Glenn, Chris Williams, Eric Wood, Kraig Urbik, Erik Pears, Seantrel Henderson, Cyrus Kouandjio, Cyril Richardson.
Analysis: If an injury to Eric Wood were to occur in this scenario, Urbik would shift to center and Richardson would come in at guard. Figure on Kouandjio being inactive on game days at this point.
Defensive linemen (9): Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Jerry Hughes, Manny Lawson, Jarius Wynn, Alan Branch, Stefan Charles, Landon Cohen.
Analysis: An injury to Mario Williams or Hughes would be devastating, because there isn’t much pass rush to speak of behind them. Cohen is a surprise as a late addition to the roster, but he’s got experience in defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s system. Branch makes it as of now, but he needs to pick it up – he’s been running with the third team in practice.
Linebackers (6): Nigel Bradham, Brandon Spikes, Keith Rivers, Preston Brown, Randell Johnson, Ty Powell.
Analysis: Special teams comes into play once again as Powell gets the final spot over Jimmy Gaines and Stevenson Sylvester based on his ability there.
Cornerbacks (6): Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin, Nickell Robey, Corey Graham, Ross Cockrell, Ron Brooks.
Analysis: The Bills learned from last year when injuries forced them to use Justin Rogers – and they paid dearly for it. The signing of Graham and drafting of Cockrell significantly improved the depth. Expect the sixth cornerback to be inactive on game days.
Safeties (4): Aaron Williams, Da’Norris Searcy, Duke Williams, Jonathan Meeks.
Analysis: Depth is a concern here. Duke Williams and Meeks are both inexperienced.
Specialists (3): Garrison Sanborn, Brian Moorman, Dan Carpenter.
Analysis: Moorman beats out Dombrowski for the punting job, while the Bills elect not to keep Dustin Hopkins as a kickoff specialist.
Injured reserve: LB Kiko Alonso.
Practice squad: LB Jimmy Gaines, S Kenny Ladler, C Jared Wheeler, LB Jacquies Smith, DE Ike Igbinosun, WR Caleb Holley, CB Mario Butler, G J.J. ‘Unga.