NFL Cuts 2012: Final Buffalo Bills 53-Man Roster Projection

Aug 30, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marcus Easley (81) comes up short of a touchdown while being pressured by Detroit Lions cornerback Alphonso Smith (27) during the third quarter of a preseason game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

The Buffalo Bills have wrapped up their pre-season schedule, and they must trim their roster to 53 players by 9:00 this evening (Eastern Time). As such, Friday will be dedicated to endless speculation about who the Bills may or may not keep - and the bulk of that conversation will focus on the backup quarterback situation.

After the jump, you'll find my final 53-man roster projection of the summer - as well as another depth chart built from an "if I were making these decisions" perspective.

Let's start with the opinion, and leave the guess work for later. Here's how I would structure the roster if I were making the final cuts today (and clearly, I'm very glad I'm not):

Pos # Starter # Backup # Reserve
WR 13 Stevie Johnson 11 T.J. Graham*
LT 77 Cordy Glenn* 75 Chris Hairston
LG 67 Andy Levitre
C 70 Eric Wood 74 Colin Brown
RG 60 Kraig Urbik 76 Chad Rinehart
RT 79 Erik Pears 66 Zebrie Sanders*
TE 84 Scott Chandler 85 Lee Smith
WR 19 Donald Jones 86 David Nelson 82 Ruvell Martin
QB 14 Ryan Fitzpatrick 7 Tarvaris Jackson 16 Brad Smith
RB 22 Fred Jackson 28 C.J. Spiller 29 Tashard Choice
FB 38 Corey McIntyre 42 Dorin Dickerson
LE 94 Mario Williams 90 Chris Kelsay 73 Jarron Gilbert
DT 99 Marcell Dareus 91 Spencer Johnson
DT 95 Kyle Williams 72 Kellen Heard
RE 93 Mark Anderson 54 Kyle Moore
SLB 52 Arthur Moats 53 Nigel Bradham*
MLB 55 Kelvin Sheppard 59 Scott McKillop
WLB 50 Nick Barnett 43 Bryan Scott 45 Tank Carder*
LCB 23 Aaron Williams 24 Terrence McGee 26 Justin Rogers
SS 37 George Wilson 25 Da'Norris Searcy
FS 31 Jairus Byrd
RCB 27 Stephon Gilmore* 21 Leodis McKelvin 33 Ron Brooks*
K 9 Rian Lindell 3 John Potter*
P 8 Brian Moorman
LS 65 Garrison Sanborn

To answer some inevitable questions:

  • I can't justify keeping Tyler Thigpen at $2.5 million regardless of how ill-prepared Tarvaris Jackson may be. The Bills won't hear a peep from me if they cut Thigpen and try to re-sign him at a much lower salary for a few weeks, knowing that he's not in their long-term plans.
  • Ruvell Martin over Derek Hagan: there's only room for three receivers in this offense as it is. If they're trotting a fourth receiver onto the field, I firmly believe that player should be T.J. Graham. That fifth spot could easily go to one of the young receivers everyone talks about all the time, but I'd just as soon stash my favorite of that group - Kamar Aiken - on the practice squad and keep a guy like Martin that can help out on game days as a specialist.
  • I cut both Dwan Edwards and Alex Carrington in favor of Kellen Heard. I just like the idea of having a wide-bodied fourth defensive tackle, knowing that the Bills have guys that can rush on the interior. The Bills need all the heft they can get to defend the run, and Heard can get push.
  • Kirk Morrison doesn't make the cut for me, and there's a strong chance he won't be a Bill by day's end, as well. There's a lot to be said about keeping him around as veteran insurance for Kelvin Sheppard, but Sheppard is only a two-down 'backer as it is, and I'd rather them keep a bunch of young linebackers that can help on teams than play it safe and keep Morrison.
  • The team could use a fourth safety. I haven't been impressed with Da'Norris Searcy of late. They need a guy with range that can play center field. I don't think either Nick Saenz or Delano Howell fit that profile.

Now, let's get onto the actual roster projection - the one that y'all can hold against me and judge me by. I offer it with no inside information; it's purely guesswork. Have fun!

Pos # Starter # Backup # Reserve
WR 13 Stevie Johnson 80 Derek Hagan 11 T.J. Graham*
LT 77 Cordy Glenn* 75 Chris Hairston
LG 67 Andy Levitre
C 70 Eric Wood 74 Colin Brown
RG 60 Kraig Urbik 76 Chad Rinehart
RT 79 Erik Pears 66 Zebrie Sanders*
TE 84 Scott Chandler 85 Lee Smith
WR 19 Donald Jones 86 David Nelson
QB 14 Ryan Fitzpatrick 7 Tarvaris Jackson 16 Brad Smith
RB 22 Fred Jackson 28 C.J. Spiller 29 Tashard Choice
FB 38 Corey McIntyre 42 Dorin Dickerson
LE 94 Mario Williams 90 Chris Kelsay 73 Jarron Gilbert
DT 99 Marcell Dareus 98 Dwan Edwards
DT 95 Kyle Williams 91 Spencer Johnson
RE 93 Mark Anderson 54 Kyle Moore
SLB 52 Arthur Moats 53 Nigel Bradham*
MLB 55 Kelvin Sheppard 58 Kirk Morrison
WLB 50 Nick Barnett 43 Bryan Scott 45 Tank Carder*
LCB 23 Aaron Williams 24 Terrence McGee 26 Justin Rogers
SS 37 George Wilson 25 Da'Norris Searcy
FS 31 Jairus Byrd
RCB 27 Stephon Gilmore* 21 Leodis McKelvin 33 Ron Brooks*
K 9 Rian Lindell 3 John Potter*
P 8 Brian Moorman
LS 65 Garrison Sanborn

CUTS (22): QB Tyler Thigpen, RB Johnny White, RB Zach Brown, WR Ruvell Martin, WR Marcus Easley, WR Kamar Aiken, WR Naaman Roosevelt, TE Kevin Brock, OT Sam Young, OT James Carmon, OG Mark Asper, OG Keith Williams, OG David Snow, DE Robert Eddins, DT Alex Carrington, DT Kellen Heard, LB Scott McKillop, LB Chris White, CB Isaiah Green, FS Nick Saenz, SS Delano Howell, P Shawn Powell

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