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Buffalo Bills 53-man roster projection: 2014 preseason Week 2

The Bills still have three more preseason games to play, but here's our latest stab at predicting the team's opening day roster anyway.

Grant Halverson

The Buffalo Bills don't have a training camp practice scheduled for today, against themselves or another team, in anticipation of tomorrow night's third preseason game of the year against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That makes today as good a time as any to update our 53-man roster projections heading into Week 1. Let's dive right in, shall we?

Quarterback (3)

  • EJ Manuel
  • Thad Lewis
  • Jeff Tuel
  • Cuts (1): Dennis Dixon

The order of Lewis and Tuel is yet to be decided, but after a slew of injuries at this position last season, it is exceedingly unlikely that the Bills will risk keeping just two quarterbacks again.

Running Back (4)

  • C.J. Spiller
  • Fred Jackson
  • Anthony Dixon
  • Bryce Brown
  • Cuts (1): Ronnie Wingo

Buffalo has four NFL-caliber running backs, and if history repeats itself, they'll probably end up using all of them this season. No reason to try to trade or cut guys.

Fullback (2)

  • Frank Summers
  • Evan Rodriguez

Until a third tight end proves himself worthy of the final roster, I'm still on board with the idea that Rodriguez makes this team as a special teamer, and serves as the nominal third tight end until the team can find someone better on the waiver wire.

Wide Receiver (6)

  • Sammy Watkins
  • Mike Williams
  • Robert Woods
  • Chris Hogan
  • Marquise Goodwin
  • Marcus Easley
  • Cuts (6): T.J. Graham, Kevin Elliott, Chris Summers, Caleb Holley, Tori Gurley, Naaman Roosevelt

There is still jostling for playing time between Woods, Hogan, and probably Goodwin when he's healthy, but these six seem to have a good look at making the final roster.

Tight End (2)

  • Scott Chandler
  • Lee Smith
  • Cuts (3): Chris Gragg, Tony Moeaki, Dominique Jones

Moeaki is going to have to return to the field soon, and deeply impress when he gets there, to have a shot at making the team.

Offensive Line (8)

  • Cordy Glenn
  • Chris Williams
  • Eric Wood
  • Kraig Urbik
  • Erik Pears
  • Seantrel Henderson
  • Cyril Richardson
  • Cyrus Kouandjio
  • Cuts (7): Doug Legursky, Chris Hairston, Edawn Coughman, Antoine McClain, J.J. 'Unga, Macky MacPherson, Jared Wheeler

Things are still very much in flux here, which might prompt the Bills to keep an extra, more game-day ready lineman like Legursky or Hairston for at least the early portions of the season. Things are especially iffy at tackle, so Hairston was my last cut. It would be lovely if the team could find a center with upside on the waiver wire in a couple of weeks.

Defensive End (5)

  • Mario Williams
  • Jerry Hughes
  • Manny Lawson
  • Jarius Wynn
  • Jacquies Smith
  • Cuts (2): Ike Igbinosun, Bryan Johnson

I like the idea of keeping both Wynn, who can slide inside to tackle, and Smith, who can stand up and play some special teams, for Week 1. Both have had solid camps thus far.

Defensive Tackle (4)

  • Kyle Williams
  • Marcell Dareus
  • Alan Branch
  • Corbin Bryant
  • Cuts (3): Stefan Charles, Landon Cohen, Damien Jacobs

This is, bar none, the most difficult position to figure out. Two players are guaranteed roster spots (the obvious one), and the only player that is a longshot to make the team is Jacobs. The rest is wide open. I still have a hard time believing Branch doesn't make the team, but that is a distinct possibility.

Linebacker (6)

  • Brandon Spikes
  • Keith Rivers
  • Preston Brown
  • Stevenson Sylvester
  • Ty Powell
  • Randell Johnson
  • Cuts (2): Jimmy Gaines, Xavius Boyd

The Bills have the option of putting Nigel Bradham under a Reserve/Suspended designation for Week 1, which would allow them to keep an extra guy on the 53 for the Chicago game. (In this projection, it was Smith, the end.)

Cornerback (6)

  • Stephon Gilmore
  • Leodis McKelvin
  • Corey Graham
  • Nickell Robey
  • Ron Brooks
  • Ross Cockrell
  • Cuts (4): Mario Butler, Bobby Felder, Kamaal McIlwain, Sam Miller

This position is very settled, and will be virtually ironclad when McKelvin is back to full speed. Having six viable corners is an excellent situation to be in.

Safety (4)

  • Aaron Williams
  • Da'Norris Searcy
  • Duke Williams
  • Jonathan Meeks
  • Cuts (4): Kenny Ladler, Deon Broomfield, Jajuan Harley, Derek Brim

I still think Williams may ultimately leapfrog Searcy, but absent a strong surge from Ladler over the next two weeks, this spot seems settled as well.

Specialists (3)

  • Dan Carpenter
  • Brian Moorman
  • Garrison Sanborn
  • Cuts (2): Dustin Hopkins, Jake Dombrowski

There are enough depth concerns where keeping Hopkins as a kickoff specialist would be a bit too rich for now, but don't count him out yet.

Reserves (2)

  • LB Kiko Alonso (Reserve/Injured)
  • LB Nigel Bradham (Reserve/Suspended)

Alonso probably will land on IR, unless the team is still holding out hope that he can make a miraculous comeback in time for the Super Bowl or something.

Here's the full 53-man squad in depth chart form. Where am I wrong, Bills fans?

Pos. # Starter # Backup # Reserve # Reserve
WR 19 Mike Williams 81 Marcus Easley
WR 10 Robert Woods 15 Chris Hogan
LT 77 Cordy Glenn 66 Seantrel Henderson
LG 74 Chris Williams

C 70 Eric Wood
RG 60 Kraig Urbik 68 Cyril Richardson
RT 79 Erik Pears 71 Cyrus Kouandjio
TF 84 Scott Chandler 85 Lee Smith 38 Frank Summers 48 Evan Rodriguez
WR 14 Sammy Watkins 88 Marquise Goodwin
QB 3 EJ Manuel 9 Thad Lewis 7 Jeff Tuel
RB 28 C.J. Spiller 22 Fred Jackson 26 Anthony Dixon 35 Bryce Brown
Pos. # Starter # Backup # Reserve # Reserve
RE 55 Jerry Hughes 91 Manny Lawson 54 Jacquies Smith
DT 95 Kyle Williams 97 Corbin Bryant
DT 99 Marcell Dareus 90 Alan Branch
LE 94 Mario Williams 92 Jarius Wynn
OLB 56 Keith Rivers 58 Stevenson Sylvester 93 Randell Johnson
MLB 51 Brandon Spikes 52 Preston Brown 57 Ty Powell
CB 21 Leodis McKelvin 20 Corey Graham
NB 37 Nickell Robey 29 Ross Cockrell
S 23 Aaron Williams 36 Jonathan Meeks
S 25 Da'Norris Searcy 27 Duke Williams
CB 24 Stephon Gilmore 33 Ron Brooks
Pos. # Starter # Backup # Reserve # Reserve
K 2 Dan Carpenter
P 8 Brian Moorman
LS 65 Garrison Sanborn