The Buffalo Bills are spending a little over another 24 hours at St. John Fisher, but for all intents and purposes, 2014 training camp is officially in the books after yesterday's final practice.
Tomorrow, the Bills will play a home preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This coming Tuesday, August 26, they will have to reduce their roster to 75 players. A week from yesterday, they'll host the Detroit Lions in their annual preseason finale matchup, and then by 4:00 p.m. ET a week from tomorrow, on August 30, they'll cut their roster down to the final 53.
With the exhibition season set to conclude in a little over a week, then, here's our penultimate stab at trying to predict who those 53 players on the final roster will be.
- EJ Manuel
- Jeff Tuel
- Thad Lewis
- Cuts (1): Dennis Dixon
At this point, Tuel has more job security than Lewis. The Bills would still be wise to keep three quarterbacks, but they may want to scour the waiver wire for a better investment than Lewis, who has had a terrible preseason to date.
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.
- Frank Summers
- Cuts (1): Evan Rodriguez
Don't count out Evan Rodriguez just yet, but the fact that the Bills are using Chris Gragg more on special teams bodes well for the latter's chances of sneaking past Rodriguez for the final roster.
Wide Receiver (6)
- Sammy Watkins
- Mike Williams
- Robert Woods
- Chris Hogan
- Marquise Goodwin
- Marcus Easley
- Cuts (5): T.J. Graham, Chris Summers, Caleb Holley, Tori Gurley, Naaman Roosevelt
Graham is making a strong, late push for the final roster, but I'll stick with Easley for now, as he's more of a known quantity on game days.
Tight End (3)
- Scott Chandler
- Lee Smith
- Chris Gragg
- Cuts (2): Tony Moeaki, Dominique Jones
Moeaki's chances of making the team decrease exponentially with every camp practice that he can't participate in.
Offensive Line (8)
- Cordy Glenn
- Chris Williams
- Eric Wood
- Erik Pears
- Seantrel Henderson
- Kraig Urbik
- Cyril Richardson
- Cyrus Kouandjio
- Cuts (6): Doug Legursky, Chris Hairston, Antoine McClain, J.J. 'Unga, Macky MacPherson, Jared Wheeler
I had these same eight linemen making the team last week, and don't see a reason to change now, even after a fairly massive lineup change with the top unit. Urbik edges out Legursky for the final spot. It's also possible that moving Pears to guard increases the chances of Hairston making the team, but not by enough.
Defensive End (4)
- Mario Williams
- Jerry Hughes
- Manny Lawson
- Jarius Wynn
- Cuts (3): Jacquies Smith, Ike Igbinosun, Bryan Johnson
I'll take Wynn over Smith by a nose. Smith's practice squad eligibility helps matters, as well. Buffalo should do what it can to keep him around, because he's quietly had a very good summer.
Defensive Tackle (5)
- Kyle Williams
- Marcell Dareus
- Stefan Charles
- Corbin Bryant
- Landon Cohen
- Cuts (2): Alan Branch, Damien Jacobs
Things definitely don't look good for Branch. Keeping five defensive tackles might be hard for the team to justify, given Wynn's positional versatility and the fact that Williams and Dareus play so much, so while Cohen has earned a roster spot with his play, it's hard to consider him a lock at this point.
- Brandon Spikes
- Keith Rivers
- Preston Brown
- Ty Powell
- Randell Johnson
- Jimmy Gaines
- Cuts (1): 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 Gaines.)
- 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.
- 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 otherwise, this position appears to be settled.
- 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, especially since he has missed a significant amount of practice time.
- LB Kiko Alonso (Reserve/Injured)
- LB Nigel Bradham (Reserve/Suspended)
- LB Stevenson Sylvester (Reserve/Injured)
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. That linebacker position has been hit pretty hard already.
Here's the full 53-man squad in depth chart form. Where am I wrong, Bills fans?
|WR||19||Mike Williams||81||Marcus Easley|
|WR||10||Robert Woods||15||Chris Hogan|
|C||70||Eric Wood||60||Kraig Urbik|
|RG||79||Erik Pears||68||Cyril Richardson|
|RT||66||Seantrel Henderson||71||Cyrus Kouandjio|
|TF||84||Scott Chandler||85||Lee Smith||38||Frank Summers||89||Chris Gragg|
|WR||14||Sammy Watkins||88||Marquise Goodwin|
|QB||3||EJ Manuel||7||Jeff Tuel||9||Thad Lewis|
|RB||28||C.J. Spiller||22||Fred Jackson||26||Anthony Dixon||35||Bryce Brown|
|RE||55||Jerry Hughes||91||Manny Lawson|
|DT||95||Kyle Williams||97||Corbin Bryant||76||Landon Cohen|
|DT||99||Marcell Dareus||96||Stefan Charles|
|LE||94||Mario Williams||92||Jarius Wynn|
|OLB||56||Keith Rivers||93||Randell Johnson||45||Jimmy Gaines|
|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|