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2015 Buffalo Bills training camp depth chart, ranked by roster odds

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Which Buffalo Bills players have the best odds of making the 53-man roster at each positional group? We're glad you asked that very specific question, because we have very specific answers.

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Buffalo Bills training camp practices will begin in earnest on Friday, and at that time we'll start to learn more about the pecking order that Rex Ryan, Greg Roman, and the Bills' new coaching staff have set at various positions throughout the roster.

Until then, the best way for us fans to wrap our heads around the ensuing battles for roster spots is not via a traditional depth chart, as those usually lack context. Instead, we're going to try something different today: breaking down each position on the roster by ranking players according to how likely they are to make the 53-man roster.

A lot of the logic employed below is fairly self-explanatory, so I refrained from explaining every little ranking. Most of you are already aware of which players will have roles to play on offense, defense, and special teams, where the fringe battles are, and which deep reserves have the best chance to rise up the depth chart this summer. But where it was necessary, I explained why I ranked players the way I did; you are, as always, free to disagree with that commentary in the comments section below.

Without further ado: the players at each Bills position group, ranked from most likely to make the roster to least likely. (And before you freak out about the first name on the list at quarterback, no, I'm not saying that he's going to start.)

Quarterback

  1. Tyrod Taylor
  2. EJ Manuel
  3. Matt Cassel
  4. Matt Simms

Taylor has minuscule financial numbers and unique physical traits, making him the safest bet to make the team. Manuel's fully-guaranteed rookie deal makes him a tough pill to swallow if released, as well. Cassel's bloated veteran salary makes him an easy target. Simms' only chance at making the roster is as the No. 3 quarterback.

Running Back

  1. LeSean McCoy
  2. Anthony Dixon
  3. Fred Jackson
  4. Karlos Williams
  5. Bryce Brown

I don't understand the idea that the Bills might cut Dixon, as he is critically important to the team's prospects on special teams. Jackson is a popular "surprise cut" nominee due to his age and salary, but it's tough to foresee someone beating him out for the No. 2 job. Williams' rookie-season upside is as a project with special teams ability. Brown has some work to do to climb out of the doghouse, and his spot may be contingent on how Jackson looks this summer.

Fullback

  1. Jerome Felton
  2. John Conner

The big question here: can Conner put together a strong enough summer to beat out a fourth running back for a roster spot? That's not going to be easy.

Wide Receiver

  1. Sammy Watkins
  2. Robert Woods
  3. Percy Harvin
  4. Chris Hogan
  5. Marcus Easley
  6. Marquise Goodwin
  7. Dezmin Lewis
  8. Marcus Thigpen
  9. Deonte Thompson
  10. Tobais Palmer
  11. Caleb Holley
  12. Justin Brown
  13. Andre Davis

Hogan and Easley seem like very safe bets right now thanks to their special teams contributions. Goodwin has earned public praise from his coaches this spring, but will need to stay healthy and have a strong showing in preseason action to earn his keep. Lewis is a project worth keeping an eye on, and don't rule out Thigpen sneaking onto the roster thanks to his return ability.

Tight End

  1. Charles Clay
  2. MarQueis Gray
  3. Nick O'Leary
  4. Matthew Mulligan
  5. Clay Burton
  6. Chris Gragg
  7. Chris Manhertz

This position is a complete crapshoot. Gray can play special teams, which helps his cause tremendously. O'Leary is the gritty type that Ryan loves. Mulligan and Burton are both blocking specialists who have a good shot because of the offensive system they play in. Gragg is an athletic "move" type in Roman's offense whose cause is hurt by the fact that he doesn't play special teams.

Offensive Line

  1. Cordy Glenn
  2. Eric Wood
  3. John Miller
  4. Richie Incognito
  5. Kraig Urbik
  6. Cyrus Kouandjio
  7. Seantrel Henderson
  8. Cyril Richardson
  9. Darryl Johnson
  10. Tyson Chandler
  11. D.J. Morrell
  12. Alex Kupper
  13. William Campbell

Urbik is a virtual lock to make the team as the top reserve at both guard spots and at center. Keep an eye on Johnson, a player with a guard's body that has taken tackle reps in the spring; versatility will help his cause. Buffalo could really, really use some veteran depth here.

Defensive Line

  1. Marcell Dareus
  2. Kyle Williams
  3. Alex Carrington
  4. Stefan Charles
  5. Jarius Wynn
  6. Corbin Bryant
  7. Andre Fluellen
  8. Jeremy Towns
  9. Justin Hamilton
  10. Erik Williams

Carrington's versatility gives him a strong advantage in the quest for reps behind the two starters. Charles still offers some upside, but must improve, and isn't guaranteed anything. Wynn can play the edge in certain looks, which helps his cause. Bryant blocks on kick returns, so don't immediately scratch him off your list. Fluellen will be an interesting name to watch, particularly with Dareus serving a one-game suspension to start the season.

Edge Rusher

  1. Mario Williams
  2. Jerry Hughes
  3. Manny Lawson
  4. Randell Johnson
  5. Michael Buchanan
  6. Cedric Reed
  7. Andrew Hudson
  8. B.J. Larsen

Lawson should see a healthy amount of reps as a package-specific, strong-side linebacker in this defense. Johnson is a tremendous athlete that can play special teams, and Buchanan is similarly versatile, though not as fluid. The three undrafted rookies will have an opportunity to rise, however.

Linebacker

  1. Preston Brown
  2. Nigel Bradham
  3. Ty Powell
  4. Tony Steward
  5. A.J. Tarpley
  6. Jimmy Gaines

Powell is the only reserve that's virtually guaranteed a roster spot. Steward, Tarpley, and Gaines are firmly in "toss-up" territory. It's no guarantee that any of those three will make the team. They'll need to prove useful on special teams to do so.

Cornerback

  1. Stephon Gilmore
  2. Leodis McKelvin
  3. Ronald Darby
  4. Nickell Robey
  5. Ron Brooks
  6. Ross Cockrell
  7. Rod Sweeting
  8. Mario Butler
  9. Cam Thomas

The top five players are very strong bets to make the team. Cockrell is still a project-type, and earning his keep on special teams would do wonders for his chances of making the team. All three of the deep reserves are bigger-bodied types to keep an eye on.

Safety

  1. Aaron Williams
  2. Corey Graham
  3. Duke Williams
  4. Jonathan Meeks
  5. Kenny Ladler
  6. Bacarri Rambo
  7. Wesley Miller

Fans continue to pump up Rambo thanks to his two-interception game against Green Bay, but he was exposed badly in other spots last year, and there's a reason he was a free agent most of the season. Meeks and Ladler are more fluid athletes with better range. Even Miller, who Ryan has compared to long-time favorite Jim Leonhard, might have a better shot at making the team than Rambo.

Specialists

  1. Dan Carpenter
  2. Garrison Sanborn
  3. Colton Schmidt
  4. Jordan Gay

The big question here is, of course, whether or not the Bills will keep Gay, their kickoff specialist, for a second straight season. A coaching change does Gay no favors, though his special teams coordinator is still around to advocate for him.