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Buffalo Bills 53-man roster projection: Pre-cuts edition

Before the Bills announce their first round of cuts today, this is who’s in and who’s out.

Quarterback (3)

Tyrod Taylor, EJ Manuel, Cardale Jones

Jones is currently away from the team for unknown personal reasons, which led to the Austin Trainor signing. Despite that, the fourth-round pick will be on the final 53-man roster as the Bills No. 3 quarterback.

Running back (4)

LeSean McCoy, Mike Gillislee, Reggie Bush, Jonathan Williams

This is pretty much set in stone, although Gillislee is fighting through a concussion and Williams hurt his ribs against the Redskins. Obvious picks here.

Fullback (1)

Jerome Felton

Felton has had a solid albeit unspectacular summer after a so-so 2015 campaign, but with his contract and experience, he makes the roster as the club’s primary, power-run lead blocker.

Tight end (3)

Charles Clay, Jim Dray, Glenn Gronkowski

Baby Gronk is the new addition here. Jeff Hunter wrote an insightful piece on Gronk’s chances to make the roster, and I agree with him. He can be a legitimate H-back who blocks, takes FB dives in short-yardage situations and catch passes out of the backfield. Blake Annen is more of a receiving threat than Jim Dray, however, Roman likes to keep a blocking tight end handy.

Wide receiver (6)

Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, Walter Powell, Greg Little, Greg Salas

This was the receiver contingent Dan Lavoie projected a week ago. Nothing has happened since then to precipitate any changes.

Offensive tackle (4)

Cordy Glenn, Jordan Mills, Cyrus Kouandjio, Seantrel Henderson

Henderson will make the team after his tremendously difficult offseason battling Crohn’s disease. Rex has praised Kouandjio for his reliable play protecting the blindside in the preseason. He’ll begin the year as the Bills swing tackle and could jump into the starting right tackle gig if Mills shows inconsistency.

Interior offensive line (5)

Richie Incognito, Eric Wood, John Miller, Ryan Groy, Fernando Velasco

Groy has received the majority of preseason reps at left guard with Richie Incognito out, and I haven’t been very impressed. However, he’s a powerful athlete, and there isn’t much depth behind him at the position. Velasco has only had a few hiccups during the summer, and his versatility will help him make the team.

Defensive line (6)

Kyle Williams, Jerel Worthy, Adolphus Washington, Corbin Bryant, Leger Douzable, Lavar Edwards

Edwards is the only new member here. He earns a spot after a strong outing against the Giants and the block-shedding and bull-rushing he showcased against the Redskins. He’ll backup Washington at end.

Edge rusher (4)

Jerry Hughes, Manny Lawson, Lorenzo Alexander, Kroy Biermann

There’s been nothing definitive on Lawson getting the rumored one-game suspension, so I’m putting him on the final 53-man roster. Sean Murphy exquisitely profiled Albright a week ago, I just haven’t seen enough from him that makes me believe he’ll sneak onto the roster, but he’s the ideal practice squad candidate.

Linebacker (4)

Preston Brown, Zach Brown, Brandon Spikes, Randell Johnson

Spikes has been on the field a lot in the preseason, and unsurprisingly, he’s been a run-stopping menace. In this projection, Johnson narrowly beats out David Hawthorne, simply due to overall range and athletic ability.

Cornerback (6)

Stephon Gilmore, Ronald Darby, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Kevon Seymour, Sterling Moore, Corey White

Unchanged from Dan’s previous projection. White has had an underrated preseason. Moore’s been up and down. Minor injuries to Robey-Coleman and Seymour certainly help the veteran free-agent additions make the roster.

Safety (4)

Corey Graham, Aaron Williams, Duke Williams, Robert Blanton

No major surprises here... I guess besides Duke, who I had as a cut in my first roster projection of the summer. He’s been a thumper in the preseason. Blanton’s experience is very valuable. As for Colt Anderson, though touted as a special teams extraordinaire, I’ve seen him make way more plays as a tradition safety this summer than anything he’s done on fourth down. He’s a victim of the numbers game here.

Special Teams (3)

Dan Carpenter, Colton Schmidt, Garrison Sanborn

Jordan Gay’s value has decreased with the new touchback rule. Dan Carpenter takes over kickoff duties... and don’t be surprised if Buffalo incorporates the “high and short” kick to their special teams’ philosophy.


Shaq Lawson, Marcus Easley, Kolby Listenbee, Marcell Dareus, Reggie Ragland

The Bills will have to make the decision to cut someone once these players are available.

Notable cuts:

Nick O’Leary, Blake Annen, Colt Anderson, Jarrett Boykin, Dez Lewis, Justin Zimmer, Eric Striker, Jonathan Meeks