Rex Ryan said the Buffalo Bills would likely make the final cuts today instead of waiting all the way up until the 4pm EST deadline on Saturday... so here’s a bright-and-early 53-man roster projection.
Tyrod Taylor, EJ Manuel, Cardale Jones
Running back (4)
LeSean McCoy, Mike Gillislee, Reggie Bush, Jonathan Williams
For as well and blue-collar as Boom Herron ran behind a matador offensive line last night, I don’t think he squeezes out any of the Bills top 4 RBs.
Felton has been the target of some cut speculation over the last week or so, but I’d be shocked if he were cut for a few reasons. Firstly, he’s the only, true lead-blocking fullback on the roster and that player is an important piece to Greg Roman’s run game. Secondly, he’s due $2.3M this year and if cut, it’d only save the Bills $350k. He’ll be on the final 53-man roster.
Tight end (3)
Charles Clay, Jim Dray, Glenn Gronkowski
I think Gronk is in. Rex praised him yesterday although he wasn’t having a spectacular outing. He finished the game against the Lions with four carries for 19 yards. For as much as Felton is a lead-blocker only, Gronk can do more things for Buffalo. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him used as a FB dive player to start, and he could eventually catch some passes out of the backfield. He’s not a dominating blocker though. Yes, Nick O’Leary had the best night of any Bills player against the Lions, I just think it was too small of a sample size of production to make the team, and he’s almost assuredly safe on the practice squad.
Wide receiver (6)
Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, Walter Powell, Greg Salas, Jarrett Boykin
New addition alert: Jarrett Boykin. He didn’t turn in a 100-yard game in Detroit but has showcased impressive agility after the catch on more than one occasion during the preseason. I think the Bills like his size (6’2” / 215) and collegiate connection with Tyrod Taylor. Dez Lewis is still practice-squad eligible... that’s where he’ll land.
Offensive tackle (4)
Cordy Glenn, Jordan Mills, Cyrus Kouandjio, Seantrel Henderson
Buffalo clearly wanted to address the depth of the interior of its offensive line this week, hence the signing of Patrick Lewis. At tackle, the Bills depth isn’t an issue.
Interior offensive line (5)
Richie Incognito, Eric Wood, John Miller, Ryan Groy, Patrick Lewis
Velasco is the cut here. He was on the field in the second half yesterday and didn’t look good, which is never a positive sign for a veteran. Groy shouldn’t be considered high-quality guard depth, however, he could play as a sixth or seventh lineman in jumbo sets.
Defensive line (5)
Kyle Williams, Jerel Worthy, Adolphus Washington, Corbin Bryant, Leger Douzable
I wavered back and forth on Lavar Edwards. He was one of the better third-stringers out there last evening, just couldn’t find room for him on the final 53-man roster.
Edge rusher (4)
Jerry Hughes, Manny Lawson, Lorenzo Alexander, Lerentee McCray
Sorry to those who’ve already made and purchased custom “Beerman” jerseys. Kroy simply hasn’t been the reliable edge-setter the Bills were supposed to be getting when they signed him. The trade for McCray helps precipitate the former Falcon getting cut. As for Bryson Albright, he’s a prime practice-squad candidate.
Preston Brown, Zach Brown, Brandon Spikes, Randell Johnson, Ramon Humber
Spikes didn’t play in the preseason finale, which is telling. He’s a roster lock and will contribute as a thumping run stuffer, a linebacker role that, in my opinion, has underrated value in the today’s NFL. For as awkward as the tall and lanky Johnson looks at inside linebacker, his burst stands out.
Stephon Gilmore, Ronald Darby, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Kevon Seymour, Sterling Moore, Corey White
Unchanged from a week ago.
Corey Graham, Aaron Williams, Duke Williams, Robert Blanton
Number’s game gets Colt Anderson. Has he really been a special teams ace this summer? I’d say he’s made more plays as a safety. Not enough to supplant Blanton or even Duke.
Special Teams (3)
Dan Carpenter, Colton Schmidt, Garrison Sanborn
Zero surprises here.
Notable cuts: Kroy Biermann, Fernando Velasco, Colt Anderson, Dez Lewis