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Buffalo Bills 53-man roster projection: our penultimate guess

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In advance of tonight's preseason finale, let's take our second-to-last guess at predicting what the Buffalo Bills' 53-man roster will look like in a little over a week.

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Fear not, Buffalo Bills fans: the days of 53-man roster projections, a.k.a. "the mock draft of the preseason," are nearly numbered.

Buffalo takes on the Detroit Lions tonight in their preseason finale, and in advance of that, let's take our penultimate stab at predicting what the team's 53-man roster will look like when the Bills take on the Chicago Bears on September 7.

Quarterback (3)

  • EJ Manuel
  • Jeff Tuel
  • Jordan Palmer
  • Cuts: none

There are only three quarterbacks on the roster after this week's maneuvers, and the pecking order for Week 1 seems secure.

Running Back (4)

  • C.J. Spiller
  • Fred Jackson
  • Anthony Dixon
  • Bryce Brown
  • Cuts: none

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 (1)

  • Frank Summers
  • Cuts (1): Evan Rodriguez

Don't count out Rodriguez just yet, but keeping Chris Gragg makes more sense for the moment given a late-preseason injury to Lee Smith.

Wide Receiver (6)

  • Sammy Watkins
  • Mike Williams
  • Robert Woods
  • Chris Hogan
  • Marquise Goodwin
  • Marcus Easley
  • Cuts (3): T.J. Graham, Caleb Holley, Naaman Roosevelt

Anyone else think the Bills are going to try to find a way to keep Graham, even if it means using seven roster spots on receivers?

Tight End (3)

  • Scott Chandler
  • Lee Smith
  • Chris Gragg
  • Cuts (2): Tony Moeaki, Dominique Jones

Moeaki's unavailability this summer have led to tonight's game being very make-or-break for him.

Offensive Line (9)

  • Cordy Glenn
  • Chris Williams
  • Eric Wood
  • Erik Pears
  • Seantrel Henderson
  • Kraig Urbik
  • Cyril Richardson
  • Cyrus Kouandjio
  • Chris Hairston
  • Cuts (3): Doug Legursky, Antoine McClain, Jared Wheeler

With Kouandjio ill-prepared to play right away, Williams' injury status a question mark at guard, and the blocking tight end Smith dinged up, the Bills seem very likely to keep nine offensive linemen, if only for the early portion of the season.

Defensive End (4)

  • Mario Williams
  • Jerry Hughes
  • Manny Lawson
  • Jacquies Smith
  • Cuts (3): Jarius Wynn, Ike Igbinosun, Bryan Johnson

Count me among the group that would rather see the Bills keep a fourth end with rush upside (Smith) over the end-tackle 'tweener (Wynn). Smith had a strong training camp and played really well against Tampa.

Defensive Tackle (4)

  • Kyle Williams
  • Marcell Dareus
  • Corbin Bryant
  • Stefan Charles
  • Cuts (1): Landon Cohen

There are still enough extenuating circumstances at other positions where keeping a fifth defensive tackle is probably a bit too luxurious, given that the team's starters are going to be on the field for 70-80 percent of snaps, anyway. Cohen might end up being the player most deserving of a roster spot to get the axe this weekend.

Linebacker (5)

  • Brandon Spikes
  • Keith Rivers
  • Preston Brown
  • 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 the kickoff specialist, since they seem to really want one of those.)

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. The four cuts are vying for practice squad space.

Safety (4)

  • Aaron Williams
  • Da'Norris Searcy
  • Duke Williams
  • Jonathan Meeks
  • Cuts (2): Kenny Ladler, Deon Broomfield

It's possible that one of the two cuts (who are strong bets for the practice squad) stick because of the Meeks injury, but it's more likely that Corey Graham will just fill in here if needed.

Specialists (4)

  • Dan Carpenter
  • Brian Moorman
  • Jordan Gay
  • Garrison Sanborn
  • Cuts: none

The Bills really seem like they want a kickoff specialist. Jordan Gay has kicked five kickoffs this preseason; three went for touchbacks, and a fourth was returned from eight yards deep in the end zone. Prepare yourselves, fans who think this role is too minute to care about.

Reserves (3)

  • LB Kiko Alonso (Reserve/Non-Football Injury)
  • LB Nigel Bradham (Reserve/Suspended)
  • LB Stevenson Sylvester (Reserve/Injured)

When Bradham is eligible to return after Week 1, the Bills will have to cut a player from somewhere else on the roster.

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 75 Chris Hairston
LG 74 Chris Williams

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 5 Jordan Palmer
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

DT 95 Kyle Williams 97 Corbin Bryant

DT 99 Marcell Dareus 96 Stefan Charles
LE 94 Mario Williams 54 Jacquies Smith
OLB 56 Keith Rivers 57 Ty Powell 93 Randell Johnson
MLB 51 Brandon Spikes 52 Preston Brown

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 6 Jordan Gay
LS 65 Garrison Sanborn