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Bills Beat Blog

By Joe Buscaglia
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Bills 53-man roster projection: 8/18

It’s that time of year. The Buffalo Bills have been in training camp long enough to the point in which that impressions have been made on both the coaching staff and front office.

The team has played three of their five preseason games, and with only eight days to go before the first round of cuts, it’s also a good time for WGR’s first roster projection of the summer. Who makes the cut? Who doesn’t? Any surprises?

Let’s find out:

Quarterback (3)
EJ Manuel, Jeff Tuel, Thad Lewis
Cuts: Dennis Dixon
- The quarterback group has been the weakest from a depth perspective. EJ Manuel is trying to find the consistency required for the Bills to take the next step. Behind him, both Jeff Tuel and Thad Lewis have failed to discern themselves as the backup quarterback the Bills were hoping for. Tuel has been mediocre and would likely win the job by default because Lewis has struggled throughout all of camp. Don’t be surprised if Lewis gets cut and the Bills look to the first or second round of cuts around the league for a veteran backup with some game experience.

Halfback (4)
C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Bryce Brown, Anthony Dixon
Cuts: Ronnie Wingo
- This is as straight forward as it gets. The team still has big plans for both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, and they acquired Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon in the offseason. Ronnie Wingo will be playing in the fourth and fifth preseason games to try and hook on with another team, or to prove himself worthy of practice squad consideration.

Fullback (1)
Frank Summers
Cuts: Evan Rodriguez
- In this battle, Frank Summers still takes the first-team snaps and is the better blocker of the two. In a run-heavy scheme that gives Summers, who isn’t as gifted athletically, the edge in the debate. Evan Rodriguez needed to show he could make big plays out of the backfield, but he’s coupled the good (big receptions) with the bad (scuffles, fumbles).

Wide Receiver (6)
Sammy Watkins, Mike Williams, Robert Woods, Chris Hogan, Marquise Goodwin, Marcus Easley
Cuts: T.J. Graham, Kevin Elliott, Chris Summers, Tori Gurley, Caleb Holley, Naaman Roosevelt
- With five spots essentially locked up the sixth receiver position comes down to T.J. Graham, the former third-round pick, and Marcus Easley. Graham has picked it up over the past week or so, but his problems with drops have plagued his training camp and he doesn’t offer enough in the special teams category to win the sixth spot. Easley, on the other hand, has shown enough offensively in camp to warrant the final spot, allowing the team to keep his special teams presence on the roster.

Tight End (3)
Scott Chandler, Lee Smith, Chris Gragg
Cuts: Tony Moeaki, Dominique Jones
- The Bills probably really wanted Tony Moeaki to make this roster. Unless he gets healthy enough to play in this week of practice and during the final two preseason games though, it could be the end of the line. The Bills likely want to keep an athletic tight end, and since Moeaki has been injured, Gragg stays on.

Offensive Tackle (4)
Cordy Glenn, Erik Pears, Seantrel Henderson, Cyrus Kouandjio
Cuts: Chris Hairston, Edawn Coughman
- Seantrel Henderson has played his way on to the 53-man roster by showing much more than his actual draft position in the seventh round. Had he not been a second-round pick and instead a fifth, sixth, or seventh-round selection, Cyrus Kouandjio’s chances of making the roster would be slim. The Bills are between a rock and a hard place here, though. They can’t subject either player to the open market and need the tackle depth behind Cordy Glenn and Erik Pears. Don’t be surprised if the Bills experiment with Henderson at right tackle once Glenn proves to be ready to return, but he’ll have to show quite a bit in a short amount of time to unseat Pears. Chris Hairston saw his roster spot vanish when his move inside to guard early in camp failed.

Offensive Guard (3)
Chris Williams, Cyril Richardson, Kraig Urbik
Cuts: Antoine McClain, J.J. ‘Unga, Jared Wheeler
- The Bills thought both Antoine McClain and J.J. ‘Unga had some upside to them heading into training camp, but neither have been able to show more than that potential. Cyril Richardson has played his way on to the 53-man roster, but whether or not he starts at right guard at the beginning the season is up for debate. They might opt to continue to work with Richardson over the course of the first few weeks either until he’s deemed ready, they need to replace Kraig Urbik in the starting lineup due to poor play, or a combination of the two.

Center (2)
Eric Wood, Doug Legursky
Cuts: Macky MacPherson
- It’s safe to say that Doug Legursky wasn’t exactly a fan favorite after starting the majority of games in 2013 at left guard. Regardless, he’s the only player on the roster with significant experience at all three interior positions. For that reason, he sticks.

Defensive End (4)
Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes, Manny Lawson, Jarius Wynn
Cuts: Jacquies Smith, Ike Igbinosun, Bryan Johnson
- The final chop off the roster was to remove Jacquies Smith from the 53. He has had a very solid camp, but up against the other final spot finalist (who we’ll get to shortly), Smith has not been nearly as productive. With this quartet, the Bills have two sets of defensive ends that are similarly built. Mario Williams and Jarius Wynn are the bigger ends that can set the edge and hold their ground, while Jerry Hughes and Manny Lawson are more of the smaller, quick-twitch players.

Defensive Tackle (5)
Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Stefan Charles, Corbin Bryant, Landon Cohen
Cuts: Alan Branch, Damien Jacobs
- The most notable part of this roster projection is defensive tackle Alan Branch not being included on the roster. There are certain facts regarding his 2014 that one can’t ignore, however. First, he signed a contract extension early on into the offseason. After that, though, Branch has not necessarily been in the good graces with the coaching staff. He didn’t show up to any offseason workouts, which led to head coach Doug Marrone publicly saying that they haven’t even heard from him through the process. Then, at the start of training camp, Branch failed his conditioning test and couldn’t practice for the first few days. To top it all off, he has fallen behind on the depth chart to Stefan Charles, Corbin Bryant and Landon Cohen, and didn’t get his first action in Saturday’s game until the fourth quarter after all of the aforementioned three got some time. Marrone all but confirmed Branch might be in trouble by saying after the game that the defensive tackle is competing for a spot on the roster. With how disruptive both Charles and Cohen have been, Branch is on the outside looking in. Cohen was the last one in, beating out Jacquies Smith for the final spot.

Linebacker (5)*
Brandon Spikes, Keith Rivers, Preston Brown, Stevenson Sylvester, Randell Johnson
Cuts: Ty Powell, Jimmy Gaines, Xavius Boyd
- Due to Nigel Bradham’s one game suspension, he will not count against the roster until the week after the team’s first game. With that in mind, both Stevenson Sylvester and Randell Johnson make the cut. Sylvester hooks on perhaps only on a temporary basis. They need a fifth linebacker without Bradham available, and Sylvester can be that depth they need. Once available, a flip of Sylvester for Bradham on the active roster isn’t out of the question. Rookie Randell Johnson makes the team because of his raw tools and athleticism, but he'll be one of the most common inactives throughout the season.

Cornerback (6)
Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin, Nickell Robey, Corey Graham, Ross Cockrell, Ron Brooks
Cuts: Mario Butler, Bobby Felder, Kamaal McIlwain, Sam Miller
- Cornerback joins running back as one of the more straight forward positions to predict. The only one in doubt heading into training camp was Ron Brooks, but he has had quite a strong summer.

Safety (4)
Aaron Williams, Da’Norris Searcy, Duke Williams, Jonathan Meeks
Cuts: Kenny Ladler, Deon Broomfield, Jajuan Harley, Derek Brim
- Although he has plenty of college accolades, Ladler’s pair of injuries combined with the roster squeeze prevents him from making the roster. The practice squad isn’t out of the question, though.

Kicker (1)
Dan Carpenter
Cuts: Dustin Hopkins
- Dustin Hopkins is doing exactly what he can’t afford to: sitting out of practices and a game due to an injury. He needs to prove that he can be an asset in the kickoff department, and he isn’t doing that by being on the sideline. This week is a big one for Hopkins.

Punter (1)
Brian Moorman
Cuts: Jake Dombrowski
- The only way Jake Dombrowski will unseat Brian Moorman, who is a longtime fan favorite, will be if the younger punter has vastly outperformed Moorman throughout camp and in games. That hasn’t happened, so Moorman’s stay with the Bills continues.

Long Snapper (1)
Garrison Sanborn
Cuts: None
- The team experimented with both Lee Smith and Mike Caussin as a long snapper at times, but they don’t get much better than Garrison Sanborn.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of The Associated Press

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08/18/2014 1:25PM
Bills 53-man roster projection: 8/18
Please enter your comments below.
08/18/2014 1:50PM
They are who we thought they were...
No surprises, really. Should go after another (different) backup QB.
08/18/2014 2:30PM
Great Analysis / Great Additions
WGR has done an outstanding job in adding Joe Buscaglia to the Bills beat. Joe's analysis of the personnel and their potential for not only making the team, but their actual value to the team is unmatched. Along with the addition of Sal Capaccio theWGR front office has done an outstanding job in the off season beefing up the Bills' coverage. Keep giving us more of Joe and Sal.
08/18/2014 3:00PM
Should have never brought back Roosevelt in the first place
A complete and utter waste of time. The dude just can't play at an NFL level and never, ever will be able to. I don't understand why they keep giving Roosevelt chances just because he is a hometown product. Hopefully whomever assumes ownership of this team will put an end to these stupid and wasteful decisions made by GM's and coaches. Now onto Doug Legursky. He should be off the team. He in no way, shape or form should be the backup center. Center is the most important position on the line. It's even more important than tackle. Doug Legursky does not have the genetics or the toughness to play O-Line in the NFL period. They better hope and pray that Wood stays healthy. If Wood gets hurt and Glenn can't get back anytime soon then it's safe to say that the Bills have the worst O-Line in the entire NFL and so goes the season.
08/18/2014 3:04PM
Wait a Minute on QB
You mean they're going to actually KEEP EJ after those preseason games and pathetic training camp? Can't we pick up a used filler until next years' draft?
08/18/2014 3:58PM
What ???? kind of sentence is this ? My God, where did you go to school ?
Bills have been in training camp long enough to the point in which that impressions have been made on both the coaching staff and front office. You really need to take some writing classes. It's painful reading what you try to write!!!
08/18/2014 4:44PM
I agree on these players
But one thing is for sure. They will be pick up by another team. the biggest names on this list that you have is. chris hairston, manny lawson,tj gram and naaman roosevelt. these guys can surley make another team. Now what puzzle me is stevenson sylvester they must really see something in him that we don't see. And i will leave it at that. But to keep lewis or tuel just might be a big mistake at this point in time. but time will tell. Lets go ruff buff
08/18/2014 4:50PM
2015 Draft
It would be very bad if Cyrus Kouandjio is a bust. There were other Offensive Linemen available at that pick. If he is not good, they may have to use their first pick (2nd Round) on an Offensive Lineman. Uh OH.
08/18/2014 7:14PM
Philly is circling...
They seem pretty interested in Hopkins if he gets cut.
08/18/2014 8:10PM
Big Stu
I agree cut Lewis, I see no upside to him. St tight and see what veteran QB is available (someone will be) if I was GM I would contact Washington and see what they would give up Cousins for.
08/18/2014 9:24PM
Bills 53-man roster projection: 8/18
If they had a solid veteran QB, they wouldn't need to keep 3 QBs and that would open up a roster spot for another position.
08/18/2014 9:35PM
Pathetic Blog
You are a Joke Joe. I'd cut all four of these quarterbacks. They all suck. You better get your act together. Your 53 man roster blows. Re project fool. What the heck are you watching? I have Aaron Williams and Gilmore both cut on my chart saying. What a Joke this blog is. Who's fanny are you kissing? GET WITH IT!
08/18/2014 10:10PM
Don't Worry, Bills Fans!
Don't worry about E.J., Hackett, the offense -- the team is very cleverly keeping all its best plays hidden until the season opener (I keep hearing that on the radio). They're going to re-invent football, they're going to surprise every team they meet with tricky plays the NFL has never seen before (like the end zone fade route to big Mike Williams, which should fool anybody who hasn't since a league game since 1975). The fact that they're keeping a small army of running backs might mean they want to run the ball more and pass less, while the elite teams continue to shoot out the lights, and that will surely surprise football folks. If all this seems familiar it's because we were led to believe the same things in the pre-season last year. But really, this Bills offense can score a touchdown anytime but that would only ruin the surprise. It's under wraps, that's all, and soon we'll be stunned just like Belichick and all those other bums... gosh, hope I don't get in trouble for revealing all these state secrets.
08/18/2014 10:39PM
I think the Bills go into the season with two TE's or they pick one of the wavier wire. I only see Chandler and Lee Smith making it.
08/18/2014 10:55PM
MAybe We Can Get....
A QB once other teams downsize thier rosters, it is evident that is our biggest need
08/19/2014 8:01AM
the answer is
Trump buys the team and fires everyone. A big new stadium is built and Trump hires a new staff with bigger and brighter ideas. Over pays for a vetran Qb, cuzz he can, over pays for a vetran lineman, cuzz he can, brings in his daughter to run the operation and whaaa laa, we r superbowl bound, cuzz he payed to get us in.
08/19/2014 8:43AM
Hopkins will make this team
My prediction is that Dustin Hopkins in fact will make the 53 man line-up, I follow social media a ton and know that EJ and Dustin are best friends, they have been since Florida State, whenever they go out somewhere they do it together, So I think as long as EJs here so is Hopkins mark my words
08/19/2014 9:17AM
Hopkins getting Interest
There is no doubt in the NFL circles (from NFL Network) that if Bills release Hopkins (and don't find a trade partner) he will be quickly snapped up. His upside remains very high. Playing the "hot Tub routine" with regular lazies like Moeki, Chris Williams, and Goodwin doesn't help his chances in Buffalo.
08/19/2014 9:49AM
Another year of the vindictive, clownish "expert" and uneducated listener on good old WGR. Thank god for the sponsors sake Buffalo is too small of a market to support another sports-talk station. Tough luck for the rest of us.
08/19/2014 10:10AM
Purdy Soon, be Patient
Watch the veteran cuts from other teams. I hope the Bills react quickly before New England does. Enough said.
08/19/2014 10:30AM
EJ and Hopkins
I've heard from a few that EJ and Hopkins are very good friends. With our endless redzone failure, do you think it is EJ being nice to his friend...putting the kicker out there I mean. Please, please someone tell EJ the point is to score TDs. EJ,I really hope you read this! Try to score TDs!!!
08/19/2014 12:23PM
Maybe Hopkins
is tanking so he can go to a winning team and play.
08/19/2014 2:21PM
RE: Great Analysis / Great Additions
I agree with the comments about Joe and Sal. Joe has been my favorite segment for a long time. I have followed Sal online for years before he came to WGR. Loved it when he was brought into WGR. I like the other guys too, they catch more flack then they should, but yeah these two are my favorite. I feel combined with everyone else, we now have a really good mix of unique voices on the station. Props to all. Oh and bring back the Thurman Thomas show!
08/19/2014 2:53PM
Man, there sure are some stupid replies to this blog...
just sayin'
08/19/2014 7:42PM
Re: to stupid replies
man i sure agree with you. What do joe and sal got to do with this blog. please can we just stick with the subject at hand. Just sayin'
08/19/2014 8:38PM
RE: Great Analysis / Great Additions
Quit the crack habit douchebag.
08/19/2014 8:49PM
Some of these comments schmoozing Joe and Sal
You got to be Joking.
08/20/2014 2:33PM
Joe your comment indicates that Cohen is the last guy to make the roster, but he's been absolutely dynamite in the preseason games so far, flying off the snap on every play. Absolutely must keep him
08/21/2014 7:44AM
re: to cohen
They keep on saying that he has played for five other teams. And this is my first time ever hearing about this guy. We were like who is in the hell is cohen. We were like other teams could not find a way to use his talent on the field. Hey their lost ourgain lets us be the first ones to welcome you home cohen. When you talk about a player who brings it. Well this man brings it so happy he on our team. lets go ruff buff.
08/21/2014 12:55PM
Bills have missed playoffs for 14 years. They chose EJ with #1 pick when other 31 teams said it was a reach. But they knew better. Maybe one day soon they will admit they made a MAJOR mistake; dump EJ, and try again! ( Would anyone like to have seen Vickas the QB with our offense?? We wouldn't win 3 or 4 games this year like we will with EJ.
08/21/2014 10:35PM
We definatly need a better backup qbthan lewis hes terrible and kouandijo should be cut hes very bad
08/22/2014 5:41PM
EJ guy
who told you 31 teams said EJ was a reach? ohhh, you're speculating. Thanks!
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