Bills Early T.C. 53-Man Roster Projection

A lot can still change between now and the end of the preseason. That said, here's a 53-man roster projection for the Buffalo Bills if the season were to start today.

There are still plenty of roster spots up for grabs for the Buffalo Bills following their first seven training camp practices. Buffalo will hold an inter-squad scrimmage later this evening that may help many players fighting to make the roster. With that said, here’s a 53-man roster projection and how the depth chart would shake out if the season were to start today.

Editor’s Note: Most players are listed by position according to the team’s official roster page.

Quarterback (3)

Tyrod Taylor, E.J. Manuel, Matt Cassel

No quarterback has been more consistent at training camp than Tyrod Taylor. As of late, he’s been particularly strong. It seems as though Taylor has stretched the field more than Manuel and Cassel combined through the first seven practices. In addition to stretching the field, he’s shown the ability to avoid pressure by using his athleticism and speed.

EJ Manuel still has a chance to win the job but he hasn’t shown any consistency at training camp. That said, he has impressed at times.

While Cassel has probably been the least impressive of the trio, he’s still in the running for the job. Cassel can hit short and intermediate passes and will protect the football. He may be the safest option at QB, but safest isn’t always the best.

Notable cut: Matt Simms doesn’t make the 53-man roster but he does have practice squad eligibility. He has a good chance of landing there with the Bills.

Running Back (4)

LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, Karlos Williams, Anthony Dixon

LeSean McCoy dealt with toe swelling this past week at training camp, but returned towards the end of the week and looked outstanding on the field. Buffalo hopes to get him 300 carries and he should be a valuable asset in the receiving game as well.

Jackson, 34, hurt his hamstring on Friday and will miss a few weeks of action. That said, he’s likely to be the team’s second running back to start the season.

Williams may be listed third here to start the season, but he’s looked explosive in training camp. By the end of the year, the rookie out of FSU may be the team’s No. 2 running back. He appears to be the heir apparent to McCoy at running back.

Dixon is going to miss up to one month of action with a calf injury but his roster spot appears to be safe. He may get some short yardage work as a back and he’ll certainly be used on special teams. Dixon was a tremendous asset on ST in 2014.

Notable cut: Bryce Brown still has a chance to land a roster spot but he hasn’t impressed as of late. He’s still having fumbling issues and struggled mightily in a goal line drill.


Watch LeSean McCoy's circus catch

Fred Jackson injures hamstring

Anthony Dixon out with calf injury

Fullback (1)

Jerome Felton

Buffalo made Felton the second-highest paid fullback in the NFL and he’s a tremendous blocker. He’s a lock to make the team.

Notable cut: The Bills simply can’t carry two fullbacks, but John Conner could receive a call later in the season if Felton goes down with any sort of injury.

Wide Receiver (6)

Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Percy Harvin, Chris Hogan, Marcus Easley, Marquise Goodwin

Watkins has looked outstanding on the field. He should have a big season in 2015, regardless of who wins the starting QB job. Woods has also put together a strong training camp and should be the team’s second receiver. Harvin and Hogan are interchangeable as the team’s No. 3 receiver. Harvin is by far more explosive, but Hogan is one of the most consistent receivers on the team. Marcus Easley should also be considered a lock at this point. He’s one of the best special teams players in the NFL and he’s had a good camp. Last, Marquise Goodwin has also had an outstanding training camp to date and Rex Ryan is consistently praising the speedster.

Notable cuts: Marcus Thigpen is right on the roster bubble. He can contribute as a punt returner, wide receiver and even running back if injuries were to arise. Andre Davis, Justin Brown and Dezmin Lewis are all options for the team’s practice squad.

RELATED LINK: Watch Sammy Watkins' filthy footwork

Tight End (3)

Charles Clay, MarQueis Gray, Chris Gragg

Clay is Buffalo’s clear cut No. 1 tight end, despite not seeing much work through the first seven days of training camp. None of the tight ends have been mentioned on a consistent basis to this point, but Gray may have the most upside of the trio behind Clay. Gragg did get a bit of work on Friday when he was targeted three times in eight plays during 11-on-11 work. He has a good chance of making the roster.

Notable cuts: Nick O’Leary hasn’t been heard from much in training camp. He may be a surprise cut.

Offensive Tackle (3)

Cordy Glenn, Seantrel Henderson, Cyrus Kouandjio

Glenn has locked up the job at left tackle and had a strong training camp. The right tackle competition is too close to call right now, but Henderson and Kouandjio are locks for the roster.

RELATED LINK: Glenn and Incognito named starters

Offensive Guard (4)

Richie Incognito, John Miller, Cyril Richardson, William Campbell

Incognito was recently named the starting left guard by Rex Ryan. He’s had a strong camp and the left side of Buffalo’s line looks strong between Glenn and Incognito. John Miller looks like the favorite to win the right guard spot. He’s had a terrific camp. Richardson has also done well at camp and looks like he’s the best option as the team’s top reserve. Campbell may be a surprise on the list, but he’s flashed his talent at training camp and can play both guard and tackle. That versatility could land him one of the final spots on Buffalo’s 53-man roster.

Center (2)

Eric Wood, Kraig Urbik

Wood had a rough year in 2014 and hasn’t been very consistent at training camp this year, but he’s still the best option at center. Urbik is the team’s backup at the position.

Defensive End (4)

Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes, Manny Lawson, Jarius Wynn

Williams and Hughes should have huge seasons in Rex Ryan’s defense. Lawson is a much better fit in Ryan’s system and will see plenty of playing time. Wynn proved himself last season and although he’s currently out with a knee injury, Wynn has flashed a few times at camp.

Notable cuts: Michael Buchanan and Cedric Reed. Both still have time to win a roster spot, but both need to make the most of their opportunities.


Dominant Displays: Mario Williams

Dominant Displays: Jerry Hughes 

Defensive Tackle (4)

Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Stefan Charles, Corbin Bryant, Alex Carrington

Dareus’ spot does not count against the 53-man roster as he’s suspended for Week 1.

Dareus and Williams are two of the best in the business and should create many headaches for opposing teams in 2015. Stefan Charles is a lock for the roster and should start in Dareus’ place in Week 1. Bryant has had a good camp to date and should also make the roster. Carrington has also looked like good depth along the line as of late and snags a roster spot.

RELATED LINK: Marcell Dareus is scary fast

Linebackers (5)

Preston Brown, Nigel Bradham, Ty Powell, Randell Johnson, Tony Steward

Brown and Bradham had outstanding seasons in 2014 and they look like a young and formidable starting duo. Behind them, Powell and Steward have been running with the second team. Steward is on for now, but he needs to fight off A.J. Tarpley. Randell Johnson should see a role as a pass rusher this season.

Cornerback (6)

Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin, Ronald Darby, Nickell Robey, Mario Butler, Ron Brooks

Stephon Gilmore will be the team’s No. 1 cornerback this season and may have Ronald Darby across from him in Week 1. Darby has had a pretty strong camp and will be ready to start if McKelvin’s ankle injury keeps him off the field. Robey should have an outstanding season in the slot and may be utilized as a blitzing option throughout the season. Butler has been a pleasant surprise at camp and has an outstanding chance of making the roster. Ron Brooks holds onto the final cornerback spot due.

Notable cut: Ross Cockrell has struggled at camp and may be one of Buffalo’s final cuts.

Safety (4)

Aaron Williams, Corey Graham, Duke Williams, Jonathan Meeks

Williams and Graham appear to be the favorites to win the starting safety jobs for the Bills. Behind them is a bit of a mystery. Duke Williams and Meeks have seen time at third safety and Bacarri Rambo is also in the picture. As of now, Rambo is out.

Notable cut: Bacarri Rambo

Kicker (2)

Dan Carpenter, Jordan Gay

Carpenter is out with an injury but he’s beyond safe. Gay is kept on as the team’s kickoff specialist.

Punter (1)

Colton Schmidt

He had a pretty decent year in 2014 and has no competition on the team.

Long Snapper (1)

Garrison Sanborn

Sanborn once again handles long snapper duties for the team in 2015.

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