The Buffalo Bills entered Thursday night’s fourth and final preseason game with 83 players on the roster, after cutting half a dozen players on Monday. That leaves 30 to be cut ahead of tomorrow’s 4 p.m. deadline when all 32 teams must reduce their rosters to 53.
Based on everything that’s played out over the last month since training camp first opened up, here’s a projection of how the Bills roster could look ahead of Week 1.
Quarterback (2) – Tyrod Taylor, Nathan Peterman
With both Tyrod Taylor and T.J. Yates in the concussion protocol, retaining just two quarterbacks, one of which is healthy, is risky. That said, Yates has been abysmal throughout the entirety of camp and the preseason. At this point he’s just taking up unnecessary space. Buffalo cuts him and will likely look to the other 31 team’s roster cuts to find a third string quarterback, that is unless they decide to run with just two.
Cut: Keith Wenning, T.J. Yates
Running Back (3)– LeSean McCoy, Jonathan Williams, Joe Banyard
It’s not far-fetched to envision Buffalo only keeping LeSean McCoy and Jonathan Williams and using Mike Tolbert as their third back. That said, Banyard has earned a roster spot after a solid preseason. Unfortunately, the feel good story that is Buffalo native Jordan Johnson comes to an end, but he could be a practice squad candidate. Taiwan Jones also falls victim to cuts.
Cut: Jordan Johnson, Taiwan Jones
Full Back (2) – Mike Tolbert, Patrick DiMarco
Keeping two fullbacks in today’s NFL is strange, but both Tolbert and DiMarco seem to have a role on this team, on top of being great locker room guys. They both survive.
Wide Receiver (7) – Zay Jones, Jordan Matthews, Andre Holmes, Rod Streater, Brandon Tate, Corey (Philly) Brown, Brandon Reilly,
The Bills Wide receiver situation is probably the most difficult to predict. After trading away Sammy Watkins and Anquan Boldin’s retirement Buffalo is left with a group of misfits at receiver behind rookie Zay Jones and proven commodity Jordan Matthews. Rod Streater had a standout preseason, so despite being hurt Buffalo can’t afford to lose him. Conversely, Andre Holmes has been a disappointment, but he seems to still have the respect of his coaches. For returning purposes alone, Brandon Tate will make this team, and after that it’s really a crapshoot. A strong performance in the preseason finale by Brandon Reilly earns him a spot, and perhaps Philly Brown nabs one as well. In this case, the Bills lack talent at the position and have room to keep seven, so they do. Can’t hurt to have a few extra bodies.
Cut: Dez Lewis, Daikel Shorts, Jeremy Butler, Walt Powell
Tight End (3) – Charles Clay, Nick O’Leary, Logan Thomas
Charles Clay and Nick O’Leary are utter locks to make the roster. They have been consistently reliable targets for both Tyrod Taylor and Nathan Peterman throughout the preseason. Having those two makes keeping Logan Thomas an easy decision. He still has some work to do in becoming a better blocker, but he’s proved he can catch the football and at 6-foot-6 could be a massive target for Taylor. Thomas hauled in nine passes for 72 yards during the preseason.
Cut: Wes Saxton
Offensive Line (8) – Cordy Glenn, Jordan Mills, Richie Incognito, John Miller, Eric Wood, Ryan Groy, Vladimir Ducasse, Dion Dawkins
With the battle for starting right guard carrying over into last night’s preseason finale, the Bills keep both John Miller and Vlad Ducasse. For what it’s worth, Miller had a stronger camp and preseason, but for whatever reason the coaching staff likes Ducasse. Buffalo will be plenty deep at guard in this scenario, but not so much at tackle. Still, on top of being suspended for the first five games of the season, Seantrel Henderson has had a horrendous preseason. He simply isn’t worth keeping. The rest of this group is pretty self-explanatory.
Cut: Cameron Jefferson, Seantrel Henderson, Greg Pyke, Zach Voytek, Michael Ola, Jordan Mudge
Defensive Tackle (5) – Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Jerel Worthy, Adolphus Washington, DeAndre Coleman
Up until Thursday night, DeAndre Coleman – despite having a respectable preseason – was probably on the outside looking in. However, with Jerel Worthy entering the concussion protocol after an unfortunate helmet-to-helmet collision against the Lions, that saw him escorted to the locker room by trainers, keeping suddenly Coleman became a priority. There’s also Adolphus Washington, who may have entered training camp on the roster bubble after being arrested back on July 9th, but proved he belongs on the roster as Marcell Dareus’ primary backup. Speaking of No. 99, as much as some fans may want to see him miss the cut, there’s just no way.
Cut: Nigel Williams
Defensive End (4) – Jerry Hughes, Shaq Lawson, Ryan Davis, Eddie Yarbrough
This group sorted itself out pretty early. The legend of Eddie Yarbrough started gaining steam at camp and only grew larger when he put together a terrific Bills preseason debut, collecting one sack and two quarterback hits against the Vikings. He’s been a pleasant surprise throughout the month of August. Veteran Ryan Davis has also proven steady enough to make the team.
Cut: Max Valles, Marquavius Lewis, Ian Seau
Linebacker (6) – Preston Brown, Lorenzo Alexander, Ramon Humber, Gerald Hodges, Matt Milano, Tanner Vallejo
Once the Bills traded away Reggie Ragland this past Monday, the linebacker position was basically set. On the first unit Lorenzo Alexander and Ramon Humber flank Preston Brown – all three have looked comfortable in Sean McDermott’s 4-3 defense. Then veteran Gerald Hodges will hold down the fort at MLB on the second-team with rookies Matt Milano and Tanner Vallejo on either side. This is an easy one to decipher.
Cut: Abner Logan, Jacob Lindsey, Sam Barrington, Carl Bradford
Cornerback (6) – Tre’Davious White, Leonard Johnson, E.J. Gaines, Shareece Wright, Kevon Seymour, Greg Mabin
Rookie Tre’Davious White has settled in as the Bills top cornerback. He’ll hold down the left side of the defense. Opposite White, it appears that Shareece Wright has a leg up on E.J. Gaines and Kevon Seymour for Ronald Darby’s old spot. That could change though. Seymour has seen plenty of work there rotating with Wright, and Gaines has looked more comfortable in recent weeks. Leonard Johnson is the first man up at nickel CB, but Seymour will likely see some run at the position too. As for Greg Mabin, the coaches seem to like his upside.
Cut: Charles James, Marcus Sayles, Bradley Sylve
Safety (4) – Jordan Poyer, Micah Hyde, Shamiel Gary, Trae Elston
Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde are obvious starters. Shamiel Gary and Trae Elston seem to be the next men up behind them. There is a chance Gary misses the cut in favor of Joe Powell, because of a lingering injury, we’ll see.
Cut: Joe Powell, B.T. Sanders, Adrian McDonald, Colt Anderson
Kicker (1) – Stephen Hauschka
Punter (1) – Colton Schmidt
Long-snapper (1) – Reid Ferguson
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