Buffalo Bills: Ryan Talbot’s Post-Minicamp 53-Man Roster Projection

Kevin Elliott could sneak onto the Buffalo Bills’ roster as the team’s sixth wide receiver. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)

BBD Staff Writer: Ryan Talbot

Training camp doesn’t begin until July 28th and while much can and will change on the Buffalo Bills’ roster, it’s time to start making some predictions. Specifically, it’s time to predict which players will make the Bills’ 53-man roster.

Below is a position-by-position breakdown of who is projected to make final cuts, along with brief analysis of each position and a few blurbs on surprise or veteran cuts.

Quarterback (2):

E.J. Manuel, Kevin Kolb

This one is pretty simple. Tarvaris Jackson was the odd man out and was released on June 10. Manuel and Kolb are fighting for the starting position and the loser will play backup in 2013. Undrafted free agent Jeff Tuel misses the cut, but I see him getting an invite to the Bills’ practice squad.

Running Back (3):

C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Tashard Choice

Spiller and Jackson form one of the strongest 1-2 punches in the NFL. I fully expect head coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to find ways to get both players on the field together. In 2012, Choice did an adequate job of filling in when Spiller and/or Jackson were injured. Choice could be pushed for the third running back role, but I like his odds of making the roster.

Fullback (1):

Frank Summers

I really don’t know much about Summers, but he’s the only player on the Bills roster listed as a fullback on the Bills’ official website (though undrafted free agent Kendall Gaskins could also play fullback). As Chief Wiggum once said on The Simpsons, “I like those odds.”

Wide Receivers (6):

Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, Da’Rick Rogers, T.J. Graham, Marquise Goodwin, Kevin Elliott

Johnson is Buffalo’s top wide receiver and is coming off of three straight 1,000 yard seasons. Woods, Buffalo’s second round pick in the 2013 draft, should share time in the slot with Johnson, as well as playing Z receiver. Rogers is an undrafted free agent, but the Bills had a late first/early second round grade on the wide out based on his talent. As long as Rogers keeps his nose clean, he’ll make the roster and could be the team’s X receiver by season’s end.

Graham and Goodwin are clones in that they’re both speedsters who are a bit unpolished. Graham showed great improvement at OTAs and has a good chance of starting the season at the X receiver due to his speed. As for Goodwin, he’s safe as a rookie third-round pick and can be utilized as a receiver, a weapon on gadget plays and in the return game.

Elliott is my choice for the team’s sixth receiver. His size (6’3″) and speed (4.57 40-yard dash) intrigues me and he played well during OTAs.

Brad Smith missed the cut, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he was chosen as the team’s sixth wide receiver. He is valuable for his special teams play.

Tight Ends (3):

Scott Chandler, Chris Gragg, Mike Caussin

Chandler is coming off of an ACL injury but as long as he’s healthy, he’s a definite to make the roster. Gragg, Buffalo’s seventh-round pick in the 2013 draft is not a sure thing to make the team, but his athleticism is too appealing to pass up. By the end of the season, I see Gragg as the team’s second tight end and involved as a down field threat in Buffalo’s offense.

Mike Caussin wins the third tight end job as a decent receiver and blocker. Lee Smith is out, but another team will pick him up for his blocking skills. Dorin Dickerson is also out as his skillset is comparable to that of Gragg.

Offensive Tackles (4):

Cordy Glenn, Chris Hairston, Erik Pears, Zebrie Sanders

Glenn struggled with his footwork in OTAs according to WGR’s Joe Buscaglia, but he played well at left tackle during his rookie season last year. Hairston is entering his third season in the NFL and should be favorite to start at right tackle. Pears is an excellent backup and should see his fair share of reps. Sanders is not a lock by any means, but he certainly has the talent to play swing tackle in the NFL.

Offensive Guards (5):

Kraig Urbik, Doug Legursky, Chris Scott, Sam Young, Colin Brown

Urbik is a definite starter at right guard and has played extremely well in three seasons with the Bills. Legursky was signed by the Bills on June 5th and has a great chance to start for Buffalo at left guard. He can also slide over to center if Eric Wood suffers an injury.

Scott, a former Steelers fifth-round pick, has seen first-team snaps at left guard and while he isn’t likely to start, the team seems high on Scott. Young is truly a tackle, but the team has tried him at guard. He too is in the running to possibly start at left guard. Brown is another example of solid depth for Buffalo. He’s played in 12 games for Buffalo in the last two seasons.

Center (1):

Eric Wood

Wood has played extremely well for the Bills. His biggest issue has been staying healthy. That said, his roster spot is completely safe.

Defensive/special teams projections are on Page 2.

Continue to Page: 1 2

Tags: 53 Man Roster, Minicamp, Roster Projections

12 Responses to “Buffalo Bills: Ryan Talbot’s Post-Minicamp 53-Man Roster Projection”

  1. Grif says:

    That’s a pretty simlar depth chart to mine.


    - I don’t think we’re going to cut Justin Rogers and pick up a veteran CB.
    - One of the linebackers might lose their spot to Marcus Dowtin.
    - I don’t think the team would cut Johnathen Meeks just yet.
    - Not sure about Jamie Blatnick making the team.
    - I think Brad Smith makes the team instead of Elliot
    - No way is Lee Smith cut for Caussin
    - Would not be surprised if Erik Pears is cut to save cap and we roll with 4 tackles.

    • Ryan Talbot says:

      -Rogers staying would not surprise me at all, but he regressed big time in 2012. -As I mentioned in the article, I had Dowtin on the 53-man roster but went with my gut on Pough. Dowtin thus far deserves a spot.
      -Meeks wasn’t an easy cut, but the Bills did cut rookies Tank Carder and Mark Asper.
      -Blatnick was another gut feeling, but you could certainly be correct.
      -Smith wouldn’t surprise me at all since he is a vital part of our special teams play.
      -I’m not as sold on Smith as you are. He’s a great blocker, but hit and miss as a receiver.
      -Pears would surprise me. He’s great depth and I’m not entirely sold on Hairston.

      Thanks for the response Grif!

  2. Joe Marino says:

    It appears you counted Sam Young twice. If so, you have an extra spot to add a player.

  3. Bernie says:

    What’s your take on the 5th round pick safety Jonathan Meeks?

    • Ryan Talbot says:

      I’m personally very low on Meeks. I had him as a 7th round pick/undrafted free agent.

      I hope he proves me wrong and gets a roster spot, but Buffalo showed last year that they’ll part with draft picks (Tank Carder and Mark Asper).

  4. Dr WG Grace says:

    Elliott v Smith will be one to watch but I think Smith will just edge it this year due to his coverage skills on special teams.

    Smith will beat out Causin as this team will need Smith’s blocking skills in a run first offence.

    Moats will be a cap casualty losing out to Dowtin who has experience of the system and is capable of playing inside and out.

    I think you have one Olineman to many and expect Meeks to make the team instead of Pears (potential cap casualty) or Scott.

    • Ryan Talbot says:

      Definitely don’t expect to have all of these picks correct and you make very good points.

      I think Brad Smith has a 50/50 shot of making the team. Lee Smith is an excellent blocker and that is important in a run-first offense, but I think we could do without him.

      Moats getting cut wouldn’t shock me, but I feel as though he has value in that he can play both inside and out. Dowtin has impressed though.

      I always root for the rookies, so I hope Meeks makes the team. I know Pears isn’t listed as our starter, but I could see him taking the job from Hairston. We’ll see. Thanks for the comment Dr!

  5. Omar says:

    Two things surprised me: 1) No Justin Orgers, 2) No Jonathan Meeks.

    • Ryan Talbot says:

      Replaced Rogers with the veteran cornerback scenario. If the team doesn’t pick up a vet, I’d give a spot to Rogers. However, he was awful in 2012. I’m not sure what caused such a significant drop in his play, but it was bad.

      Meeks is just a hunch. Wasn’t impressed with him in college but as I’ve said, I really hope he proves me wrong.

  6. Jason C. says:

    Does Brandon Kauffman have any shot? I like his upside.

    • Ryan Talbot says:

      I certainly think he has a shot. He reminds me a bit of David Nelson in that he doesn’t have blazing speed, but he has excellent hands.

      The problem for Kauffman and many wide outs is that there is logjam of players vying for the sixth wide receiver position.

      Elliott and Brad Smith are the two names mentioned the most, but some have said that Chris Hogan has played well during the team’s early practices. Marcus Easley is another wide receiver that the team seems to hype up yearly, although I don’t think he’s going to make it.

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