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

Defensive Ends (3):

Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Jamie Blatnick

Remember that Buffalo will use different base defenses in 2013. Williams won’t always be a defensive end and some of the names you see under defensive tackle will also see snaps as defensive ends. Some linebackers will also see snaps as defensive ends (Jerry Hughes and Manny Lawson).

In 4-3 looks, Williams is a definite starter. Anderson didn’t have a great first season with the Bills, but a knee injury was a major reason for this. His roster spot should be safe in 2013. Jamie Blatnick has been impressive in OTAs according to BuffaloBills.com. It’s not a lock he makes the roster, but he could be the Bills’ Kyle Moore of 2013.

Torell Troup could have his last chance to prove himself in training camp. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)

Defensive Tackles (5):

Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Alex Carrington, Alan Branch, Torell Troup

Williams and Dareus are locks. Williams has been one of Buffalo’s best players and while Dareus is coming off of an underwhelming season, I think it’s safe to give him a pass as he was grieving the loss of his brother. Alex Carrington, Pro Football Focus’ Secret Superstar for the Bills, should be the first defensive lineman off the bench in 2013.

Branch was a free-agent signing for the Bills and should see time as a rotational player. Troup has had serious back issues, but if healthy, he too will have the opportunity to contribute. This is likely Troup’s last chance with the Bills.

Inside Linebackers (4):

Kiko Alonso, Nigel Bradham, Bryan Scott, Arthur Moats

Alonso, the second of Buffalo’s second-round choices, has seen plenty of time with the first-team defense in OTAs. It’s clear that Alonso is safe as is Bradham. A fourth-round pick in 2012, Bradham is likely to be a three-down linebacker. He could play both inside and outside linebacker.

Scott has seen time with the Bills’ first-team defense at inside linebacker and the veteran is likely to make the team, although it’s no guarantee. Moats is another linebacker who can play both inside and outside. He, like Scott, is no guarantee to make the team, but his ability to play in various linebacker spots makes him valuable.

Outside Linebackers (3):

Keith Pough could be one of numerous undrafted free agents to make the back end of the Buffalo Bills’ roster. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)

Jerry Hughes, Manny Lawson, Keith Pough

Hughes was acquired via a trade with the Colts on April 29th. Since joining the Bills, he’s impressed the team in OTAs by getting to the quarterback often. Lawson was a free-agent signing for the Bills and his versatility should ensure him a roster spot. Recently, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine called Lawson one of the smartest players in the league in an interview with the Buffalo News.

Pough was the toughest pick to make. Truthfully, I had Marcus Dowtin making the roster due to his impressive OTAs and knowledge of Pettine’s defense. However, Pough is a player to keep an eye on in training camp. Pough has shown flashes of his ability during OTAs, but will really get his opportunity to show off his talent at training camp.

Cornerbacks (6):

Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin, Ron Brooks, Nickell Robey, Crezdon Butler, veteran cornerback

Gilmore played excellent football as a rookie is 2012. He’s certainly a lock as is McKelvin, who re-signed with the Bills in the offseason. Brooks played well in limited time during his rookie season and can play in both the slot and on the outside. Robey, an undrafted free agent out of USC, played extremely well in OTAs according to WGR’s Joe Buscaglia. He has a real chance of earning a roster spot and seeing time in the slot. Butler is the last cornerback currently on the Bills roster that I see making the team. Justin Rogers would be a difficult cut, but he regressed significantly in 2012.

There are only five cornerbacks listed here that are actually on Buffalo’s roster. At some point, another team is going to release a veteran cornerback as a cap casualty. Look for the Bills to go after any veteran that may help them win now.

Safeties (4):

Jairus Byrd, Da’Norris Searcy, Aaron Williams, Duke Williams

Byrd is currently franchise-tagged and not under contract, but the Bills have the cap space to get Byrd a new deal. Look for Buffalo to get this deal done. Searcy split reps with George Wilson in 2012 and played well enough that Buffalo released Wilson.

Aaron Williams can play both safety and cornerback. The team isn’t going to give up on Aaron Williams yet, but his play at safety may dictate whether he’s on the Bills in 2014. Duke Williams, Buffalo’s fourth-round pick in 2013, should make the team as the team’s last safety. He’ll see time on special teams.

Special Teams (3):

Dustin Hopkins, Shawn Powell, Garrison Sanborn

I really had trouble not listing Rian Lindell here. He’s played well in OTAs and in 2012, Chan Gailey didn’t give him many opportunities on longer kicks. Lindell, however, is 36 years old, and his time in the NFL is limited. The Bills may well go with sixth-round pick Hopkins, one of the best kickers in the 2013 NFL draft class. He may experience growing pains, but it’s a risk worth taking.

Shawn Powell had his ups and downs in 2012, but I still think he’s likely to be the team’s starting punter. Finally, Sanborn is safe as the team’s long snapper.

Offensive Roster Spots: 25

Defensive Roster Spots: 25

Special Teams Roster Spots: 3

Bills fans, do you agree or disagree with Ryan’s projections? What players not listed on this projection do you think will make the 53-man roster? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!

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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.

    However:

    - 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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