Roster Projections: 6 Buffalo Bills on the Bubble

Fourth-year defensive tackle Torell Troup is on the Bills’ roster bubble as roster cuts near. (Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Ryan Talbot

The preseason is halfway over and the Buffalo Bills have some important roster decisions to make in the near future. On Aug. 31, the Bills and all other NFL teams must cut their rosters down to 53 players. While some cuts will be easy, there are plenty of Bills who are currently on the bubble.

Just in case you aren’t familiar with the term, a bubble player is someone on the edge of making the Bills’ regular season roster. Take a look at some of Buffalo’s bubble players, and where I think they currently stand in terms of a final roster spot.

Zach Brown

Brown has been coming into preseason games as the Bills’ fourth running back. The former Pittsburgh Panther leads the team in preseason rushing attempts (18) and has run for 58 yards. Brown’s 3.2 yards per carry average isn’t anything to write home about, but he looked impressive to me at training camp. For Brown to make the Bills roster, he’ll have to outperform Tashard Choice in the last two preseason games.

Current Status: Off the 53-Man Roster

Chris Hogan

The wide receiver is affectionately known as “7-Eleven” because he’s “always open.” When I attended training camp from Aug. 12-14, Hogan was the most consistent wide receiver on the field. He caught everything in his vicinity and was a favorite target for all three of Buffalo’s quarterbacks.

During the preseason, Hogan has contributed with six receptions for 45 yards. Buffalo has four wide receivers whose jobs are safe: Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and T.J. Graham. Personally, I feel the list should have a fifth player who is safe, and that’s Hogan.

Yet, I always feel like Mugatu from the movie Zoolander when I mention this. People tell me that while Hogan’s been great he won’t get a roster spot. Generally, the followup is something along the lines of Brad Smith being needed for his veteran presence or that Da’Rick Rogers just has too much potential.

Isn’t Stevie Johnson enough for veteran presence? Couldn’t Brad Smith still make the team as the sixth wide receiver? No one is a bigger fan of Da’Rick Rogers than me, but he was inconsistent at camp and on Monday, Doug Marrone noted that Rogers hasn’t been consistent for the Bills.

“With Da’Rick you see a lot of potential out there where he can go ahead and make plays and physically beat people,” Marrone told Chris Brown of ”Then other times he’s getting down a little bit or maybe feeling a little sorry for himself.”

Hogan’s consistency should give him the nod for the fifth spot at wide receiver.

Current Status: On the 53-Man Roster

Dorin Dickerson

Dickerson is currently in a battle for Buffalo’s third tight end spot with seventh round pick Chris Gragg. Both are very athletic tight ends, but realistically, it is likely only one of the two will make the team at tight end with Scott Chandler and Lee Smith also likely to make the team.

Neither Gragg nor Dickerson have been major focal points during the preseason. Both tight ends have 25 yards receiving, with Gragg having three receptions to Dickerson’s two. Unfortunately for Dickerson, Gragg stood out more at camp. Both can be mismatches in the passing game, but Gragg’s blocking is superior.

Current Status: Off the 53-Man Roster

Torell Troup

Troup is battling for a roster spot after having a terrible history with back injuries. Now healthy, Troup looked decent in training camp. The biggest problem for Troup is that Buffalo is deep at defensive tackle.

Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus are locks, while Alan Branch is also likely to make the 53-man roster. With Alex Carrington also able to play inside, that leaves one last defensive tackle spot, for which Troup is battling Jay Ross and Jarron Gilbert. All three have had decent camps and are worthy of a roster spot, but currently Ross leads in my eyes based on his preseason play.

Current Status: Off the 53-Man Roster

Jonathan Meeks

Meeks was the only draft pick I wasn’t a fan of for Buffalo. It’s not Meeks’ fault that the Bills drafted him in Round 5, but I had him graded as a 7th round to undrafted free agent prospect. At training camp, Meeks made an occasional play, but overall he wasn’t impressive.

Star free safety Jairus Byrd signed his tender with the Bills on Tuesday. If Byrd plays up to his talent level and stays healthy, should the team keep five safeties? Eventually, the team may cut one of their safeties, and Meeks may be the odd man out. For the time being, the team probably keeps Meeks for depth.

Current Status: On the 53-Man Roster

Justin Rogers

When the Bills drafted Rogers, it seemed as though they found a diamond in the rough. His final overall rating by Pro Football Focus (subscription required) during his rookie season was a -1.1 on 216 snaps.

In 2012, you didn’t need analytics to see that Rogers’ play took a step backwards. He was out of place and a liability in pass coverage. He finished with a -9.9 rating, with a -10.5 in pass coverage, on 547 snaps.

Rogers’ saving grace may be Buffalo’s lack of depth at cornerback. His play needs to improve, however, under the new coaching regime.

Current Status: On the 53-Man Roster

Tags: Bubble Players, Chris Hogan, Dorin Dickerson, Jonathan Meeks, Justin Rogers, Mugatu, Torell Troup, Zach Brown

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