2013 Buffalo Bills Roster Projection: Pre Training Camp Edition

Updated: July 24, 2013
training camp

Before the Buffalo Bills kick off their 2013 training camp, I thought we’d do a quick projection of what the final 53 man roster might look like. This is very speculative and meant to encourage discussion (EMBRACE DEBATE), so think of my picks below as a “jumping off” point. It will also be interesting to see how impressions/opinions about certain players change over the next couple of weeks.

Quarterback (3)

EJ Manuel

Kevin Kolb

Jeff Tuel

Comments: This was made much easier by the dismissal of Tarvaris Jackson. Tuel doesn’t get the spot by default, as the Bills could opt for only 2 QBs if Tuel isn’t any good by using Brad Smith as an emergency player.

Running Back (3)

CJ Spiller

Fred Jackson

Kendall Gaskins

Comments: Gaskins gets the third running back spot because he’s something that Spiller and Jackson are not: a bruiser who could improve the Bills goal line runs, something they’ve struggled with in recent years. Also, no fullback because the Bills won’t be using one frequently  and I think Gragg or Dickerson can fill the role when they do.

Wide Receiver (6)

Stevie Johnson

TJ Graham

Robert Woods

Marquise Goodwin

Da’Rick Rogers

Brad Smith

Comments: If you consider Stevie and the recent draft picks locks (I do), that leaves 1 or 2 spots open. The Rogers pick is hopeful that the receiver can keep his nose clean and be a professional. If so, he has the talent to be a top receiver in the league. The other spot goes to Brad Smith, whose special teams, option plays, and emergency QB capability bring much more value than any other potential 5th or 6th receiver.

Tight End (3)

Scott Chandler

Chris Gragg

Mike Caussin

Comments: Gragg usually wouldn’t be an automatic keep as a 7th rounder, but I think there’s a pretty good chance he winds up as the teams fullback (the Bills won’t be using one often this year). Dorin Dickerson could fill that role as well, but I’ll go with the younger player. Mike Caussin gets the last tight end spot because I think the Bills will want seam stretchers out of the tight end position, and there’s a reason Caussin has been kept around as long as he has.

Offensive Line (9)

Eric Wood

Cordy Glenn

Kraig Urbik

Doug Legursky

Zebrie Sanders

Chris Hairston

David Snow

Sam Young

Erik Pears

Comments: While they’re aren’t any Pro Bowlers, the Bills bring good depth to the tackle position (assuming Chris Hairston is ready to go). David Snow gets a spot for a solid performance in a start last year against Seattle, and his ability to play guard and center.

Defensive Line (7)

Marcell Dareus

Kyle Williams

Alan Branch

Alex Carrington

Torrell Troup

Jay Ross

Izaan Cross

Comments: For the 3 defensive positions, I looked at what the Jets kept the past two years, and for both it was 7-9-10 for defensive line-linebacker-defensive back, so that seemed as good a way as any to structure it. For D-line, Pettine tended to keep 3 nose tackle type players and 4 longer, 5 technique type guys, which is why you’ll see Jay Ross and Torell Troup both on this roster (Carrington, Williams, and Branch aren’t NTs). Izaan Cross is a rookie out of Georgia Tech who is extremely athletic, so I gave him the last spot on this unit. Defensive line may also be a position where the front office may bring in a veteran to shore up the back end depth.

Linebackers (9)

Mario Williams

Manny Lawson

Jerry Hughes

Marcus Dowtin

Brian Scott

Kiko Alonso

Nigel Bradham

Keith Pough

Kourtnei Brown

Comments: I split this one four four, as in four “pass rushing”/OLB types, and four traditional, interior linebacker types. Dowtin has experience with Pettine, but more importantly, impressed enough that Pettine told the front office to go sign him. Pough is very athletic, was insanely productive in college, and was considered one of the top UDFA’s available this year. Courtnei Brown gets the last spot based on potential- and because of this. Arthur Moats would be the most notable cut here- a jack of all trades master of none type that falls victim to never carving out a niche for himself.

Defensive Backs (10)

Stephon Gilmore

Leodis McKelvin

Ron Brooks

Duke Williams

Crezdon Butler

Jonathan Meeks

DaNorris Searcy

Jairus Byrd

Aaron Williams

Nickell Roby

Comments: First, I’m assuming Byrd doesn’t hold out into the season. So than why do I think the Bills keep 5 safeties? Because I don’t think Duke Williams will be exclusively a S, in fact his role will resemble something more of a frequently blitzing slot CB (something he has experience doing in college). Justin Rogers is the notable cut here.

Specialists (3)

Shawn Powell

Dustin Hopkins

Garrison Sanborn


Closing Thoughts

So there you have it. On the back end, I probably skewed toward younger, more promising players (read: players that haven’t looked bad on tape yet), but it turns out that NFL teams have figured out that they cost less, hence the trend towards inexperience. I’ll also be using this as something as template to track roughly how many roster spots are available for rookie type players.

Disagree? WHERE’S JAMIE BLATNICK? Let @BuddyNixon know on twitter!