After a few weeks of practice and a pre-season game, it’s time to revisit our projection for Buffalo’s 2012 final 53-man roster. (Check our laughable preseason one here.)
I’ve gotta tell you…there’s some tough choices for Chan Gailey to make here. Let’s see how it could shake out.
Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Vince Young, Brad Smith
Fitz and Smith are locks. Young currently has the lead over Tyler Thigpen for the #2 spot after Thigpen looked dreadful in the Washington game. (Not that Young looked spectacular or anything..)
Running back: Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller, Tashard Choice
I really hope I’m wrong about Choice beating out Johnny White for the #3 spot, but for some reason someone in the Buffalo organization thinks Choice can play. Even though every piece of evidence suggests otherwise.
Fullback: Corey McIntyre
After all the OTA buzz about Dorin Dickerson, he’s been a non-factor at camp. McIntyre might just get to keep this job after all.
Wide Receiver: Stevie Johnson, David Nelson, T.J. Graham, Donald Jones, Derek Hagan
It’s not looking good for Marcus Easley, who simply hasn’t looked as athletic as the Bills were hoping for. Hagan has quietly been effective, and I think he’ll sneak onto the roster. Keeping 6 WRs is unlikely given roster constraints and the fact that Brad Smith, C.J. Spiller, and even Fred Jackson can line up at WR when needed.
Tight End: Scott Chandler, Lee Smith
The Bills could keep a third guy, but I don’t see a point. Chandler can catch. Smith can block. Good enough.
Offensive Line: Andy Levitre, Eric Wood, Erik Pears, Kraig Urbik, Cordy Glenn, Zebrie Sanders, Chris Hairston, Chad Rinehart, Colin Brown
Tricky here. Levitre, Wood, Pears, Urbik, and Glenn for sure. Sanders, Hairston, and Rinehart all likely stick as well. How many OL does Gailey want to keep. I like the idea of keeping Brown around as a true backup center, given the nonsense that happened in 2011 when Wood went on injured resever. I wouldn’t be shocked to see OT Sam Young make the team as well…but 10 OL is a lot. We’ll see.
Defensive Line: Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Chris Kelsay, Shawne Merriman, Alex Carrington, Spencer Johnson, Kellen Heard
This is the spot I had the most trouble with. There’s a group of guys (Carrington, Heard, Dwan Edwards, Kyle Moore, Torell Troup, Robert Eddins) who are fighting for spots. 2-3 will make the team. Carrington and Troup were drafted for a 3-4 defense, while Edwards was signed to play in the 3-4, so none are great fits. Moore hasn’t done much in his brief NFL career, while Eddins is an almost complete unknown. Who knows what Gailey and defense coordinator Dave Wannstedt are thinking here?
Linebacker: Nick Barnett, Kelvin Sheppard, Kirk Morrison, Bryan Scott, Nigel Bradham, Tank Carder, Scott McKillop, Arthur Moats
There are a few other guys (Danny Batten, Chris White) in the hunt, but I think everyone on the list above will be on the team. And I don’t see the Bills keeping more than 8 LBs…so it’s not looking good for Batten and White.
Cornerback: Terrence McGee, Leodis McKelvin, Stephon Gilmore, Justin Rogers, Ron Brooks, Aaron Williams
Six CBs is a lot, but McGee’s health is a huge question mark and the Bills won’t want to cut Rogers or Brooks. McKelvin getting the boot isn’t out of the question though.
Safety: George Wilson, Jairus Byrd, Da’Norris Searcy
The top three for sure.vBuddy Nix has said the Bills want a fourth safety. He’s also made it clear they’re not overly impressed with anyone competing for that spot right now. So maybe a foruth safety is added at some point at the expense of another position. (CB, maybe?)
Specialists: Rian Lindell, Brian Moorman, Garrison Sanborn, John Potter
Potter has been hitting every single kickoff into the endzone…I think it might be too tough for the team to cut him. Would the Bills shock us and cut Lindell instead? I don’t think so…this year, anyway. Moorman is in a battle with rookie P Shawn Powell, but Moorman will likely hold on to his job.
So what do you think? Am I wrong/crazy in a few spots? Let me know in the comments!