Now that the preseason is in the past, the Buffalo Bills now have to take the next two days to figure out which 53 members of the roster they want to keep on their initial team for the regular season. Keep in mind, this is a fluid situation, and with waivers on Sunday, the bottom of the roster could look vastly different than the one they turn in by Saturday at 4:00 pm.
Who will Bills head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane keep for their first ever roster in Buffalo? My final roster projection ahead of the regular season:
Tyrod Taylor, Nathan Peterman
- This decision really all comes down to whether or not Tyrod Taylor will be healthy enough for Week One of the regular season. With the most recent comments from GM Brandon Beane on the team’s radio show, he said Taylor thinks he’ll be able to play in Week One. Even if he does not get to that point, the Bills can re-sign either TJ Yates, Keith Wenning, or really anyone else to be Nathan Peterman’s backup if need be. Yates has not played well this summer, and with the concussion now, an injury settlement could be on the horizon as opposed to keeping him injured on the active roster.
Cut: TJ Yates, Keith Wenning
Running Back (5)
LeSean McCoy, Jonathan Williams, Mike Tolbert, Joe Banyard, Patrick DiMarco
- There is really only one job up for grabs for the Bills in this game, and it came down to which player was better on special teams between Joe Banyard and Taiwan Jones. Banyard has been the more consistent performer both on all special teams units, and as well as on offense. Joe B. has found his way on the 53-man roster — at least on this projection.
Cut: Taiwan Jones, Jordan Johnson
Wide Receiver (6)
Jordan Matthews, Zay Jones, Andre Holmes, Rod Streater, Brandon Tate, Brandon Reilly
- With Jordan Matthews looking like he’s nearing a return to action, the Bills have enough room to keep six on this roster. And with that final spot, I think it came down to Brandon Reilly against Daikiel Shorts and Philly Brown. It was hard to ignore Reilly’s performance on Thursday, even though he had to leave the game prematurely. I think he played his way on to the initial 53-man roster. How long he stays, though, is another issue entirely. If the Bills are active on the waiver wire, Reilly could be one of the ones to go, and then brought back immediately to the practice squad. As for Andre Holmes, they likely think about cutting him to chase the compensatory selection, but he’s still needed just in case at the beginning of the season. If the season starts to go awry ahead of Week 10, they can easily release him, Vladimir Ducasse, and Ryan Davis to obtain that selection.
Suspended: Walt Powell
Cut: Daikiel Shorts, Philly Brown, Dez Lewis, Jeremy Butler
Tight End (3)
Charles Clay, Nick O’Leary, Logan Thomas
- This was an easy decision all around. Thomas seems to be firmly third on the depth chart ahead of both Saxton and Anderson, making it a clean cut.
Cut: Wes Saxton, Busta Anderson
Offensive Tackle (3)
Cordy Glenn, Jordan Mills, Dion Dawkins
- No real intrigue on this decision either, Cordy Glenn and Dion Dawkins were always going to make the team and Jordan Mills played his way on to the team by beating Dawkins for the starting right tackle job. The more intriguing decision is what they do with Seantrel Henderson once his five-game suspension is over.
Suspended: Seantrel Henderson
Cut: Cameron Jefferson
Interior Offensive Line (5)
Richie Incognito, Eric Wood, John Miller, Ryan Groy, Vladimir Ducasse
- One of the last cuts off the roster was Jordan Mudge, a player that showed some ability this summer and has a story that is hard to root against. I think he’ll be scooped up on to the practice squad very quickly. Michael Ola, due to getting injured in the game against the Detroit Lions, likely makes him expendable to the 53-man roster. Ducasse makes it out of self-preservation for the Bills. I believe John Miller should start at right guard this season, but Ducasse sticks around just in case. Now that Holmes has a pretty safe spot on the roster at the time being, it gives less incentive to cutting Ducasse in the chase for the compensatory pick.
Cut: Jordan Mudge, Michael Ola, Zach Voytek, Greg Pyke
Defensive End (4)
Jerry Hughes, Shaq Lawson, Ryan Davis, Eddie Yarbrough
- Eddie Yarbrough has played his way on to the 53-man roster, and quite possibly into an every week role on defense. Ryan Davis was the only question due to the compensatory picks, but with Holmes looking like he’s safe and Davis’ play in the preseason, he sticks around to start the 2017 regular season.
Cut: Max Valles, Ian Seau
Defensive Tackle (5)
Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Jerel Worthy, Adolphus Washington, Deandre Coleman
- This was an unexpected keep on the 53-man roster, but the injury to Jerel Worthy has to make them think about keeping another defensive tackle now. Of the remaining options, Coleman has played the best this summer between him, Marquavius Lewis, and Nigel Williams, and can help the rotation if needed due to injury.
Cut: Marquavius Lewis, Nigel Williams
Preston Brown, Lorenzo Alexander, Ramon Humber, Gerald Hodges, Tanner Vallejo, Matt Milano
- There aren’t any surprises at this spot. Preston Brown, Lorenzo Alexander, and Ramon Humber will be the starters, while Gerald Hodges and the pair of rookie draft picks Tanner Vallejo and Matt Milano. The only interesting decision here would have been the one made about Reggie Ragland, but we already know that outcome.
Cut: Carl Bradford, Sam Barrington, Jacob Lindsey, Abner Logan
Tre’Davious White, Shareece Wright, EJ Gaines, Leonard Johnson, Greg Mabin, Kevon Seymour
- Throughout the summer I was asked for a surprise cut from the Bills roster. And I was this close to making it Kevon Seymour. For it to actually happen, the Bills would have to value Bradley Sylve ahead of Seymour on the roster. However, Seymour is not a natural fit for Sean McDermott’s scheme, has battled injuries throughout the summer, struggled when he was on the field, and really hasn’t found a home anywhere on the defense. The first indication that something could be amiss was when we saw him on special teams in the second half of the preseason finale. That said, Seymour was working at nickel in the second half of the game, which is likely good news for him because they are lacking a backup to Leonard Johnson at nickel corner. With Mabin intercepting two passes this preseason, I think this spot comes down to Seymour and Sylve — or perhaps neither.
Cut: Bradley Sylve, Marcus Sayles
Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Trae Elston, Shamiel Gary, Colt Anderson
- Trae Elston put an exclamation point on his bid to make the roster by flying all over the field, forcing one fumble, and then popping a ball loose and almost causing an interception. Elston likely has solidified himself as the third safety on the roster — pending waivers, of course. Shamiel Gary should be good to make the roster for now, but he is injured at the moment, so he could be someone they look to move on from if they find the right player in waivers. Colt Anderson barely makes the team, after being unable to practice basically the entire summer. They keep him for now in the hopes that he can come back and play special teams for them.
Cut: Joe Powell, B.T. Sanders, Adrian McDonald
Special Teams (3)
K Stephen Hauschka, P Colton Schmidt, LS Reid Ferguson
- This was decided when Austin Rehkow was released. This will be the special teams trio heading into the 2017 season.