Assembling a 53-man roster for any team is difficult. It's especially difficult when you've been to none of the practices.
The Buffalo Bills are a lot deeper than they've been in past years, making it all the more difficult to trim down the roster.
The journey may be over for some of these players, but many will keep the dream alive with a spot on the practice squad.
Read my predictions, and let me know what you think in the comments.
QB (3): Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tarvaris Jackson, Brad Smith
Missed the cut: Tyler Thigpen
The Bills showed clear displeasure in their backup quarterback situation when they traded for Tarvaris Jackson from the Seahawks. Tyler Thigpen has been a favorite of head coach Chan Gailey since the two were together in Kansas City, but the relationship could end by Friday at 9:00 p.m.
HB (4): Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller, Tashard Choice, Corey McIntyre
Missed the cut: Johnny White, Zach Brown
Corey McIntyre is the only true fullback on the roster, and though teams don't necessarily need one, the Bills might like to have one to take advantage of passing plays out of running formations. McIntyre offers some value in the passing game with his ability to catch passes.
Johnny White has dealt with injuries throughout camp, thus allowing Choice to sneak into the picture. That doesn't necessarily instill a great deal of confidence in the backfield if Fred Jackson or C.J. Spiller go down.
WR (5): Stevie Johnson, David Nelson, Donald Jones, T.J. Graham, Derek Hagan
Missed the cut: Ruvell Martin, Marcus Easley, Naaman Roosevelt, Kamar Aiken
Some tough cuts will take place at wide receiver.
Marcus Easley has yet to hit the NFL field and has yet to stand out this preseason. He's still practice-squad eligible, so the Bills should look to harvest that potential for one more season.
Naaman Roosevelt has special teams value, but has just underperformed in too many games this preseason. His drop against the Vikings really hurt him.
TE (3): Scott Chandler, Lee Smith, Dorin Dickerson
Missed the cut: Kevin Brock
Dickerson and Brock could be flip-flopped, with Dickerson being stashed away on the practice squad for a year while the team figures out what to do with his H-back versatility.
What I think they should do, though, is figure that out with him on the fly. He has athletic ability and could be a good weapon for the Bills offense if they can figure out how to use him most effectively.
C (2): Eric Wood, Colin Brown
Missed the cut: Mark Asper
If last year proved anything, it's that the Bills need a reliable backup for Eric Wood. He's been prone to injury throughout his career, and they spent entirely too much time shuffling guys in and out at center before they finally settled on Brown in Week 17.
Trying to sneak Asper onto the practice squad may be a risky proposition, but for his struggles in the preseason, he should spend the year there if possible. He can get called up if the Bills are forced to deal with injuries.
OG (3): Andy Levitre, Kraig Urbik, Chad Rinehart
Missed the cut: Keith Williams, David Snow
The Bills have some great depth at guard. Not many will argue that either Williams or Snow is worthy of an extra spot here. They can always move Brown to guard if they get ravaged by injuries. There would be little risk of either being snagged off the waiver wire before hitting the practice squad.
OT (4): Erik Pears, Cordy Glenn, Zebrie Sanders, Chris Hairston
Missed the cut: James Carmon, Sam Young
The Bills' offensive tackle depth looks much better this year than it did last year. Sam Young is still eligible for the practice squad, but at this point, they may not even need to call him up if injury strikes.
DE (4): Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Chris Kelsay, Kyle Moore
Missed the cut: Jarron Gilbert, Robert Eddins
Jarron Gilbert is a tough decision to make. He has some end-tackle versatility, but he just isn't good enough at either one to warrant taking out one of the defensive tackles. The Bills' official website indicates he would need to have a "giant performance" in the final preseason game to get past Kyle Moore's stranglehold on the fourth roster spot.
DT (5): Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Spencer Johnson, Dwan Edwards, Alex Carrington
Missed the cut: Kellen Heard
Carrington and Heard are interchangeable, but the Bills probably don't want to be cutting a third-round pick of just two years ago just yet. He could definitely have some value in an interior line rotation. Besides, cutting him would leave just two picks—Spiller and Arthur Moats—remaining from the 2010 draft class.
ILB (3): Kelvin Sheppard, Scott McKillop, Tank Carder
Missed the cut: Kirk Morrison
McKillop is eligible for the practice squad, but really, there's no reason they should keep Kirk Morrison. He has looked slow throughout practices and games and has been lost in the shuffle in recent weeks, as the team has moved around Carder and Nigel Bradham to see where they fit best.
OLB (4): Arthur Moats, Nigel Bradham, Nick Barnett, Bryan Scott
Missed the cut: Chris White
Overall, the Bills linebacking corps is not a strong unit. Bryan Scott might otherwise be cut if the Bills had more capable depth behind him. His value is primarily as a coverage "big" nickel linebacker, but at 31 years old, it's fair to wonder whether he still has the speed to carry out that role. However, White just isn't NFL ready at this point.
CB (5): Stephon Gilmore, Aaron Williams, Justin Rogers, Leodis McKelvin, Ron Brooks
Missed the cut: Terrence McGee
I was at a tipping point with Terrence McGee, but this tweet from Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550 Sportsradio sent me over the edge.
Just thinking out loud, but when I read the stipulations of the new I-R rule, the #Bills name that comes to mind is Terrence McGee.— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeB_WGR) August 30, 2012
He's absolutely right. The Bills could get stash McGee on injured reserve while he gets right and then pull him off under the new rule.
FS (2): Jairus Byrd, Delano Howell
Missed the cut: Nick Saenz
With Josh Nesbitt out of the picture, that makes Delano Howell the shoe-in to back-up Jairus Byrd. He has looked good in camp, according to reports. The battle could come down to one of the two undrafted free agents having a big performance against the Lions in the final preseason game.
SS (2): George Wilson, Da'Norris Searcy
Missed the cut: Isaiah Green
Searcy is the best backup option the Bills have at safety at the moment. He is perfect for the nickel safety/linebacker hybrid role that many teams are trying to fill, and although his man skills are lacking, he could carve out a niche for himself in Buffalo's defense.
ST (4): Rian Lindell, John Potter, Garrison Sanborn, Brian Moorman
Missed the cut: Shawn Powell
Sal Maiorana of The (Rochester) Democrat & Chronicle put it best: "The guy is 100 percent on touchbacks, and that’s something you can’t pass up. Those touchbacks alleviate the need to keep a guy at another position who will only play on special teams, because the kickoff coverage unit will pretty much just be jogging downfield for no reason with Potter kicking."
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.
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