With just one preseason game left for the Buffalo Bills, the new coaching staff has many decisions to make. On September 4, rosters will be cut to 75 players, and eventually to the final 53.
The Bills take on the Lions this weekend, and will be the last chance for many players at the bottom of the depth chart to make a name for themselves. Buffalo has played well the last two preseason games against the Indianapolis Colts and the Cincinnati Bengals, meaning that head coach Chan Gailey has a tough task ahead of him to whittle down the roster to the last 53.
Here is my prediction of the final 53 man depth chart.
1. Trent Edwards (1)- Trent Edwards has started all three preseason games thus far, and was very impressive in the last two. He has been displaying better pocket presence, and has completed 18 of 25 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns, throwing no interceptions in the last two games combined.
2. Brian Brohm (2)- Brohm looked solid in his first preseason action against the Indianapolis Colts, going 14-21 for 125 yards while working with the second team offense. Coach Chan Gailey seems to still have hope for the young quarterback, though accuracy has been an issue.
3. Levi Brown (3)- Drafted in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Brown isn't expected to see much playing time this season, as he will spend the season on the sidelines as "the clipboard guy." Brown will take a year or two to watch the game, ask questions, and develop into the potential backup of the future.
Ryan Fitzpatrick- Fitzpatrick is a solid backup, but with the lack of depth on the roster, he will most likely be let go. He was an average backup at best, and hasn't made any legitimate strides in his game throughout the offseason.
1. Fred Jackson (4)- Jackson barely eclipsed the 1,000 yard rushing mark last season, but did so behind a miserable and constantly changing offensive line. He suffered a broken bone in his hand in the first preseason matchup against the Washington Redskins, but if he is healthy to go by week one, he will be the starting running back.
2. CJ Spiller (5)- Spiller has shown why the Bills used their No. 9 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft this preseason, rushing 26 times for 122 yards and finding the endzone three times. His explosiveness and versatility will have him on the field in various situations.
3. Marshawn Lynch (6)- Lynch was also injured in the first preseason game against the Redskins, suffering a high ankle sprain, but is likely to return soon. The former first round draft pick had an off year last season, managing just 450 yards and averaging 3.8 yards-per-carry, after two consecutive 1,000 yard seasons. Hopefully he can return to "Beast Mode" this season as a situational back.
Joique Bell- Bell became a favorite very quickly in the preseason, however there simply aren't enough roster spots or opportunity for competition on the team. Hopefully he can stick around in the practice squad.
Chad Simpson- Simpson was brought in after playing for the Colts, but hasn't really shown anything throughout preseason.
Andre Anderson- Had an impressive showing against the Bengals, but there aren't enough spots.
1. Corey McIntyre (7)- McIntyre is a decent fullback who can carry the ball as well. He will be needed in pass protection and run blocking.
Rodney Ferguson- Ferguson was brought in as a training camp body, and will most likely be let go.
1. Lee Evans (8)- Evans is a great receiver with great hands, and is already the starter.
2. Steve Johnson (9)- Johnson is competing for a wide open No. 2 wide receiver role, but will eventually emerge as the starter opposite Evans, despite a weak preseason showing.
3. Roscoe Parrish (10)- At last, Parrish is out of the doghouse that coach Dick Jauron locked the speedster in, and displayed his abilities against the Bengals, catching four passes for 58 yards, including a beautiful 12-yard touchdown on a slant route. He is a great slot receiver.
4. David Nelson (11)- Nelson is an undrafted rookie out of the University of Florida, and despite suffering two injuries in practices, he has come back to perform outstandingly, catching seven passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns the two games he has played in. He is a hard worker and will make the team.
5. Chad Jackson (12)- Jackson has been on and off throughout the offseason and preseason, but the former second round pick of the New England Patriots has shown that he can be a possession receiver that can stick around.
6. James Hardy (13)- Hardy hasn't done anything since being drafted in the second round of the 2008 draft, and was injured throughout training camp. The 6'5" physical freak is on a short leash though, but his 30-yard reception against the Colts may have earned him the last wide receiver spot.
Namaan Roosevelt- A native of Buffalo and graduate of the University of Buffalo, fans have rooted for Roosevelt to make his way onto the team after catching 268 passes for 3,551 yards and 28 touchdowns in his career as a Buffalo Bull. However, there aren't enough spots on the roster for him. He may stick around on the practice squad.
Donald Jones- Undrafted rookie out of Youngstown, but felow undrafted rookie Nelson beat him out for the spot.
Aaron Rhea- Brought in after Nelson suffered an injury. Now that he is back, Rhea will be cut.
1. Jonathon Stupar (14)- Stupar has been starting throughout the preseason, and is a solid run blocker, and can make key possession receptions.
2. Shawn Nelson (15)- Suspended for the first four games of the season, Nelson will return as the No. 2 tight end when he returns. He is a big target as a receiver, and has the strength to block.
3. Derek Schouman (16)- Another tight end that is a good blocker, and will be needed for coach Gailey's run-first attack.
J.P. Foschi- Brought in due to injury/ suspension.
Andrew George- See above
LT- Demetrius Bell (17), Jamon Meredith (18),
LG- Andy Levitre (19), Andre Ramsey (20)
C- Geoff Hangartner (21), Christian Gaddis (22)
RG- Eric Wood (23), Kyle Calloway (24)
RT- Cornell Green (25), Kirk Chambers (26), Ed Wang (27)
Demetrius Bell is the current starter and has looked solid throughout the preseason thus far, displaying improved pass protection and run blocking skills. Jamon Meredith was brought to the Bills and started eight games last season at left tackle. If he doesn't overtake Cornell Green for the right tackle position, he is a great backup. Hennessey adds depth.
Andy Levitre had an impressive rookie season, and was the only offensive lineman to compete in each of the 16 games last year. Andre Ramsey will stick around for depth as well.
Geoff Hangartner is a solid center, while Christian Gaddis can develop.
Eric Wood is the most promising offensive line prospect on the team, and is returning from a gruesome leg injury he suffered against the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. He is a solid center as well. Kyle Calloway is a rookie that played tackle at Iowa. He is big and physical, but better suited for guard, and could potentially emerge as a guard if Wood moves to Center.
Cornell Green was brought in this offseason from the Oakland Raiders, but is nothing special. He adds veteran experience to a young and inexperienced line. Kirk Chambers and Ed Wang will stay as backups.
Sean Allen, Cordero Howard, Jason Watkins,
1. Marcus Stroud (28)- Stroud is transitioning from defensive tackle to defensive end in the new 3-4 defense. He has come to camp in the greatest shape of his career, and is a great veteran and leader.
2. Spencer Johnson (29)- Johnson was also a defensive tackle in the 4-3, but will be playing defensive end this season. He has a lot of upside and can rush the passer and clog lanes, although he is a bit undersized.
3. Rashaad Duncan (30)- Duncan was an underrated nose tackle at Pittsburgh, where he played every game for three seasons, making 90 tackles and four sacks. He wont see a lot of playing time, but could develop into a good defensive end or nose tackle in the future.
1. Kyle Williams (31)- Kyle Williams had a great season last year, and will be the starting nose tackle for the Bills this season. He is undersized for the position, weighing only 306 pounds, but he is a hard worker, and extremely strong with the ability to take on the double team.
2. Torell Troup (32)- Troup was vastly overlooked, coming out of Central Florida in the Conference-USA, but he is a mammoth and has taken on double teams his entire career as a Knight. He was the Bills second round pick, and is the nose tackle of the future.
1. Dwan Edwards (33)- Edwards is a true 3-4 defensive end. Singed as a free agent from the Baltimore Ravens, he brings experience and skill to a position of need. He is huge, powerful, and explosive, and will consistently pressure the quarterback.
2. Alex Carrington (34)- Carrington is a developmental defensive end of the future, and is a true 3-4 defensive end. He will only be used in certain rotations this season, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him as a starter in the future.
LOLB- Chris Kelsay (35), Chris Ellis (36)
LILB- Andra Davis (37), Kawika Mitchell (38)
RILB- Paul Posluszny (39), Arthur Moats (40)
ROLB- Reggie Torbor (41), Aaron Maybin (42)
Chris Kelsay is not fit for the outside linebacker position at all, but his experience will keep him on the field in run situations. Chris Ellis has been performing well in preseason, and finally developing.
Andra Davis was brought in as a leader and is well versed in the 3-4 scheme, and has played it his entire career. He is a vocal leader and will be a great assistance to the young players that are still adjusting. Kawika Mitchell seems to be the odd man out. He is a playmaker, but will see the field in limited action.
Arthur Moats is a converted defensive end out of James Madison, and will play a big role on special teams while he adjusts to the inside linebacker position.
Paul Posluszny is a fan favorite, and a stud player. He will constantly make plays and is a great run stopper. Keith Ellison is undersized for the linebacker position, but a good player on special teams.
Reggie Torbor was brought in as well for his experience in the 3-4, and unless Aaron Maybin can improve on his two sack performance against the Bengals, Torbor will start.
Donovan Woods, Antonio Coleman, Keith Ellison
CB 1. Terrence McGee (43), Ashton Youboty (44)
CB 2. Drayton Florence (45), Leodis McKelvin (46) Ellis Lankster (47)
Terrence McGee is a great cover corner, and will be needed to make plays against the wide receiver loaded offenses the Bills are facing this season. Drayton Florence has been starting at the right cornerback position throughout preseason, and despite a few stupid penalties, he has been solid. Leodis McKelvin is still adjusting and developing after missing most of last season due to injury. Ellis Lankster and Ashton Youboty are solid in nickel and dime packages as well as special teams coverage.
Reggie Corner, Dominique Harris, Lydell Sargeant
FS- Jairus Byrd (48), George Wilson (49)
SS- Donte Whitner (50), Bryan Scott(51)
Jairus Byrd is out indefinitely with a nagging groin injury, but as soon as he is ready to go, he will be the starter. He intercepted nine passes as a rookie, and came in second place for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
George Wilson resigned with the Bills this offseason, and was a huge impact player at both strong and free safety last season, and recorded over 100 tackles.
Donte Whitner is a perfect fit at strong safety for the 3-4. He is a good run stopper, and is solid in coverage. Bryan Scott will stick around and make an impact on special teams, and see limited time on the field.
K- Rian Lindell (51)
P- Brian Moorman (52)
KR- Leodis McKelvin, Roscoe Parrish
PR- CJ Spiller, Roscoe Parrish
Rian Lindell is an extremely accurate kicker, and Brian Moorman is one of the best punters in the league.
McKelvin, Parrish, and Spiller will all return kicks and punts. They have blazing speed and agility.