Buffalo Bills 53-Man Roster: Surprises, Reaction, and Detailed Analysis
For at least the next day or two, the members that survived the final cut down to the required 53-man limit can breathe a little easier. They shouldn't get too comfortable however, as there were surprises all over the NFL with many quality players being unceremoniously dumped.
The Bills wound up with some strange positional depth, which suggests on the surface that other moves could be coming.
In this article, we will look at the makeup of the current Bills roster, take a look at the roster composition, talk about some surprises, and even look at the probable practice squad.
Bills Are Roster Heavy at Linebacker and Defensive Secondary
Safety Cary Harris was one of the roster surprises
From the 53-man roster standpoint, here is the positional breakdown, along with who made the team:
OL (8) D. Bell, C. Green, G. Hangartner, E. Wood, C. Howard, A. Levitre, J. Meredith, and E. Wang
TE (2) J. Stupar and J.P. Forschi
FB: (1) C. McIntyre
WR: (5) R. Parrish, L. Evans, D. Nelson, D. Jones and S. Johnson
RB: (3): C.J. Spiller, F. Jackson and M. Lynch
QB (3): T. Edwards, R. Fitzpatrick, and B. Brohm
DL (7) A. Carrington, D. Edwards, S. Johnson, J. McCargo, M. Stroud, T. Troup, and K. Williams
LB (10) A. Coleman, A. Davis, C. Ellis, K. Ellison, C. Kelsay, A. Maybin, K. Mitchell, A. Moats, P. Posluszny, and R. Torbor.
CB (5): R. Corner, D. Florence, T. McGee, L. McKelvin, and A. Youboty
S (6): J. Byrd, C. Harris, D. Harris, B. Scott, D. Whitner, and G. Wilson
Spec Team (3): R. Lindell, B. Moorman and G. Sanborn
Suspended: Shawn Nelson PUP: Jon Corto
Analyzing Roster Makeup
Drayton Florence and Bills other cornerbacks have scored a TD in three straight games
Between the LB corp and the defensive secondary, the Bills have combined to commit to 21 spots on the roster. That seems a little much on the defensive side, which also means that the majority of your special teams units are being comprised by those guys as well.
What seems light for now is the tight end position, the running backs due to the health or potential limited availability of Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson, and only five wide receivers.
There is already speculation that the Bills will be looking to bring in a tight end to add to the mix, as there were a number that were waived all around the league today, including ex-Bill Derek Fine.
The 2010 Bills Continue to Get Younger and Younger
David Nelson makes the Bills as an undrafted rookie free agent
The Bills have an interesting mix of youth and experience on the team this year. Even though the Bills lost some of their draft class to injuries in Danny Batten and Marcus Easley, the Bills still wound up with 10 brand new rookies making the final roster.
The 10 rookies are: Alex Carrington, Antonio Coleman, Dominique Harris, Cordaro Howard, Donald Jones, Arthur Moats, David Nelson, C.J. Spiller, Torell Troup, and Ed Wang.
In addition, to offset or maybe to help balance out that many wide-eyed rookies, are 10 grey beards, guys that are coming in for at least their eighth year in the NFL. The wily veterans are: Drayton Florence, Chris Kelsay, Terrence McGee, Kawika Mitchell, Bryan Scott, Andra Davis, Cornell Green, Brian Moorman, Marcus Stroud, and Rian Lindell.
So you have 10 old men, 10 baby-faced rookies, and then the rest of the 33 members of the team is the entire range of experience from young veterans like Jairus Byrd and Brian Brohm to seventh-year guys like Lee Evans and Reggie Torbor.
I rather like the mixture that has been created of youthful energy and veteran composed experience.
10 Bills That Were a Surprise That Made The Roster
There seemed to be quite a few surprises on who made the final roster, so here are the top 10 surprises that I noticed:
1) Dominique Harris: I really thought the safety was a long shot. After the fact, the Bills did indeed waive Dominique and placed him on the practice squad after adding TE David Martin.
2) Donald Jones: I suspected that it would either be Chad Jackson or James Hardy as a 5th WR.
3) Reggie Corner: Gambled in preseason and came up empty. True he scored a TD, but making the team was a surprise.
4) Antonio Coleman: I thought he would be a sure thing for the practice squad, but he made the final team.
5) Cary Harris: Figured the Bills would go four deep at safety, keeping a fifth in Harris was a surprise.
6) Keith Ellison: Many thought the move to the 3-4 marked the end of Ellison as a Bill. Guess again.
7) John McCargo: Another Bills veteran that figured to be on the outside looking in, but he made it.
8) Ryan Fitzpatrick-Brian Brohm: Figured that one made it, one wouldn't. But both made it. That was a surprise for sure.
9) Cordaro Howard: The undrafted rookie from Georgia Tech came in with little fanfare, but made the team.
10) J.P. Forschi: Admit that I don't know a whole lot about him, but due to short time with the Bills, he may be the first to go when Shawn Nelson finishes his suspension. Also after the fact, the Bills waived Forschi and signed offensive guard Kraig Urbik to take Forschi's roster spot.
The Top 10 Surprises That Were Victims of The Final Round of Cuts
Joique Bell may still surface later for the Bills this year if he goes to practice squad
My top 10 surprises of the Bills that were placed on waivers today are:
1) Levi Brown: Other NFL teams that are hurting for long-range QB prospects are free to take him off the Bills now, or even while he is on the practice squad.
2) Chad Jackson: The veteran wide receiver was beat out by rookies David Nelson and Donald Jones.
3) James Hardy: The former second-round pick of the Bills was hoping his long TD vs Lions would revive his career. Wasn't enough to convince Chan Gailey he belonged.
4) Joique Bell: The undrafted rookie running back was very strong in the preseason and seemed to excel at all the roles the Bills asked him to do. Not surprised if he cracks Bills roster later in the season.
5) Kirk Chambers: Sure he had some rough moments last year, but the Bills have very little real NFL experience behind their starters. The line keeps getting younger and younger.
6) Chad Simpson: Insert your hanging Chad joke here. The Bills figured they could use the extra roster spot with their diverse mix of potential kick returners. That made Simpson expendable.
7) Naaman Roosevelt: Hopefully he lands on the practice squad. Still has more to learn and could still wind up being a member of the Bills in the near term.
8) Derek Schouman: With a gaping hole at tight end to start the year, the Bills just didn't have faith that Schouman would get healthy fast enough to feel safe about him. He and Hardy are one and the same regarding injuries and games missed.
9) Donovan Woods: Seemed to be doing well on special teams and the Bills had a number of banged up linebackers so some were surprised to see Woods hit the waiver wire
10) Nick Hennessey: Showed some degree of promise and the Bills have very few reserve offensive linemen if somebody goes down.
Bills Practice Squad Potential Members
Was this the last we will see Levi Brown wearing a Bills uniform?
The Bills will be announcing their eight-man practice squad sometime between Sunday and Monday. Maybe the team will be solely comprised of players the Bills just waived, but there is always the possibility that they could bring someone in that thinks they have a better chance to play with Buffalo than with the team that just cut them.
From the Bills that were just waived, the players that were listed on Buffalo Bills.com that showed eligibility for practice squad included the following:
Levi Brown, Andre Anderson, Joique Bell, Rodney Ferguson, Naaman Roosevelt, Andrew George, Sean Allen, Nick Hennessey, Andre Ramsey, Jason Watkins, Rashaad Duncan, Donovan Woods, and Lydell Sargeant.
From that list, I suspect the Bills will want to build in some degree of roster depth, so the positions that appear to be leaner are: running back, wide receiver, offensive line, tight end, and fullback. So based on that assessment, my educated guess for who should make it at first blush are:
Levi Brown, Joique Bell, Rodney Ferguson, Naaman Roosevelt, Andrew George, Nick Hennessey, Andre Ramsey, and Donovan Woods.
What To Expect Over the Next Eight Days Regarding the Final Roster
Will Buddy Nix bring in any other players to change roster makeup?
Over the next eight days, Buddy Nix will be scouring the waiver wire and fielding calls from general managers trying to work out deals to acquire some draft picks for players that they are probably trying to move off their rosters.
There were quite a few notable names that hit the NFL waiver wire today. As the Bills QB situation has been one of extreme debate, there were some clear names that might peak the Bills interest, including: Matt Leinart, Dan LeFevour, Jonathan Crompton, and Zack Robinson.
From a wide receiver standpoint, players like Michael Clayton, ex-Bill Josh Reed, and Matt Jones were waived.
Defensive lineman Jarvis Green was waived as well as Lions offensive tackle Jon Jansen.
Special teams standouts like Eric Alexander and Erik Walden (both with AFC East experience) are also sitting by their cell phones looking for work.
Curious to see if Buddy Nix pulls the trigger this week. Sure has been a busy couple of days. What surprised Bills fans the most about today's events. What are your thoughts Bills fans?