Buffalo Bills Roster 2013: Latest Cuts, Depth Charts and Analysis

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer IAugust 26, 2013

Buffalo Bills Roster 2013: Latest Cuts, Depth Charts and Analysis

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    The Buffalo Bills have trimmed down their roster to 53 players, and have announced their eight-man practice squad.

    The roster moves haven't stopped, though, as the Bills continue to sign and waive players as they prepare for the season opener against the New England Patriots.

    Who made the cut, and who has to find work elsewhere?

    Here's an updated look at their latest cuts, their depth chart and the practice squad, along with all the updates throughout the road to the 53-man roster.

List of 53-Man Roster Cuts

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    Here is an updated list of the Bills cuts during their trip to the 53-man roster. All cuts have been announced by the team, with more announcements on Saturday:

    • Keith Pough, LB
    • Kourtnei Brown, DE
    • Zach Brown, RB
    • Bryan Scott, OLB/S 
    • Zebrie Sanders, OT
    • Kevin Kolb, QB (injured reserve)
    • Brad Smith, WR (injured reserve)
    • Drew Smith, FB (injured reserve)
    • T.J. Heath, CB 
    • Crezdon Butler, CB 
    • Matt Leinart, QB 
    • Dorin Dickerson, TE
    • Nick Provo, TE
    • David Snow, C
    • Brian Smith, LB
    • Brandon Kaufman, WR
    • Jarron Gilbert, DL
    • Kendall Gaskins, RB
    • Kip Edwards, CB
    • Jordan Dangerfield, DB
    • Zach Chibane, G
    • Antoine Caldwell, G
    • Jamie Blatnick, OLB
    • Izaan Cross, DL
    • Thad Lewis, QB
    • Torell Troup, DT
    • Dominique Ellis, DB
    • Chris White, LB

    Linebacker Bryan Scott's release ends a six-year run with the team. The Bills stocked up on safety depth in the draft, adding Duke Williams and Johnathan Meeks while moving Aaron Williams to strong safety as a sign of a youth movement on the back end. He signed a one-year, $940,000 deal to come back to the Bills, and counts for no dead money against the cap now that he's been let go.

    The Bills spent a fifth-round pick on offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders last year, but that was with a whole different infrastructure in the front office and coaching staff. Sanders also had two hip operations in March that sent his offseason off-track. Sanders counts for $454,625 against the cap in dead money.

    Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion against the Redskins, and it was speculated that his career might be over, but on Friday, he was placed on injured reserve, ending his season at the least. That makes undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel the No. 2 quarterback behind EJ Manuel.

    Matt Leinart was brought in as an insurance policy when both Manuel and Kolb went down, and his release indicates Manuel will be back very shortly from his knee injury.

Final Depth Chart

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    Here is a look at the Bills depth chart, which currently stands at 50 players:

    QB: EJ Manuel, Jeff Tuel 

    RB: C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Tashard Choice

    FB: Frank Summers

    TE: Scott Chandler, Lee Smith, Chris Gragg

    WR: Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, T.J. Graham, Marquise Goodwin, Chris Hogan, Marcus Easley

    LT: Cordy Glenn, Thomas Welch

    LG: Colin Brown, Doug Legursky

    C: Eric Wood

    RG: Kraig Urbik 

    RT: Erik Pears, Sam Young 

    DE: Mario Williams, Alex Carrington, Jerry Hughes

    DT: Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Alan Branch, Jay Ross, Corbin Bryant

    OLB: Manny Lawson, Nigel Bradham, Marcus Dowtin, Jamaal Westerman

    MLB: Kiko Alonso, Arthur Moats

    CB: Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin, Ron Brooks, Justin Rogers, Nickell Robey

    FS: Jairus Byrd, Da'Norris Searcy, Jim Leonhard, Duke Williams

    SS: Aaron Williams, Jonathan Meeks 

    K: Dustin Hopkins, Dan Carpenter

    P: Shaun Powell 

    LS: Garrison Sanborn

Analyzing the Practice Squad

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    The Bills have announced the following players to their practice squad for the 2013 season:

    • Jamie Blatnick, LB
    • Izaan Cross, DL
    • Mark Asper, OG
    • Tommy Streeter, WR
    • Thad Lewis, QB 
    • Johnny Adams, CB
    • Edawn Coughman, OT
    • Ronnie Wingo, RB

    The Bills claimed Ravens wide receiver Tommy Streeter off waivers and added him quickly to the practice squad. The Bills are not particularly thin at wide receiver, so they have no major need for Streeter now, but the practice squad could present a good opportunity for him to develop his straight-line speed into talent at hisp osition.

    Izaan Cross is a big, versatile defensive linemen that could fill several needs for the Bills depending on what scheme they elect to run. Keeping Cross on the practice squad could allow them to move him on and off the roster as they need him for particular game plans.

    The Bills created a very well-rounded practice squad, with no more than one player at each position and a nice blend of offensive (four) and defensive (three) players.

Recently Cut Free Agents Bills Are Rumored to Be Pursuing

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    These are the big-name free-agents the Bills are targeting as they continue to make moves toward the final roster:

    Jim Leonhard, S: With the status of safety Jairus Byrd still in doubt for Week 1, the Bills felt they needed an insurance policy on the back end. They signed Leonhard, according to ESPN, and things seemed to have worked out perfectly for the Bills. He comes prepared, after playing in Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's scheme for three years when both were with the Jets from 2009-2011. He was cut by the Saints just a couple of days ago.  

    Dan Carpenter, K: It's been an interesting couple of weeks for Carpenter, who has now been a member of 3/4 of the AFC East in a span of three weeks. The Dolphins cut ties with the sixth-year kicker on August 14, and he was scooped up by the Jets a few days later, then unceremoniously cut two days ago. Now, he has signed with the Bills, according to ESPN, where he gets to try his hand at unseating another young kicker, this time Dustin Hopkins.

Starters and Injury Notes

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    It's been an interesting training camp for the Bills, who have rolled out new schemes on both offense and defense, as well as new players at many positions. Although plenty on the Bills roster are fighting for jobs, many others have already locked up their jobs for the season as projected starters. 

    Projected starters

    QB: EJ Manuel

    RB: C.J. Spiller

    WR: Stevie Johnson, T.J. Graham, Robert Woods

    TE: Scott Chandler

    OT: Cordy Glenn, Erik Pears

    OG: Colin Brown, Kraig Urbik

    C: Eric Wood

    DE: Alex Carrington, Mario Williams

    DT: Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus

    OLB: Manny Lawson, Nigel Bradham

    MLB: Kiko Alonso

    CB: Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin

    FS: Jairus Byrd

    SS: Aaron Williams

    K: Dustin Hopkins

    P: Shaun Powell

    LS: Garrison Sanborn

    Injury notes

    Chris Hairston, OT (ankle): According to Mike Rodak of ESPN, the Bills placed Chris Hairston on the reserve/non-football injury on Monday. The move that could leave them with some questions as to depth on the offensive line for the first six weeks of the season, at which point Hairston can come off the list. He was naturally a tackle but had the versatility to line up as a guard if needed.

    Stephon Gilmore, CB (wrist): Cornerback is one position the Bills couldn't afford too many injuries, and Stephon Gilmore is possibly the worst possible candidate for an injury given their depth and the drop-off to his replacement (Leodis McKelvin). Gilmore will be out six to eight weeks, according to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com.

    Kevin Kolb, QB (concussion): If EJ Manuel wasn't already the front-runner for the Bills starting job, Kevin Kolb's recent concussion could be the event that seals the deal. It's been reported by The Buffalo News that Kolb's latest concussion could be career-ending.

    EJ Manuel (knee): Manuel is still listed as week-to-week but is most definitely out for the remainder of the preseason, and his status for Week 1 is very much in doubt, with Jeff Tuel being penciled in as the starter.

1st Round of Cuts

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    The Bills announced the following cuts on their way down to a 75-man roster:

    • Da'Rick Rogers, WR
    • DeMarcos Sampson, WR
    • Dominique Ellis, S
    • Jumal Rolle, CB
    • Ryan Turnley, C
    • Chris Hairston, OL (injured reserve)

    Of those names, the only one that stands out is Da'Rick Rogers. The former Tennessee wide receiver was projected by many draft pundits to be selected somewhere between the second and fourth rounds. Many were shocked when he wasn't drafted but weren't shocked that it took next to no time for him to get a call from a pro team. Now, he will wait for another pro team to come calling.

    Chris Hairston being placed on the reserve/non-football injury list opens up another roster spot, but not in a way the Bills would have preferred. Hairston was the backup tackle at both spots, and his absence from the team puts Sam Young and Thomas Welch into the spotlight as the backups on the right and left side, respectively.

Depth Chart Post 75-Man Roster Cuts and Previewing 53-Man Roster Cuts

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    Here is an updated look at the Bills depth chart with the 75-man roster now set:

    QB: EJ Manuel, Kevin Kolb, Jeff Tuel, Matt Leinart, Thaddeus Lewis

    RB: C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Tashard Choice, Zach Brown, Kendall Gaskins

    FB: Frank Summers, Drew Smith

    TE: Scott Chandler, Lee Smith, Dorin Dickerson, Chris Gragg, Nick Provo

    WR: Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, T.J. Graham, Marquise Goodwin, Chris Hogan, Brad Smith, Marcus Easley, Brandon Kaufman

    LT: Cordy Glenn, Thomas Welch, Zebrie Sanders

    LG: Colin Brown, Doug Legursky, Zack Chibane

    C: Eric Wood, David Snow

    RG: Kraig Urbik, Antoine Caldwell

    RT: Erik Pears, Sam Young

    DE: Mario Williams, Alex Carrington, Jerry Hughes, Jarron Gilbert, Jamie Blatnick, Izaan Cross, Kourtnei Brown

    DT: Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Alan Branch, Jay Ross, Corbin Bryant, Torell Troup

    OLB: Manny Lawson, Nigel Bradham, Bryan Scott, Marcus Dowtin, Keith Pough, Brian Smith

    MLB: Kiko Alonso, Arthur Moats, Chris White

    CB: Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin, Ron Brooks, Justin Rogers, Crezdon Butler, T.J. Heath, Nickell Robey, Kip Edwards

    FS: Jairus Byrd, Da'Norris Searcy, Duke Williams, Jordan Dangerfield

    SS: Aaron Williams, Jonathan Meeks, Dominique Ellis

    K: Dustin Hopkins

    P: Shaun Powell

    Projected cuts

    • Brad Smith, WR: Smith was a major weapon as a utility player for the Jets, but he hasn't evolved from his role as a returner into a viable receiver. He is also costing the Bills rougly $2.5 million against the cap this season, according to Spotrac. If the Bills don't cut Smith, they'll probably ask him to restructure his deal. 
    • Thaddeus Lewis, QB: The Bills have five quarterbacks on their roster as insurance, but with Kevin Kolb's status unknown and with EJ Manuel coming back soon from a knee injury, it's more like four. Cutting Lewis would reduce the number to three quarterbacks, although Manuel's status for Week 1 is in the air.