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Buffalo Bills' 53-man roster analysis

8/30/2014

Breaking down the Buffalo Bills initial 53-man roster, position by position:

Quarterbacks (2): EJ Manuel, Kyle Orton

Analysis: Continued turnover at this position. Orton will need to learn the Bills' system quickly. Bills management stressed the importance of Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel having experience within the system when passing on adding a quarterback this offseason.

Running backs (4): C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Bryce Brown, Anthony Dixon

Analysis: This group has been set since Brown was acquired in May.

Fullbacks (1): Frank Summers

Analysis: Once Evan Rodriguez was released, this group was set.

Wide receivers (6): Sammy Watkins, Mike Williams, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, Chris Hogan, Marcus Easley

Analysis: The Bills tried to deal T.J. Graham but couldn't find a suitor. He's eligible to return to the practice squad; it's unclear if either side has interest.

Tight ends (3): Scott Chandler, Lee Smith, Chris Gragg

Analysis: This is the same group as last season. Smith's toe injury bears watching. The Bills may watch the waiver wire here.

Offensive tackles (4): Cordy Glenn, Seantrel Henderson, Chris Hairston, Cyrus Kouandjio

Analysis: Ideally, the Bills would've liked Kouandjio to become their swing tackle, but his preseason struggles have him destined as a game-day inactive. Can the Bills find an upgrade to Hairston on the waiver wire?

Guards/centers (5): Eric Wood, Chris Williams, Erik Pears, Cyril Richardson, Kraig Urbik

Analysis: If Williams' back injury keeps him out of the opener, expect Richardson to start in his place. The Bills kept Urbik over Doug Legursky, a fellow veteran. He could replace Legursky as the top interior backup for games.

Defensive ends (5): Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes, Manny Lawson, Jarius Wynn, Jacquies Smith

Analysis: The Bills ended up going an extra player deep here. Smith is the biggest surprise of the 53-man roster, although he played well in the preseason. There may not be much of a role for him during regular-season games, given the depth here.

Defensive tackles (4): Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Corbin Bryant, Stefan Charles

Analysis: The Bills passed on keeping a fifth tackle and released Landon Cohen. In a pinch, Wynn could probably shift inside.

Linebackers (5): Brandon Spikes, Keith Rivers, Nigel Bradham (suspended), Preston Brown, Randell Johnson, Ty Powell

Analysis: Brown will likely step in for Bradham in the season opener. Johnson and Powell are special-teams contributors.

Cornerbacks (6): Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin, Nickell Robey, Corey Graham, Ron Brooks, Ross Cockrell

Analysis: As expected, the Bills went six deep here. Brooks should be active as a special-teams contributor, while the Bills started to experiment with Graham at safety late in the preseason.

Safeties (4): Aaron Williams, Da'Norris Searcy, Duke Williams, Jonathan Meeks

Analysis: This is the same group as last season, minus a Pro Bowler in Jarius Byrd. There's still questions on how well Searcy (or Duke Williams) can fill the void.

Kickers (1): Dan Carpenter

Analysis: We'll count Carpenter as the only pure kicker on the roster, although punter Jordan Gay may be the kickoff specialist.

Punters (2): Colton Schmidt, Jordan Gay

Analysis: The Bills will need a replacement for Brian Moorman and Schmidt is the first batter up. Gay is another possibility, if he can handle both punts and kickoffs.

Long-snappers (1): Garrison Sanborn

Analysis: Sanborn, who just received a contract extension, is one of the game's best.