Last five cuts on Bills' roster projection

PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Earlier Monday, we released our latest 53-man roster projection for the Buffalo Bills.

What about the players who didn't make the cut?

Here are some thoughts on the "last five" cuts for the Bills:

  1. OL Chris Hairston -- We'll call him the 54th man. Hairston is currently battling for the starting right guard spot, although he saw less reps with the first team in Sunday's practice. If he can't beat Kraig Urbik for that job, Hairston could still be a valuable piece as a backup guard and swing tackle. Much will depend on the health of Cordy Glenn. If Glenn is placed on the reserve/non-football illness list, which would knock him out for at least the first six weeks, then Hairston could have a much better shot at cracking the squad. If Glenn returns, then Seantrel Henderson and Cyrus Kouandjio become the top two options at tackle beyond Glenn and Erik Pears. Inside, Doug Legursky is undersized but brings value as a backup center and guard. Fifth-round pick Cyril Richardson would be a developmental player. Teams usually carry seven active linemen on their 46-man game day roster and 8-10 on their 53-man roster. I pegged the Bills with nine, with Richardson and Kouandjio as game-day inactives. That doesn't leave room for Hairston.

  2. TE Chris Gragg -- His roster spot could depend on the health of the tight end position. Tony Moeaki could miss a large chunk of training camp with a hamstring injury. Since Moeaki already practiced, he's not eligible for the PUP list, so that's not an option. Scott Chandler suffered a groin injury in Sunday's practice and we don't yet know when he will return. Gragg is out of the hospital and likely to return to practice this week. If Chandler and/or Moeaki have long-term absences, then Gragg's chances of making the 53-man roster are increased. But if the Bills go into the regular season healthy at tight end, it's unlikely they carry four at the position.

  3. FB Evan Rodriguez -- Despite bringing value last season on special teams, I don't think Rodriguez can carve out enough of a role this summer to stick. This is a pure numbers game. It will be tough to carry both four running backs and two fullbacks. Frank Summers should have a roster spot as a short-yardage and goal-line blocker, leaving Rodriguez out of the mix.

  4. LBs Jimmy Gaines and Stevenson Sylvester -- We'll consider these two as a group right now. Both are challenging for playing time on defense following the loss of Kiko Alonso. They'll face more competition now that rookie Randell Johnson has returned from the PUP list, and ultimately the Bills are unlikely to carry more than seven linebackers. If one of these players sticks, it will probably mean they leapfrogged Johnson or Ty Powell on the depth chart.

  5. DT Corbin Bryant -- It never hurts to have an extra big body on the defensive line, and Bryant filled that role last season. Teams that run a 4-3 defense typically carry around eight or nine defensive linemen, and Bryant would likely be the ninth. If the Bills go with nine offensive linemen, as we have them carrying in our latest projection, then that could shave one player off the defensive line. Bryant would be the most likely casualty.