There were five players that we considered "on the bubble" and two other players who were "rusted locks," meaning there were seven players who came close to making the cut. If any of those seven players were included on the 53-man projection, which seven players would be the first to go?
Here's our answer to that question:
No. 53: Stevenson Sylvester: We included Sylvester on the 53-man projection almost entirely because of a one-game suspension for Nigel Bradham. Since Bradham is likely to return for Week 2, it's essentially a case of which player the Bills want to keep for an extra week. Since Ty Powell is dealing with a "medical" issue, and Bradham is suspended, the Bills could be down to as few as four linebackers for their opener in Chicago. That could create an opportunity for Sylvester to be the fifth linebacker that day and contribute on special teams.
No. 52: Corbin Bryant: One of the more wide-open battles on the roster is for the backup spot to Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus at defensive tackle. Bryant and Stefan Charles have been the first on the field at that position in the preseason, followed by Landon Cohen, Damien Jacobs, and Alan Branch. Of those last three, Cohen's play has stood out the most. However, if the Bills must limit themselves to four defensive tackles, then Charles and Bryant are projected to get the nod in this projection.
No. 51: Chris Gragg: This one is tied to the health of Tony Moeaki. The Bills kept four tight ends at the end of last season and we could easily see them going down to three tight ends to start this season. But if Moeaki isn't fully healthy by Week 1, it could open a spot for Gragg. He has been fairly quiet this preseason and could be an ideal candidate for the practice squad, but until we have more clarity on Moeaki's status we'll keep Gragg on the projection.
No. 50: Ty Powell: Powell's "medical" status bears watching, as he has been out of practice for more than a week. When Powell has played in the preseason, he has been with the third team, which is somewhat of a red flag. Because of his special teams contributions and the Bills' relative lack of depth at linebacker, we think he should be safe for the 53-man roster, barring his health condition being serious.
No. 49: Doug Legursky: Legursky started 11 games last season so I don't think the team would take any decision to cut him lightly. While he is undersized, he is experienced and has the versatility to play both guard and center. If Chris Williams returns healthy for Week 1, and Kraig Urbik retains his starting job at right guard, I would project Legursky as the top interior backup active for the opener. That would likely mean Cyril Richardson would be a game day inactive. The alternative would be to cut Legursky and have Richardson as the game-day backup. He has been limited to just right guard this preseason though, so Urbik would need to move to center or left guard in the event of an injury.
No. 48: Stefan Charles: The story is the same as Bryant's. The Bills will need to decide which two players they want to backup Williams and Dareus. For right now, we'll give Charles (and Bryant) the edge over Cohen.
No. 47: Ron Brooks: Brooks has practiced and played well this preseason and is deserving of a spot. However, he's locked in a numbers game at cornerback. His roster spot is likely safe if the Bills keep six cornerbacks, but if they go fewer than that, he'd be the first player out.