The Buffalo Bills still have three preseason games and numerous practices before they must cut down their squad to 53 players on Sept. 5, but that doesn't mean their roster hasn't started to come into focus through two weeks of training camp.
I've updated my 53-man roster projection from my last estimation on July 23, and there are a few key changes, especially on offense.
Matt Cassel, who didn't make the cut on my last projection after a rocky spring, is now one of three quarterbacks to make the team in my latest outlook. EJ Manuel's roster spot has become slightly more tenuous but he still remains in the mix to start, so I'll keep him on the roster for now.
At wide receiver, I have Marquise Goodwin making the cut after a strong training camp to this point. Seventh-round rookie Dez Lewis hasn't shown he's ready to make the 53-man roster; he could be a candidate for the practice squad.
At defensive end, I'll give IK Enemkpali the nod for the extra roster spot created by Marcell Dareus' suspension in Week 1. I had Michael Buchanan in that role in my last projection but he's been running with the third team at strong-side linebacker in training camp.
There is also a shake-up at cornerback, where I am projecting Leodis McKelvin to start the season on the reserve/non-football injury list, keeping him out at least six games. I also have 2014 fourth-round Ross Cockrell as a surprise cut, possibly with an injury settlement because of his current knee ailment. That allows Mario Butler to slide onto the roster as a fifth cornerback.
Who were the toughest cuts? In order: kickoff specialist Jordan Gay, linebacker A.J. Tarpley, running back Bryce Brown, Buchanan and Cockrell.
Here is my full projection:
Quarterbacks (3): Cassel, Tyrod Taylor, Manuel (cut: Matt Simms)
Running backs (4): LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, Boobie Dixon, Karlos Williams (cut: Brown, Bronson Hill)
Fullbacks (1): Jerome Felton (cut: John Conner)
Wide receivers (6): Sammy Watkins, Percy Harvin, Robert Woods, Chris Hogan, Goodwin, Marcus Easley (cut: Deonte Thompson, Marcus Thigpen, Lewis, Andre Davis, Tobais Palmer)
Tight ends (4): Charles Clay, MarQueis Gray, Matthew Mulligan, Nick O'Leary (cut: Chris Gragg, Chris Manhertz)
Tackles (3): Cordy Glenn, Seantrel Henderson, Cyrus Kouandjio (cut: Darryl Johnson, Terren Jones, Tyson Chandler)
Guards (3): Richie Incognito, John Miller, Cyril Richardson (cut: William Campbell, D.J. Morrell)
Centers (2): Eric Wood, Kraig Urbik (cut: Alex Kupper)
Defensive tackles (3*): Kyle Williams, Dareus (*suspended), Corbin Bryant, Stefan Charles (cut: Andre Fluellen, Jeremy Towns, Justin Hamilton)
Defensive ends (5): Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes, Jarius Wynn, Alex Carrington, IK Enemkpali (cut: Andrew Hudson, Cedric Reed, B.J. Larsen, Erik Williams)
Strongside linebackers (2): Manny Lawson, Randell Johnson (cut: Buchanan)
Middle/weakside linebackers (4): Nigel Bradham, Preston Brown, Ty Powell, Tony Steward (cut: Tarpley, Jimmy Gaines)
Cornerbacks (5): Stephon Gilmore, Ronald Darby, Nickell Robey, Ron Brooks, Butler (NFI: McKelvin; cut: Cockrell, Rod Sweeting, Merrill Noel, Lavelle Westbrooks)
Safeties (5): Aaron Williams, Corey Graham, Duke Williams, Bacarri Rambo, Jonathan Meeks (cut: Kenny Ladler, Wes Miller)
Specialists (3): Dan Carpenter, Colton Schmidt, Garrison Sanborn (cut: Gay)