Revisiting Bills' bubble watch: 37 of 38 'locks' make final roster

Fred Jackson was the lone Bill deemed a lock or near lock in July who failed to make the roster. AP Photo/Bill Wippert

In July, just prior to the start of training camp, I posted a wrap-up of our summer "Bubble Watch" series for the Buffalo Bills.

Players on the Bills' 90-man roster were separated into three categories: locks or near locks, on the bubble and long shots. Each player "on the bubble" was assigned a percentage chance of making the final roster.

With the Bills trimming their roster to 51 players Saturday, let’s evaluate my predictions from July:

Locks or near locks: 37 of 38 made the 53-man roster or were placed on a reserve list.

  • Where we missed: RB Fred Jackson

  • Analysis: I floated a scenario in May, while evaluating the running back position after the draft, in which Jackson could get cut. I wrote at the time that the Bills could save about $2.5 million by releasing Jackson, "and with their 2016 cap space already thin, that space could be carried over into next season and help the team down the road." However, I didn't see regression from Jackson or enough of a push from other players during organized team activities and minicamp to put Jackson on the roster bubble for this piece in July. Perhaps I should have considered it more.

On the bubble, 50 percent chance or greater: 13 of 19 made the 53-man roster.

On the bubble, less than 50 percent chance: 5 of 12 made the 53-man roster.

  • Those who made it: TE Chris Gragg (45 percent), LB A.J. Tarpley (45 percent), RB Bryce Brown (40 percent), WR Marcus Thigpen (35 percent), CB Mario Butler (25 percent)

  • Those who missed the cut: G Chris Williams (45 percent), LB Jimmy Gaines (40 percent), FB John Conner (35 percent), DT Andre Fluellen (30 percent), WR Deonte Thompson (25 percent), TE Clay Burton (25 percent), S Kenny Ladler (25 percent)

  • Analysis: There were specific factors that led to each of the five players making the roster despite a less than 50-50 chance. Gragg was helped by the Bills' decision to keep five tight ends; Tarpley got an assist from a season-ending knee injury to Powell; Brown was a direct beneficiary of Jackson's release; Thigpen's punt-returning duties were needed because of McKelvin's injury; and Butler played well throughout the summer and got a bump because of McKelvin's injury.

Long shots: 0 of 20 made the 53-man roster.

  • Analysis: Well, I guess that’s why they call them long shots.