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Our 53-man roster projection for Bills following draft, free agent signings

After lagging behind the rest of the NFL in number of players on their roster, the Buffalo Bills have caught up.

The team has 79 players on its roster as of Sunday, and agreed to terms with 13 undrafted free agents, meaning they’ll need to make two cuts if all those players follow through and sign. That would put the Bills at 90 players – the maximum they can take to training camp.

There are some positions that could use more depth, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see the team continue to look at free agents throughout the spring.

Now that the Bills have a full roster, here is The Buffalo News’ first 53-man roster projection of 2017:

Quarterbacks (3): Tyrod Taylor, T.J. Yates, Nathan Peterman.
Cuts (2): Cardale Jones, Josh Woodrum.

Analysis: The Bills’ new coaching staff doesn’t have any ties to Jones, who immediately got placed on the roster bubble the minute Peterman was announced at the draft. While Yates’ experience figures to give him the first shot at winning the No. 2 job, don’t count out Peterman making a push for that role. In that case, Jones might have a shot at winning the No. 3 job if the staff sees anything from him worth developing.

Running backs/fullbacks (4): LeSean McCoy, Jonathan Williams, Mike Tolbert, Patrick DiMarco.
Cuts (3): Joe Banyard, Cedric O’Neal, Jordan Johnson.

Analysis: Williams’ chances for a roster spot improved greatly when the team failed to match the contract offer New England made to Mike Gillislee, allowing him to leave as a restricted free agent. Tolbert’s ability to play running back or fullback should help his case for a spot.

Wide receivers (6): Sammy Watkins, Zay Jones, Andre Holmes, Philly Brown, Walter Powell, Brandon Tate.
Cuts (6): Corey Washington, Kolby Listenbee, Dez Lewis, Jeremy Butler, Daikiel Shorts, Brandon Reilly.

Analysis: Listenbee missed all of his rookie season because of injury, so it might be unfair to include him here, but he’ll have plenty to prove to the new coaching staff to earn a spot. Watkins, Jones, Holmes and Brown look like locks, which leaves only two jobs open for eight players. Tate’s return ability on special teams gives him an edge on one of those spots, leaving seven players fighting for one job.

Tight ends (3): Charles Clay, Nick O’Leary, Logan Thomas.
Cuts (3): Blake Annen, Keith Towbridge, Jason Croom.

Analysis: If you had to pick one position the Bills would be interested in adding to before the season, it would be tight end. If the team really does want to run more plays with multiple tight ends on the field, the depth has to improve – which explains the visit Gary Barnidge made recently as a free agent. Watching Thomas’ development in the spring and at training camp will be interesting. For now he gets a spot based on portential.

Offensive tackles (4): Cordy Glenn, Dion Dawkins, Jordan Mills, Cyrus Kouandjio.
Cuts (2): Cameron Jefferson, Michael Ola.
Suspended (1): Seantrel Henderson.

Analysis: The troubling details of Kouandjio’s recent incident police, when he was found in a field partially clothed, is concerning. It remains to be seen if he’s physically and mentally well enough to play. Henderson still has to serve five games of a 10-game suspension. He doesn’t count against the 53-man roster during that time, so the Bills don’t lose anything by keeping him around, and then seeing how he looks after the suspension is over.

Interior offensive linemen (5): Eric Wood, John Miller, Richie Incognito, Ryan Groy, Vlad Ducasse.
Cuts (4): Jordan Mudge, Patrick Lewis, Greg Pyke, Zach Voytek.

Analysis: The Bills have some impressive depth on the inside of their offensive line. The first four spots are locks, leaving the only players on the bubble here to be Ducasse and Lewis. Given Ducasse’s connection to offensive line coach Juan Castillo, he gets the inside track.

Defensive tackles (4): Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Adolphus Washington, Jerel Worthy.
Cuts (2): Nigel Williams, Deandre Coleman.

Analysis: The Bills maintained the status quo here throughout the offseason, with the exception of adding Nigel Williams as an undrafted free agent. That’s an indication they are happy with the players they have.

Defensive ends (4): Jerry Hughes, Shaq Lawson, Ryan Davis, Max Valles.
Cuts (3): Ian Seau, Jake Metz, Marquavius Lewis.

Analysis: This is another position the Bills might look to add to before the season. There could be a job opening behind the top three, but each of the cut players are big-time roster underdogs.

Linebackers (6): Lorenzo Alexander, Reggie Ragland, Ramon Humber, Matt Milano, Tanner Vallejo, Preston Brown.
Cuts (3): Eddie Yarbrough, Junior Sylvestre, Jacob Lindsey.

Analysis: Expect Brown to be on plenty of “surprise cut” lists as training camp approaches. He’ll compete for the middle linebacker job with Ragland. The weak-side starter is Humber for now, but Milano should push him in training camp. Vallejo earns a spot on special teams.

Cornerbacks (6): Tre’Davious White, Ronald Darby, Kevon Seymour, Shareece Wright, Leonard Johnson, Marcus Roberson.
Cuts (5): Bradley Sylve, Marcus Cromartie, Charles Gaines, Charles James, Marcus Sayles.

Analysis: The use of a first-round pick on White and the signing of Wright after the draft has done a good deal to strengthen this position for the Bills. Johnson earns one of the last two spots based on his experience in coach Sean McDermott’s defense last year with Carolina, while Roberson takes the other based on special teams.

Safeties (5): Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Shamiel Gary, Colt Anderson, Jonathan Dowling.
Cuts (4): Joe Powell, Trae Elston, Jeremy Tyler, B.T. Sanders.

Analysis: Three jobs are cemented with starters Hyde and Poyer, as well as Anderson for his ability on special teams. Gary edges out Dowling for the final spot here, also because of his ability to play special teams. This is another position the Bills could address in free agency. Jairus Byrd, anyone?

Specialists (3): Colton Schmidt, Stephen Hauschka, Reid Ferguson.
Cuts (1): Austin Rehkow.

Analysis: The Bills feel pretty good about newcomers Hauschka and Ferguson at kicker and long snapper, respectively, having failed to bring in any competition for either of them. Schmidt edges out Rehkow for now, but needs to show in training camp his down 2016 season is behind him.

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