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Post-spring practices Bills 53-man roster projection

Welcome to the only offseason in the NFL.

This six-week stretch between the end of spring practices and the start of training camps in late July is the dead period on the league calendar.

In addition to allowing the Ryan brothers time to tandem bicycle through Delaware Park, it also provides a much-needed breather from the 24/7 news cycle that is professional football.

With "organized team activities" and mandatory minicamp in the books, though, it's a good time to update the 53-man roster projection for the Bills before they report to St. John Fisher College in Pittsford.

Quarterbacks (3): Tyrod Taylor, EJ Manuel, Cardale Jones.

Analysis: No change from our first projection a little more than a month ago. It's hard to seen anything changing here.

Running backs (3): LeSean McCoy, Jonathan Williams, Karlos Williams.

Analysis: The big update here is how big Karlos Williams got in the offseason. His weight gain became a big story, with the Bills expressing how disappointed they were with just how out of shape he is. Williams has time to change that now, and given the promising rookie season he had, should still have a job come September. It wouldn't be a suprise to see rookie Jonathan Williams make a push for the No. 2 job, though, or to see the team keep Mike Gillislee as insurance if Karlos Williams doesn't get his act together. For now, Gillislee remains one of the toughest cuts.

Fullback (1): Jerome Felton.

Analysis: Spring practices without contact make it tough to do much of an evaluation on positions that require blocking, like fullback. It remains to be seen whether rookie Glenn Gronkowski can push Felton for this job.

Wide receivers (7): Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Leonard Hankerson, Greg Salas, Dez Lewis, Kolby Listenbee, Marcus Easley.

Analysis: Probably the biggest riser after spring practices is second-year wide receiver Dez Lewis, who moves onto the 53-man roster in this projection, knocking Walt Powell out of a spot. Easley and Listenbee will have to prove in training camp they're both 100 percent coming off surgeries.

Tight ends (3): Charles Clay, Jim Dray, Chris Gragg.

Analysis: There aren't a lot of positional battles expected at training camp, but tight end is one position where there are jobs up for grabs. Dray, Gragg, Nick O'Leary and Blake Annan will compete for likely two spots. Dray was signed to be the blocking tight end, but if any of the other three can show they're able to do that on par or better than he does, his position could be in jeopardy.

Offensive tackles (4): Cordy Glenn, Jordan Mills, Seantrel Henderson, Cyrus Kouandjio.

Analysis: Henderson's presence around the team during the spring was a good sign. It shows that he could be ready to go come training camp. If he's indeed healthy, that could spell trouble for 2014 second-round draft pick Cyrus Kouandjio if the Bills decide to go with just three offensive tackles. For now, we'll stick with Kouandjio over Gillislee as one of the final calls.

Guards/centers (5): Eric Wood, Richie Incognito, John Miller, Fernando Velasco, Ryan Groy.

Analysis: Groy is No. 53 on the roster. As the fifth interior lineman, he doesn't project to be active on game days, so if the Bills have a positional need elsewhere, his spot will consistently be in danger. The top four seem set, especially considering Velasco can back up center and guard.

Defensive tackles (5): Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Corbin Bryant, Adolphus Washington, Jerel Worthy.

Analysis: T.J. Barnes getting a look at offensive tackle doesn't bode well for his chances of making the team at nose tackle. If the Bills were really happy with him there, they wouldn't have experimented with a new position. Worthy, meanwhile, has been mentioned by coach Rex Ryan as a player to could fill a role in 2016, and it sounds like he backed that up with his performance in the spring.

Defensive ends/outside linebackers (5): Shaq Lawson, Jerry Hughes, Manny Lawson, Lorenzo Alexander, Randell Johnson.

Analysis: Ryan's pet project, IK Enemkpali, got high marks for the work he put in during the offseason. It's clear the coach likes him, and pass rushers are always in demand, so Enemkpali sticks on this projection.

Inside linebackers (4): Preston Brown, Reggie Ragland, Zach Brown, Eric Striker.

Analysis: Striker remains the only undrafted free agent to crack the 53-man roster. His versatility is the biggest selling point.

Cornerbacks (6): Stephon Gilmore, Ronald Darby, Nickell Robey, Corey White, Sterling Moore, Kevon Seymour.

Analysis: Seymour was mentioned in the same breath as Darby by Ryan, so it's clear the Bills are impressed with what they've seen from the sixth-round draft pick out of Southern California. On paper, the depth at this position seems like a strength. Javier Arenas doesn't survive the cut in this projection, but certainly could play his way onto the roster as the team's punt returner.

Safeties (4): Aaron Williams, Corey Graham, Robert Blanton, Colt Anderson.

Analysis: Blanton has been mentioned by General Manager Doug Whaley as a player with starting potential, while Anderson figures to be a key contributor on special teams. Ryan gushed about his safeties during the spring -- but it's hard to believe the team will keep Duke Williams after his role was so drastically cut last year.

Specialists (3): Dan Carpenter, Colton Schmidt, Garrison Sanborn.

Analysis: Carpenter is healthy this offseason, which should make a big difference for him come training camp. The new touchback rule that brings the ball out to the 25-yard line may also help him if the Bills elect not to try and get it deep every time. Barring injury, Schmidt and Sanborn are safe.

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