Roster analysis

The Bills made some interesting choices when it came to numbers at certain positions Saturday as they reduced their roster to the necessary 53.

One of the more interesting positions was the offensive line where the Bills made versatility a priority. They kept just eight linemen with all but two players capable of playing more than one position.

Seth McKinney becomes the backup center with Brandon Rodd, the second team center through the preseason, waived/injured.

For the first time under Dick Jauron the Bills kept 11 defensive backs with six cornerbacks and five safeties. The past three years Buffalo had kept 10 defensive backs with an even split between cornerback and safety.

Ellis Lankster proved too valuable to try and sneak through waivers to place on the practice squad. What may have also played a factor is the uncertain health of Drayton Florence's knee. It's believed he'll be ready to practice come the middle of this coming week, but whether he's ready to play Week 1 is still up in the air.

Buffalo has been snake-bit at the cornerback positions each of the past two seasons, so it's no surprise to see the staff choose to carry six.

At linebacker last season, Buffalo carried just six, but this season the staff held onto seven, with former fifth-round pick Alvin Bowen the odd man out. Bowen played hard in his return from ACL knee surgery and fared well, but undrafted rookie Ashlee Palmer made more plays in the preseason.

Bowen is a likely candidate for the practice squad.

Orchard Park native Jon Corto made the roster again due mainly to his special teams prowess, and it was significant. Having appeared in all 16 games last season, Corto was not eligible for the practice squad.

On the defensive line Copeland Bryan was a victim of the numbers game. He had some strong performances in the preseason as he had two sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries, but the coaching staff elected to go with veterans with Chris Kelsay, Ryan Denney, Aaron Schobel making the roster along with promising youngsters Chris Ellis and Aaron Maybin.

With Marshawn Lynch on the reserve/suspended list it was a bit surprising to see the Bills keep just two running backs in Fred Jackson and Xavier Omon along with FB Corey McIntyre. McIntyre did show some ability to run the ball in the preseason, so it will be interesting to see how the running back position plays out between now and the time Lynch returns to club after Week 3.

Finally at wide receiver the Bills kept six for the third time in four years under Jauron. Justin Jenkins made the cut again due to his strong value on special teams. His big catches in the preseason finale against the Lions didn't hurt.

James Hardy is technically a seventh receiver, but does not count toward the roster as he was placed on Reserve/PUP making him eligible to begin practicing at the end of Week 6 at the earliest.

The Bills can begin putting together their eight-man practice squad after noon on Sunday.

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