CAPACCIO: Three players squarely on the roster bubble heading into the preseason finale

These three players may make or break their roster spot on Thursday

Sal Capaccio
August 31, 2017 - 1:04 am

The Bills will wrap-up the preseason portion of the 2017 schedule Thursday night when they face the Detroit Lions in Orchard Park, then they’ll trim the roster down from the current 83 active players to 53. That has to be done by Saturday at 4 p.m. So the game is one final chance for some players to make a case for why they belong.

Here are few players who I think are squarely on the roster bubble and could help or hurt themselves with how they perform Thursday night:

WR Brandon Reilly

Reilly is probably on the outside looking in right now, but he’s moved a lot closer to that door with some very good performances in the team’s last two preseason games. Now, he has a chance to push through it and claim a roster spot. The undrafted free agent from Nebraska is the Bills’ leading receiver this preseason with nine catches for 112 yards.  He also has one of only two touchdown catches for the team through their three games. He also hurt himself with a fumble deep in Ravens territory Saturday night, costing the Bills a chance to win. But with all the shuffling that’s gone on at the wideout position, and injuries to Jeremy Butler and Rod Streater, Reilly is in a prime position to take advantage and make the final cut.

WR Corey “Philly” Brown

It could very well come down to Brown or Reilly for one final receiver spot. And as Reilly’s stock continues to rise, it looks like Brown's continues to fall each week. He’s caught six passes for 66 yards in the preseason, but hasn’t really stood out in any games or even practices. Brown was penciled in as - or at least to compete for - the number three wideout role when he signed with the Bills from Carolina, behind Sammy Watkins and Andre Holmes. Boy, how things have changed. But with all those changes, Brown hasn’t taken enough advantage, even though he’s had chances. Now, he’s in a legitimate battle to save his roster spot.

CB Greg Mabin

You might be asking yourself “who?” if you don’t follow this team with a fine-tooth comb. Mabin signed a bit later in the free agent process (June 1) after being cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he had signed as an unrestricted free agent out of Iowa. But since being in Buffalo he’s put together a solid offseason, including one of the team’s three interceptions of the preseason when he picked off the Eagles late in the game to set up a potential game-winning score. With E.J. Gaines coming to the team late via trade and Kevon Seymour missing significant time with a shoulder injury, Mabin has had chances to get extra reps in both practices and games. And in those games he’s played a lot. He led all cornerbacks with 29 snaps against the Eagles. In Baltimore, E.J. Gaines had 34 to lead all cornerbacks, but Mabin was only one behind him with 33. The coaches are obviously taking a long, hard look at him. And that should be the case again Thursday night.

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