BBD Editor: Dan Hope
We’ve reached the longest six weeks of the Buffalo Bills offseason. With free agency, the NFL Draft, organized team activities and minicamp all in the rear window, all eyes are now looking ahead to training camp, which begins July 28, and the preseason and regular season that directly follow training camp.
The Buffalo Bills’ depth chart for the 2013 season remains a very fluid process. Many players will move up and down the depth chart, or move inside or outside the roster bubble, as training camp and the preseason progresses.
Earlier this week, Ryan Talbot made his post-minicamp 53-man roster projection. Take a look at his roster projection and my projected depth chart below, and feel free to let us know what you agree/disagree with in the comments section below!
1. EJ Manuel
2. Kevin Kolb
3. Jeff Tuel
It remains much too early to call the starting quarterback competition between Manuel and Kolb, but it will all depend on Manuel’s progression through training camp. Kolb has more experience (21 NFL starts), but is a short-term starting option at best. If Manuel proves in training camp and the preseason that he is capable of starting, he is likely to be under center Week 1.
Tuel is in position to make the roster as a third-string quarterback.
1. C.J. Spiller
2. Fred Jackson
3. Tashard Choice
Spiller could be destined to break out to stardom in 2013. If Jackson can stay healthy through 2013, he is a great No. 2 running back who forms a strong tandem with Spiller. Choice provides solid veteran depth at the position.
1. Scott Chandler H-Back: Chris Gragg
3. Mike Caussin
4. Lee Smith
Chandler is the only tight end on the Bills’ roster who is both a reliable downfield pass-catcher and strong in-line blocker. Gragg will likely be utilized as an H-back in many formations, with the team unlikely to retain any true fullbacks. Gragg and Caussin have been the Bills’ top tight ends in the rotation during spring workouts with Chandler and Smith sidelined, according to BuffaloBills.com.
1. Stevie Johnson 2. Robert Woods
3. T.J. Graham
4. Marquise Goodwin 5. Da’Rick Rogers 6. Brandon Kaufman
Johnson and Woods will see time both outside and in the slot, but both should be on the field on the majority of offensive snaps. Graham is a good fit to come in on the outside when Johnson or Woods kicks inside in three-receiver sets.
Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett should find creative ways to get Marquise Goodwin and his 4.27-second 40-yard dash speed on the field, and he is likely to play in spread sets.
Rogers and Kaufman would give the Bills four rookies at wide receivers, but both undrafted players have the talent to beat out the rest of the Bills’ veterans and contribute this season. Some expect Rogers to compete for an immediate starting spot, but expectations should be tempered for the undrafted free agent, who is more likely to be the team’s No. 5 receiver as a rookie.
LT: Cordy Glenn LG (C-2): Doug Legursky C: Eric Wood RG: Kraig Urbik RT (LT-2): Chris Hairston
RT-2: Erik Pears G-3: Colin Brown OT-4/G-4: Zebrie Sanders G-5: Zach Chibane
Glenn, Wood, Urbik and Hairston should all retain their starting roles from last season. The starting competition at left guard appears to be between Legursky and Brown, who split first-team repetitions during minicamp according to BuffaloBills.com.
Legursky could have the edge in that battle, with 17 career starts compared to just two for Brown. Either way, the loser of that battle is likely to be the team’s backup at both guard positions, while Legursky will likely be Wood’s backup at center.
Pears should remain on the roster as the swing tackle. Sanders missed his entire rookie season due to hip surgeries, but is a talented young offensive lineman who could work his way up the depth chart at both tackle and guard. Chibane has experience in head coach Doug Marrone’s blocking scheme, having played for him at Syracuse.
See page 2 for the projected defensive depth chart.