Buffalo has two players that fit the H-back role. For those who aren’t aware, the H-back is a hybrid position between fullback and tight end. H-Backs are asked to block, pass protect and run receiving patterns.
Dickerson intrigued Bills fans one year ago at training camp and earned a roster spot. He was active for 11 games last season and finished the year with nine receptions.
Buffalo initially switched Dickerson to wide receiver for 2013, but he was moved back to tight end at his request. The move was probably wise for Dickerson, given the team’s amount of talent at wide receiver and opportunity at H-Back/tight end.
Dickerson brings athleticism to the position but is lacking as a blocker. He has a shot of making the team in 2013, but I get the feeling that he’ll be looking for a job elsewhere when the Bills trim their roster to 53.
I’m not sure I’ve ever been so excited about a Bills seventh-round draft pick. Simply put, Gragg is an athletic freak. He has the speed and hands of a wide receiver and is above average as a blocker.
His biggest problem in college is that he couldn’t stay on the field due to injuries. Gragg missed the entire 2009 season at Arkansas due to injury, and played in only five games last season
That said, Gragg has the inside track on a roster spot due to the athleticism the team is looking for in their up-tempo offense. Look for Gragg to turn some heads in 2013 as a receiver. He has a chance to be a weapon for the Bills for many years to come. I have Gragg penciled in for 20-30 receptions in year one, but only time will tell.
The good news for tight ends and H-backs is that Nathaniel Hackett tries to get them involved in the offense. Dave Richard of CBSSports.com pointed out that in 2011, tight ends had 28 percent of the team’s receptions at Syracuse. This amount was lowered to 16.9 percent in 2012, however, when Syracuse went with a more up-tempo offense.
Scott Chandler hauled in 43 receptions for the Bills in 2012, tied with C.J. Spiller for the second-highest amount of receptions the team. Truth be told, Chandler is the most productive tight end the team has had since Jay Riemersma graced the field in the late 90′s and early 2000′s.
Chandler was placed on the team’s injured reserve on Dec. 24, 2012 with a torn ACL. Fortunately for the Bills, Chandler has made a quick recovery and is expected to be ready to go for training camp, according to Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com.
Chandler hopes to build off of his 2012 season. My biggest concern with Chandler isn’t his ACL necessarily, but rather how he’ll fit in Hackett’s offense. Time will tell, but look for Chandler’s production to drop a bit in 2013.
Caussin tore his ACL in 2011 and did not make as quick of a recovery as Chandler, instead missing the 2012 season. Finally healthy, Caussin will be facing an uphill battle for one of Buffalo’s tight end spots.
That said, Caussin saw plenty of reps in offseason workouts according to Mark Armstrong of BuffaloBills.com with Chandler out and Lee Smith battling an injury. WGR’s Joe Buscaglia pointed out that Caussin showed strong hands and confidence. But if he makes the roster, he would see limited time on the playing field unless an injury or two occurred.
Far and away the best blocker the Bills have at tight end. Smith suffered an injury in the weight room during OTAs but should be ready to participate in training camp. Smith and Caussin will likely be battling for the final tight end spot, and if the team is looking for extra blockers, Smith gets the nod. His hands are average, but he wouldn’t be very involved in the passing game.
Additional Positional Previews: