Sophomore Spotlight: Chris Gragg

June 3rd, 2014

Chris Gragg didn’t see much playing time in his rookie season. Will he take on a bigger role in 2014? (Photo: Mark Konezny — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Ryan Talbot

The Buffalo Bills’ seventh-round pick (No. 222 overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft, Chris Gragg had trouble staying on the field at Arkansas and didn’t get on the field much for the Bills as a rookie. Seventh round draft picks aren’t guaranteed of a roster spot, but Gragg has athleticism one can’t teach and a skill set that complements fellow Bills tight ends Scott Chandler and Lee Smith well.

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Scouting the Bills Veteran Additions: What Chris Williams Brings to the Buffalo Bills

June 1st, 2014

Free-agent addition Chris Williams could be the Buffalo Bills’ starting left guard in 2014. (Photo: Kyle Terada — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

Production at the left guard position was among the most inconsistent on the Buffalo Bills last season.

The team failed to adequately replace Andy Levitre, a four-year starter who left for the Tennessee Titans as an unrestricted free agent. The Bills initially entrusted the position to Colin Brown, who performed poorly and was released in Week 7 despite starting the first five games of the season. The performance of Doug Legursky, who replaced Brown as the starter in Week 6 after coming back from an injury, was only marginally better.

The Bills made improving at left guard—and the offensive line as a whole—a high priority this offseason by not only utilizing three draft picks on linemen, but also by signing veteran free agent Chris Williams.

Williams has started 54 games over the course of his seven-year career and was the only St. Louis Rams offensive lineman to start all 16 of the team’s games in 2013.

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Sophomore Spotlight: Nickell Robey

May 29th, 2014

Cornerback Nickell Robey was one of the most pleasant surprises for the Bills in 2013. (Photo: Robert Mayer — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Ryan Talbot

No one, including the Buffalo Bills, knew what they getting when they signed Nickell Robey as an undrafted free agent. Generally, an undrafted player making the 53-man roster is a story in itself. Having an undrafted free agent earn playing time in all 16 games? A rare feat.

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Sophomore Spotlight: Jeff Tuel

May 26th, 2014

Jeff Tuel isn’t likely to see the field in 2014, but his roster spot is safe. (Photo: Derick E. Hingle — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Ryan Talbot

Every year after the NFL draft, discussions often revolve around what rookies can bring to their respective teams. It’s certainly a worthy conversation, but just as important can be the development of the players entering their sophomore seasons.

That is very true for the Bills, who have eight 2013 draft picks returning to the team along with two key undrafted free agents, Jeff Tuel and Nickell Robey.

This year’s look at the Bills’ second-year players begins with Tuel, who was signed by the team out of Washington State and went on to start a game last year.

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Scouting the Veteran Additions: What Brandon Spikes Brings to the Buffalo Bills

May 24th, 2014

Brandon Spikes could be a much-needed presence in the middle of a run defense that has consistently struggled. (Photo: Kim Klement — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

The Buffalo Bills have finished among the NFL’s bottom five in run defense in every season since 2009. As part of their effort to stop that trend, the Bills agreed to terms with former New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes, who has been rated by Pro Football Focus (subscription required) as the NFL’s No. 1 inside linebacker in run defense in each of the past two seasons, on a one-year deal.

A large factor in the Bills’ inability to stop the run has been their inconsistent play from the linebacker position. Spikes, along with Keith Rivers and two draft picks, were added this offseason to provide consistent play at a position group that has been lacking stability in recent years.

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