Posts Tagged ‘Tight Ends’

Buffalo Bills Free Agent Targets: Julius Thomas

Thursday, February 12th, 2015
If the Buffalo Bills are willing to spend big on a free-agent tight end, they might be able to lure Julius Thomas away from the Denver Broncos. (Photo: Cary Edmondson — USA Today Sports)

If the Buffalo Bills are willing to spend big on a free-agent tight end, they might be able to lure Julius Thomas away from the Denver Broncos. (Photo: Cary Edmondson — USA Today Sports)

BBD Contributor: Paul Banach

This article is a part of a series on potential free-agent targets for the Buffalo Bills this offseason.

When the NFL free agency period begins in March, Julius Thomas of the Denver Broncos will be the most coveted tight end of the class. It’s no secret he’s in line for a substantial pay increase after racking up 24 receiving touchdowns over the last two seasons and becoming an integral part of the Denver offense.

The Broncos have until February 16 to use their franchise tag and if they do not use it on Thomas, there is a great chance he hits the open market and sets off a bidding war.

Since 2013, Julius Thomas has caught 72 percent of the passes thrown his way and has averaged one reception and thirteen receiving yards more per game than any tight end on the Bills roster. He has hauled in nearly one touchdown per game (0.92 per game, to be exact) in that same time frame. Those numbers might not jump out at you, but apply that increase in production to each Bills game and it could make a huge difference.

A part of Thomas’ success can be attributed to playing with Peyton Manning and a stockpile of weapons in Denver,  like outside receivers Demariyus Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. It also has a lot to do with the tight end’s great ball skills and large frame, which has made the former Portland State University basketball star a top red zone target.

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Buffalo Bills Free Agent Targets: Jermaine Gresham

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
Jermaine Gresham is a potential tight end upgrade the Buffalo Bills could pursue in free agency this offseason. (Photo: Andrew Weber — USA Today Sports)

Jermaine Gresham is a potential tight end upgrade the Buffalo Bills could pursue in free agency this offseason. (Photo: Andrew Weber — USA Today Sports)

BBD Contributor: Paul Banach

This article is a part of a series on potential free-agent targets for the Buffalo Bills this offseason.

The Buffalo Bills have a number of positional needs on their roster and with no first-round pick in this May’s NFL draft, they should be very active when the free agency period begins on March 10. Having already signed controversial veteran guard Richie Incognito to bolster their offensive line, it seems there is no move this front office won’t make to improve its team.

The tight end position in Buffalo has lacked an athletic playmaker at the spot for some time now. This year’s deep crop of free agent talent at the position is interesting. Current Cincinnati Bengals pass-catcher Jermaine Gresham looks to be headed for the open market and would seemingly be in Buffalo’s wheelhouse to make an offer.

An injury replacement in the 2011 and 2012 Pro Bowls, Gresham is a talented tight end who is a good blocker and is familiar with cold weather, having played the first five years of his NFL career in Ohio. He has accumulated at least 50 receptions in four of his five NFL seasons and has good speed for the position.

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Buffalo Bills Free Agent Targets: Jordan Cameron

Sunday, February 8th, 2015
Expected to leave the Cleveland Browns this offseason, tight end Jordan Cameron could be a top free-agent target for the Buffalo Bills. (Photo: Evan Habeeb — USA Today Sports)

Expected to leave the Cleveland Browns this offseason, tight end Jordan Cameron could be a top free-agent target for the Buffalo Bills. (Photo: Evan Habeeb — USA Today Sports)

BBD Contributor: Paul Banach

The upcoming NFL free agency period will be the Buffalo Bills’ first under new ownership. As of now, Buffalo will begin the March 10th signing period with a war chest of around $27 million, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.

There are a few Bills who could be in line for new contracts this offseason, including unrestricted Jerry Hughes and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who would otherwise play on a fifth-year option on his rookie contract. But looking beyond current players on Buffalo’s roster, some have regarded this 2015 free agency class as “the best ever.” The Bills have some voids to fill and knowing general manager Doug Whaley, he’s already busy scheming on how to improve the roster for 2015.

One position Buffalo should upgrade at is tight end. Current starter Scott Chandler stands tall at 6’7″, but has just average speed, which allows opposing teams to cover him with just one defender. Enter Cleveland Browns unrestricted free agent tight end Jordan Cameron, who broke out during the 2013 season and has already expressed his desire to leave Cleveland, according to a report by Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (h/t Jason Marcum of cincyjungle.com).

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Sophomore Spotlight: Chris Gragg

Tuesday, 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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Seven Takeaways from Buffalo Bills’ Pre-Draft Visits

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

The Buffalo Bills used almost a quarter of their pre-draft visits to interview potential early-round receiving targets like Texas A&M’s Mike Evans. (Photo: Brett Davis — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

Since the beginning of April, the Buffalo Bills have hosted 29 potential selections in this year’s NFL draft on official visits with the team. It appears as though the team is not using its 30th allotted visit, as Sunday was the NFL’s deadline for pre-draft visitors.

As the team had a finite limit of how many players it could bring to One Bills Drive, the visits list gives a telling indication of what the Bills could be looking for in this year’s draft.

It gives us a better indication of which positions the Bills are looking to draft than it does which players they will actually select. While Buffalo only drafted two of its pre-draft visitors last year—Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel and Clemson safety Jonathan Meeks—its six picks in the first five rounds all came from positions at which the team hosted at least five prospects (quarterbacks, wide receiver, linebacker, safety).

With that in mind, we can get a good idea of what positions Buffalo is looking to upgrade in this year’s draft, what type of players they are looking for at those positions, and more.

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