May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Sammy Watkins (Clemson) poses for a photo after being selected as the number four overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to the Buffalo Bills at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills: Post-Draft Depth Chart Projections

As we inch closer to OTAs and Minicamps, here is my first projection for the Buffalo Bills’ post-draft/UDFA signings depth chart.

 

 

Offense   #   Starter   #   Backup   #   Reserve   #   Reserve   #   Reserve   #   Reserve
QB   3   E.J. Manuel   9   Thad Lewis   7   Jeff Tuel   6   Dennis Dixon                
RB   28   C.J. Spiller   22   Fred Jackson   35   Bryce Brown   26   Anthony Dixon   42   Ronnie Wingo        
FB   38   Frank Summers                                        
LT   77   Cordy Glenn   72   Edawn Coughman   66   Seantrel Henderson                        
LG   74   Chris Williams   64   J.J. Unga   73   Antoine Mclain                        
C   70   Eric Wood   59   Doug Legursky                                
RG   60   Kraig Urbik   68   Cyril Richardson   76   Randy Colling                        
RT   71   Cyrus Kouandijo   79   Erik Pears   75   Chris Hairston   62   Mark Asper                
TE   84   Scott Chandler   82   Tony Moeaki   85   Lee Smith   89   Chris Gragg   80   Mike Caussin   48   Evan Rodriguez
WR1   14   Sammy Watkins   88   Marquise Goodwin   11   T.J. Graham   15   Chris Hogan   18   Kevin Elliott   87   Chirs Summers
WR2   10   Robert Woods   19   Mike Williams   81   Marcus Easley   17   Brandon Kaufman   86   Ramses Barden   14   Cordell Roberson
Defense   #   Starter   #   Backup   #   Reserve   #   Reserve   #   Reserve   #   Reserve
LE   94   Mario Williams   92   Jarius Wynn   98   Ikponmwosa Igbinosun                        
DT1   99   Marcel Dareus   90   Alan Branch   96   Stefan Charles       Colby Way                
DT2   95   Kyle Williams   97   Corbin Bryant       Damien Jacobs                        
RE   55   Jerry Hughes   91   Manny Lawson                                
SLB   56   Keith Rivers   57   Ty Powell   56   Jacquies Smith       Bryan Johnson                
MLB   51   Brandon Spikes   52   Preston Brown   93   Randell Johnson       James Gaines                
WLB   50   Kiko Alonso   53   Nigel Bradham   58   Nathan Williams       Darrin Kitchens                
CB1   24   Stephon Gilmore   37   Nickell Robey   30   Mario Butler       Darius Robinson                
CB2   21   Leodis McKelvin   29   Ross Cockrell   33   Ron Brooks   44   Brandon Smith                
SS   23   Aaron Williams   25   Da’Norris Searcy   40   Jajuan Harley       Deon Broomfield                
FS   20   Corey Graham   27   Duke Williams   36   Jonathan Meeks       Kenny Ladler       Derek Brim        
Special Teams   #   Starter   #   Backup   #   Reserve   #   Reserve   #   Reserve   #   Reserve
K   2   Dan Carpenter   5   Dustin Hopkins                                
P   8   Brian Moorman   4   Jacob Dombrowski                                
LS   65   Garrison Sanborn                                        

 

 

Notes:

  • Prior to the draft, Bills Director of Player Personnel, Jim Monos, confirmed that Manny Lawson will be playing defensive end in Jim Schwartz’s 4-3 defense.

 

  • Sammy Watkins immediately slots in at the top of the wide receiver depth chart. I am all for players earning their stripes, but you don’t give up a first round pick for someone unless you believe he will immediately contribute from day one.

 

  • After spending a 2nd round pick on OT Cyrus Kouandijo, one of the key position battles to follow heading into Training Camp will be at the right tackle position. Based on the fact that the Bills used a high draft choice on Kouandijo, the prevailing opinion is that he will be given every opportunity to win the job. Several analysts/experts graded Kouandijo as a first round talent, but he ultimately fell to the second due to long-term health and durability concerns that were magnified by his weak combine performance.

 

  • The battle for the 3rd string quarterback position should be intriguing as well. Jeff Tuel slots in ahead of Dennis Dixon on the initial depth chart due to his familiarity with the system. However, Dixon’s talents, at least on the surface, appear to fit better with the schemes of Nathaniel Hackett’s offense, and I would not be surprised at all if Dixon earns this roster spot.

 

  • The Bills still appear to be thin at the defensive end position, even after moving Manny Lawson. It will be interesting to see if one of the undrafted free agent linebackers eventually slot their way into one of the end positions. If one or more of these rookies proves they can sufficiently rush the passer during camp, as well as contribute on special teams, a 53-man roster spot or practice squad position could be earned.

 

  • The undrafted free agent that I will be watching closely this camp will be safety Kenny Ladler. Ladler started at both safety positions throughout his SEC career at Vanderbilt, and earned first team All-SEC honors from the AP last year. He brings versatility and size (6’0”, 207 pounds) to a position that also has the most uncertainty behind projected starters Aaron Williams and Corey Graham. It’s highly unlikely that the Bills would keep more than five safeties, but Ladler has enough talent to push for a 53-man roster spot.

 

  • After re-signing K Dan Carpenter to a four-year, $9.9 million contract in early March, last year’s 6th round selection Dustin Hopkins roster spot may be in jeopardy. I have never liked it when teams kept two place kickers on their 53-man rosters, and Carpenter’s leg is decent enough on kickoffs that Hopkins is most likely already on the roster bubble heading into camp. He will need to have an extremely strong camp and show well in preseason games to make his case for the final 53.

 

  • As the Bills did not address the tight end position during the draft, incumbent starter Scott Chandler remains atop the depth chart. What shakes out behind him should make for an interesting storyline during camp. Tony Moeaki has some athletic talent, but has been injury prone throughout his career. Chris Gragg was still very green as a rookie last year, but can he prove to the coaches that he deserves a spot on this year’s roster? Gragg has raw ability that could translate for pass catching, but will need to show that he can be a more complete player by improving his blocking skills during camp.

 

Bills fans – what players are you hoping climb the current depth chart?  Will any of the incumbents be knocked for their starting perches? Will there be a surprise name that makes waves during training camp?

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