Buffalo Bills Training Camp Preview: Offensive Line


Editor’s Note: With training camp starting very soon, we’ll be breaking down the competition at each position on the Bills’ roster. This is the third part of the series. (Earlier: QB/RB/FB, WR/TE)

Offensive Line

Roster Locks: Eric Wood, Andy Levitre, Erik Pears, Kraig Urbik, Cordy Glenn

In the Mix: Chris Hairston, Chad Rinehart, Zebrie Sanders, Mark Asper, Michael Jasper, Colin Brown, Sam Young

Longshots: David Snow, James Carmon

Breakdown: Four of the five starting spots are more or less locked down with Urbik and Levitre at guard, Wood at center, and Pears at right tackle. The only real competition will be at left tackle, where enormous second-round pick Cordy Glenn will take on second-year man Chris Hairston. I’d be surprised if Glenn was not the victor there. Glenn’s a mauler and a huge man, but is he quick enough to play left tackle at the NFL level? We’ll find out.

The race for backup spots is wide open. Rinehart filled the backup guard role rather ably last season, and he’s certainly in position to return to that spot in 2012. But he’ll be challenged by gigantic project player Michael Jasper, who spent the last season on Buffalo’s practice squad learning how to play offensive guard. Colin Brown and rookie Mark Asper will fight for a backup center/interior lineman role as well. Brown is more or less strictly a center, while Asper has a bit more versatility. But is Asper an NFL athlete?

At the tackle spots, the Bills have a few intresting guys in addition to Glenn. Hairston was okay when pressed into duty as a rookie at left tackle, but you wonder where his ceiling is. He’s just not a super athlete. Young is really tall and has some talent, but he’s had some trouble staying healthy in the NFL. I think he could surprise in this camp if he’s fully ready to go. Sanders was an absolute steal in the fifth round, having torpedoed his draft position with some poor play at the Senior Bowl and a questionable workout strategy. He’s got a lot of potential, but he needs some work. He could make the team but get stashed the on the inactives each week, like Demetrius Bell did his first year in Buffalo.

Snow (Texas) and Carmon (Mississippi State) are undrafted rookies with huge mountains to climb in order to make the roster. Snow played a ton for the Longhorns and can play center and guard, but he’s got to prove he’s got NFL athleticism. Carmon switched over from defensive line before his final college season, so he’s pretty raw.