Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The Buffalo Bills need to address the position of tight end. What is the best way of doing that? Currently three names are on the roster: Tony Moeaki, Chris Gragg and Lee Smith. Scott Chandler is an unrestricted free agent and may or may not return. Is there a free agent or draft choice that would meet this need?
It is a deep TE class, but first let’s look at the free agents. I think we can safely eliminate Jimmy Graham and Dennis Pitta. Either would be an upgrade, but I don’t see their respective teams letting them near the front door. Although the Ravens may be able to hold on to Pitta, Ed Dickson may be available. His stats don’t jump out at you, but he did play in the shadow of Pitta for the last four years. Is he ready to break out?
Another free agent tight end to consider is Jeff Cumberland. Cumberland’s stats with the Jets are not impressive either, but considering how bad their offense was in 2013, Cumberland could be a steal. His best years are in front of him.
Scott Chandler may be the best option of the free agent class. He is a season removed from surgery and could be prime for a break out year. He knows the system and is now familiar with any of the quarterback options the Bills place under center. Chandler has my vote, but don’t discount the Bills taking a tight end in the draft as well.
Everyone wants Eric Ebron. Ebron has speed, but lacks in blocking. He doesn’t fit well in the Bill’s system. It is a fine line in the art of being a tight end. Too heavy and you are a lineman or a blocking tight end, too lean and you are a quirk away from being a wide receiver. Ebron leans more towards a wide receiver. Would the Bills consider him at number nine overall? I don’t think so.
I lean towards two that show a bit more balance. The first is Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The Mackey award winner has idea size (although it was surprises that he only did 20 reps on the bench press) for what the Bills are trying to accomplish. The biggest knock on this guy is character issues, but I am sure Whaley and the boys will do their homework.
The second is Troy Niklas. Niklas has great size and may be more polished than Seferian-Jenkins. He is strong and even showed that off by doing 27 reps on the bench press at the combine. Niklas is the best option through the draft in my book.
If you want a late round project, try Anthony Denham from Utah. Denham has all the tools, but lacks experience and weight. Weight can be added, but experience takes time and a roster spot. I don’t see the Bills going this route in the draft. They picked up Gragg last year and it doesn’t make sense to walk down the same road twice.
How do you think the Bills will tie up the loose end?