Buffalo Bills: Post-Draft Depth Chart Projections

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
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 /

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 3E.J. Manuel9Thad Lewis7Jeff Tuel6Dennis Dixon
RB 28C.J. Spiller22Fred Jackson35Bryce Brown26Anthony Dixon42Ronnie Wingo
FB 38Frank Summers
LT 77Cordy Glenn72Edawn Coughman66Seantrel Henderson
LG 74Chris Williams64J.J. Unga73Antoine Mclain
C 70Eric Wood59Doug Legursky
RG 60Kraig Urbik68Cyril Richardson76Randy Colling
RT 71Cyrus Kouandjio79Erik Pears75Chris Hairston62Mark Asper
TE 84Scott Chandler82Tony Moeaki85Lee Smith89Chris Gragg80Mike Caussin48Evan Rodriguez
WR1 14Sammy Watkins88Marquise Goodwin11T.J. Graham15Chris Hogan18Kevin Elliott87Chirs Summers
WR2 10Robert Woods19Mike Williams81Marcus Easley17Brandon Kaufman86Ramses Barden14Cordell Roberson
Defense # Starter # Backup # Reserve # Reserve # Reserve # Reserve
LE 94Mario Williams92Jarius Wynn98Ikponmwosa Igbinosun
DT1 99Marcel Dareus90Alan Branch96Stefan CharlesColby Way
DT2 95Kyle Williams97Corbin BryantDamien Jacobs
RE 55Jerry Hughes91Manny Lawson
SLB 56Keith Rivers57Ty Powell56Jacquies SmithBryan Johnson
MLB 51Brandon Spikes52Preston Brown93Randell JohnsonJames Gaines
WLB 50Kiko Alonso53Nigel Bradham58Nathan WilliamsDarrin Kitchens
CB1 24Stephon Gilmore37Nickell Robey30Mario ButlerDarius Robinson
CB2 21Leodis McKelvin29Ross Cockrell33Ron Brooks44Brandon Smith
SS 23Aaron Williams25Da’Norris Searcy40Jajuan HarleyDeon Broomfield
FS 20Corey Graham27Duke Williams36Jonathan MeeksKenny LadlerDerek Brim
Special Teams # Starter # Backup # Reserve # Reserve # Reserve # Reserve
K 2Dan Carpenter5Dustin Hopkins
P 8Brian Moorman4Jacob Dombrowski
LS 65Garrison Sanborn


  • 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 Kouandjio, 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 Kouandjio, the prevailing opinion is that he will be given every opportunity to win the job. Several analysts/experts graded Kouandjio 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?