Initial Post-Draft Depth Chart for the Buffalo Bills
Significant changes have been made across the board, with new types of players being acquired to fit the team's new offensive and defensive philosophies.
Let's take a look at the current (and tenuous) depth chart and make an early prediction of the final 53-man roster.
Projected Depth Chart: Kevin Kolb, EJ Manuel, Tarvaris Jackson, Aaron Corp, Jeff Tuel
Kevin Kolb will begin offseason workouts as the Bills No. 1 quarterback. He's experienced and has a background in the West Coast offense. EJ Manuel's overall skill set and draft position should give him the early lead on Tarvaris Jackson for the backup role, and he could overtake Kolb by Week 1.
Aaron Corp and Jeff Tuel are long shots to make the roster.
Projected Depth Chart: C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Tashard Choice, Zach Brown, Drew Smith
No surprises here. C.J. Spiller is the clear feature back and one of the most dangerous running backs in all of football. Fred Jackson is a fine backup and the perfect change of pace. Tashard Choice is unspectacular, but reliable.
Projected Depth Chart: Stevie Johnson, T.J. Graham, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, Da'Rick Rogers, Marcus Easley, Brad Smith, Chris Hogan, Kevin Elliott, Brandon Kaufman
Stevie Johnson is the team's No. 1 receiver, and T.J. Graham had a respectable rookie season despite the inconsistencies at the quarterback position. Robert Woods, to some, was the most NFL-ready wideout in the 2013 class and should be the starter on opening day.
Marquise Goodwin was a third-round selection and should be an explosive novelty item in the read-option and on go-routes down the field. Undrafted free agent Da'Rick Rogers is the most physically impressive receiver on the team, but he must prove he has matured since his troubled collegiate days.
If Marcus Easley stays healthy, he has a shot to make the roster, but Brad Smith's days could be numbered.
Keep an eye on undrafted free-agent signee Brandon Kaufman.
Projected Depth Chart: Scott Chandler, Lee Smith, Dorin Dickerson, Chris Gragg, Mike Caussin
Scott Chandler is coming off of an ACL injury he suffered late in the 2012 season, and Lee Smith is entrenched as the team's blocking tight end.
Dorin Dickerson will likely begin the year as the team's H-back; however, Chris Gragg has legitimate pass-catching talent.
Projected Depth Chart: Cordy Glenn, Chris Hairston, Thomas Welch, Adam Grant, Hutch Eckerson
After an underrated rookie year, Cordy Glenn is the unquestioned franchise left tackle, and Chris Hairston is a fine backup. The rest are purely practice bodies at this point.
Projected Depth Chart: David Snow, Zebrie Sanders, Keith Williams
David Snow has the initial leg up to start at left guard—the void created when Andy Levitre bolted in free agency. But Zebrie Sanders will likely be kicked inside to guard, and he has the size and athletic ability to beat out Snow.
Projected Depth Chart: Eric Wood, Colin Brown, Ryan Turnley
Eric Wood has battled injuries early in his career, but when healthy, he's one of the league's most effective centers. Colin Brown has playing experience, so he'll likely be kept on the roster as an important insurance policy.
Projected Depth Chart: Kraig Urbik, Keith Williams
Kraig Urbik is a monstrous but nimble right guard, and his job is totally safe. Before his injury against the Cleveland Browns early in 2012, Urbik was Buffalo's most devastating blocker.
Keith Williams is purely a depth guy.
Projected Depth Chart: Chris Hairston, Erik Pears, Zebrie Sanders, Sam Young
Erik Pears regressed in 2012, and Chris Hairston has the size to be a road-grading right tackle. With youth on his side, don't be stunned if Hairston and Glenn are the bookend tackles for the Bills to start the year.
Projected Depth Chart: Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Alex Carrington, Jarron Gilbert, Jamie Blatnick
In a traditional 4-3 set, Mario Williams and Mark Anderson will be Buffalo's defensive ends. Jarron Gilbert has history with defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, so there's a good chance he sticks around and sees the field in 2013.
Projected Depth Chart: Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Alex Carrington, Alan Branch, Torell Troup, Jay Ross
Buffalo's defensive tackle contingent is solid. Kyle Williams is the most complete player of this group, but Marcell Dareus is an elite interior pass-rusher. Alan Branch could anchor at the nose in 3-4 alignments, as could Torell Troup.
Don't forget about Alex Carrington, who greatly improved in 2012. He could be poised for a breakout year.
Projected Depth Chart: Nigel Bradham, Manny Lawson, Bryan Scott, Kiko Alonso, Arthur Moats, Chris White, Marcus Dowtin, Keith Pough
Nigel Bradham is the most powerful and athletic linebacker on the roster. Kiko Alonso's a close second. Kelvin Sheppard's days aren't number, but his job certainly isn't as safe as it was last year.
Arthur Moats has played in a variety of positions, and there's a possibility Mike Pettine will be enamored with his versatility.
Keith Pough went undrafted, but he projects to the weak-side linebacker spot in a 4-3.
Projected Depth Chart: Kelvin Sheppard, Arthur Moats, Kiko Alonso, Greg Lloyd
Kelvin Sheppard is still the team's middle linebacker, but Alonso could overtake him by 2014. Both should play on the inside in the 3-4, too.
Projected Depth Chart: Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin, Ron Brooks, Justin Rogers, Crezdon Butler
Stephon Gilmore will likely be Mike Pettine's man-to-man, Darrelle Revis-esque cornerback in the foreseeable future. Leodis McKelvin was signed to a modest deal in the offseason, but he'll be given a chance to win the No. 2 cornerback spot.
Ron Brooks and Justin Rogers will fight for the starting nickel corner position.
Projected Depth Chart: Jairus Byrd, Da'Norris Searcy, Aaron Williams, Duke Williams, Jonathan Meeks, Mana Silva, Dominique Ellis
Jairus Byrd is one of the premier safeties in the NFL. Da'Norris Searcy has much to prove, but he has playing experience.
It'll be interesting to see how Aaron Williams transitions to the safety spot with hard-hitting Duke Williams breathing down this throat.
Kick Returner Projected Depth Chart: Leodis McKelvin, Marquise Goodwin, Marcus Easley
Punt Returner Projected Depth Chart: Leodis McKelvin, Marquise Goodwin, Jairus Byrd
Kicker Projected Depth Chart: Rian Lindell, Dustin Hopkins
Punter Projected Depth Chart: Shawn Powell
Leodis McKelvin is the entrenched kick returner, but if he's playing more defensive snaps, the speedy Marquise Goodwin could assume that role.
Rian Lindell is 36, doesn't have the leg he once had and Dustin Hopkins can really boot it.
Projected Final Roster
QB (3): Kevin Kolb, EJ Manuel, Tarvaris Jackson
RB (3): C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Tashard Choice
TE (4): Scott Chandler, Dorin Dickerson, Lee Smith, Chris Gragg
WR (6): Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, T.J. Graham, Marquise Goodwin, Da'Rick Rogers, Marcus Easley
OT (4): Cordy Glenn, Chris Hairston, Erik Pears, Sam Young
OG (4): Kraig Urbik, Zebrie Sanders, David Snow, Keith Williams
C (3): Eric Wood, Colin Brown, Ryan Turnley
DE (3): Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Jarron Gilbert
DT (5): Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Alan Branch, Alex Carrington, Torell Troup
LB (5): Nigel Bradham, Manny Lawson, Kelvin Sheppard, Kiko Alonso, Arthur Moats, Keith Pough
CB (5): Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin, Ron Brooks, Justin Rogers, Crezdon Butler
S (5): Jairus Byrd, Da'Norris Searcy, Duke Williams, Aaron Williams, Jonathan Meeks
ST (3): Dustin Hopkins, Shawn Powell, Garrison Sanborn
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