Bubble Watch for Buffalo Bills' Training Camp

Chris TrapassoAnalyst IJuly 18, 2013

Bubble Watch for Buffalo Bills' Training Camp

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    The Buffalo Bills underwent an organization overhaul this offseason by hiring a new general manager and a new head coach. Additionally, for the first time in franchise history, they selected a quarterback with their first pick in the draft.

    Plenty of roster turnover has already taken place, and the new coaching staff will likely be more inclined to keep "their" players than holdovers from the unsuccessful Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix era. 

    The conclusion of training camp always brings surprise cuts, and here's a list of the players sitting dangerously on the bubble.

Brad Smith

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    Experience: 7 years

    Depth Chart Position: Third-string wide receiver

    Analysis: Brad Smith is a receiver whose true value is in his versatility, not necessarily his expertise in any one area. 

    In 2012, he caught 14 passes for 152 yards with two touchdowns. On the ground, he ran the football 14 times for 116 yards and score, but 35 of those yards came on one carry against the San Francisco 49ers.

    He's somewhat of a special teams ace, and his experience could be valued in a receiving corps that's relatively lacking in that department. 

    However, he's due $2.75 million in 2013. That's not a huge number, but if the new coaching regime doesn't see him making a considerable contribution his season, he could be on the chopping block.

Marcus Easley

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    Experience: 3 years

    Depth Chart Position: Third-string wide receiver

    Analysis: Marcus Easley has labored through a misdiagnosed knee injury that prematurely ended his rookie season, a serious heart ailment that ended his sophomore season and a relatively invisible third year in which he accumulated no offensive stats in the regular season. 

    A former fourth-round pick with size (6'2'', 217) and speed (4.46), it's do-or-die time for this relatively raw wideout. 

    He did demonstrate ability as a returner in last year's preseason, but with an influx of young and talented wideouts on the roster, it'll be an uphill climb for this UConn product.

Dorin Dickerson

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    Experience: 2 years

    Depth Chart Position: Starting fullback

    Analysis: Although Ourlads lists Dorin Dickerson as Buffalo's starting fullback, there's a chance he'll be looking for a job come September. The Bills' official website lists him as a wide receiver, which doesn't bode well for his chances to make the 53-man roster. 

    Labels aside, Dickerson is a prime candidate to assume an H-back role—a pass-catching fullback who blocks on occasion. However, he'll be pushed by the ultra-versatile and athletic Chris Gragg. Both are on the roster bubble.

Brandon Kaufman

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    Experience: Rookie

    Depth Chart Position: Fifth-string wide receiver

    Analysis: The Bills have plenty plenty of bodies fighting for, at most, five receiver positions (let's assume Stevie Johnson makes the team).

    Brandon Kaufman is a big-bodied, 6'5'' wideout from the small-school ranks. He went undrafted, so he's a low-risk option for the Bills. 

    If he shows prowess in the red zone and can beat press coverage, despite better long speed than quick-twitch athleticism, Kaufman has a chance—albeit a small one—to stick in Buffalo.

Crezdon Butler

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    Experience: 3 years

    Depth Chart Position: Second-string right cornerback 

    Analysis: Crezdon Butler represents the absolute logjam at Buffalo's cornerback position behind Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin. 

    He's been on three other teams in his NFL career and appeared in six games last year for the Bills.

    With a slew of unestablished defensive backs who will be relied upon in Mike Pettine's system this season, the most heated positional battles will be in the secondary this August at St. John Fisher college, that's for sure. 

Mike Caussin

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    Experience: 2 years 

    Depth Chart Position: Third-string tight end

    Analysis: Mike Caussin is in a bad position. He missed the entire 2012 season due to an ACL injury, and the new coaching staff has no previous ties to him. 

    In 2011, he caught five passes. 

    No one is exactly sure how offensive coordinator Nate Hackett plans to use the tight end and fullback position, but with Scott Chandler, Lee Smith and, potentially, Dorin Dickerson and Chris Gragg ahead of him, Caussin is sitting squarely on the bubble.