Buffalo Bills Full Position Breakdown and Depth Chart Analysis at Tight End

Justin Neuman@@JustinNeuman10Contributor IIJune 23, 2014

Buffalo Bills Full Position Breakdown and Depth Chart Analysis at Tight End

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    If the Buffalo Bills didn't jump to the top five of the NFL draft, we could be talking about how Eric Ebron is challenging to win the starting tight end job in training camp.

    Yet here we are, with Sammy Watkins wearing Ryan Fitzpatrick's number and the Bills sticking with the stable of tight ends they had in 2013 in Scott Chandler, Tony Moeaki, Lee Smith, Chris Gragg and Mike Caussin.

    Speaking of Fitzpatrick, could he be the Bills' best starting quarterback in 10 years? That's scary to think about, but that's a debate for another time.

    For now, we are here to discuss the Bills tight ends. Let's break down the situation at the position and see who is on pace to be the starter and who could be looking for a job after the Bills pare their roster to 53 men.

On the Roster Bubble

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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    Considering he has five career receptions, it's easy to say Caussin is firmly on the roster bubble. I wouldn't expect him to be suiting up when they put the pads on in September.

    Caussin was waived and then re-signed during last season, so he's going to have to come pretty much out of nowhere to land a roster spot. With other tight ends, and even fullbacks, in competition for these spots on the roster, Caussin will most likely end up on the outside looking in.

Bottom of the Depth Chart

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    Bill Feig/Associated Press

    Ahead of Caussin, there will be two other tight ends vying for what will likely end up being one roster spot.

    The two competitors will be Smith and Gragg, who both saw action in the 2013 season. Smith played in all 16 games last year and racked up 78 yards on five catches. Gragg only played in nine games and gained 53 yards on five catches while also finding the end zone once.

    Smith's blocking ability is probably what helped him see the field more, as the Bills were focused on getting it done on the ground.

    Per ESPN.com's Mike Rodak, Gragg is on the bubble watch for the Bills, with Rodak giving Gragg a 45 percent chance to make the team. Rodak said the Bills are "expected to" keep Chandler and Smith, so there may not be room for Gragg.

    Rodak also said the Bills could carry four running backs, six receivers and a fullback, so Gragg will have his work cut out for him at St. John Fisher College.

    Unless Gragg makes some strides in camp, expect Smith and his run-blocking prowess to snag the last tight end spot.


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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    Right now, Moeaki is entrenched as the backup tight end for the Bills. And if he has a strong training camp, Moeaki has a chance to usurp Chandler's starting role.

    That's according to Joe Buscaglia of WGR, who said tight end is a starting position that could be up for grabs. Buscaglia said Moeaki got a lot of time with the first team during minicamp, and according to Buscaglia, Moeaki was "relatively impressive."

    That's a lukewarm reaction at best, but Buscaglia also said Moeaki developed some chemistry with EJ Manuel during minicamp, but he would "likely need a big training camp to unseat Chandler."

    There will likely be a decent competition at tight end during camp, as Buscaglia said the Bills were seriously considering taking Ebron if they stayed at No. 9 in the draft, proving the Bills aren't opposed to upgrading the position. Also, Buscaglia said the Bills have been "talking up" Moeaki since the end of last season.


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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    And so we get to Chandler, who is the starting tight end until someone takes the job from him.

    After all, Chandler was the team's leading receiver last year, again proving a tight end is a quarterback's best friend. The Bills trotted out three different starters under center, and Chandler was relied on by each one.

    Despite racking up the most receiving yards, it's not like Chandler was putting up Jimmy Graham numbers. But would you believe Chandler was 12th in the league in receiving yards and 13th in receptions among tight ends last year? Not bad for a player whom some were arguing should be replaced heading into May's draft.

    If Manuel is healthy, Chandler could continue to be a security blanket, using his 6'7" frame to finish off drives in the red zone. And if Moeaki proves to be a more athletic option, the Bills can use him in the middle of the field, creating a solid one-two punch at tight end.