Buffalo Bills Claim TE Lee Smith off Waivers; Announce Practice Squad

Dan Van WieContributor IIISeptember 4, 2011

It is almost like the Buffalo Bills were just awarded another draft pick for the 2011 NFL Draft.

The Bills today claimed rookie tight end Lee Smith off the waiver wire from the New England Patriots. To make room for Smith on the roster, the Bills waived Zack Pianalto, the undrafted rookie free agent that surprisingly made the original 53-man roster. No word yet if the Bills are putting Pianalto on the practice squad.

Smith was thought to have a solid chance to make the Patriots roster, but he failed to pass any of the outstanding rookies from the 2010 team, namely Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Smith was drafted by New England with the 159th draft pick. He is 6'6" and weighs 269 pounds, so is a nice big target for Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Smith played his college ball at Marshall University, where he made 75 catches over his career for 791 yards, which is better than a 10.0 average gain per catch. He scored three touchdowns at Marshall. According to his college scouting report from fftoolbox.com, Smith is adequate at both receiving and blocking, but does not excel at either one.

The other benefit regarding adding Smith to the team, is that it is safe to assume that he has some inside knowledge about the Patriots offense that will be of extreme interest to Chan Gailey and George Edwards. Just another added benefit. 

To show that turnaround is fair play, the New England Patriots claimed long snapper Danny Aiken, who the Bills just released yesterday. In another interesting AFC East note, the New York Jets finally decided to waive Aaron Maybin, one day after he had presumably made the 53-man roster.

The Bills also announced that they have filled seven of the eight spots for their practice squad. The seven players they selected were all players that the Bills had just released the day before, which include WR Kamar Aiken, QB Levi Brown, TE Mike Caussin, DE Lionel Dotson, NT Michael Jasper, DB Josh Nesbitt and C Mike Switzer.

The Bills have not added a linebacker yet to the practice squad, so if no other team claimed him off waivers, perhaps the Bills will bring back Antonio Coleman, who is still eligible for the practice squad. Another option could be WR Naaman Roosevelt, and as of this writing, he had not been claimed yet by any other team.