In Week 16 of the 2012 NFL season, Scott Chandler tore his ACL, ending his season a game early and putting the start of the 2013 season in question.
A fan favorite since joining the Buffalo Bills in 2010, Chandler has never impressed anyone with his speed and athletic ability, but he has a knack for scoring in the red zone. Over the past two seasons Chandler has scored 12 touchdowns, six in each season, one off the team lead in 2011 and tied for the lead in 2012. His production in terms of points has been as important and efficient as any other player on the Bills offensive roster.
Take Chandler’s touchdowns away and the Bills are left with a very bland tight end, averaging just over 38 yards a game in 2012. He has amassed nearly 1,000 yards over the last two seasons, but the Bills were looking for added depth at the position before he was injured in Week 16.
Chandler’s injury will likely force him to start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, and Buffalo will need to look for someone else to step up and produce. It is possible the Bills could make a play for Jared Cook in free agency, but it makes more sense for them to try to fill the need through the draft.
Looking through the mock drafts that litter the web, reviewing team needs throughout the league and evaluating the talent on the board, it is completely possible that the cream of the tight end crop could still be available when the Bills go on the clock in the second round.
Zach Ertz, the 6’5” 250 pound stud out of Stanford is the favorite to become the first tight end taken off the board. If he is still available, it would be a no-brainer for the Bills to select Ertz to be the future in Buffalo.
Close behind Ertz is Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert. He also stands at 6’5” and weighs 250, and may be even more physical than the gifted Ertz. Eifert made himself invaluable throughout Notre Dame’s impressive undefeated season in 2012 and he will be a great addition to any NFL team that is able to secure his services.
What this would mean for Chandler is debatable. As stated, he is a fan favorite and his numbers have increased nicely, year by year. He still lacks any speed, or the big play ability that can help stretch the field and open things up for the rushing tandem of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. With $2.35 million due to him, Chandler cannot feel comfortable about his position within the Bills organization this off-season.