5 Undrafted Free Agents Who Could Make the Buffalo Bills’ Roster
5 Undrafted Free Agents Who Could Make the Buffalo Bills' Roster
The Buffalo Bills are headed in a new direction. Whether or not that applies to their production in the win-loss column is yet to be seen. Still, it has become abundantly clear that the team is approaching the 2013 season and beyond with a brand new philosophy, one based around speed and an aggressive attack.
The Bills new GM Doug Whaley has stated that his new team-building strategy is inspired, in part, by what he learned as an assistant for the perennially dominant Pittsburgh Steelers. Namely, he plans to build through the draft rather than free agency, and will focus on developing and retaining dynamic homegrown players. Whaley has also emphasized the importance of developing a philosophy and then finding personnel to fit into it. This is in contrast to the disgraceful 'good ol' boys' clubhouse run by Buddy Nix and Ralph Wilson, before both stepped down at the beginning of this offseason.
All this goes to explain why the Bills drafted so many speedy receivers last April, including a former Olympic athlete in Marquise Goodwin, and route-running guru Robert Woods. On the defensive end, the Bills focused on finding players who would fit into Mike Pettine's versatile, aggressive scheme, such as former Oregon linebacker Kiko Alonso.
The Bills didn't stop trying to improve their roster when the draft ended, however. Since then, they have added a number of undrafted free agents who are not only consistent with the teams philosophy, but could prove to be major playmakers in the future. Some could stand to develop a little further, while others already appear ready for NFL game action. Either way, the Bills may have found themselves some diamonds in the rough through their free-agent signings. Here are five undrafted free agents that have a legitimate shot at making the Bills final 53-man roster.
5. Kendall Gaskins
Kendall Gaskins has been impressive throughout training camp. Since being signed by the Bills, he has shown good speed, power and decision making in his running. At this point, Gaskins has clearly separated himself from the other Bills backups, and there is an apparent spot for him on the roster. Fred Jackson has looked every bit like a 32-year-old throughout camp so far, and it would not be surprising at all to see him succumb to another injury this season. Behind Jackson and CJ Spiller, the Bills are incredibly thin at RB. Tashard Choice may be serviceable, but his ceiling is very low, and Gaskins has shown the potential to be something special. If the Bills were smart, they would cut Choice and give the kid a shot.
4. Zach Chibane
The Bills learned the hard way last season that there is no such thing as having too much depth on the offensive line. Zack Chibane represents depth, size and versatility for a Buffalo O-line that was absolutely devastated by injuries during the 2012 season. He also has the added benefit of having previously played under Doug Marrone at Syracuse. He may not be a lock to make the final roster, but keeping him around would be a shrewd, intelligent move for the organization.
3. Da'Rick Rogers
Speaking of locks to make the final roster, Da'Rick Rogers may be the closest thing to a lock on this list. He has the prototypical size and strength to be an elite receiver. His attributes are complimented by freakish speed and athleticism. Add all that to the chip on his shoulder that comes with being the most talented undrafted free agent in his class, and Rogers has the potential to be something special. He has already showcased some of that top-flight talent in the Bills first preseason game, as he fooled a defender on a slant route and caught an easy touchdown from third string QB Jeff Tuel.
2. Brandon Kaufman
Brandon Kaufman was another receiver who came up big in the Bills preseason opener. Kaufman has been a consistent play maker for the Bills this offseason, and that continued last Sunday when he found himself on the receiving end of another touchdown strike from Jeff Tuel. At 6-foot-5, Kaufman possesses the type of unique size that quarterbacks love to throw to. Don't be surprised when Kaufman is hauling in some nice high passes from EJ Manuel this fall.
1. Jeff Tuel
Kevin Kolb, who? Despite rookie QB EJ Manuel's solid performance against the Colts in his NFL debut, Jeff Tuel managed to look like the best signal-caller on the Bills roster on Sunday. His deep passes were on the money all afternoon, and he managed to throw two beautiful touchdowns in as many quarters while never looking out of place under center. After replacing Manuel in the third quarter, Tuel was on target on all 10 of his first 10 passes, en route to a 19/23 performance with two TD's and 213 total yards. Sure, it was against the Colts' second and third stringers, but it looks as though the Bills may have struck gold with "Joe Cool" Tuel.