NFL Buffalo Bills

Predicting The Buffalo Bills’ 2014 Starters

Predicting The Buffalo Bills' 2014 Starters

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Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Possessing one of the NFL's most promising rosters, the Buffalo Bills enter 2014 with a great chance to take the next step toward becoming contenders. With guys like E.J. Manuel, C.J. Spiller and Sammy Watkins, the Bills have positioned themselves well to enjoy a lot of success both in 2014 and well into the future. Here is a prediction of what the Bills' starting lineup will look like in 2014.

QB: E.J. Manuel

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QB: E.J. Manuel

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Although he had injury troubles in his rookie season, when E.J, Manuel was on the field, he showed the traits needed in a franchise passer. With some new weapons on offense, Manuel is set to take the next step in 2014 and cement himself as the Bills’ long-term quarterback.

RB: C.J. Spiller

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Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

RB: C.J. Spiller

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Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

2014 is a huge year for C.J.Spiller. The former ninth-overall pick has shown occasional flashes of brilliance during his time in the NFL, however, he must become a more consistent player if he ever expects to reach his potential. Fred Jackson will get his fair share of touches, however, Spiller should be the starter.

WR: Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Mike Williams

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Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

WR: Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Mike Williams

Robert Woods
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Sammy Watkins, this year’s fourth overall pick, should be an immediate starter, and I fully expect him to become one of E.J. Manuel’s favorite targets right away. As for Robert Woods, he is a solid, albeit unspectacular starter who gives the team the type of reliable target they need. Mike Williams should step in as the slot receiver and be mildly productive in the Bills’ offense.

TE: Scott Chandler

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Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

TE: Scott Chandler

Scott Chandler
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Although he’s not an exciting playmaker, Scott Chandler is perhaps the most reliable pass-catcher the Bills have at this point. Chandler is a great target in the red zone, and while his lack of top-end athletic ability will prevent him from becoming a truly elite threat, Chandler is still a solid starter.

OT: Cordy Glenn (LT) and Cyrus Kouandjio (RT)

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Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

OT: Cordy Glenn (LT) and Cyrus Kouandjio (RT)

4 Cordy Glenn
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A great starter through the first two seasons of his career, Cordy Glenn enters 2014 as the clear-cut starter at the left tackle position. Cyrus Kouandjio fell in the draft due to injury concerns, but if he’s healthy, Kouandjio could combine with Glenn to give the Bills a pair of young bookend tackles.

OG: Chris Williams (LG) and Cyril Richardson (RG)

2014 NFL Combine
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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 22: Former Baylor offensive lineman Cyril Richardson stretches as he gets ready to run the 40-yard dash during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 22, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

OG: Chris Williams (LG) and Cyril Richardson (RG)

2014 NFL Combine
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Veteran guard Chris Williams was brought in this offseason to be a starter for the Bills, and he should be a noticeable upgrade over Doug Legursky. As for Cyril Richardson, I believe he was a huge steal for the Bills in the fifth round, and he should step right in as a starter.

C: Eric Wood

2 Eric Wood
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C: Eric Wood

2 Eric Wood
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One of the NFL’s top centers when he’s healthy, Eric Wood enters the 2014 season as the Bills' clear starter. If he can stay healthy, Wood should remain a solid player in the middle of the Bills’ line.

DE: Alan Branch (LE) and Mario Williams (RE)

Mario Williams
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DE: Alan Branch (LE) and Mario Williams (RE)

Mario Williams
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On a team that is filled with young talent, Alan Branch and Mario Williams give this team two stable veteran presences. Branch is a solid run stuffer, and although he has limited pass rushing ability, he should remain the starter in 2014. Williams, on the other hand, makes a living off of his pass rushing ability, and as long as he can continue to bring down the quarterback, he will be a star on the Bills' defensive line.

DT: Marcell Dareus (NT) and Kyle Williams (3T)

Marcell Dareus
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DT: Marcell Dareus (NT) and Kyle Williams (3T)

Marcell Dareus
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A former first-rounder, Marcell Dareus finally lived up to the hype in 2013 and became the young star the Bills thought they were getting when they drafted him. Williams is a reliable performer who has been a steady presence on the Bills’ line, and should remain a starter in 2014 as well.

OLB: Manny Lawson (SAM) and Kiko Alonso (WILL)

NFL: Preseason-Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills
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OLB: Manny Lawson (SAM) and Kiko Alonso (WILL)

Kiko Alonso
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Lawson, a big, physical linebacker, was his usual solid self for the Bills in 2013. However, it was Kiko Alonso who was the big surprise. Alonso, who finished the season as a contender for the league’s Defensive ROY award, is coming off a phenomenal rookie season, and both he and Lawson will be starters come Week 1.

MLB: Brandon Spikes

Brandon Spikes
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MLB: Brandon Spikes

Brandon Spikes
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Acquired this offseason through the free agency process, Brandon Spikes should step right in as a starter in the middle of the Bills’ defense. There are certainly health concerns, but if he can stay injury-free, Spikes will be a valuable member of the Bills’ linebacking corps.

CB: Leodis Mckelvin and Stephon Gilmore

Stephon Gilmore
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CB: Leodis Mckelvin and Stephon Gilmore

NFL: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
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In 2013, Leodis Mckelvin finally showed the Bills that he can be more than just a return man. He was solid in coverage, and appears ready to take the next step in his development after several disappointing years. As for Gilmore, the talent is there, but he battled with injuries for much of last season, and wasn’t the same player when he was on the field. That said, if each can continue to grow in 2014, the Bills' secondary will be fine.

FS: Da'Norris Searcy

Da'Norris Searcy
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FS: Da'Norris Searcy

Da'Norris Searcy
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Entering his fourth NFL season, Da’Norris Searcy is expected to be a starter for the first time in his young career in 2014. Although he probably won’t play up to the level of the departed Jairus Byrd, there is hope that Searcy can be a reliable starter.

SS: Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams
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SS: Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams
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After flopping as a cornerback in his first two seasons, Aaron Williams moved to the safety position last season and played well. Williams’ play earned him a starting spot in 2014, and if his play from 2013 is any indication, he will be fine.

Special Teams

Timothy T. Ludwig-Dustin Hopkins
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Special Teams

Timothy T. Ludwig-Dustin Hopkins
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

As far as special teams is concerned with the Bills, 2014 will be largely the same as 2013 with perhaps one exception. Dustin Hopkins, a sixth-rounder last year who missed his rookie season due to injury, will likely take over for Dan Carpenter. Other than that, Brian Moorman should remain the team’s punter while Leodis Mckelvin and Marquise Goodwin will handle return duties.