By Nick Richardson @NickSonofDave on June 5, 2014
With OTAs currently underway across the NFL, fans are getting their first looks at their favorite teams and players. For the Buffalo Bills, most of their starting lineup appears to be set. That being said, there are several positional battles that are currently taking place, with each player hoping to earn a starting job. These are the positional battles to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.
Brian Moorman is arguably the greatest punter in Bills history. The two-time All-Pro selection rejoined the team last season, but showed that he is not as effective as he used to be. He is currently competing with undrafted rookie Jake Dombrowski for the role of punter in 2014. It will be interesting to see whether or not Moorman’s legacy plays into the competition at all.
The battle for the starting job opposite Pro Bowler Mario Williams on the defensive line is an interesting one. Jerry Hughes had a breakout season last year with a career-high 10 sacks. However, his recent drag race with Marcell Dareus may negatively affect his chances at the starting job. Alan Branch is a better run defender than Hughes anyway and could end up taking his spot.
The right tackle spot comes down to whether the Bills prefer experience or potential. Chris Hairston represents the former, as he has seen starting time in 2011 and 2012, though he missed all of 2013 due to injury. If the Bills want to go with potential, they are apt to go with second-round pick Cyrus Kouandjio. Though Kouandjio also has an injury history, he is clearly the more talented option.
Buffalo was dealt a significant blow when Pro Bowler Jairus Byrd signed with New Orleans this offseason. Fortunately, the Bills appear to have several capable replacements. Da’Norris Searcy filled in admirably when Byrd was hurt, and is likely the front-runner. Second-year players Duke Williams and Jonathan Meeks, as well as veteran Jim Leonhard, are also in competition.
First-round pick Sammy Watkins is the unanimous number one wide receiver for the Bills in 2014 and the foreseeable future. The Bills now have to determine the rest of the depth chart. Robert Woods showed a lot of promise as a rookie last season. His legal troubles aside, Mike Williams has a ton of talent and has proven he can produce. Marquise Goodwin, T.J. Graham and Kevin Hogan will likely look to provide depth.
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