By Nick Richardson @NickSonofDave on July 27, 2014
After opening all NFL training camps this past week, the Buffalo Bills will have an added amount of time to determine their overall depth chart. Many spots on the roster are already set, but there a few interesting position battles taking place right now. Here are the best of the bunch.
Urbik is the incumbent at this spot right now, which he has held for the better part of the last three seasons. However, he has not been overly impressive during that time, which is why he’s receiving a challenge from Hairston. A converted tackle, Hairston missed all of the 2013 season due to an unknown illness. In his first two seasons, Hairston started 15 games at both left and right tackle. Whoever wins the job will need to improve their play.
With Aaron Williams sliding over to free safety, the strong safety spot is up for grabs. Like a number of other players on Buffalo’s defense, Searcy enjoyed a good deal of success in 2013, recording 71 tackles, 3.5 sacks and returning an interception for a touchdown. Williams and Meeks are both second-year players who barely played as rookies. While they may see first-team reps, neither is a strong candidate to start.
Woods was one of E.J. Manuel’s favorite targets last season, as the two showed good chemistry with one another when they were both on the field. He could be poised for a big sophomore season. Despite his off-the-field issues, Williams has been a very productive player over his first four seasons, though he only played in six games last year. Both will be battling for the spot behind star rookie Sammy Watkins.
As a second-round pick in this year’s draft, Kouandjio was expected to emerge as the favorite for the starting right tackle spot. He has not received many first team reps to this point, however. The majority of those reps have gone to Pears, who started all 16 games in 2013. Neither player has been very impressive in training camp so far. Kouandjio is obviously the future starter, but Pears is likely to hold on to his spot for now.
This position was supposed to be set with rookie sensation Kiko Alonso sliding over from the middle. Unfortunately, his season-ending injury changes that. Brown was very impressive in rookie minicamp and looked like he might emerge as Alonso’s replacement. However, he has not received many reps so far. Bradham has gotten good reviews from coaches, and his veteran experience could give him the edge.
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