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NFL Buffalo Bills

Predicting the Buffalo Bills’ Final 2014 Depth Chart

Predicting the Buffalo Bills' Final 2014 Depth Chart

Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills
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The Buffalo Bills will kick off the NFL preseason on Aug. 3 when they face off against the New York Giants in the annual Hall of Fame Game. This game will be the first major step in determining the Bills’ final depth chart. Here’s what that depth chart could look like by the time the games count for real.

Quarterbacks (3)

E.J. Manuel Buffalo Bills-Minicamp
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterbacks (3)

E.J. Manuel Buffalo Bills-Minicamp
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E.J. Manuel
Thad Lewis
Jeff Tuel

Manuel will look to validate the first-round pick the Bills used on him last year. With a lot of new weapons, he has a good chance to do just that. Lewis played fairly well when Manuel was injured and is a decent backup. Tuel was forced into action when Lewis was injured as well and should be back as the no. 3 QB.

Running Backs (4) & Fullbacks (1)

Fred Jackson C.J. Spiller Buffalo Bills v Cincinnati Bengals
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Running Backs (4) & Fullbacks (1)

Fred Jackson C.J. Spiller Buffalo Bills v Cincinnati Bengals
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RB: Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller, Bryce Brown, Anthony Dixon
FB: Frank Summers

Jackson was just signed to an extension and should once again provide solid production even at 33 years old. Spiller is entering a contract year and needs to be able to show more than just flashes of his elite ability, but is due for a breakout year. The Bills brought in Brown and Dixon, giving the team great depth. Summers will return as the team’s fullback.

Wide Receivers (6)

Sammy Watkins Buffalo Bills Rookie Minicamp
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Wide Receivers (6)

Sammy Watkins Buffalo Bills Rookie Minicamp
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Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, Mike Williams, Chris Hogan, Marcus Easley

Watkins and Woods are firmly entrenched in the first two spots. Watkins already has the look of a superstar and Woods has shown a great rapport with E.J. Manuel. Williams has a ton of talent but needs to maintain his focus. Goodwin has played well in training camp and might sneak into the no. 3 spot. Hogan is a reliable depth option.

Tight Ends (3)

Scott Chandler Atlanta Falcons v Buffalo Bills
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Tight Ends (3)

Scott Chandler Atlanta Falcons v Buffalo Bills
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Scott Chandler
Tony Moeaki
Lee Smith

The 6-foot-7 Chandler has been battling injuries these past few months and with the additions of Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams could see his role reduced. He will still be a primary target in the red zone though. Moeaki has also had injury problems in camp, leaving the depth a concern at this spot. Smith isn’t likely to contribute much in 2014.

Offensive Linemen (9)

Eric Wood Buffalo Bills
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Linemen (9)

Eric Wood Buffalo Bills
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

LT: Cordy Glenn, Seantrel Henderson
LG: Chris Williams, Cyril Richardson
C: Eric Wood
RG: Kraig Urbik, Chris Hairston
RT: Erik Pears, Cyrus Kouandjio

Wood is as consistent as they come and Glenn looks like a future stud, but he has missed a lot of training camp to injury. Second-round pick Kouandjio has not looked very good, though neither has Pears, as the two battle for the right tackle spot. Neither guard spots are set in stone.

Defensive Linemen (8)

Mario Williams Buffalo Bills v New Orleans Saints
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Defensive Linemen (8)

Mario Williams Buffalo Bills v New Orleans Saints
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LDE: Mario Williams, Jarius Wynn
DT: Kyle Williams, Alan Branch
DT: Marcell Dareus, Stefan Charles
RDE: Jerry Hughes, Manny Lawson

Perhaps the most star-studded unit on the team, three members of this group went to the Pro Bowl in 2013. Mario Williams looks poised for a dominant season. Dareus could be facing a multi-game suspension due to his numerous offseason issues. Hughes quietly had his best season as a pro.

Linebackers (6)

Preston Brown Buffalo Bills Rookie Minicamp
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Linebackers (6)

Preston Brown Buffalo Bills Rookie Minicamp
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SLB: Keith Rivers, Ty Powell
MLB: Brandon Spikes, Preston Brown
WLB: Nigel Bradham, Randell Johnson

Star rookie Kiko Alonso was lost for the season to injury. The team brought in Spikes and Rivers to shore up a porous run defense and both are proven veterans. Bradham will likely replace Alonso, though he will miss one game due to suspension. Brown, the team’s third-round pick, looked great in rookie minicamp but hasn’t seen many reps.

Defensive Backs (10)

Stephon Gilmore Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Backs (10)

Stephon Gilmore Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

CB: Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin, Nickell Robey, Corey Graham, Ross Cockrell, Ron Brooks
FS: Da'Norris Searcy, Jonathan Meeks
SS: Aaron Williams, Duke Williams

Buffalo is extremely deep at CB with Gilmore, McKelvin and Robey coming off of good campaigns and Graham brought in this offseason. Behind Aaron Williams, the safety group is thin, as Searcy is entering his first season as a starter and Duke Williams and Meeks have barely played.

Special Teams (3)

Dan Carpenter Buffalo Bills
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Special Teams (3)

Dan Carpenter Buffalo Bills
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

K: Dan Carpenter
P: Brian Moorman
LS: Garrison Sanborn

Carpenter was one of the most consistent kickers in the league last season and should once again be a reliable source of points in the tough kicking conditions of Ralph Wilson Stadium. Moorman is not at the Pro Bowl level he once was, but he remains one of the better punters in the NFL. Sanborn is a near-perfect long snapper who never gets enough credit.