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NFL Buffalo Bills

10 Buffalo Bills Players to Watch in the 2014 Preseason

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10 Buffalo Bills Players to Watch in the 2014 Preseason

Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame Game
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills began the NFL preseason against the New York Giants in last week’s Hall of Fame Game. While certainly not indicative of what we’ll see from the team for the rest of the preseason, it gave us an idea of where certain players are within the roster. These 10 players bear watching as the Bills get closer to the regular season.

10. S Duke Williams

Duke Williams Buffalo Bills
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

10. S Duke Williams

Duke Williams Buffalo Bills
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo’s two safety spots are pretty well set, with Aaron Williams moving over to free safety and Da’Norris Searcy stepping in at strong safety. Williams and Jonathan Meeks, both 2013 draft picks, will be competing for playing time as backups safeties. Neither guy played much last year, but Williams saw a lot of time in the Hall of Fame Game. Williams looks to have the inside track as the team’s primary backup safety.

9. CB Ross Cockrell

Ross Cockrell Buffalo Bills-Training Camp
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

9. CB Ross Cockrell

Ross Cockrell Buffalo Bills-Training Camp
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Bills’ fourth-round pick, Cockrell has drawn positive reviews from the coaching staff for his football intelligence and instincts. The dilemma Cockrell faces is that the Bills are extremely deep at cornerback, so deep in fact that Cockrell is probably No. 6 on the depth chart. This most likely means that Cockrell will see very little playing time in 2014, but with a good preseason, he can give the Bills’ staff something to think about.

8. RB Bryce Brown

Bryce Brown Buffalo Bills
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

8. RB Bryce Brown

Bryce Brown Buffalo Bills
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

On a lot of teams Brown would be a very good backup, but due to the presence of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, he will have to settle for No. 3 on the Bills’ depth chart. Because of Buffalo’s desire to keep both Jackson and Spiller healthy, Brown is probably going to see a lot of action in the preseason. If he continues to show the kind of promise he did with the Philadelphia Eagles, he may force the Bills to give him the ball more often.

7. WR T.J. Graham

T.J. Graham Buffalo Bills
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

7. WR T.J. Graham

T.J. Graham Buffalo Bills
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Graham has been a bit of a disappointment ever since the Bills selected him in the third round of the 2012 Draft. While he has excellent speed, Graham lacks ideal height and hasn’t shown the precise route running or consistent hands it takes to cut it as an NFL wide receiver. Because of this, the Bills plan to target Graham a lot in the preseason to give him one last shot to show that he can be the player they thought he was.

6. OT Cyrus Kouandjio

Cyrus Kouandjio Buffalo Bills Rookie Minicamp
Getty Images

6. OT Cyrus Kouandjio

Cyrus Kouandjio Buffalo Bills Rookie Minicamp
Getty Images

Expectations were high for Kouandjio coming into the 2014 season. When the Bills selected him in the second round in this year’s draft, they thought they were getting an immediate starter at right tackle. However, Kouandjio has struggled in training camp and didn’t look great against the Giants in the Hall of Fame Game. It looks like the Bills are throwing the talented, but raw Kouandjio into the fire right away. Time will tell if it works out.

5. LB Preston Brown

Preston Brown Hall of Fame Game-New York Giants vs Buffalo Bills
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

5. LB Preston Brown

Preston Brown Hall of Fame Game-New York Giants vs Buffalo Bills
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As the Bills’ third-round pick in this year’s draft, Brown didn’t receive the attention of top picks Sammy Watkins and Cyrus Kouandjio. Despite this, Brown impressed a lot of people in rookie minicamp, and some thought he was even a candidate to replace the injured Kiko Alonso. But Brown hasn’t received many reps in training camp, though he did see a lot of action against the Giants. Expect Brown to mainly serve as Brandon Spikes’ backup at MLB.

4. WR Mike Williams

Mike Williams Buffalo Bills
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

4. WR Mike Williams

Mike Williams Buffalo Bills
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Williams enters this season as one of the most interesting players on Buffalo’s roster. He has as much talent as anyone, yet his off the field issues led Tampa Bay to letting him go. Williams’ former college coach Doug Marrone is giving him a second chance, and Williams will likely start the season as the Bills’ number three receiver. If Williams can stay on the straight and narrow, the Bills will have one of the league’s better receiving corps.

3. OT Seantrel Henderson

Seantrel Henderson Miami at Pittsburgh
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

3. OT Seantrel Henderson

Seantrel Henderson Miami at Pittsburgh
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Henderson came into training camp an afterthought as a seventh-round pick. But Henderson has surprised everyone with his level of play and even started the Bills’ first preseason game in place of the injured Cordy Glenn, and held his own against Jason Pierre-Paul. If he keeps it up, Henderson could end up being the steal of the draft.

2. QB Jeff Tuel

Jeff Tuel Buffalo Bills
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

2. QB Jeff Tuel

Jeff Tuel Buffalo Bills
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

There wasn’t expected to be many questions about the Bills’ QB situation heading into the 2014 season. The depth chart was supposed to be E.J. Manuel, Thad Lewis and Tuel in that order. But after a pretty good game against the Giants, Tuel is pushing to become the Bills’ number two guy behind Manuel. Tuel has arguably been better than Lewis in training camp, and it wouldn’t be a shock if he overtook Lewis on the depth chart.

1. WR Sammy Watkins

Sammy Watkins Buffalo Bills
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

1. WR Sammy Watkins

Sammy Watkins Buffalo Bills
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps no player on the Bills’ roster will be receiving the amount of attention this preseason that Watkins will, as every pass thrown his way will be analyzed. That comes with the territory of being the fourth overall pick. But it is important, even in the preseason, to see how the Bills’ prized rookie fares against NFL competition. If the early signs are any indication, Watkins is on the verge of a big rookie season.