With the 2013 NFL draft over, we have a better vision of what the Buffalo Bills are looking to do on both offense and defense. However, while we have an idea of what the coaching staff has in place, there are several positions that are up for grabs. Over the next week or so, we’ll be previewing each and every position that will have a competition.
With this edition, we’ll be covering the tight end position.
Note: Players listed in alphabetical order, not by depth chart
Mike Caussin has been sitting third on the tight end depth chart over the past two seasons behind Scott Chandler and Lee Smith. In those two seasons, he’s caught just five passes for 41 yards while only appearing in six games.
At 6’5” 243 pounds, Caussin has the ideal size for the position, but his limited athleticism may restrict him to a blocking role.
The best Bills tight end of the past decade, Scott Chandler suffered a torn ACL in the final game of the 2012 season. Prior to the injury, Chandler was a reliable threat to move the chains down the seam over the past two seasons, using his 6’7” 260 pound frame to average 11.8 yards per reception on 82 catches for 968 yards, while finding the endzone 12 times.
With Chandler’s injury status unclear at the time, there will be a strong competition in camp if he’s unable to go at the beginning of the season.
The Bills selected Arkansas tight end Chris Gragg in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL draft. Gragg dealt with knee and ankle injuries during his time as a two-year starter for the Razorbacks, but still managed to make 72 receptions for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns. Gragg is an explosive “move” tight end that has the ability to serve in an H-Back role.
At Arkansas, the 6’3” 244 pounder was used as a fullback in the backfield, an inline blocker and was spread out wide as a receiver. Gragg offers the most athleticism at the position of any player on the roster and could be a sleeper to keep an eye on, despite his status as a seventh round draft pick.
Lee Smith is one of the more underrated blocking tight ends in the National Football League. According to ProFootballFocus, Smith was the 7th most productive pass blocker out of 44 qualifying tight ends. Smith will only be used as an in-line blocker, so he’d likely be used primarily in single-back and I-Formations.
Projected Depth: Scott Chandler, Chris Gragg, Lee Smith, Mike Caussin