Over Buffalo’s ten day OTA period Bills fans were able to get a glimpse at the team under the new coaching staff. During this time many players stepped up and helped their case for making a roster spot. A few didn’t do anything of note and for that reason they’ll fall into the stock down category. Considering training camp hasn’t yet begun, every player still has an opportunity to make an impression with the coaching staff.
Tarvaris Jackson: I was convinced that Jackson was destined to be Buffalo’s third string quarterback or cut by the Bills. After 10 OTA practices, I believe he has a legitimate chance to start for the Bills. Jackson was the quarterback who consistently looked to stretch the field and he was effect at time using his feet. However, Jackson was also the quarterback who struggled the most at reading blitzes. It seemed that Jackson was sacked significantly more than rookie E.J. Manuel and veteran Kevin Kolb. Training camp is Jackson’s next major test, but he was very impressive at OTAs.
T.J. Graham: Coming off of a disastrous rookie season, T.J. Graham looked like a different player at OTAs. He played confidently both on the outside and across the middle during practice drills. He had multiple plays of 20+ yards. Graham had issues with drops in his rookie season, but his hands looked much improved at OTAs. If Buffalo’s starting quarterback can get him the ball then Graham should be much improved in 2013.
Alex Carrington: Carrington seems to be building off of his 2012 season. At OTAs he played extremely well on the defensive line. He registered a few sacks and made plenty of stops. He won’t start for the Bills, but he has a great chance to be the first player off of the bench for the Bills.
Jerry Hughes: When Buffalo shipped Kelvin Sheppard to the Colts for Hughes, I didn’t have much reaction. There was no doubt in my mind that Hughes was a better fit in Buffalo’s new defense, but he hadn’t played like a first round pick. In 2012, he had the best season of his career. At OTAs, Hughes looked outstanding as he was able to get to the quarterback multiple times. Hughes could be quite a weapon in Mike Pettine’s system.
Marcus Dowtin: One name you may not be familiar with is Marcus Dowtin. Signed off of waivers, Dowtin had some experience in Mike Pettine’s defense. During OTAs he looked extremely comfortable in the defense and made his presence known. Dowtin registered a sack and sniffed out a few other notable plays. Buffalo has plenty of linebackers in contention for a roster spot, but Dowtin made quite a first impression.
Honorable Mentions: E.J. Manuel/Da’Rick Rogers combination, WR Kevin Elliott, LB Jamie Blatnick, CB Nickell Robey
Jeff Tuel: It wasn’t really anything that Tuel said, but he received no snaps during the team’s practice drills. With a logjam at quarterback, Tuel wasn’t given any opportunity to show what he could do at quarterback. If he has any shot of making the 53-man roster, he’ll have to have an outstanding training camp. Realistically, Tuel will be cut and possibly placed on the team’s practice squad.
Dorin Dickerson: The Bills coaching staff moved Dickerson to wide receiver to utilize his speed. By the end of OTAs, Dickerson asked to be moved back to tight end. There was simply too much talent at the wide receiver position. At tight end, Dickerson could make the team since Scott Chandler is still recovering from a torn ACL and Lee Smith injured himself at OTAs. Tight end will be another difficult spot for Dickerson to make the team. Besides Chandler and Smith, the team also has Mike Caussin and rookie Chris Gragg.
Cordy Glenn: Glenn was impressive as a rookie, especially since he started at left tackle. In OTAs he seemed off his game as he was beaten consistently by edge rushers with speed. His footwork also seemed to be lacking. Hopefully Glenn does not suffer from a “sophomore slump” as Buffalo already has a question mark at the left guard position.
Let’s be honest, most players look great in OTAs so there aren’t as many to list in the stock down category.
Which players impressed you the most at OTAs? Did any disappoint in your opinion? Comment below and share your thoughts with us here at Queen City Sports!