Sixth-round pick OL Mark Asper is taking reps at center during the Buffalo Bills' rookie mini-camp this weekend. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
On Friday, the Buffalo Bills signed high-profile free agent quarterback Vince Young to a one-year, $2 million deal to provide Tyler Thigpen some competition for the right to back up starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. It was the latest in a long series of moves for the Bills this off-season intended to bolster competitive depth across their roster.
That got us thinking: where don't the Bills have serious competition right now? Believe it or not (you probably believe it), there are a few positions at which the Bills have clarity due to a lack of competition - and in many cases, that may not be a good thing. Let's discuss.
Center: Eric Wood is the starter. When he's healthy, he's good and consistent. Health, however, is the big issue. Right now, there's no serious challenger for Wood's job, and if Wood misses time for a fourth straight year, the line shuffling will begin anew.
Tight End: The also-ran position in Chan Gailey's offense has a starter (Scott Chandler) and a blocking specialist with good special teams ability (Lee Smith), then a bunch of projects. No one will challenge Chandler to start, nor should anyone challenge Smith for the very limited role he'll play as the second tight end.
Middle Linebacker: We suppose an argument could be made that if second-year pro Kelvin Sheppard falters, the team could simply slide veteran Nick Barnett back into the middle. Right now, however, Barnett is the team's only capable three-down linebacker, and he'll man the weak side. That leaves Sheppard at the Mike, with no serious challengers behind him - and the athletes they've drafted at the position in the past few seasons are all better suited to playing outside.
Safety: Jairus Byrd and George Wilson are the starters, and while the team is high on Da'Norris Searcy, he's not expected to seriously challenge either for a job with the first unit. Behind Searcy? Four current or former undrafted free agents. There is some semblance of competition here, but there could certainly be more - specifically at free safety, where Byrd may be the only option.
Does anyone else see any other positions at which the team could stand to bolster competition?