In the weeks leading up to the start of Buffalo Bills training camp, Buffalo Rumblings will be taking a look at the ten most intriguing positional battles set to take place at St. John Fisher this summer. Previous entries in this series can be found in our training camp section.
We've spent good chunks of time this week talking about what the Buffalo Bills' active roster might look like if the team keeps just five wide receivers, as they have done in each of the past two seasons. Not much is being made about the fact, however, that the Bills have kept just five cornerbacks on the roster at the start of each new year, as well.
Then again, the Bills have not been as loaded with talent at cornerback as they currently are. While three players battle for a starting job, three more - Leodis McKelvin, Justin Rogers and Ron Brooks - are jockeying for position on the depth chart.
That's not to rush past the impending battle at the top of the depth chart between Stephon Gilmore, Terrence McGee and Aaron Williams, of course. How that situation shakes out - not only in terms of performance, but in terms of health - will shape the rest of the depth chart at the position. It seems clear at this point, however, that those three players will be on the opening day roster.
It's also difficult to envision McKelvin, Rogers and Brooks not being on the opening day roster, as well, regardless of the team's precedent at the position over the last two years. Each of the team's three reserve-type players brings something substantial to the table: McKelvin has a lot of experience and is an excellent special teams player; Rogers is an excellent kick returner with upside as a sub-package corner; and Brooks is the inexperienced yet highly athletic project that, at minimum, will be one of the team's better specialists right out of the gate.
That's a lot of value to be booting off of the roster for - oh, let's say a kickoff specialist or a fullback, for example - so the real battles at cornerback, in my view, will be amongst these two groups of three. Will Gilmore start as the team's top corner? Can McGee stay healthy enough to hold off the two young bucks for his starting job? Who among McKelvin, Rogers and Brooks will earn the most playing time as the dime back, and can any of them push into the top trio?
From top to bottom, the cornerback position has the right amount of sheer talent and question marks to call it the most intriguing and hotly contested battle heading into training camp. It's not necessarily the most important - that's why it's only second on this list - but watching these guys duke it out for positioning within the larger group is going to be very interesting this summer.