One of the more popular impending positional battles that Buffalo Bills fans have looked forward to all off-season is now taking place at wide receiver - and with four days of training camp practices in the books, not much in the way of separation between prospects has yet occurred. Still, fans are clamoring to talk about the contenders.
"Brian, now that training camp is off and running, I am hoping you'd be willing to update us on which receivers you think have the best chance of making the team this year," writes loyal reader Tyler. "Thanks!"
As this is an angle I don't believe I've ever taken to the discussion before, I thought this might make for an interesting on-blog discussion. After the jump, I'll give you my ranking of the Bills' 11 wide receivers from most likely to make the team to least likely.
Without putting odds on the thing, here's my ranking:
- Stevie Johnson
- David Nelson
- T.J. Graham
- Donald Jones
- Marcus Easley
- Derek Hagan
- Kamar Aiken
- Ruvell Martin
- Naaman Roosevelt
- David Clowney
- Derek Session
In my mind, the top four names on the list are mortal locks for the 53-man roster, barring changes on the injury front. Johnson and Graham are outside receivers, Nelson is a slot receiver, and Jones will moonlight in both locales.
I list Easley fifth because I firmly believe that if healthy, he'll make the team. He made the opening-day roster last year, and his play thus far in camp suggests that he'll do enough to repeat that feat. Hagan is his chief competitor for a final roster spot if the Bills do indeed only keep five receivers, and has the unlucky fortune of being the one receiver that could end up being a starter or end up being cut. There may not be much middle ground.
Of the remaining group of players, I don't think any of them will end up on the opening day roster. Aiken, however, is a virtual certainty to remain with the team as a practice squad member - unless he performs well enough to get a look from another team (or plays well enough for the Bills to fear that eventuality and just keep him as a sixth receiver). Aiken has had a strong start to camp, knows the system, and is the type of big, physical receiver that the system needs.
That's just my opinion, however. Johnson is the safest, Session is the longest shot, and everyone else falls in between in that specific order. I'm sure your list looks slightly different from mine, so let's see your rankings, Rumblers.