Earlier this morning, MRW linked you to an article by Chris Wesseling at NFL.com citing the Buffalo Bills as one of the five worst rosters in the NFL. It got me thinking: how does a national reporter (or fan of another team, or a casual fan) view the Bills' roster? How would someone make that assessment, beyond the obvious crying need at quarterback?
It's not as if Bills fans are disagreeing, by the way. Clearly, the team has a lot of work to do to reach "competent roster" status. But once in a while, it's interesting to take a step back from the right tackle competitions, the early-round draft picks that need to step up and the free agent signings that aren't as big a deal as they were made out to be and look at what we know.
That's why I decided to spend my lunch hour building a Bills depth chart. I wanted to fill the depth chart out based on one qualifying factor: only include the names of players that we know, unequivocally, will have full-time starting roles and/or receive tons of playing time next season. The depth chart would therefore be stripped of marginal players, and positions at which there are pending battles and/or question marks would be left blank, as well. The resulting depth chart would be one with "known commodities" - things about the 2013 Bills that we can take to the bank at this juncture.
Here is that depth chart.
|RB||C.J. Spiller||Fred Jackson|
Obviously, there wasn't going to be a quarterback. Several players that, in my opinion, seem destined for starting jobs (Scott Chandler, Chris Hairston, Manny Lawson, Nigel Bradham and Da'Norris Searcy come to mind first) were left off because, for one reason or another, I don't think it's reasonable to claim that they're mortal locks for those roles. It was even tough to include Leodis McKelvin on this depth chart; I snuck him in there based on his new contract and the fact that he's an elite return man, but it's totally reasonable to leave him off.
If you're the glass-half-full type, though, you can consider this a "building blocks" depth chart - one that features the sure-fire starters around which the Bills will be building their teams under Doug Marrone. And if you're of that mind (or even if you aren't), you'll note that there's some really solid talent on this depth chart.
On the surface, however - which is how these national articles are generally constructed - the Bills have a lot of holes. It's therefore completely reasonable, I believe, to say that the Bills have one of the five worst rosters in the NFL.