Aside from the quarterback position, there may not be a more interesting Buffalo Bills training camp battle - or series of battles, as the case may be - to monitor this summer than along the offensive line. The free agent departure of four-year starting left guard Andy Levitre has left that position in flux, and some injuries and roster moves had the line in a state of flux as camp began, particularly at the back end of the depth chart.
Keeping in mind that third-year pro Chris Hairston - an expected combatant for the starting right tackle job - is currently on Active/PUP with an undisclosed lower body injury, here's how the Bills' offensive line depth chart shook out in the first camp practice, according to WGR 550's Joe Buscaglia:
|Left Tackle||Left Guard||Center||Right Guard||Right Tackle|
|1||Cordy Glenn||Colin Brown||Eric Wood||Kraig Urbik||Erik Pears|
|2||Thomas Welch||Doug Legursky||David Snow||Keith Williams||Sam Young|
|3||Zebrie Sanders||Zack Chibane||Ryan Turnley||Antoine Caldwell||Tony Hills|
|4||(Chris Hairston)||Hutch Eckerson|
The most prominent battle, for now, is the one to replace Levitre, where Buscaglia believes that incumbent reserve Colin Brown has an early lead on free agent signee Doug Legursky.
Both in the 1-on-1's and team drills, Brown was consistently thwarting his opponent's efforts. In 1-on-1's especially, Brown had two showdowns where he completely dominated... With his size and arm length in comparison to Doug Legursky, more days like that could wrap up the job pretty easily.
Pears took all of the first-team work at right tackle, with Young filling in behind him. Young has been mentioned far more frequently as a potential starter at left guard, but he may no longer be a part of that picture because he's playing out at tackle. That may change when Hairston returns to the lineup - and it will be interesting to see how Hairston's presence affects Pears' work with the ones.
Welch has consistently worked in ahead of Sanders throughout the spring, and that continued last night. Read the Buscaglia article above for his take on Sanders, who is apparently off to a rough start this summer. If he continues to struggle in that fashion, players like Welch, Snow and perhaps even the new signee, Hills, will increase in value to the team.