The Buffalo Bills made bolstering the support system around quarterback EJ Manuel a major priority this offseason, and between free agency and the 2014 NFL Draft, they added four new offensive linemen - two of which are likely to be opening-day starters for the team next season.
Today, the Bills employ 15 offensive linemen, which is enough for three full units heading into the summer months and, by extension, training camp. Here's a quick and early look at the team's current depth chart up front.
Chris Williams, formerly of the St. Louis Rams, was the team's major free agent addition up front, and he is penciled in as the starting left guard heading into the 2014 season. It would not be terribly surprising if he had to stave off a strong push from rookie Cyril Richardson for the starting job, but the Bills didn't give him a $13.5 million contract to ride the pine.
Cyrus Kouandjio, the Bills' second-round pick out of Alabama this weekend, had a first-round grade from the Bills and will almost certainly open the season as the team's starting right tackle. The Bills have now used two second-round picks on tackles in the last three seasons, and believe that they have locked up the tackle position for the foreseeable future with Kouandjio on the right and Cordy Glenn on the blind side.
Most NFL teams carry seven offensive linemen on their game day roster, and eight or nine on their full 53-man roster. Starting there, let's discuss the Bills' re-tooled offensive line from these three angles:
- Among the projected starters, who gives you the most cause for concern?
- Pick two backups - one that can play tackle, and one that can play inside - as the early favorites to be the backup linemen on game days.
- Now that we have seven linemen in place, who would you like to see be the last one or two linemen on the active roster next season?