For four years, the Buffalo Bills have had one constant on the offensive line: left guard Andy Levitre. The 64-game starter is now a member of the Tennessee Titans, however, and the Bills are in need of a change at left guard for the first time since Levitre replaced Derrick Dockery in 2009.
Ask anyone that's paid even the slightest bit of attention to the Bills' roster comings and goings this off-season which current Bill will be replacing Levitre, and you're liable to hear up to a half-dozen different answers. Even for those of us that meticulously track every move, it's difficult to narrow down the race to fewer than four names. There's no doubt that when it comes to the Bills' most prominent training camp battles this summer, there's none more wide open than at left guard.
The top contenders to replace Levitre, in no particular order, are as follows:
Signed just this past June, Legursky comes to the Bills with one distinct advantage in this race, despite joining the team much later than the other contenders: experience. True, Legursky has only started 17 games in four pro seasons (appearing in 50), but that dwarfs the seven combined starts made between every other name mentioned below. The 6'1", 315-pound Legursky was swiftly tossed into the first-team rotation upon his arrival, and that may very well continue once training camp opens.
Brown has been with the Bills for parts of four seasons now, joining the team late in 2010 and sticking with them since - most recently on a two-year deal signed this past February. A 6'7", 326-pound college tackle, Brown has been most notable as a reserve center in Buffalo, where he took a couple of starts (and acquitted himself fairly well) late in 2011. That guard/center versatility will make him an asset, just like it's made Legursky an asset, and Brown should be very much in play for a starting job.
Another in a long line of practice squad and waiver wire adds to Buffalo's offensive line, the 6'8", 316-pound Young joined the Bills early in 2011 and has emerged as a dependable reserve in the ensuing two years, making four starts for the team late in 2012 at right tackle. He's cross-trained at guard, as all Bills reserve linemen did under the previous coaching staff, and his familiarity working with some of Buffalo's current starting linemen could come in handy as he competes to replace Levitre.
Scott, a former fifth-round pick in Pittsburgh, was signed to the Bills' active roster last season, but didn't take any snaps on offense or special teams. Still, he has the type of pedigree (former mid-round pick with a good frame - he's 6'4", 320) that the Bills have taken a liking to, and he'll get a long look this summer. It's fair to consider him a dark horse candidate based purely on his lack of playing time, but this is a player to keep an eye on.
It would not be terribly surprising if other players - such as undrafted rookie Zack Chibane (a Syracuse grad familiar with the offense), veteran Keith Williams or converted tackle Thomas Welch - eventually threw their hat into the ring, as well. Who do you consider the front-runner to start at left guard entering training camp, Bills fans?