As the Buffalo Bills prepare to head into their third preseason game of the season against the Washington Redskins tomorrow afternoon, most fans are focusing their attention on one major roster bubble battle: the wide receiver position, where five players are legitimately competing for, in all likelihood, two roster spots.
Bills head coach Doug Marrone has publicly stated that the ability to contribute on special teams will play a major role in the team's decision for those last one or two receiver spots. Let's take a look at how the five main contenders have fared through two preseason games:
|Player||O Reps||Rec||Yds||TD||ST reps|
Kaufman, an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Washington, has yet to take a special teams snap in preseason action (per NFL.com data). Despite the fact that he's made some nice plays as a receiver, it's hard to envision him cracking the final roster unless the team starts to take a look at what he can do covering kicks and punts. Right now, Kaufman looks like a strong candidate for the team's practice squad.
Rogers is the enigma of the group for several reasons, the most practical of which is that he hasn't seen as many reps on offense despite getting a long look on special teams through two preseason games. He's also been something of a non-factor on offense, his lone touchdown against Indianapolis aside; Smith has done as much in a third of the snaps. (And we already know that Smith has the special teams ability from that fifth or sixth receiver role that the coaches seem to covet.)
Hogan and Easley have earned the most opportunities among the group - both on offense and on special teams - and, by and large, have utilized that advantage. Hogan looked solid against Minnesota, making a few nice catches and a tackle on a punt return. Easley had a bad penalty against Minnesota, but has otherwise looked excellent on offense and competent on special teams. Right now, based purely on preseason usage, it's hard to argue against the idea that Easley and Hogan are the front-runners for the last two jobs.
Rogers, the undrafted rookie free agent formerly of Tennessee, remains the fan favorite - but at this point, it's hard to argue that he's earned a roster spot. Monitor his reps closely this weekend; he needs more opportunities on offense if he's going to earn a job. The same is true of Smith, who missed the preseason win over Indy and, given how well the young guns have performed, probably can't be stashed on the back end of the roster based purely on his CV.
Knowing what we know today, which of these two players do you believe have earned a spot on the 53-man roster - and which do you believe could surge back into the conversation with a strong performance against Washington?