Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone confirmed a little over a week ago that the team's starting right guard job has been opened up to competition. In the week since, incumbent Kraig Urbik and converted tackle Chris Hairston split the reps at the position, as the two main competitors in the battle.
That changed on Wednesday, even before Hairston bowed out of the second half of a rain-delayed practice with a sore back: Cyril Richardson, a rookie fifth-round pick out of Baylor, had been worked into the rotation with the first-unit offensive line.
Richardson spent most of the first week-plus of Bills training camp buried on the third-team offensive line. When the team revealed their first official depth chart of the 2014 season, however, Richardson was listed as the second-team left guard, and after spending a couple of practices there, he was up rotating with Urbik and Hairston on Wednesday.
The rookie's ascent may be more of an indication that Marrone has been dissatisfied with the competition thus far than it is an endorsement of Richardson. Buffalo's offensive line has been, by and large, roundly abused by the team's defensive line through the first two weeks of training camp, with left tackle Cordy Glenn sidelined by illness, the right guard job in flux, and rookie right tackle Cyrus Kouandjio unable to seriously push Erik Pears for the starting job there yet.
Still, Richardson's quick rise up the depth chart is a great sign for his chances of making the 53-man roster entering the season, at bare minimum. With Sunday evening's preseason opener on the horizon, he will be a name to keep an eye on, particularly early in the game.