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Buffalo Bills offensive skill positions: 2016 better or worse than 2015?

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Taking a look at the wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs.

NFL: Buffalo Bills-Training Camp Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills offense jumped to 12th in scoring and yardage in 2015 under Greg Roman thanks in large part to competent quarterback play. Looking at the rest of the offense’s players, there’s not a whole lot of difference between last year and this year.

Same

  • RB LeSean McCoy (incumbent starter)
  • WR Sammy Watkins (incumbent starter)
  • WR Robert Woods (incumbent starter)
  • TE Charles Clay (incumbent starter)
  • FB Jerome Felton (incumbent starter)
  • RB Karlos Williams (incumbent reserve)

  • RB Boom Herron (reserve)
  • RB Mike Gilislee (reserve)
  • TE Chris Gragg (reserve)
  • TE Nick O’Leary (reserve)
  • WR Marcus Easley (reserve)
  • WR Marquise Goodwin (reserve)
  • WR Leonard Hankerson (reserve)
  • WR Dezmin Lewis (reserve)
  • WR Greg Salas (reserve)

Additions

  • RB Jonathan Williams (NFL Draft, 5th round)
  • RB James Wilder, Jr. (undrafted free agent)
  • FB Glenn Gronkowski (undrafted free agent)
  • TE Jim Dray (free agent signing)
  • TE Blake Annen (free agent signing)
  • WR Jarrett Boykin (free agent singing)
  • WR Greg Little (free agent signing)
  • WR Kolby Listenbee (NFL Draft, 6th round)
  • WR Devonte Allen (undrafted free agent)
  • WR Gary Chamber (undrafted free agent)
  • WR Walt Powell (free agent signing)

Subtractions

  • WR Chris Hogan (signed as RFA by Patriots)
  • RB Anthony “Boobie” Dixon (released)
  • WR Percy Harvin (free agent)
  • TE Matthew Mulligan (free agent, Detroit Lions)
  • RB Marcus Thigpen (free agent)
  • WR Denarius Moore (free agent)
  • TE MarQueis Gray (free agent, Miami Dolphins)

The Bills have good-to-great players at each of their skill positions but they keep getting hurt and the back-ups haven’t been able to reach the same level as the starters. Nowhere is that more evident than the mash unit the receivers became last year. While Watkins is great, he missed time and a steady Robert Woods and Chris Hogan weren’t able to challenge defenses, and now Hogan is gone. The most wide open battle on the roster is at third receiver, where more than five players could stake a legitimate claim to the job by the end of training camp.

At running back, there is plenty of talent but question marks galore. McCoy has injury problems and his primary backup, Karlos Williams, is out for the first four games. Jonathan Williams was just arrested for DWI (though probably won’t miss time in 2016).

The tight end position is pretty barren behind Clay. Dray will be the primary blocking tight end, replacing Mulligan in a wash.

Verdict: Worse

The Bills lost Hogan and Harvin and didn’t replace them with anyone who has been relevant in a while. The loss of Karlos Williams could mean the start of the season is iffy at running back.