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5 Buffalo Bills players to watch in Thursday’s preseason opener

From starters to on the roster bubble

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

The Buffalo Bills open up their 2017 preseason Thursday against the Minnesota Vikings. Head coach Sean McDermott said we should expect the starters to go for about a quarter and then it will move on to the second and third teams. While the starters are pretty much a lock to make the roster, there are a couple to watch for along with guys on the cusp of making the team.

Sammy Watkins

Watkins is coming off a couple of foot surgeries that forced him to miss games and play while still injured last year. Look to see how he is able to move in game situations and reconnect with Tyrod Taylor as they did in 2015. They will only get a quarter to do it, but a few targets should be headed his way. If he stays healthy, Watkins has the ability to be a top-tier receiver in this league.

Jordan Mills

Going back to last season, Mills struggled mightily in pass protection and it doesn’t seem like much has changed. Mills has been iffy at best in training camp and the battle for the right tackle position with Dion Dawkins will likely be a decision made later rather than sooner. He will need to improve that aspect of his game in a hurry as Dawkins slowly but surely gets better every day.

Tre’Davious White

The rookie first-round pick will have a chance to line up against Stefon Diggs who is a rising star in the NFL. Practicing against the same receivers every day can get stale. Being in actual games help players get used to the speed of the NFL which is much faster than college. The main point of emphasis for White will be making sure he is in the right spot on the field. Any defensive back who is out of position in a zone defense will be costly for any team.

Reggie Ragland

Ragland has found himself falling fast. A player who was thought of as a starter at either MLB or SLB has now ended up taking snaps with the third-team defense. Still coming off an ACL injury from last year, it can be hard to get back in the swing of things. Ragland hasn’t been back doing football activities for very long which absolutely plays a factor in his performance but for a player with such high expectations, it’s frustrating. Hopefully, Ragland can get comfortable with his knee and comfortable with his assignments on defense.

Eddie Yarbrough

Over the course of training camp, no one has raised their stock quite like Yarbrough. He has been stellar in practices so far and found himself taking first-team reps with the defense. With Ryan Davis suffering a concussion, the door for Yarbrough is wide open. If he plays how he practices his stock should continue to rise and he will have himself a roster spot.