The Buffalo Bills released their first unofficial depth chart today. While the “unofficial” part can’t possibly be stressed enough (a disclaimer notes that it was compiled by the team’s PR staff), it’s as good of a place as any to begin discussing some of the position battles heading into the first preseason game on Thursday.
Among the more notable aspects of the chart (which you can find in the link above):
- Andre Holmes is listed as the starting wide receiver opposite Sammy Watkins. While putting the newly-acquired Anquan Boldin in there would be laughably transparent, it has been a common assumption that second-round pick Zay Jones was going to be the primary starter next to Sammy.
- Farther down the wide receiver depth chart, Brandon Tate and Rod Streater are listed as the fifth and sixth receivers. Free agent signee Philly Brown is among those on the outside looking in. The same goes for Walt Powell, who is suspended for the first four games of the season.
- Jordan Mills has maintained his hold on the starting right tackle job, with second-round pick Dion Dawkins listed as the reserve. Seantrel Henderson, who will miss the first five games of the season as a continuation of a suspension from last year, is listed as the reserve left tackle behind Cordy Glenn.
- On the defensive side, Eddie Yarbrough has parlayed a strong camp into a primary reserve role behind Shaq Lawson at defensive end. Max Valles sits on the third string, behind Yarbrough and veteran Ryan Davis,
- Ramon Humber is still your starting weak-side linebacker. Gerald Hodges is right behind him on the second team, joined by Reggie Ragland and sixth-round pick Tanner Vallejo. Fifth-rounder Matt Milano is on the third string.
- The depth chart doesn’t provide much clarity in the Kevon Seymour/Leonard Johnson fight for nickel corner, as both are listed on the second string. Undrafted rookie Bradley Sylve joins veteran Shareece Wright on the third string at cornerback.
- B.T. Sanders has earned some ink as a possible member of the 53, but he’s in dead last at safety in this chart. That said, Colt Anderson is listed as a top reserve and he was placed on the PUP list at the start of camp, so who knows.
- Tate is still listed as the top return man for both punts and kicks. Powell, despite his pending suspension, is the top reserve, while newly-signed Taiwan Jones is at fourth behind Rashad Ross. Also, Colton Schmidt is the initial leader for the punting job ahead of Austin Rehkow.
Again, and I can’t stress this enough, this chart was made by the team’s public relations department. This is by no means an accurate representation of where the coaching staff has these players right now. For all we know, Rick Dennison was so impressed by Nathan Peterman’s poise after throwing interceptions in camp that he decided to start him in the season opener.
Still, nothing there is outlandish. It’s as good a place to start as any. We’ll obviously have a better idea of where things stand after the Bills open their preseason against the Minnesota Vikings in a few days.