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Rex Ryan: Bills drafted John Miller to be a rookie starter

If you were harboring any remaining doubt that John Miller is expected to be a starter for the Bills in 2015, let Rex Ryan's latest comments on the third-round pick erase it forever.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past two days, Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News has been writing a lot about the Buffalo Bills' offensive line based on what he's seeing and hearing from OTAs. We had a lengthy discussion about the possibility that Cordy Glenn could lose his job yesterday, which should serve as your starting point if you missed it.

Today, we're talking about a player on the opposite end of the spectrum from Glenn (evidently): rookie guard John Miller. Bills head coach Rex Ryan has publicly talked up the team's 2015 third-round pick on several occasions already this spring, and took that praise to another level on Wednesday (while acknowledging the progress of second-year tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, as well).

"I'm happy with the way Kouandjio's competing out there. He's doing a nice job. But I'm ecstatic with Miller," Ryan said yesterday (via Carucci). "I think Miller's handled it. I think he's a 10-year vet out there. He doesn't make mental mistakes, and he's an athletic guy.

"When we took him," Ryan later continued, "we thought he'd be our starter - and we'll see. But I feel pretty confident that he's going to be a major contributor for us."

Ryan had previously told WGR 550 that he expects Miller to open training camp with the first-team offensive line. It's safe to say that, if Miller continues on this trajectory, those expectations will only become bigger and broader. Admitting that he was drafted to be a starter does that on its own.

Which brings us back to yesterday's Glenn discussion, which Carucci doubled down on in the same link from above:

After failing to crack the lineup as a second-round draft pick last year, Kouandjio seems to be making a serious push for a starting role. Cordy Glenn, who started at left tackle last season, could end up as a reserve for both tackle spots because the Bills don’t seem inclined to work him at left guard, something that was discussed early in the offseason.

If we're buying what Ryan is selling and assuming that Miller has all but locked up one starting guard spot, then it creates less opportunity inside - especially with veteran Richie Incognito another assumed starter, if he can keep his nose clean for the duration of the offseason. That plays into Carucci's argument regarding Glenn.

Assuming that Seantrel Henderson and Kouandjio emerge as the Bills' starting tackles is a big enough leap already, but in the (unlikely) event that it does, how Glenn is practicing in early June shouldn't play into assumptions about where he ultimately ends up. If we're viewing Glenn losing a starting tackle job as unlikely - I am among that group - then the idea of Glenn not being one of the five best linemen on the team is even more absurd.

This Glenn story line is starting to feel like a lesser version of what Robert Woods went through during training camp last season, working with the second-unit offense and losing reps to Chris Hogan. Woods emerged from that fairly unscathed, and it's still a safe bet that Glenn will, too.

Still, perceived development from young players is never a bad thing - and the Bills' pending battles for starting jobs on the line this summer are starting to seem a lot more interesting. Except for at one of those guard spots; Miller seems safe there.