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Write These Bills’ Sleepers Names Down Before Camp!
With training camp just days away, it’s time to give you a preview of some players that may not necessarily make the final 53 man roster, but will definitely be exciting to watch with the second and third team units. At Buddy Nixon, we’ll be providing daily coverage of all the happenings at St. John Fisher College as the Buffalo Bills look to prove the doubters wrong in 2013.
QB- Jeff Tuel
Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Washington State, Jeff Tuel definitely will not be starting, but he’s an intriguing developmental prospect that will be fun to watch in camp. Tuel is a mobile quarterback with a strong arm, two traits the Bills appear to be looking for in a quarterback. Tuel went undrafted after a poor coaching staff de-railed him after a stellar 2010 campaign. He should be a lock as the Bills’ No. 3 quarterback in 2013, but make sure you keep his name in mind, as he should be the No. 2 behind E.J. Manuel within a season or two.
RB- Kendall Gaskins
I’ll admit, as a football analyst, I get man-crushes on certain prospects for a variety of reasons. Kendall Gaskins is one of those. A 240 pound back, Gaskins is deceptively quick for his size. He is a true do-it-all running back, with the power to muscle it between the tackles, the speed to take it to the outside, the footwork to hold his own in pass protection and the drive/motivation to play special teams. Gaskins definitely won’t be competing for a starting role anytime soon, as long as C.J. Spiller is on the roster, but look out, Tashard Choice, because the Bills may have found their third down/ short yardage back in an undrafted free agent product out of Richmond.
WR- Kevin Elliott
Everybody knows about Da’Rick Rogers, but Kevin Elliott is a player I feel will have a strong training camp. A physical freak at 6’3” 220 pounds and 4.53 speed, Elliott was a standout at Florida A&M, where he caught 173 passes for 2,472 yards and 20 scores. Also undrafted, Elliott was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars where he was a standout in training camp last year. Unfortunately, Elliott’s only obstacle has been being buried on depth charts on now two teams with quality No. 1 and No. 2 receivers. Elliott will be battling for the final receiver position, but he will exciting to watch throughout August.
TE- Mike Caussin
With the re-signing of Dorin Dickerson and the selection of Chris Gragg in the draft, it’s clear that the Bills want someone to fit the “H-Back” mold on offense. However, Mike Caussin is finally healthy, and with Scott Chandler expected to be limited in camp due to recovering from an ACL injury, Caussin should provide some athleticism and production in his limited snaps. Caussin will most definitely be the third or fourth option at tight end, but he’s a fun player with a lot of upside.
OL- Zebrie Sanders
The Bills didn’t place second year offensive lineman Zebrie Sanders on the PUP list prior to training camp, so it appears the Florida State product should finally be able to get on the field. While many pundits are sold that Doug Legursky or Colin Brown will be the Bills’ starting left guard, don’t sleep on Sanders. A 48 game starter at tackle for the Seminoles during his collegiate career, the 320 pounder doesn’t have the adequate footwork that you look for in a blindside protector, but he has the power and strength that could be featured best as a guard. Don’t be surprised to see the former fifth round pick thrown into the mix throughout camp.
DL- Jarron Gilbert
Miscast in a 4-3 system, as Jarron Gilbert is too small to hold down defensive tackle, and too large to play defensive end, he’s a perfect fit in the 3-4. Gilbert was impressing in camp last year at a position of weakness, and lost the battle to Kyle Moore, who isn’t with the team anymore. Gilbert should see time at the five-technique defensive end position when the team is in 3-4 looks, while serving as a nickel defensive tackle in 4-3 fronts. Not a lock to make the team, but he will certainly make a few “wow” plays in camp.
LB- Kourtnei Brown
Kourtnei Brown is a long, lanky pass rusher that played defensive end in Clemson’s 4-3 scheme, but was behind Da’Quan Bowers and Alan Branch on the depth chart. He went undrafted before signing with the San Francisco 49ers, where he began his transition to outside linebacker. This year, the Bills signed him after an impressive workout, and he’s looking to not only be a camp body, but a contributor. If Brown doesn’t make the final 53-man roster, he’ll be an excellent practice squad addition.
DB- Dominique Ellis
Dominique Ellis is classified as just “DB” because he’s a true do-it-all defensive back. He has size, speed, strength and quickness that makes him an extremely valuable asset to the team. He has the ability to play all five positions in the secondary, which Coach Pettine will love. And he’s a ballhawk. Don’t be surprised when Ellis’ name is mentioned more and more as camp wears on.
ST- Brian Stahovich
Signed following a tryout with Kourtnei Brown, Brian Stahovich should almost certainly unseat Shawn Powell as the Bills’ punter for 2013. A booming, powerful punter, Stahovich was in camp with the Indianapolis Colts last year, but the job was ultimately given to Pat McAfee. Stahovich is a much more accurate punter than Powell, and has a much stronger leg.
What do you say? Who are your training camp sleepers?