Bills Bubble Watch: Jeff Tuel


(Continuing a month-long series analyzing players who are on the roster bubble and where they may potentially fit in 2014.)

Name: Jeff Tuel

Position: Quarterback

Age: 23

2013 stats: Two games (one start), 26-for-59 passing (44.1 percent), 309 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions, 45.1 rating

Chance of making 53-man roster: 80 percent

Why he should make it: Tuel has shown promise this spring, noticeably more bulked up than he was as a rookie last season. Given EJ Manuel's injury history early in his NFL career, the Buffalo Bills are expected to keep three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster. Dennis Dixon, the fourth quarterback on the roster, didn't stand out in OTAs or minicamp and would have an uphill battle to beat out Tuel for the No. 3 job. Since Tuel was on the 46-man game-day active roster for 11 games last season, he is not practice squad eligible, giving the Bills more reason to keep him on their 53-man roster.

Why he shouldn't make it: There is a belief in some circles that the third quarterback is a waste of a roster spot. Since few teams keep three quarterbacks active for a game, the third quarterback wouldn't be able to play even in the case of injuries to the top two. Instead, teams will keep a younger quarterback on their practice squad and promote him if there is an emergency need. The Bills don't have that luxury with Tuel. The only scenario where I could see the Bills moving on from Tuel is if they felt comfortable with Manuel and Thad Lewis as their only two quarterbacks and wanted to go one player heavier at a skill position. Fullback Evan Rodriguez and tight end Chris Gragg would be the most likely players to push Tuel off the roster in that case.

Closest competition: Dixon, Rodriguez, Gragg