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Friday, September 6, 2013
Grading the Bills' 53: Tight ends

By Mike Rodak

Now that the Buffalo Bills have set their 53-man roster, we'll break it down, position by position:

TIGHT END

Personnel: Scott Chandler, Lee Smith, Chris Gragg

Talent: C+. After bouncing around the Chargers, Giants, and Cowboys early in his career, Chandler has come on strong in the past two seasons, becoming a receiving threat for the Bills. For his size (6-foot-7, 260 pounds), Chandler has impressive athleticism and possesses some ability to pressure the defense up the seam. Gragg, a seventh-round pick, also offers some ability in the passing game, but he is raw. Smith is mostly a blocker with limited upside as a receiver.

Depth: C. Losing Chandler would deal a major blow to this position, although it may not be heavily utilized within offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett's system. Smith or Gragg would be in the bottom 10 percent of NFL starters at tight end. The Bills do possess players at this position who can contribute in different ways (Chandler as a receiver, Smith as a blocker, Gragg as a developmental player), but there are upgradeable pieces.

Reliability: C+. Chandler underwent ACL surgery in January, so his ability to return for the start of training camp was impressive. It doesn't appear the injury will hold him back. Still, if the Bills need to start Smith or Gragg in any games this season, it would be a major question mark.