Monday, January 6, 2014
Bills positional review: Tight ends
By Mike Rodak
Back in September, we broke down the Buffalo Bills' 53-man roster, position-by-position. Now that the Bills' season has ended, we'll review those grades:
Position: Tight end (preseason grades)
Scott Chandler -- 79.1 percent
Lee Smith -- 36.9 percent
Chris Gragg -- 4.4 percent
Tony Moeaki -- no snaps
Preseason take: 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. Grade: C
Postseason review: Luckily for the Bills, Chandler proved durable, playing in all 16 games for the first time in his career. Therefore, Smith's snaps were probably right about as projected, while Gragg saw little playing time. That leaves open the question, though, of how the Bills' offense would've been affected by an injury to Chandler. Smith did little this season to show that he is worthy of the starting role if Chandler departs through free agency this offseason. Moeaki, not having played a single snap, is a complete unknown. This grade was just about right.
Preseason take: 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. Grade: C+
Postseason review: This grade could have been higher, as Chandler came back from his ACL injury and played in every game, providing stability to an offense that desperately needed it. But when he was on the field, how reliable was Chandler? He led the team with 53 receptions but also had issues with dropped passes, especially at critical points.