Wednesday marks the start of organized team activities (OTAs) for the Buffalo Bills. OTAs will give a good preview of some position battles to keep an eye on during this summer’s training camp. While OTAs are not mandatory, most players show up to learn new phases of the playbook and start to build chemistry with new players for the upcoming season. As the OTAs progress for the next three weeks, I will preview a possible position battle each week, beginning with right tackle.
As the off-season progressed, the Bills loaded up at many positions, on both offense and defense, filling many needs. The Bills made it abundantly clear during the draft that right tackle was a need when they selected Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandjio in the second round and Miami tackle Seantrel Henderson in the seventh to come in and compete with the incumbent, Erik Pears.
Both Kouandjio and Henderson could have been first round draft picks if it wasn’t for their individual red flags, Kouandjio’s knees and Henderson’s off-the-field problems, making this an enticing battle to watch. Erik Pears has been a staple in the Bills’ offensive since he joined the team in 2010, but after poor play in 2013 it may be time for Buffalo to go in a different direction. If Pears can’t hold on to his starting job, he may be in danger of being cut during training camp.
You have to give the upper hand for the starting job to Kouandjio going into OTAs and training camp, for now. ESPN already has the former Alabama tackle slotted in as the Bills’ starting right tackle in their depth chart, with Pears behind him and Henderson on the left side backing up Cordy Glenn. While the veteran Pears should start OTAs taking the first team reps early, expect Kouandjio to take over by the end of the camp. The Bills have high hopes for Kouandjio, taking him with their second round draft pick. However, expect the 6’7″ Henderson to be a dark horse in this position battle. Henderson has a lot of talent and potential, and if he can stay concentrated and focused he could be a very good player for years to come.