Here’s a set of notes as the Buffalo Bills conclude their voluntary player-organized workouts Thursday:
♦ Nothing is set in stone of course until after the NFL lockout ends and training camp (hopefully) starts this summer, but there’s already a strong sense of which Bills’ incumbents are the big winner and loser with the team drafting Marcell Dareus third overall last month. Dareus has been told he’ll play end in the 3-4 and slide inside when they move to a 4-3.
That makes the big winner Chris Kelsay. When Dareus moves inside, Kelsay will see the majority of snaps at defensive end. His natural position, Kelsay played end in the 4-3 throughout his first seven years in the league before shifting to a 3-4 outside linebacker last year.
The loser, at least partially could be Torrel Troup. The 2010 second-round pick should still see plenty of reps, but will play behind Kyle Williams in the 3-4 and will back up both Williams and Dareus in the 4-3. I’m not suggesting in any fashion that Troup is headed towards being a bust– he’ll still get plenty of opportunities to earn significant playing time, but it’s at least mildly disappointing to see a second rounder selected who’s already pegged as a full-time rotational player.
♦ There’s no question that come training camp, wide receiver is going to be one of the team’s most interesting positional battles. Barring injuries Lee Evans and Stevie Johnson are locked in as starters while Roscoe Parrish returns from his broken wrist and should have no problem reclaiming his slot receiver spot. But from there it could be a battle royal between David Nelson, Marcus Easley, Donald Jones and Naaman Roosevelt for three and possibly just two roster spots. Nelson had the best rookie campaign but both Jones and Roosevelt took advantage of their opportunities later in the season. A fourth-round pick last year who missed all of last season with a knee injury, Easley looks like Anquan Boldin’s twin brother physically and has a great deal of upside. The list doesn’t even include Paul Hubbard and Felton Huggins; a pair of talented young practice squad receivers who’ve been working out with the team this week.
♦ I still don’t think he has a future in Buffalo, but I’m impressed that Aaron Maybin has been in town all week working with his teammates. Look, he’s done absolutely nothing through the first two years of his career and seems on track towards having to find a new team to play for sooner than later, but at least the guy continues to work hard and is sharing a bond with his teammates; all of which are pulling for him to break out.
I’ve been told by more than one player that third-round rookie Kelvin Sheppard has the makings of becoming a solid team leader. Veterans have been impressed in meeting him for the first time this week.
♦ There’s been upwards of 35 veterans and rookies working out in Elma this week as the team concludes their activities today. Of the players not in attendance, there’s only a smattering of notables I haven’t been able to find out their reasoning there (which again, is purely voluntary). They include C.J. Spiller, Roscoe Parrish, Eric Wood, Erik Pears, Torrell Troup, Easley and Terrence McGee.
Stevie Johnson has been working out at home in California this week while Donald Jones will be working out in Florida with some Miami Dolphins players. Shawne Merriman is in London on promotional appearances for his energy drink company while rookie Aaron Williams said he wanted to be here but couldn’t work things out this week.
♦ Paul Posluszny, Donte Whitner and Drayton Florence are all free agents who may or may not be back. None have been in attendance this week.