One of the biggest problem areas for the Buffalo Bills in the 2013 season was trying to figure out what to do at left guard. The combination of Colin Brown and Doug Legursky left much to be desired and the team knew they needed to upgrade.
While doing some work through the free agency period, are the Bills done adding to the group? Let’s examine:
What they have Starters: Chris Williams (left guard), Eric Wood (center), Kraig Urbik (right guard) Reserves: J.J. ‘Unga, Doug Legursky, Mark Asper, Antoine McClain, Randy Colling
What they need
- Heading into the offseason, the Buffalo Bills were thought to be a team that could use an overhaul at two of their three interior line positions. The team went out and signed Chris Williams to be their starting left guard and kept starting right guard Kraig Urbik on the roster.
With two experienced starters, the Bills also have a trio of younger players that they are quite enthusiastic about developing over the next few months. J.J. ‘Unga, Mark Asper and Antoine McClain all factor into the discussion at guard from now until late August.
At the very least, they’ll be battling to see who will make the roster. If all goes well for one of those three, though, they could even push for the job to start at right guard. Near the end of the season in 2013, head coach Doug Marrone experimented with ‘Unga and put him in for Kraig Urbik on a couple of series.
In fact, he was planning to do it more but Urbik had such a good showing in the game that ‘Unga was going to get more playing time, that Marrone elected to scrap the idea during the tilt. If that’s any indication, however, Urbik needs to come out and have a strong training camp to maintain his starting position.
At center, the Bills feel comfortable for the longterm with Eric Wood directing traffic at the line of scrimmage. Beyond him the Bills still have Doug Legursky on the roster, and while he isn’t a preferable starting option, he is a good player to have on the roster for his experience with all three interior positions.
General manager Doug Whaley has admitted publicly that the team doesn’t value guards all that highly in their system, so don’t expect a particularly high selection on one.
How will they do it?
- Perhaps the earliest the Bills might select a player to help on the interior would be the third round. They had USC’s Marcus Martin in for a pre-draft visit, and he was the lone interior lineman that came through One Bills Drive. Martin has experience playing both guard and center during college, but 41st overall (second round) could be a bit too early for him. While there are still questions to be answered about the current group along the interior, the team feels good about the young players that they’re trying to develop. The Bills will likely add to the group with another center, just for training camp’s sake, through the undrafted free agent period.
Players connected to the Bills
Marcus Martin, USC (Pre-draft visit)