With everyone’s roster projections floating around the Bills community, I decided that I would weigh in on one of our “roster locks” according to Mike Rodak of ESPN. The locks for this roster, purposely leaving off Mike Williams (to cause a stir amongst fans and increase his views so he can make more money) is probably one of the most off point things I have ever read, coming fresh off of non-contact OTAs that aren’t even mandatory. Of his locks to make the team we saw Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and Marcus Easley. This would leave two roster spots for remaining players such as Mike Williams, T.J. Graham, Chris Hogan, Ramses Barden and Kevin Elliot, among others.
There is one player on this list that I have grown an animosity towards, as aside from special teams he holds no real value on this football team. Talk to anyone who is a fan of this team and they will tell you they love Marcus Easley because he is a standout on Special Teams for the Buffallo Bills. Drafted in 2010 in the 4th round, Easley found himself getting cut here and there, on the practice squad, he also was diagnosed with a heart ailment that caused him to miss some time. Coming into what will be his 4th year as a professional football player Marcus Easley has caught 2 passes for 13 yards with a staggering .8 yards per game in 2013. Where I start to gain a little animosity toward our fan base is in the fact that we are ready to write off T.J. Graham because he only has caught 54 passes for 683 yards 3 touchdowns in 2 seasons with 4 different QBs, but we all love Marcus Easley because he is a standout player on Special Teams, on a team that was statistically the 30th overall team in the NFL on Special Teams.
Here is a statistical breakdown (you can go to http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamst to read how the numbers work):
Long story short, we as fans know that our Special Teams situation is dismal, but how would holding onto a career gunner who provides little to nothing in terms of depth on the football team help out a football team that isn’t winning games? There are very few answers to that question that can sway me from thinking it’s feasible to cut a guy like TJ Graham, Chris Hogan or Mike Williams, all in the name of keeping him around. Another point to factor into this is the signing of Corey Graham, a Special Teams standout from a good team, Ron Brooks who will now have to make this team on Special Teams, Ross Cockrell, Jonathan Meeks, Duke Williams, Nickell Robey. All of those players are able and willing gunners that make Marcus Easley expendable and help this football team by adding more depth to our deepest position, WR. Aside from the gunner position, we drafted a guy in the 7th round by the name of Randell Johnson who is a standout Special Teams player and picked up Anthony Dixon, the former a player who can come in and play the wedge from day one, the latter being a guy who can do that and play RB for this team.
Depth in Special Teams was addressed across the board which makes these reports laughable that Marcus Easley is a lock to make this team. I do not hate the man, but if he were able to make strides in any part of his game other than Special Teams he would have been able to play a bit more than he did last year when our WR depth was riddled with injury. I have seen a few roster predictions that have us keeping 2 kickers so Hopkins can get us touchbacks and keeping Easley because he’s a Special Teams standout, which would effectively bring a good quarter of opportunity for Easley to be an effective Special Teams player out of the game. Makes sense.
My early take on the WR position for 2014:
Watkins, Williams, Woods, Hogan, Goodwin, Graham