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10 ways rookies will impact the Bills 2014 schedule

Posted May 16, 2014

With the 2014 NFL draft in the rearview mirror, here’s a top 10 look at the rookies impacting the Bills regular-season slate.


10. It’ll be anything but (Dominique) Easley

Patriots at Bills – Oct. 12

A second ACL tear his senior season still didn’t keep New England first-round pick Dominique Easley out of the first round. Possessing arguably the quickest first step of any defensive tackle in the class, Easley is going to improve the athleticism of New England’s defensive interior.

9. That’s Amaro

Jets at Bills – Oct. 26

Jets rookie tight end Jace Amaro is a player the Bills will be looking to take out of the equation in the passing game. The 6-5 257-pound tight end had 106 catches for Texas Tech last season for over 1,300 yards and seven touchdowns. New York’s top pick S Calvin Pryor will also be facing former college teammate and Bills third-round pick LB Preston Brown.

8. Passer & Pass Rusher?

Vikings at Bills – Oct. 19

Whether Teddy Bridgewater is in the starting lineup by Week 7 remains to be seen with veteran Matt Cassel expected to begin the season under center. Bridgewater being in the lineup can’t be ruled out, but a virtual certainty is rookie pass rusher Anthony Barr, who will be trying to help fill the shoes of veteran departure Jared Allen.

7. Orange Bowl 2.0?

Bills at Broncos – Dec. 7

Denver rookie and top pick CB Bradley Roby did not have the opportunity to try and cover Bills WR Sammy Watkins in the Orange Bowl because he missed the game with a knee injury. He probably wishes he hadn't. Everyone else in the Ohio State defensive backfield was torched by Watkins in the Orange Bowl as the Bills top pick had 16 catches for 227 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Clemson’s 40-35 victory. Will Roby make things different in the NFL?

6. Sammy Watkins vs. Kyle Fuller

Bills at Chicago – Sept. 7

The two rookies are plenty familiar with one another with both of their college teams residing in the ACC. Kyle Fuller didn’t face Sammy Watkins every time Clemson played Virginia Tech, but Watkins wasn’t allowed to go off in the times he faced the Hokies with his best day being a five-catch, 80-yard, one touchdown performance.

5. An old rivalry renewed

Chargers at Bills – Sept. 21

Cyrus Kouandjio has a chance to face a familiar adversary in San Diego’s rookie pass rusher Jeremy Attaochu. The two adversaries played at rival high schools against one another in Washington D.C.. Kouandjio attended DeMatha, while Attaochu was at Archbishop Carroll in the capital district. Both are also native Africans with Kouandjio born in Cameroon and Attaochu a native of Nigeria.

4. A better tight end weapon?

Bills at Detroit – Oct. 5

The Bills have Stephon Gilmore to lock up with Calvin Johnson, but Detroit’s rookie tight end Eric Ebron will be competing inside with the likes of Kiko Alonso and Aaron Williams. That duo however, combined for eight interceptions in 2013. Fortunately both Williams and Alonso have the speed to run with the North Carolina product.

3. Send in the Clowney

Bills at Texans – Sept. 28

Another potential matchup of entertaining line play between Buffalo’s offensive tackles and Houston’s edge players. Top pick Jadeveon Clowney combined with All-Pro J.J. Watt will make for a challenging afternoon of pass protection, especially with crowd noise on the road.

2. Mack attack?

Bills at Oakland - Dec. 21

UB product Khalil Mack will be teaming up with veteran pass rusher Lamarr Woodley to try to put some pressure on EJ Manuel in Oakland’s 3-4 defensive front. The only shame about this one is the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 won’t be making a homecoming. This game is in Oakland.

1. Johnny Football

Browns at Bills – Nov. 30

Buffalo’s pass rush figures to be formidable and Cleveland is expected to be a heavy run team to help Johnny Manziel on offense. It is Manziel’s improvisation that will be the matchup to watch against a top 10 Bills defense at Ralph Wilson Stadium at the end of November.