Buffalo's rookie sixth-round pick was not ready for the 53-man roster in the eyes of the coaches at the outset of the season. So Nick O'Leary toiled on the practice squad working to improve his game. Now in Week 14, the Bills coaching staff believes he's ready. The team promoted the rookie tight end to the active roster from the practice squad Tuesday.
O'Leary had a lackluster preseason mainly due to lack of opportunity. Known as a pass catching tight end in college at Florida State, O'Leary registered just one reception for eight yards on four total targets in the preseason. Only once during the preseason did he get more than half the offensive snaps in a game.
With all the tight ends on the roster new to Greg Roman's offensive system, Charles Clay, Chris Gragg and Matthew Mulligan saw the majority of the preseason game reps.
A John Mackey award winner as a senior, O'Leary is Florida State's all-time receiving leader among tight ends with 114 receptions, 1,491 yards and 18 touchdowns.
O'Leary (6-3, 252) has been diligently working on his blocking techniques while on the practice squad and has evidently demonstrated marked improvement, which likely contributed to the late season call-up.
To make room for O'Leary on the roster, Buffalo released veteran TE Matthew Mulligan, who had served mainly as a blocker and on special teams. O'Leary is expected to fill those roles while also adding a bit more to the passing attack.