Scott Chandler is the clear cut favorite to be the Bills starting tight end when the regular season rolls around. Following Chandler, there are some question marks regarding who will take on the number two tight end role in this offense. Every tight end on the roster understands their individual strengths and weaknesses, but some players embrace their role on the team more so than others.
During one of the OTA sessions Scott Chandler was the victim of incidental contact from behind when his teammate Lee Smith went running up the sideline after making a reception during 11-on-11 and found Chandler in his path downfield. Chandler told his teammate he would've blocked for him had he cut inside. Smith simply replied by saying, "I don't cut."
Lee Smith is known for his physical blocking ability and the Bills coaching staff saw that early last season when they picked him up off of waivers. The team valued his talents so much that they released 10-year veteran, David Martin, a few weeks after signing Smith. While he may not be the most versatile tight end in the league, he has already impressed the Bills new tight end coach Pete Metzelaars.
"He is a powerful blocker and he will not be over matched by anybody, I don't think by any defensive lineman or defensive end in the league," said Metzelaars. "He gives you that point of attack, physical kind of guy."
Smith believes that his run blocking ability and physical play complement a tight end like Scott Chandler well because their styles are so different.
"I have always said that if you have a tight end that can get in there and block the defensive ends in this league it is only beneficial," said Smith. "A lot of teams have to throw extra tackles on the line of scrimmage, which makes you very one-dimensional."
Another tight end who impressed Coach Metzelaars during OTAs was Kevin Brock. Brock believes that his versatility at the position makes him a unique asset.
"I like to think that I am a complete player, but obviously I have strengths and weaknesses," said Brock. "I see myself as a complete tight end that blocks well, while also feeling confident in the pass game."
"He is a solid guy and athletic enough to play," Metzelaars said. "He is your all around kind of tight end with good speed and athleticism."
Metzelaars likes what he sees out of all of his tight ends thus far, but he is very impressed with the physical tools of Fendi Onobun. He is a converted basketball player who played at the University of Arizona for four years before deciding to switch to football. He then transferred to the University of Houston and played one season of football. Onobun is very inexperienced, but has potential with his great physical attributes.
"He is a fantastic athlete; you look at him and say 'Oh My Gosh.' He is very strong and powerful and he can run like crazy," said Metzelaars. "He is an untapped talent, very raw, and hopefully a diamond in the rough."
The wildcard of the group is Dorin Dickerson, because he is an H-back and not a true tight end. He has impressed the coaching staff enough that he has been working in and out with the first unit during team drills. His versatility and unique skill set gives the offense an added piece that they have not had in the past.
"He is fast, really fast. He is so athletic, explosive and quick," Metzelaars said. "If it continues to trend that way he has a chance to help us because he creates matchup problems."
Dickerson hopes to continue to play a significant role with this team and he is very optimistic about his chances.
"I look at it as a good opportunity. I've just got to fine tune my skills and do what I can do," said Dickerson. "This is probably the best opportunity for me since I've been in the league so I've just got to take advantage of it."
Mike Caussin is still rehabbing an ACL injury, but knows this offense and can be a pass catching threat for Buffalo. The Bills have several options at the position, but they will take their time and evaluate each prospect.
"I'm not going to say one guy has stood out the most because it is so early in the process," said Metzelaars. "We have a long way to go and time will tell."